Genealogies of Mahayana Buddhism

Genealogies of Mahayana Buddhism : Emptiness, Power and the question of Origin

By (author) 

List price: US$150.00

Currently unavailable

We can notify you when this item is back in stock

Add to wishlist

Description

Genealogies of Mahayana Buddhism offers a solution to a problem that some have called the holy grail of Buddhist studies: the problem of the "origins" of Mahayana Buddhism. In a work that contributes both to a general theory of religion and power for religious studies as well as to the problem of the origin of a Buddhist movement, Walser argues that that it is the neglect of political and social power in the scholarly imagination of the history of Buddhism that has made the origins of Mahayana an intractable problem. Walser challenges commonly-held assumptions about Mahayana Buddhism, offering a fascinating new take on its genealogy that traces its doctrines of emptiness and mind-only from the present day back to the time before Mahayana was "Mahayana." In situating such concepts in their political and social contexts across diverse regimes of power in Tibet, China and India, the book shows that what was at stake in the Mahayana championing of the doctrine of emptiness was the articulation and dissemination of court authority across the rural landscapes of Asia.


This text will be will be of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students and scholars of Buddhism, religious studies, history and philosophy.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 159 x 235mm | 726g
  • ROUTLEDGE
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1138955558
  • 9781138955554
  • 1,043,348

Table of contents

Acknowledgements


Part I: Genealogies of Mahayana









Introduction: On Origins and Genealogies










Mahayana in Retrospect: From My House to the Dalai Lama (looking back from 2017 - 1930)









Assessing the Essence







Tibet as Buddhist: Tracing the Lines of Power







Emptiness and the Analytic of Power







Inculcating Dispositions to Authority: the Kalacakra












Mahayana in the Republic, Mahayana in the Empire: Tracing "Religion" from Republican China to the Early Qing Dynasty (1920's - 1723)









Religion vs. Superstition in 20th Century East Asia







The Fin de Siecle Turning Point







The Qing Imperium and the Usefulness of Mahayana







The Yonghegong Temple in Beijing and the Political Work of Monuments







Emperor Qianlong: the Tantric Initiate and the Tantric State







Tantra, Emptiness and the Reincarnate Emperor/Lama, or why it's never too late to have a venerable past.







Yongzheng Emperor and the Great Ming Debate












The Image of Emptiness across the Landscape of Power (China: 11th Cent. B.C.E - 15th Cent. C.E.)









The Ancestor Image







The Image of Emptiness: Di, Space and the Celestial Pole







The Image of the Earth and control of the cults







Exorcism and the State: When possession is nine-tenths







Religion in the Service of Taxation







Buddhist Exorcism and the Heart of Mahayana







Conclusion












Buddha Veda: an Indian Genealogy of Emptiness (20th century - 6th century CE.)









Emptiness and Power in Orissa: From Mahima Dharma Sampradaya to Jagannatha of Puri







Buddhism and Brahmanism in Maitripa (ca. 1010-1097 CE)







Bhaviveka's 6th Century Mahayana







Bhaviveka, Mahayana and Yogacara







Bhaviveka, Mahayana and Brahmanism







Preliminary Conclusion








Part II: The Genealogy of the Perfection of Wisdom






What did the text of the Perfection of Wisdom look like?









The Versions







The Quest for the Ur-Sutra







The Core Pericope







The Ending







Subhuti's Non-Apprehension







The Mindlessness Section







The Message of the Original Perfection of Wisdom









Mahayana







Bodhisattvas







What's missing?














Mahayana Sutra as Palimpsest: Discerning Traces of the Tripitaka









Beyond "origin" as mere event







Heteroglossia and Textual Rationale







Intertextuality and Adaptation in Buddhist Literature







The Non-Apprehension section and its Intertexts









Sermon on Selflessness?







Nominalism?







Cessation of Cognition







Selflessness... but differently







The Perfected as Untraceable







Fearlessness







Abhidharma echoes







Conclusion: The Perfection of Wisdom














Palimpsest Part Two: Brahmanical Writings on the Tripitaka









The Importance of Incoherence







The Context of Abhidharma Literature?







The Context of Other Schools?







The Context of Luminous Thought and Varieties of Unaware Thought







The Context of Acitta Neither Existing nor Not Existing as Anti-Brahmanical Dependent Origination







The Context of Absence of Mental Construction (avikalpa)







Nirvikapla







Brahmanical Intertexts and their Implications












Placing Early Mahayana









Placing the Perfection of Wisdom in the Early Mahayana Suite







Manjusri's Inquiry Concerning the Office of the Bodhisattva







Placing the Early Perfection of Wisdom







Mistaken Sounds







Subhuti's Aranavihara: Preaching or Penetration?







Emptiness, Brahmin Nuns, Tulkus and the Power of Possession







Putting it together







Conclusion












On Sites and Stakes: Meditation on Emptiness and Imperial Aspirations









Shifting Contexts, Shifting Interpretations







The Unnabhabrahmanasutta and the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad on cosmic foundations







The Horse Sacrifice







Piling the Fire Altar and Legitimation Regress







Buddhist Brahmins







On Power and Reproduction







Sovereign Echoes: on Manhood and Celibacy; On thrones and Crowns







Buddhist Brahmodya as court debates







The Mahayana Genealogy from The Vedas to the Sutras to Tantra to Zen










Index
show more

Review quote

"This book is a compelling argument to rethink the origins of Mahayana Buddhism. Approaching this perennial puzzle within Buddhist Studies from a different angle, tracing it from the present toward its genesis, Walser masterfully draws together material from a broad and complex cultural context to rethink the approach to understanding the earliest expressions of the idea of emptiness". Matthew Sayers, Lebanon Valley College Annville, USA.


"A bold new theory of what the Mahayana is and how it "began," Genealogies of Mahayana Buddhism is a paradigm shift in our understanding of one of the most important traditions of Buddhism. Written in clear and accessible prose, Walser's work is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Buddhist thought." Jose Ignacio Cabezon, Dalai Lama Professor of Tibetan Buddhism and Cultural Studies, UC Santa Barbara, USA.
show more

About Joseph G. Walser

Joseph Walser is Associate Professor of Religion at Tufts University, USA.
show more