Symposium, Abstracts

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Tantric Communities in Context
Sacred Secrets and Public Rituals

Time: February 5–7, 2015
Venue: Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia (IKGA)
Apostelgasse 23, 1030 Vienna
Organisation: Vincent Eltschinger, Nina Mirnig, Marion Rastelli
Cooperation: VISCOM

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Participants and Abstracts

Francesco Bianchini

Rhetoric of a military cult: The case of the Ahirbudhnyasaṃhitā

The Ahirbudhnyasaṃhitā, a relatively well-known text of the Pāñcarātra corpus, can be shown to envisage mainly royal patrons as targets of its cult. The text, however, does not just provide kings and their entourage with a ritual repertoire fit for the protection of the state and their persons or emphasize the importance of purohitas. In fact, the entire cult of Sudarśana presented in the saṃhitā is clad in military garb, a feature which must have been appealing to such patrons. The main deities themselves, i.e. Sudarśana (Viṣṇu's discoid weapon) and Narasiṃha, are fierce deities whose power can be deployed in warfare as well as for the purpose of hostile magic and the like. Entire chapters are dedicated to listing deified weapons along with their mantric and iconographic forms, and very long narrative passages are keen on depicting violent battle scenes. But the most remarkable aspect is the use of rhetoric while describing the importance and advantages for kings of adopting the powerful Sudarśana cult; a rhetoric behind which a feudal world emerges where warfare must have been a very common undertaking and where kings needed support from religious specialists. I shall approach the topic by presenting relevant passages from the Ahirbudhnyasaṃhitā and by attempting to place them in the general framework of the text.

Francesco Bianchini, University of Vienna, Austria


Peter Bisschop

Inclusivism revisited: The worship of other gods in the Śivadharma, the Skandapurāṇa and the Niśvāsamukha

When Paul Hacker developed his theory of inclusivism as a specifically Indian way of thinking, the three works mentioned in the subtitle were practically unknown. In my paper I will investigate the different ways these three early Śaiva texts deal with the worship of other gods than Śiva. In varying degrees, their approaches may be regarded as inclusivistic. I will look specifically at the following chapters: Śivadharmaśāstra 6 (a lengthy śāntimantra invoking all deities for protection), Skandapurāṇa 27-28 (two chapters in the Skandapurāṇa that are related in content to the teachings of the Śivadharma), Niśvāsamukha 3 (a chapter on laukika or mundane religion that has a lengthy section on the worship of different gods).

Prof. Peter Bisschop, Leiden University, The Netherlands


Gudrun Bühnemann

Power, protection and politics: Hanumān worship in the late Malla period

In the late Malla period (1483-1768) the Kathmandu Valley was divided into the three independent kingdoms of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. The rulers of these kingdoms mainly worshipped the goddess Taleju. But the list of titles of many of these kings characterized them not only as Taleju's foremost servants, but also as hanumaddhvaja (“with Hanumān in the banner”). That this title, which attests to the importance of the divinity at that time, was no mere flourish is borne witness to by surviving royal banners that carry an image of Hanumān. In this paper I will examine how the kings of the late Malla period promoted the worship of Hanumān in the Kathmandu Valley and what goals they wished to attain through the worship of both the public exoteric and the specifically esoteric manifestations of the deity. I will concentrate mainly on the period from the mid-17th- to mid-18th-century but will also touch upon the earlier history of the Tantric worship of Hanumān. The source materials include texts (inscriptions, accounts in chronicles [vaṃśāvalī], ritual texts) and both published and unpublished images (sculptures, paintings and line drawings). A study of these materials provides a window onto the religious practices of the Newar community and the socio-religious environment in late medieval Nepal.

Prof. Gudrun Bühnemann, University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A.


Florinda De Simini

Aspects of the Cult of the Book in the Śaiva and Vaiṣṇava Tantric Traditions

The use of manuscripts as ritual implements as well as the practice of rituals entirely focused on manuscripts appear as constant traits of Indian religious traditions since ancient times, surviving in some instances up to the present day. Rituals of book worship made their first appearance in the earliest layers of the Prajñāpāramitā literature and are attested in the oldest works of the Mahāyāna and the Yogācāra traditions. During the early Middle Ages, books were regarded as cultic foci by texts belonging to non-Tantric Śaiva environments, which elaborate on the topic of the book veneration by combining it with the brahminical institution of dāna. In this paper, I will focus my attention on the attestations of the cultic uses of manuscripts in the Tantric ritual practice of Śaiva and Vaiṣṇava adherents, mainly taking into account Śaivasiddhānta and Pāñcarātra sources. The aim of this survey is to highlight both the dependence of the Tantric texts on earlier sources, as well as the specificity of the Tantric approach, which alters the main ritualistic framework of the cult of the book by removing it from the context of dāna and placing it into that of the pratiṣṭhā.

Dr. Florinda De Simini, University of Naples "L'Orientale", Italy

Christian Ferstl

Aśvaghoṣa's and Bāṇa's literary representations of Śaiva hermits

“And on the way he beheld in the forest a red flag, near which was a shrine of Durgā, guarded by an old Draviḍian hermit who made his abode thereby.” This is the highly abbreviated passage in C.M. Ridding's well-known translation of “The Kādambarī of Bāṇa” (7th century). A close look at the original Sanskrit passage, however, reveals an abundance of important details for the history of early Śaivism. A selection of these details shall be presented and analyzed in an historical as well as literary context. The literary representation of a certain Śaiva hermit “used to lying in ashes” and his ascetic community in Aśvaghoṣa's epic biography of the Buddha, the Buddhacarita (2nd century), will be an illustrative counterexample to Bāṇa's passage in many respects.

Christian Ferstl, University of Vienna, Austria


Paul Gerstmayr

Conversion, theft, and culture: On some potential explanations for scriptural flows and interactions between Tantric communities

Interactions between Tantric communities are amply documented and can be easily inferred, at least on the textual and prescriptive level. There is, for example, strong evidence for non-Śaivite traditions re-tooling themselves along Śaiva ritual lines and, more generally speaking, textual borrowing between initiatory systems in the medieval period. This has been convincingly demonstrated by the scholarly works of a growing number of researchers, most notably Alexis Sanderson. The underlying social realities of Tantric textual/scriptural production or textual flows and influences have, however, not been at the centre of academic attention so far. This paper will therefore attempt to reflect upon and explore possible explanatory models for the aforementioned phenomena, i.e. the dynamics of Tantric exchange “on the ground”. Its focus will rest upon three approaches, namely theft, conversion, and general culture. Sources for this investigation will consist of a mixture of prescriptive and non-prescriptive materials, both previously published and unpublished.

Paul Gerstmayr, University of Oxford, United Kingdom


Dominic Goodall

A note on damanotsava (a spring rite of reparation) and on the twelfth-century Saiddhāntika ritual manual called the Jñānaratnāvalī

In this paper, I intend to examine a Nepalese palm-leaf manuscript that transmits a small portion of the Jñānaratnāvalī, a twelfth-century ritual manual written in Benares by Jñānaśambhu, a Saiddhāntika guru from the Cōḻa country. The portion in question treats the annual spring rite of reparation known as damanotsava, a rite that appears to have been introduced into the liturgy of the Śaivasiddhānta from elsewhere and that seems to duplicate another festive annual rite of reparation prescribed for three months later in the year, in the month of āṣāḍha, known as pavitrotsava. Instead of using threads braided by maidens that are called pavitras as expiatory offerings, Śiva is here worshipped with the various parts of the damana plant (Artemisia indica). The account of the rite in the Nepalese text of the Jñānaratnāvalī is much shorter than that of the two southern manuscripts, omitting discussions and justificatory quotations. Is this because the southern text has been expanded? The matter is of some importance because the southern sources present Jñānaśambhu's work as a rich, digest-like manual that is interesting to the historian of religion largely because of the wide range of material it quotes and thereby helps to date. If the much shorter style of the Nepalese fragment is authorial, then the value of the Jñānaratnāvalī for historians is diminished.

Dr. Dominic Goodall, École française d’Extrême-Orient, Paris, France


Ellen Gough

The Tantric initiation of a Digambara monk

This paper will present the history of the present-day Digambara Jain ritual of mendicant initiation (dīkṣā). For at least 500 years – from around the sixteenth to the twentieth century – Digambara Jains did not initiate naked monks, choosing instead to have celibate, clothed clerics (bhaṭṭāraka) lead the community. Reforms in the early twentieth century, however, re-instated the category of the naked monk in order to return the tradition to its “original” practices. Therefore, even though modern Digambaras claim their practices are “ancient,” the rituals they undertake today to become naked monks, which include worshipping a maṇḍala made of colored powder and receiving a mantra from a guru, were all composed in the twentieth century. Are these rites really, as Digambaras claim, a return to pre-sixteenth-century practices? Scholars have only published one medieval prescription of a Digambara initiation ritual, and the account is cryptic and imprecise. Thus, the key to answering this question about the history of Jain dīkṣā lies in examining medieval image consecration (pratiṣṭhā) rites, which, I argue, are modeled on the dīkṣā ceremony of a monk. These medieval rituals – which use the same Tantric diagrams (maṇḍala, yantra) that are used in modern Digambara initiations – suggest that twentieth-century Digambaras did build upon older practices when developing their rites of initiation. Drawing upon fieldwork from 2013 in Rajasthan and examinations of medieval ritual handbooks, this paper will show how modern Digambara initiations are rooted in medieval Tantric developments.

Ellen Gough, Yale University, New Haven, U.S.A.


Shaman Hatley

Representations of women in the Brahmayāmala

This presentation examines the representation of female practitioners and the divinization of women in the Brahmayāmala or Picumata. This voluminous śākta-śaiva text affords an unusually detailed (as well as early) window into women’s participation in Tantric ritual. My study complements Csaba Kiss’s (2015) detailed examination of the practices of the Brahmayāmala’s (paradigmatically male) sādhaka and builds upon my own examination of the text’s coital rituals. This investigation necessitates navigation of the problem of deriving socio-historical data from literary representations of yoginīs, a category which intrinsically blurs boundaries between women and goddesses. Topics of analysis include terms of designation for women, yoginī taxonomies, female initiation, ritual sexuality, and practices prescribed specifically for women.

Dr. Shaman Hatley, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada


Gergely Hidas

Further Mahāpratisarā fragments from Gilgit and aspects of the social settings of dhāraṇī literature

Until recently the Gilgit collection was considered to preserve five fragmentary manuscripts of the Mahāpratisarā-Mahāvidyārājñī, a magical-ritualistic scripture of dhāraṇī literature. Thanks to new inspections, identifications of six shorter fragments of the same text were communicated in 2014. The present paper examines the contents of these further pieces and places them within the whole Mahāpratisarā corpus from Gilgit. It also investigates why so many copies of the same scripture were likely to be kept in one collection and what this could tell us about the ritual practices of the Buddhist community in the area.

Dr. Gergely Hidas, British Museum, London, United Kingdom


Haoran Hou

rGya-gar Paṇḍita and Mi-nyag King: Indian-Tangut relations between the 11-13th centuries

In the last three decades, scholars have drawn special attention to the relationship between the Tibetans and the Tangut Kingdom (1038-1227) before its devastating destruction by the Mongolian military. These studies mainly focus on the presence of the Tibetan clerics at the Tangut court in the role of “imperial preceptor” (ti-shri) and “state preceptor” (Gu-shri) as well as the “patron-priest” (yon-mchog) relationship between the Tibetan lamas and the Tangut kings, which characterize our knowledge of the role played by the Buddhist Tantric adepts in the Tangut state, especially in terms of the practice of ritual empowerment (dbang-bskur, abhiṣeka). For a long time, scholars considered the Tibetans the exclusive source, allowing the Tanguts to make contact with the Indian Buddhist Tantric tradition. However, recent research into the Chinese and Tangut Buddhist Tantric literatures kept in the Khara-Khoto collection and other minor collections reveals to us the immediate spiritual and textual connections between India and Tangut, e.g. that the Indian monks may have played a significant role in the Tangut Buddhist affairs, and a considerable number of the Buddhist translations produced in the Tangut period may have been directly rendered from Sanskrit, distinct from the Tibetan translated versions. This paper, concentrating on the study of the activities of the Indian monks at the Tangut court and presenting philological research of the selected parts from the Tangut translation of the Mañjuśrīnāmasaṃgīti, attempts to conduct a preliminary investigation of the impact and influence of the Indian Buddhist Tantric tradition on the Tangut Buddhist and social communities.

Dr. Haoran Hou, Leipzig University, Germany


Harunaga Isaacson

From ear to ear, from mouth to mouth: Glimpses of Indian Buddhist Tantric transmission

t.b.a.

Prof. Harunaga Isaacson, University of Hamburg, Germany


Csaba Kiss

The bhasmāṅkura, the offspring of a Śaiva ascetic and a Śūdra prostitute

The term bhasmāṅkura appears in Saiddhāntika ritual manuals as well as in Abhinavagupta's Tantrāloka. In later sources, such as the Jātiviveka, the bhasmāṅkura is defined as a jāti, as “the offspring of a fallen Śaiva ascetic and a Śūdra prostitute.” I would like to show how Saiddhāntika and non-Siddhānta sources look at the bhasmāṅkura within their general treatment of the caste system. I will then examine whether the later definitions of the term are applicable to its earlier occurrences: can one use post-Tantric sources to try to clarify questions concerning the social background of the Tantric traditions?

Dr. Csaba Kiss, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary


Kenichi Kuranishi

Quotations or re-quotations: Scholarly activities in the Buddhist monasteries

How do scholars convince others of their logic? One of the most effective ways to do so is to quote and cite common authorities, like the sūtras, Tantras or works of previous scholars. By studying which authoritative works are cited by whom, we can find many clues about which line of interpretation a certain scholar is following. In this study, however, we must keep in mind that sometimes a scholar is quoting directly from the source but is sometimes ‘re-quoting’ another author's citation of a certain passage. By analyzing particular quotations, we can not only trace where they come from and why they are quoted, but also find clues of various trends in Buddhist scholarship within particular time periods. In this presentation, I will mainly examine several possible ‘re-quotations’ in the Padminī, the commentary of the Saṃvarodayatantra, written by Ratnarakṣita (c. 1150-1250), and try to connect those with larger trends in the last period of Indian Buddhism, in which Ratnarakṣita himself lived. Although Ratnarakṣita was a scholar monk, well known as an expert in the Mantranaya (i.e. Vajrayāna), his largest and most important work, the Padminī, quotes extensively from both Mantranaya sources and Pāramitānaya sources. Thus, his discussion of topics such as Buddhatva in chapter one and the efficacy of Utpattikramabhāvanā in chapter thirteen offer valuable information about the interpretation of sūtra and Tantra in his lifetime.

Dr. Kenichi Kuranishi, Taisho University, Tokyo, Japan


Robert Leach

How to become an Ekāyana

Several Pāñcarātra and Śrīvaiṣṇava works attest to the fact that there were, in South India in the early centuries of the second millennium CE, two important traditions within the Pāñcarātra, namely the Āgamasiddhānta and the Mantrasiddhānta. As Marion Rastelli has shown, the textual evidence suggests that these traditions were in competition with each other for the control of public temples and the right to perform rituals for fee-paying clients. The Āgamasiddhānta claimed to base its teachings on a certain Ekāyanaveda, and Āgamasiddhāntins, also called Ekāyanas, characterized themselves as exclusively seeking liberation from rebirth as well as worshipping Viṣṇu to the exclusion of all other deities. According to Āgamasiddhānta scriptural testimony, these two characteristics set them apart from other Pāñcarātrikas, and there are several passages in Āgamasiddhānta texts in which the worship of god for mundane and heavenly rewards and the worship of gods other than Viṣṇu are roundly condemned. However, there are a number of indications, in texts such as the Pauṣkarasaṃhitā, the Pārameśvarasaṃhitā and the Īśvarasaṃhitā, that at least some Ekāyanas modified their positions on both of these issues. In addressing these passages, I hope to explain why it may have been expedient for them to do so.

Dr. Robert Leach, University of Zurich, Switzerland


Klaus-Dieter Mathes

Sahajavajra's integration of Tantra into mainstream Buddhism: An analysis of his Tattvadaśakaṭīkā and Sthitisamuccaya

In his Tattvaratnāvalī, Maitrīpa (ca. 1007 – ca. 1085) includes Tantra within mainstream Mahāyāna by dividing it into non-Tantric Mahāyāna, which he calls Pāramitānaya, and Tantric Mahāyāna, which he calls Mantranaya. Sahajavajra elaborates on this distinction by introducing a third category in his commentary on the Tattvadaśaka, claiming that Maitrīpa´s ten verses on true reality are Pāramitānaya pith instructions that accord with Mantranaya, and refers to this approach as mahāmudrā. In his Sthitisamuccaya, however, Sahajavajra teaches Mantranaya immediately after his presentation of the four traditional “positions” (sthiti) of the Vaibhāṣika, Sautrāntika, Yogācāra and Madhyamaka, without a “sūtra mahāmudrā” in between Pāramitānaya and Mantranaya. This could point to different authors with the same name, or that Sahajavajra had changed his mind. In this paper I will argue that although Pāramitānaya-mahāmudrā is considered to be independent from the formal Tantric practice of the creation and completion stages, it still falls into the category of Mantranaya because the adept is considered to profit from an immediate access to emptiness, just as in Tantra. This interpretation gives an early example of the mahāmudrā syncretic approach of combining Tantric and sūtric methods into a single system for liberation.

Prof. Klaus-Dieter Mathes, University of Vienna, Austria


Marion Rastelli

Narratives as a medium for appealing to the royal court: A look into the Ahirbudhnyasaṃhitā

The Ahirbudhnyasaṃhitā is well known as one of the Pāñcarātra Saṃhitās that is especially rich in cosmological and theological chapters and that shows influences of the teachings of various other traditions such as Śaiva traditions, the Rāmānuja school, and several Vedic branches. However, from a ritual point of view, it is a text that expounds the ritual worship of Sudarśana, the discus of Viṣṇu. This worship mainly serves the purposes of kings such as, for example, military purposes. The rituals are usually not performed by the king himself, but by his personal priest (purohita, purodhas). It is a great concern of the Ahirbudhnyasaṃhitā to show the importance of a purohita and his relation to the king, which is why it also presents several narratives. These narratives mostly follow a similar pattern: a certain king is in a certain form of distress and finally reaches a solution to his problem with the help of a purohita, namely, the sudarśanamantra and its ritual worship. While the purpose of these narratives is evident, the paper will raise the question if their specific contents could tell us more about the background of the redactor of the Ahirbudhnyasaṃhitā as well as about its target audience, that is, kings and their specific needs.

Dr. Marion Rastelli, Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Vienna, Austria


Péter-Dániel Szántó

The King of Tantras as Obtained From the Sweat of the Goddess

The hitherto completely unstudied Bhagavatyāsvedāyā yathālabdhatantrarāja survives in a precious codex unicus (National Archives, Kathmandu 3-359 = NGMCP A 47/16) copied in Kathmandu on July 10, 1024 CE. It is a long scripture (56 large-format palm leaves) in the style of the early kriyātantras. However, many of its elements are more typical of yoginītantras; thus the text is a relatively rare embodiment of both extremes of the scriptural spectrum. The text was not entirely without influence, as it can be shown that it inspired at least two or three satellite texts. As far as I can tell, however, it is completely unknown to Tibetans. In my paper I will examine the contents of the text, its composition, style, language, as well as its possible background.

Dr. Péter-Dániel Szántó, University of Oxford, United Kingdom


Ryugen Tanemura

On the recipient of the Buddhist Tantric funeral rite

Tantric Buddhism developed various ritual practices not only for the private cult, but also for patrons in the public domain. One of the rituals for the latter is the funeral rite (antyeṣṭiḥ). Concerning the Buddhist Tantric antyeṣṭi, I have worked mainly on the following three texts: the Mṛtasugatiniyojana, a manual of the funeral rite by Śūnaysamādhivajra, the final section (Antasthitikarmoddeśa) of Padmaśrīmitra's Maṇḍalopāyikā, and the final chapter (Nirvṛtavajrācāryāntyeṣṭilakṣaṇavidhi) of Jagaddarpaṇa's Ācāryakriyāsamuccaya. These texts do not mention the beneficiary of the antyeṣṭi explicitly. In order to consider who is envisaged as the recipient of the Tantric Buddhist funeral, this paper examines the descriptions of the three texts mentioned above and also offers several passages related to this issue from the Sarvadurgatipariśodhanatantra (one of the scriptures upon which the Mṛtasugatiniyojana is based) and its exegetical works, as well as other ritual manuals.

Dr. Ryugen Tanemura, Taisho University, Tokyo, Japan


Judit Törzsök

Whose dharma? Śākta Tantric community rules (samayas) and dharmaśāstric prescriptions

In the Tantric context, samayas are the rules a śaiva or śākta neophyte is to follow after he is introduced into his new community and receives an initiation name. The samaya rules are therefore part of what defines the śaiva or śākta Tantric community, at least according to the scriptures. This paper attempts to see what these rules are, how they are related to brahmanical rules prescribed by Dharmaśāstras and in what way they may actually demarcate various śaiva and śākta communities. Before turning to the samayas themselves, a non-Tantric śaiva story is presented which clearly shows that in spite of their overall conformity to traditional brahmanical prescriptions even lay śaivas saw themselves as following a different set of laws and rules. Then three different types of samaya sets will be examined: those of the Siddhānta, the heterogeneous lists of early śākta scriptures and the strictly ‘non-dualist’ rules of later śāktas. While these rules cannot reveal the relation of the respective communities to their contemporary society or to each other, they may reveal something about the way in which these communities saw themselves within a larger context.

Dr. Judit Törzsök, Charles-de-Gaulle University - Lille III, France


S.A.S. Sarma

Mātṛtantra texts of South India with special reference to the worship of Rurujit in Kerala and to three different communities associated with this worship

Shaman Hatley (2007:4-5), in his thesis on the Brahmayāmala, a pre-ninth-century work, mentions five other later texts bearing the label “Brahmayāmala”, which belong to the Mātṛtantra tradition. Among these five, two are from South India. However, more texts could be included which are not labeled as such because they are devoted to the same central divinity, Bhadrakālī, with the two other South Indian Brahmayāmalas. These are the Mātṛsadbhāvatantra and the Śeṣasamuccaya, both from Kerala. Apart from these, two other South Indian Mātṛtantra texts are known, namely the Brahmayāmalapratiṣṭhātantra and the Bhadrakālīpratiṣthātantra. Among the above-mentioned Mātṛtantra texts of the south, the Mātṛsadbhāvatantra, an unpublished text considered by its author to be a Sārasaṅgraha of the Yāmalatantras, seems to be an important source of the later South Indian Mātṛtantra works. The Śeṣasamuccaya, a 15th-century ritual manual of Kerala attributed to one Kṛṣṇaśarma, contains ten chapters of which the seventh, eighth and ninth pertain to the rituals of the rare cult of the goddess Rurujit, conqueror of Ruru, a mighty and valiant asura. It is evident that the Śeṣasamuccaya used the South Indian Mātṛtantra texts on the cult of Bhadrakālī as its source for the description of the rituals of Rurujit. Moreover, Śaṅkara, the commentator on the Śeṣasamuccaya, clearly mentions that the Mātṛsadbhāvatantra is the source of the rituals of Rurujit described in the Śeṣasamuccaya. In Kerala, three well-known temples are considered to be dedicated to Rurujit. In each temple the rituals are carried out by one of three different specific communities. Further, these temples are known for their public rituals performed by devotees belonging to a variety of communities. In this paper, I would like to introduce the lesser-known Mātṛtantra texts of the south and furthermore discuss the different communities that are responsible for performing rituals in the temples devoted to Rurujit. In particular, I would like to identify some rituals that may be related to the northern Brahmayāmala traditions.

Dr. S.A.S. Sarma, École française d’Extrême-Orient, Pondicherry, India


Somdev Vasudeva

The Self as a community

According to Abhinavagupta’s interpretation, the Trika’s Mālinīvijayottaratantra describes the perceiving self as a community of seven different types of perceivers arranged in an apperceptive hierarchy of ascending levels of selfhood. Since an individual perceiver is not capable of perceiving the perceivers located above or below her or his current level, these do not form part of the intersubjective domain available at each level. This raises questions about what it means to be a community, when the status as a community can only be perceived in single direction, from higher levels to lower levels.

Dr. Somdev Vasudeva, Kyoto University, Japan


Yuko Yokochi

An ideal rule by an initiated Śaiva king described in a Kashmirian courtly poem

The poet Śivasvāmin, who flourished under the reign of king Avantivarman in the second half of the ninth century in Kashmir, composed a mahākāvya called the Kapphiṇābhyudaya. This poem was considered a Buddhist poem as it is based on a legend of Kapphiṇa, a king of Vidarbha, becoming a Buddhist after seeing Gotama Buddha (e.g. Avadāna Śataka No. 88). However, the present author has revealed in her 2012 paper that the poem consists of two semantic levels; in the last canto of the poem, on the second semantic level, Śiva, abandoning his embodiment of Buddha, manifests himself in front of Kapphiṇa, initiates him and instructs him to rule his kingdom righteously as a Śaiva devotee. What is interesting is that Śiva’s instruction does not criticise Buddhism but assigns it to an elementary stage leading to the ‘genuine’ religion, namely, Śaivism. It seems that Śivasvāmin projected his notion of an ideal king onto Kapphiṇa as an initiated Śaiva king who is to aim at some harmony between the two religions under the superiority of Śaivism. However, Avantivarman is well known to have patronized Śaivism; the two big temples with his name, Avantīśvara and Avantisvāmin, stand to date side by side to the south of Srinagar, though largely dilapidated, of which Avantīśvara is bigger in scale than Avantisvāmin. In this paper, I will examine the last canto of the Kapphiṇābhyudaya from this viewpoint and consider its relevance to the actual rule of Avantivarman and other kings in Kashmir around the ninth century.

Prof. Yuko Yokochi, Kyoto University, Japan


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