Mon Oct 30 23:57:55 UTC 2000

Harunaga Isaacson wrote:

> [re:  anuttarayogatantra] despite being ubiquitous in
secondary literature, may well be yet another 'ghost' Sanskrit term,
on a possibly erroneous back-translation from the Tibetan. Again, I'd
interested to know of any real attestations of the word in surviving
Sanskrit texts.
Yes, I suspect you may be right -- and also if of Indic origin, the
well-known fourfold division of the tantras would seem to be very
late, for like you I have never come across an authentic attestation
of the 4 with "anuttarayoga" included.

> To avoid, for reasons of time, too many such discussions, let me put
this way---the continuity between the STTS and later Vajrayaana
is greater than is commonly acknowledged (perhaps greater than many
Shingon scholars, intent on distinguishing their 'pure esotericism'
'late' Indian or Tibetan tantra, would like to believe).
Yes, I agree entirely although my understanding of the STTS does not
derive from Sini-Japanese Shingon sources although the snippets of
commentorial literature deriving from Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra
should be valued.

> If one reads the STTS (especially if one reads it in Sanskrit!)
one encounters a lot of passages that are actually very close to some
of the 'sexual'
yoginiitantra (and also of course yogottaratantra) material.
Do you think this might be with benefit of hindsight ?   Also the
relationship of the Buddha-sama-yoga-tantra with this apparent
contuity should be worth investigating.  I know a few Japanese
scholars have looked at it but I have not had the opportunity to read
what they say.  I do note however that this text seems to be the
earliest of the so-called "mother tantras" -- it is mentioned by
Amoghavajra circa 742CE and also is mentioned by Buddhaguhya at least

> I don't particularly want to go into detailed discussions just now.
I understand -- whenever you have the time or inclination :)

> I believe that Yamada in his STTS edition (which I don't have at
and my copy of Horiuchi is somewhere in a box at the moment) failed to
understand the second half, and writes svare 'to bindubhir... (The
too, as I recall, mistranslated that line, perhaps as a result of
svaritabindubhir; that could be a deliberate 'bowdlerization' but is
probably just an error---my impression was that there are very many
 mistakes in the Tibetan STTS translation).
I'll double check the Chinese as well when I get the time but if it
corroborates the Tibetan and the propsed Skt reading, where does this
leave us ?   I suppose if your suggested reading was original, there
must have been a bottle-neck in the ms transmission which had this
reading from which both Tibetan and Chinese was derived.

> I think it is very unlikely that the GST, important work though that
is the first Buddhist tantric scripture to introduce 'sexual
I would interpose the Guhyagarbha and the Maayaajaala between the STTS
and the GST.

> Probably one could only maintain that if one assigned to
it (as, it is true, one or two modern authors do) a very early date.
As you are not doubt aware, Amoghavajra (742) records the first
datable reference to this text in a format which seems to represent a
more primitive version of the text.

> By the way, for those interested in this topic, one might recommend
Strickmann's book Mantras et mandarins: Le bouddhisme tantrique en
(Editions Gallimard 1996)
I am no Sinologist, but found Strickmann's book interesting and on the
whole rather impressive.
I found there were some interesting chapters in this book but overall
I was quite disappointed with what I had been told was THE definitive
work on early tantra in China -- there are many inexplicable lacunae,
although given the vastness of the material and Strickmann's untimely
demise this is understandable to a degree.

> Concluding for the time being (my woful state of lack of preparation
the teaching of the coming week seems to demand attention,
Yes, I know the feeling -- good luck !

Best wishes,
Stephen Hodge

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