An Introduction to Tantric Buddhism

Shashi Bhusan Dasgupta
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Whether Vedic or Non-Vedic in origin, Tantricism, both Brahmanical and Buddhistic, represents a special aspect of the religious and cultural life of India. A thorough study of Tiintricism is, therefore, indispensable for a close acquaintance with the special quality of the Indian mind. For a long time it was customary to hold that Tantricism is an off-shoot of Hinduism, or that it constitutes only a particular phase of Hindu Siidhanii ; but researches in later Buddhism have now brought home that, so far as the extant literature is concerned, the stock of Tantric literature is richer and more varied in the domain of Buddhism than that of Hinduism.

Tantricism, whether Hindu or Buddhistic, (and we shall presently see that they are fundamentally the same) has been the target of all sorts of criticism, charitable and uncharitable, from scholars, both Oriental and Occidental. It has often been styled as a school of religious mysticism, where the word mysticism is taken, more often than not, as a loose synonym for puzzling obscurity. The present author has, however, tried to keep his mind open as far as practicable throughout the whole study.