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The Inner KalacakratantraA Buddhist Tantric View of the Individual$
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Vesna A. Wallace

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195122114

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195122119.001.0001

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The Nature of Syncretism in the Kālacakratantra

The Nature of Syncretism in the Kālacakratantra

(p.31) 3 The Nature of Syncretism in the Kālacakratantra
The Inner Kalacakratantra

Vesna A. Wallace (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Kālacakratantra has a prominent, syncretistic character, although close examination of the tantra and its commentarial literature shows that the Kālacakra tradition has preserved a distinctively Buddhist orientation, and that its affiliation with non‐Buddhist Indian systems is in form rather than content. The syncretism of this tantric system is a self‐conscious absorption, or appropriation, of the modes of expression that are characteristic of the rival religious systems of India. This self‐conscious syncretism variously permeates several areas of the Kālacakratantra, such as its theoretical system, language, medicine, and cosmology; it is also often inextricably related to Buddhist tantric conversionary efforts. The conversionary mission of the Kālacakratantra is not the sole basis of its syncretistic character; the growing pluralism within the inner life of Indian Mahayana communities could have been another contributing factor. The different sections of the chapter look at the theoretical syncretism of the Kālacakratantra, the syncretism of Kālacakratantra practice, and the syncretism of the Kālacakratantra's language.

Keywords:   Buddhism, conversionary mission, Indian Buddhism, Indian religious systems, Kālacakra tradition, Kālacakratantra, pluralism, syncretism, syncretist language, syncretist practice, theoretical syncretism

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