Sat Oct 28 21:07:49 UTC 2000

Harunaga Isaacson wrote:

>The term vajrayaana is very common indeed in Indian Buddhist tantric
literature. As Stephen Hodge mentions, it is used in the
Sarvatathaagatatattvasa.mgraha. There are hundreds, probably
of other occurrences.
Well, I did caution that I was more familar with pre-anuttara-yoga
material.  I have had a quick look at the index to the Chinese
translation which cites only one occurence of "vajra-yaana".  I have
not come across the term in any of the kriyaa or caryaa tantras nor
the commentaries thereto.  This suggests that "vajrayaana" was coined
or began to come into use around the time that the STTS was
composed -- perhaps late 7th century.  Based on what Harunaga says,
given his familiarity with later tantric material, the term gained
popularity later.  It would be interesting to see, in light of Ven
Tantra's suggestion, whether "vajra-yaana" was more popular among the
circles that produced the "mother / yogini" class of tantras.

> But that the STTS does not have any sexual rituals/imagery is, I
would say,
> incorrect.
I originally wrote "overt sexual rituals/imagery" but deleted "overt".
True, there are elements that may be interpreted in that sense but
they are still very tenuous and not central -- neither Shakyamitra nor
Buddhaguhya make any mention of that kind of interpretation.  If it
does not involve great trouble on your part, I would be interested to
know what passages you believe involve sexual rituals -- though I know
of one that you may have in mind.  As for sexual imagery, perhaps
that's in the eye of the beholder :)

> Mantrayaana is indeed found in Indian texts preserved in Sanskrit.
> But it is much less common a term than vajrayaana.
That's simply because the Buddhists tantric texts that survive
overwhelmingly belong to the anuttara-yoga tantra class.  There was
obviously a transition from "mantra-naya" which commentators like
Buddhaguhya use exclusively, to "mantra-yaana" whcih the co-existed
with the apparently later but more popular "vajra-yaana".  It is
interesting to note, however, that throughout the Tshig-mdzod chen-mo
dictionary, that the Tibetan equivalent of "mantra-yaana" is used in
all relevent definitions involving the tantric path.

>  And I don't think I know of a single occurrence of guhyamantrayaana
(note that Tibetan gsang sngags kyi theg pa is found to translate
mantrayaana in those cases known to me where the Sanskrit original can
be checked; apart from this comound).  ...  I have seen the word
guhyamantranaya, but this seems to be very rare.
Perhaps I am guilty of the precocious re-Sanskritizing from Tibetan I
alluded to :)  However, the term "guhya-mantra-yaana" may have existed
since I am fairly certain I have seen the Chinese equivalent in
Chinese translations of tantric material.  If "guhya-mantra-naya"
existed, then it is not unreasonable to suppose "guhya-mantra-yaana"
might have also existed even if unattested.

Best wishes,
Stephen Hodge

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