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Tantric Traditions in Transmission and Translation$
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David B. Gray and Ryan Richard Overbey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199763689

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199763689.001.0001

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How Dhāraṇ‎īs WERE Proto-Tantric

How Dhāraṇ‎īs WERE Proto-Tantric

Liturgies, Ritual Manuals, and the Origins of the Tantras

(p.199) 4. How Dhāraṇ‎īs WERE Proto-Tantric
Tantric Traditions in Transmission and Translation

Jacob P. Dalton

Oxford University Press

This chapter draws attention to the rise of ritual manuals within orthodox Buddhist circles in the fifth and sixth centuries. Around this time, unprecedented numbers of vidhis, kalpas, and the like spread through India and across Asia, carrying new ritual technologies and inspiring local ritual innovation. Unfortunately, the extra-canonical nature of these same works caused them not to be preserved. From Dunhuang, however, emerges an invaluable time capsule of lived Buddhist practice. While a few recent scholars have begun mining these texts, especially those preserved in the Chinese canons, the rise of the genre as a whole has not yet been adequately thematized. Using select manuscripts from Dunhuang, this chapter argues that by attending to this dramatic shift in Buddhist literature, one gains a clearer sense of the links between the dhāraṇ‎īs and the first Buddhist tantras.

Keywords:   Buddhist, dhāraṇī, tantra, ritual manual, Dunhuang

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