By Dr Robert Mayer

Approximately part the amount is taken up via an intricate Tibetan textual content version of 4 chapters from the Phur pa bcu gnyis (PCN), a well known yet up to now little-studied tantric textual content of the Nying-ma-pa university of Tibetan Buddhism, observed via a long and hugely technical dialogue of the issues occupied with modifying texts of this kind ...The introductory fabric of Mayer's ebook provides a masterly and unique precis of the problems raised via those difficulties. The questions concerned, these of canonicity, authenticity, imaginative and prescient and revelation, are important to the certainty of Tibetan and different traditions of Buddhism within the west. Mayer's e-book is the 1st vast try to current an total photograph of those matters ...Appealing to scholars of Tibetan Buddhism to expand their horizons, Mayer presents extraordinary proof of the benefits in doing so ...He units this paintings in a extensive highbrow framework drawn from the sociology of faith.

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Extra resources for A Scripture of the Ancient Tantra Collection: The Phur-pa bcu-gnyis

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3 Buddhist Perspectives I have mentioned above that I intend to use Samuel's categories in this study. Samuel's analysis is located in modern Social Anthropology, and his theory of shamanic and clerical "modal states" suggests these as universal categories that he has arrived at through largely anthropological and other Western modes of investigation. Nevertheless, as Robin Horton has suggested, "A first step in the analysis of an alien religious system must always be the search for an area of discourse in one's own language which can appropriately serve as a translation instrument" (Horton 1979:284).

These critiques can be seen as pertinent to this discussion, especially since Marglin uses "auspiciousness" as a cover term for non-structural, non-hierarchical, especially female, and above all non-Brahmanic elements, with some affinities to Samuel's use of the term "shamanic" (thanks to Geoffrey Samuel for his comments on these issues). Also relevant to" this study, the Indologist Johannes Bronkhorst has argued that the Indological underpinning of Dumont's analysis of asceticism is false: Bronkhorst sees two independent sources of Indian asceticism, one Vedic and one non-Vedic.

Its textual base comprises the Vinaya, the S11tras, and the Sastras (condensed from Samuel 1993:9-10). Samuel sees the interaction of these two currents as providing an underlying tension that shapes the development of Buddhism throughout its history. He writes, "the tension is between the visionary and yogic side of BuddhisIn, with its recurrent struggle to recreate and maintain the shamanic vision, and the clerical and scholarly side, with its orientation towards the development of the Buddhist community as part of the wider hierarchical social order" (Samuel 1993:373).

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