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Isabelle Onians - Tantric Buddhist Apologetics or Antinomianism as a Norm

Isabelle Onians - Tantric Buddhist Apologetics or Antinomianism as a Norm

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Published by: PYY32e092p on Jan 24, 2012
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12/24/2012

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T
ANTRIC
BUDDHIST
ApOLOGETICSORANTINOMIANISM
AS A
NORM
Isabelle
Onians
March
28,2003
Z,
e
"2001..1
(
Lf"~
~
 
Tnntric
Buddhist
Apologetics
or
AntinomianiJm
as
II
Norm
sublnitted
by Isabelle
Onians
ofWolfiol1
College,
Oxford
for
the
Degree
of
D.
Phil.
in
Triniry
Term
2001
[,
"-
~oo
1-)
A
BSTRACT:
This
thesis poses the question
of
Tantric Buddhist apologetics: how did the authors
of
that tradition, named
and
anonymous,respond to the need felt to justify [heir religious practices, inasmuch
as
thoseappeared anomalous within the larger context
of
Buddhism in India?
'fhe
subtitle signals
my
ancillary theme herein,
on
the nature
of
he TantricBuddhist system: to
what
extent can
it
be
described
as
antinomianism
as
a
norm?
In
addition to the undated scriptural Tantras themselves,
our
principalSanskrit sources belong to the culmination
of
Indian
Higher
Tantric
Bud
dhist exegesis between the
tenth and
twelfth centuries
AD.
One
previouslyunpublished text, the
Abhifekanirukti,
particularly
ilnportant
for its rareanalysis
of
the problematic sexual initiation,
is
translated in
full
as
an Appendix.
Also
studied are the Tibetan translation
of
the
Nayatrayapradipa,
awork which
is
not
known to survive in Sanskrit,
as
well
as
the famous
Bo-
dhipathapradipa
(with auto-commentary,
both
preserved only
in
Tibetan),composed
on
the request
of
a Tibetan king.
In
the
Introduction
I set the scene for the main topics with
a
presentation
of
related issues
in
the early Buddhism
of
the
PaJi
Canon
and
in the Mahayana, historically intermediary between 'early'
and
Tantric Buddhism.Part I assesses the relationship
of
these three Buddhisms, from the
point
of
view
of
proponents
of
the later developments: did they,
and
can we, perceive
aunt
ry
in the whole?
With
Part
II
the central paradigm
of
my thesis
is
broached.
How
didTanrric Buddhis[ commentators describe the function
of
their sexual initiations; were they considered essential to the religion;
and
if
so,
how
to
proceed
when
the candidate
is
a monasric,
a
priori
celibate?
The
Conclusion
rerurns to
the
two
ritle phrases
and
reconsiders
their
aptness for representing this dissertation's aims
and
results.
 
Figure
I:
These reliefs precede
my
dissenation because they
graphically
illusnare [heway
that
sensual relationships were long incorporated
a(
the
heart
of
even monasticBuddhist insirurions. Erotic
(maithuna)
carvings are everywhere
in
the
artistic
deco
ration
of
temples and monasteries, in the cicy-state
of
Nagarjunakonda, for example
(DuTT
1962, plate 6), or at Ajanra
(GHosH
1967, plate M).
The
sculpture above
is
from the left-hand door-jamb
of
a monastic cell in
me
southern suire
of
Monasrery
45at
Sanchi (photo author; cf.
DUTT
1973:53-56).

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