The word uttara in the titles of texts, particularly "saiva tantras

mkapstei at UCHICAGO.EDU mkapstei at UCHICAGO.EDU
Wed Aug 22 21:24:46 UTC 2007

Uttara is used rather frequently in the titles of
Buddhist tantras, with the meanings of, roughly,
"higher, superior, subsequent, further," often
denoting a tantra that is regarded as building upon,
developing, filling out, or supplementing, some 
more basic tantra. E.g., we find a Zrii-Vajraca.n.dacittaguhya-
tantra, a ....guhya -tantrottara, and a ... guhya
-tantrottarottara (Tohoku 458-460). But the
real relations holding among such groups of texts
have not, to my knowledge, been systematically studied
as yet, and until this is done, the exact sense
of "uttara" and "uttarottara" in these cases will remain
somewhat uncertain. 

Whether or not the Buddhist usage corresponds with the
Zaiva is of course another question.

Matthew T. Kapstein
Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies
The University of Chicago Divinity School

Directeur d'études
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

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