Thursday, February 25, 2010
Esoteric Buddhism at Dunhuang is a new collection of articles on the tantric traditions of Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism, based on the Dunhuang manuscripts. The collection comes in part from a conference panel that was held at the end of a three-year IDP project to catalogue the Tibetan tantric manuscripts at the British Library. The collection was edited by Sam van Schaik of IDP in collaboration with Matthew Kapstein, of the University of Chicago and the École Pratique des Hautes Ètudes (Paris).
The book is organized on the theme of "rites and teachings for this life and beyond." For this life, there are chapters on wrathful rituals, tantric vows, and philosophical interpretations of tantric practice. And for the next life, there are chapters on mortuary rites (precursors of the “Tibetan Book of the Dead”) and the use of printed mantras and dhāraṇis as magical amulets to be buried with the dead, like the one at the top of this post, 1919,0101,0.249. The book is available now from Brill's website.