Tantric Yogācāra

Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 40:239-267 (2017)
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The late tenth century siddha and scholar Ratnākaraśānti, also known as the Mahāsiddha Śāntipa, was renowned as the author of both philosophical śāstras and commentaries on tantra. Typically, these are considered separate spheres of activity. However, Ratnākaraśānti’s approach, building on the tradition of scholarship associated with the Mahāvairocanābhisaṃbodhitantra and the Guhyasamājatantra, as well as on Yogācāra analysis and Buddhist pramāṇa theory, is highly syncretic. This paper is a study of Ratnākaraśānti’s commentaries that highlights his synthesis of the exoteric and esoteric streams of Buddhist discourse, with particular emphasis on the nondual nature of reflexive awareness (svasaṃvitti, rang rig), or 'luminosity' (prakāśa, gsal ba), which serves as the conceptual bridge between sūtra and tantra.

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Alexander Yiannopoulos
Emory University (PhD)


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