Tantric Studies for the Twenty-First Century

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 9483

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053, USA
Interests: Buddhist tantric traditions; Yoginītantras

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053, USA
Interests: Śaiva and Śākta Tantric traditions; Art and Archeology; Hinduism; early medieval India; Caste and social history

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this Special Issue will be to highlight cutting-edge research in Tantric Studies. We invite submissions on a broad range of topics and traditions relating to the study of Tantric traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Daoism, and Shinto, in South, Central, East, and Southeast Asia, and in the global contemporary context. We particularly welcome papers exploring the transmission of Tantric traditions across the boundaries of traditions or cultures. Submissions from any methodological approach are welcome, including textual critical work, from art or architecture historical, ethnographic, or social scientific approaches. In keeping with our intention of capturing the present state of the field, we are particularly keen on the inclusion of works by late-stage graduate students and early-career researchers alongside those of senior scholars.

Over the past fifty years, Tantric Studies has grown tremendously. In one of the great historiographical revolutions of our time, a topic that was once almost totally ignored—except among a handful of specialists—has increasingly come to be recognized as integral to any responsible understanding of the history of religions in Asia as well as to making sense of much of global new age culture and the traditions of Western occultism. This is an opportune moment to bring together a range of divergent scholarly perspectives and present to the interested reader a compelling snapshot of Tantric Studies in the twenty-first century.

We are pleased to invite you to contribute a paper to a Special Issue of the international, open access, peer reviewed journal Religions that will focus on the study of the Tantric traditions.

This Special Issue aims to highlight new contributions to our understanding of these traditions. Papers focusing on the study of Tantric traditions in any tradition or historical period will be welcome; those focusing on the transmission of Tantric traditions across the boundaries of traditions or cultures are particularly encouraged.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

studies of Tantric traditions, texts, and/or practices, relating to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Daoism, Shinto, and contemporary new religions, with textual historical, art or architecture historical, ethnographic, or social scientific methodological approaches.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. David B. Gray
Dr. Jason Schwartz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Tantra
  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism
  • Jainism
  • Sikhism
  • Daoism
  • Shinto
  • new religions
  • transmission
  • multidisciplinary

Published Papers (4 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

49 pages, 610 KiB  
Article
“I Can’t Do All This—This Is Nuts!”: An Ethnographic Account of the Challenges Posed by Vajrayāna Deity Yoga in a Western Context
by Sophie-Anne Perkins
Religions 2023, 14(7), 935; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14070935 - 20 Jul 2023
Viewed by 2845
Abstract
This article provides an in-depth exploration of the contextual, epistemic, ethical, personal, practical, religious, and socio-cultural factors that sixteen Western practitioners of Vajrayāna Buddhism highlighted as having particularly challenged their ability to learn and engage in deity yoga, including what strategies they may [...] Read more.
This article provides an in-depth exploration of the contextual, epistemic, ethical, personal, practical, religious, and socio-cultural factors that sixteen Western practitioners of Vajrayāna Buddhism highlighted as having particularly challenged their ability to learn and engage in deity yoga, including what strategies they may have adopted in attempting to overcome their impact. While these have been largely overlooked by empirical research on meditation, their pertinence to understanding practice efficacy and outcome, as well as the phenomenological unfolding of particularly adverse practice-related experiences, have recently been recognized alongside the prevalence of the latter. In addition, these practitioner testimonies shed light on how the cross-cultural transmission of Vajrayāna Buddhism involves a process in which practice approaches and environments are undergoing adaptation and negotiation in light of the needs and lifestyles of lay practitioners, while meaning is being synthesized through their responses to the experiences that unfold not only from their exposure to teachers and their teachings but also from their engagement in tantric practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tantric Studies for the Twenty-First Century)
10 pages, 794 KiB  
Article
The Reception of the Mantra of Light in Republican Period Chinese Buddhism
by Saiping An
Religions 2023, 14(7), 818; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14070818 - 21 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1382
Abstract
This paper examines the utilization of the mantra of light and its associated maṇḍala practices by Wang Hongyuan 王弘願 (1876–1937), a Chinese Buddhist during the Republican Period, and his adherents, which has not yet been noticed by previous scholars. With the import of [...] Read more.
This paper examines the utilization of the mantra of light and its associated maṇḍala practices by Wang Hongyuan 王弘願 (1876–1937), a Chinese Buddhist during the Republican Period, and his adherents, which has not yet been noticed by previous scholars. With the import of esoteric Buddhist doctrines and practices from Japan, the mantra of light, which was a rarely used mantra in pre-modern China, gained renewed significance. This led to the widespread adoption of the ritual practices of this mantra by Wang Hongyuan and his surrounding Buddhist groups in early modern China. The rituals of this mantra were used as a supplement or substitute for near-death Pure Land practices. This paper presents Pure Land Buddhist practices intertwined with esoteric Buddhist elements or “esoteric” approaches to Pure Land rebirth in modern Chinese Buddhism which have been overlooked by previous scholars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tantric Studies for the Twenty-First Century)
21 pages, 439 KiB  
Article
The Siddha with a Thousand Faces: Non-Tantric and Tantric Elements in the Construction of the Buddhist Siddha in *Jñānākara’s Commentary to the Introduction to the [Path of] Mantra
by Aleksandra Wenta
Religions 2023, 14(6), 792; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060792 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1755
Abstract
This paper is a continuation of an earlier study published by the current author dedicated to the virtually unexplored tantric Buddhist scholar of the phyi dar period, *Jñānākara (11th century), through the textual analysis of his masterpiece, the Introduction to the [Path of] [...] Read more.
This paper is a continuation of an earlier study published by the current author dedicated to the virtually unexplored tantric Buddhist scholar of the phyi dar period, *Jñānākara (11th century), through the textual analysis of his masterpiece, the Introduction to the [Path of] Mantra (Skt. *Mantrāvatāra), now available only in the Tibetan translation as Gsang sngags ‘jug pa. In the previous paper, I have discussed the broader historical framework of the eleventh-century Indo-Tibetan world and *Jñānākara’s role in establishing, what I called, the “orthodoxy of tantric practice”. I have also provided a critical edition of the root text, the *Mantrāvatāra, accompanied by an English translation. While the previous study focused mainly on the debatable and highly controversial issue of tantric sexual initiations adopted by the monastics and hermeneutical tools employed by *Jñānākara to refute the literal interpretation of tantric scriptures, the current paper will concentrate on the exposition of tantric practice understood as the accumulation of causes and conditions (hetu-pratyaya) leading to the status of the siddha. This paper will trace tantric and non-tantric elements in *Jñānākara’s construction of the Buddhist siddha that integrated the kāya doctrine of the Yogācāra. My analysis will be based on *Jñānākara’s auto-commentary to his root text, the Commentary to the Introduction to the [Path of] Mantra (Skt. *Mantrāvatāravṛtti, Tib. Gsang sngags ‘jug pa ‘grel pa) which has not received any scholarly attention so far. Special attention will be paid to the intertextual dimension of his discourse that integrates the Mahāyāna models of the bodhisattva path. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tantric Studies for the Twenty-First Century)
15 pages, 382 KiB  
Article
Ornament of Reality: Language Ideology in a Tantric Śākta Text
by Jackson Barkley Stephenson
Religions 2023, 14(4), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14040456 - 28 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1782
Abstract
The Mahānayaprakāśa of Śitikaṇṭha is an understudied text within Kashmir Śaivism, notable for its rich description of the inner structure of consciousness vis-à-vis the body and the natural world, and esotericization of Left-Handed Tantric Practice. Furthermore, it is also significant in its form; [...] Read more.
The Mahānayaprakāśa of Śitikaṇṭha is an understudied text within Kashmir Śaivism, notable for its rich description of the inner structure of consciousness vis-à-vis the body and the natural world, and esotericization of Left-Handed Tantric Practice. Furthermore, it is also significant in its form; like the Buddhist dohākoṣas it consists of Apabhraṃśa verses with accompanying Sanskrit commentary. However, in the sporadic scholarship on this text it is consistently portrayed as an early attestation of “Old Kashmiri,” and siloed off into obscurity. This article demonstrates that these verses are definitively composed in Apabhraṃśa, and argues that they should be examined alongside their Buddhist counterparts, which also articulate a mystical cosmology of the sacred realm Uḍḍiyāna located within the body. Afterwards the fourth chapter of this text is translated and presented, in which the human body takes center stage as the pīṭha, the pilgrimage destination and practice space of Tantric ritual. Ultimately this article argues that within medieval Tantric traditions the Apabhraṃśa verse form served as a privileged vehicle of esoteric teachings, and that it commands a unique linguistic value by indexing mystical states of consciousness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tantric Studies for the Twenty-First Century)
Back to TopTop