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Amoghavajra: His Role In And Influence On The Development Of Buddhism

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Chapter Summary

Amoghavajra was born in Samarkand; his father was an Indian merchant or brahmin, and his mother was of Sogdian origin. At the age of twenty, Amoghavajra was fully ordained but he was denied access to the advanced ritual knowledge of yoga covered in the STTS. Beginning in 756 Amoghavajra resided at Daxingshan Monastery where he remained during the rebellion of General An Lushan. Amoghavajra's influence on Buddhism can be understood in political terms as counteracting the imminent decline of Buddhist institutions following the An Lushan Rebellion. In 767, Amoghavajra initiated the ordination of thirty-seven monks for repeated rituals, referring to the Vajradhātu Mandala and its thirty-seven basic deities. Amoghavajra's emphasis on ritual expertise can be qualified as an "expertocratic instrumentalism" based on generic relations between the warring state, social disorder, and occult pragmatics. Amoghavajra's extensive and eclectic body of scriptures superseded traditional standards of textual transmission, translation, and exegesis.

Keywords: Amoghavajra's translations; Buddhism



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