Principles of Buddhist Tantra

By Matthew Varghese
November 2008
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
ISBN: 9788121511902
282 pages
$48.50 Hardcover

This work is a textual-based discourse on the Cittavisuddhi-prakarana of Aryadeva, a seminal text which describes the principle and philosophy of Buddhist Tantra. The dispute on the question of Tantric meditative practices having any philosophical foundation or whether those practices have been introduced into the ethico-religious praxis of various religious traditions as a later introduction is a continuing discussion.

In this work, it is trying to prove that the introduction of Tantra into Madhyamika philosophy is a natural development and it is proved beyond doubt by reviewing an important work in the Buddhist tradition written by Aryadeva, the Cittavisuddhi-prakarana. The unique dialectical method introduced and used by the Madhyamikas to interpret their philosophy and the conception of sunyata is the guiding principle in this regard. Mdhyamika envisages that the conception of sunyata can be interpreted as the proper understanding of the insubstantial nature of object of the world (dharma-nairatmya) and the insubstantial nature of the subjective self which perceives such objects of the world (pudgala-nairatmya).

The dialectics advanced by the Madhyamika is efficient in deconstructing the substantiality of the phenomenal world of objects, but that is effectively possible only after reconstructing the notion of a substantive self using Tantric spiritual practices. The sunyata as the conception of dharma-nairatmya is achieved through reconstructing the substantive notion of the phenomenal world using dialectics, while it as the conception of pudgala-nairatmya is achieved using Tantric spiritual practices.

Return to Coronet Books main page