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Buddhist Tantras And Chinese Culture

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Chapter Summary

There are two oft-repeated assumptions regarding Chinese Buddhism and Indian tantric Buddhist literature. First, Chinese social and ethical sensibilities were unreservedly offended by the frequent demands in the tantras to employ the passions - breaking taboos - in carefully administered ritual contexts utilized to expedite the path to liberation. Second, Chinese translations of some tantras, first made during the late tenth- and early eleventh-centuries at the Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Scriptures. The fact that scholarship on Buddhist tantric literature has overwhelmingly accepted the sorting of its literature according to Tibetan accounts remains a weighty obstacle for those wishing to explore both Indic and indigenous manifestations of tantra across Asia. The reception of the tantras in China cannot be separated from the question of Sino-Tibetan, as well as the less prominent though still significant Sino-Nepalese, cultural, religious, and political developments from the thirteenth century on.

Keywords: Buddhist tantras; Chinese translations



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