Harunaga Isaacson Isaacson at UNI-HAMBURG.DE
Tue Oct 31 12:14:01 UTC 2000

Stephen Hodge wrote:

>   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
> once.

The Sarvabuddhasamaayogatantra
is indeed of great importance in the picture of the historical development
of Tantric Buddhism, and of the 'apparent continuity' that we have been
discussing. For instance some of the material from the STTS that gets into
the Herukaabhidhaana or other "Sa.mvaratantras comes via (one could say)
the Sarvabuddhasamaayoga (which is actually itself often quoted with its
title given in abbreviated form as "Sa.mvaratantra).

> Michel
> Strickmann's book Mantras et mandarins: Le bouddhisme tantrique en
> Chine.
> (Editions Gallimard 1996)
> 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.

It is certainly not the definitive, nor an attempt to be a comprehensive,
work on early tantra in China, and if you expected that it is no wonder
that you were disappointed. I regarded it rather as a collection of
interesting essays. As a Sanskritist, what I found disappointing was
(predictably enough) the fact that Strickmann was clearly not very
familiar with the vast body of material (not all of which is
yoganiruttaratantra of course) that survives in Indian languages.

Apropos of Ven. Tantra's question about vajravaada; I can understand that
Stephen Hodge finds the notion of vaada with regard to tantric Buddhism
surprising. And it is correct that it is often stressed that the
uniqueness of tantra lies in the sphere of upaaya, not of doctrine. Yet it
is worth noting that, though I can't adduce occurrences of the term
vajravaada at present, mantravaada (!) does occur at several places in the
literature. An example is Cittavi" 122ab: sarvavaada.m
parityajya mantravaada.m samaacaret. It doesn't seem to be a uniquely
Tantric _doctrine_ that the author has in mind in that case, but the usage
of this term does no doubt deserve further attention.

Harunaga Isaacson
Institut für Kultur und Geschichte Indiens und Tibets

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