Tantric Revisionings presents stimulating new perspectives on Hindu and Buddhist religion, particularly their Tantric versions, in India, Tibet or in modern Western societies. Geoffrey Samuel adopts an historically and textually informed anthropological approach, seeking to locate and understand religion in its social and cultural context. The question of the relation between 'popular' (folk, domestic, village, 'shamanic') religion and elite (literary, textual, monastic) religion forms a recurring theme through these studies. Six chapters have not been previously published; the previously published studies included are in publications which are difficult to locate outside major specialist libraries.
’… the ideas in each chapter are clearly explained, with reference to previous scholarship in relevant areas, so that the book could easily stand in its own right as an introduction to Samuel's thought and, therefore, may be useful to undergraduate and postgraduate students.’ Religions of South Asia
Contents: Preface; Part I Starting Points: Introducton; Tibet as a stateless society and some Islamic parallels. Part II Historical: The dissenting tradition of Indian Tantra and its partial hegemonisation in Tibet; Tibetan Tantra as a form of Shamanism: some reflections on the Vajrayana and its Shamanic origins; Buddhism and the state in 8th century Tibet; Shamanism, Bon and Tibetan religion; The Indus valley civilisation and early Tibet; Ge-sar of gLing: the origins and meaning of the east Tibetan epic. Part III Religion in Contemporary Asia: Tibet and the southeast Asian Highlands: rethinking the intellectual context of Tibetan studies; The Vajrayana in the context of Himalayan folk religion; The effectivenss of goddesses, or, how ritual works; Women, goddesses and auspiciousness in south Asia. Part IV Buddhism and Other Western Religions: Tibetan Buddhism as a world religion: global networking and its consequences; The westernisation of Tibetan Buddhism; The attractions of Tantra: two historical moments. Index.