The book studies the different aspects of Tantrism, its vastness and intricacies, its heterogeneous and contradictory elements and gives a historical perspective to the conglomeration of ideas and practices through space and time. It also incorporates a review of Tantric art and a glossary of technical terms.
Tantrism, both traditional and Buddhist, with its vast literature containing intricate ritualistic and philosophical details occupies an important place in the religious and cultural life of India and some Asian countries. The subject however, still appears to be an enigma, notwithstanding numerous works in this field.
This volume contains informative and analytical papers by eminent scholars on different aspects of Tantric Buddhism and Tantras in general. The essays throw significant light on the so called puzzling obscurity of tantric ideas and practices especially pertaining to the Buddhist Tantras. They demonstrate the richness and variety of Buddhist Tantric literature. They also show that fragments of Mahayanic philosophical ideas lie scattered in the Buddhist Tantras, sometimes as speculations on the nature of the truth and mainly in the context of the ceremonies and secret yogic practices. These are also manifested in Tibetan and other Asiatic forms of Buddhism and in icons representing the gods and goddesses, the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and their consorts.
The papers presented in this volume also reveal that there is basically no difference in the principles, viewpoints and even contents, between the Buddhist and non Buddhist Tantras. Their contents are rooted in a single source - the spiritual and psychical consciousness of the most ancient peoples.
This volume is presented as a tribute to an outstanding pioneer in the field of tantric Buddhist studies, Dr. Benoytosh Bhattacharyya(1897-1964).
About the Editor:
Dr. N.N. Bhattacharyya recently retired from the Department of Ancient History and Culture, Calcutta University where he taught social and religious history. Dr. Bhattacharyyas' publications include the Indian Puberty Rites (1968-1980), Indian Mother Goddess(1970,1977), Buddhism in the History of Indian Ideas(1993), Ancient Indian History and Civilization: trends and perspectives(1988), History of Tantric Religion: A Historical, Ritualistic and Philosophical Study (1992,1998), Ancient Indian Rituals and their Social Contents (1976,1996), Jaina philosophy(1976), History of Researches on Indian Buddhism (1981), Medieval Bhakti Movements in India(1989), A Glossary of Indian Religious Terms and Concepts(1990), the Geographical Dictionary: Ancient and Early Medieval India(1991), Encyclopaedia of Ancient Indian Culture(1998).