Tantra in Practice

Tantra in Practice

Product ID: 8296

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Author: David Gordon White
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass
Year: 2001
Language: English
Pages: 640
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8120817788


The first book to bring together texts from the entire range of Tantric phenomena, Tantra in Practice continues the Princeton Reading in Religions series. The breadth of work included, geographic areas spanned, and expert scholarship highlighting each piece serve to expand our understanding of what it means to practice Tantra.

Tantra is an Asian body of beliefs and practices that seeks to channel the divine energy that grounds the universe, in creative and liberating ways. The subsequent chapters reflect the wide geographical and temporal scope of Tantra by examining thirty-six texts from China, India, Japan, Nepal and Tibet, ranging from the seventh century to the present day, and representing the full range of Tantric experience – Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and even Islamic.

Each text has been chosen and translated , often for the first time, by an international expert in the field who also provides detailed background material. Students of Asian religions and general readers alike will find the book rich and informative.

The book includes plays, transcribed interviews, poetry, parodies, inscriptions, instructional texts, scriptures, philosophical conjectures, dreams, and astronomical speculations, each text illustrating one of the diverse traditions and practices of Tantra. Thus, the nineteenth-century Indian Buddhist Garland of Gems, a series of songs, warns against the illusion of appearance by referring to bees, yogurt, and the fire of Malaya Mountain; while fourteenth-century Chinese Buddhist manuscripts detail how to prosper through the Seven Stars of the Northern Dipper by burning incense, making offerings to scriptures, and chanting incantations.

In a transcribed conversation, a modern Hindu priest in Bengal candidly explains how he serves the black goddess Kali and feeds temple skulls lentils, wine, or rice. A seventieth-century Nepalese Hindu praise-poem hammered into the golden doors to the temple of the Goddess Taleju lists a king’s faults and begs her forgiveness and grace. An introduction accompanies each text, identifying its period and genre, discussing the history and influence of the work, and identifying points of particular interest of difficulty.



Notes on Transliteration

Contents by Tradition

Contents by Country




The Tantric Guru

King Kunji’s Banquet

Interviews with a Tantric Kali Priest: Feeding Skulls in the Town of Sacrifice

A Parody of the Kapalikas in the Mattavilasa

A Trance Healing Session with Mataji


The Consecration of the Monastic Compound at Mount Koya by Kukai

Praises of the Drunken Peacocks

Percepts for an Emperor


Raising Snakes in Bengal: The Use of Tantric Imagery in Sakta Poetry Contests

The Wedding of Siva and the Goddess in the Kulalikamnaya

An Advertised Secret: The Goddess Taleju and the King of Kathmandu

Tantric Rites in Antal’s Poetry


The Jain Monk Jinapati Suri Gets the Better of a Nath Yogi

Longchenpa and the Possession of the Dakinis

The Anonymous Agama Prakasa: Preface to a Nineteenth-Century Gujarati Polemic

Conversation between Guru Hasan Kabiruddin and Jogi Kanipha: Tantra Revisited by

The Isma’ili Preachers


Emptiness and Dust: Zen Dharma Transmission Rituals

The Necklace of Immortality: A Seventeenth-Century Vaisnava Sahajiya Text

The Tibetan Practice of the Mantra Path according to Lce-sgom-pa

The Ocean of the Heart: Selections from the Kularnava Tantra

Tantric Buddhism and Chinese Thought in East Asia


Worship of the Ladies of the Dipper

The Wisdom Mother and the Good Tradition

Worship of Bell-Ears the Great Hero, a Jain Tantric Deity

Secret Yantra and Erotic Display for Hindu Temples

The Six Rites of Magic

The Worship of Kali According to the Todala Tantra

Ritual Manual for the Protective Fire Offering Devoted to Manjusri

The Purification of the Body


A Tantric Meditation on Emptiness

Japanese Tantra, the Tachikawa-ryu, and Ryobu Shinto

Assorted Topics of the Great Completeness by Dodrupchen III

On the Seal of Sambhu

Vajrayoga in the Kalacakra Tantra

Jain Tantra: Divinatory and Meditative Practices in the Twelfth-Century Yogasutra

Cheating Death

Glossary of Foreign Terms