Joel Bordeaux deposited The Goddess Tara, Buddhism, and ‘Chinese’ Ritual in Hindu Tantra in the group Buddhist Studies on Humanities Commons 1 year, 11 months ago
Public talk for International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden University (February 24, 2021) https://youtu.be/77oz4tb8r0Y How did Hindu devotees come to worship an Indian goddess in the ‘Chinese Way?’ What was allegedly Chinese about these rituals and how is this related to the goddess’s Buddhist origins? When did Hindus start to think of China, rather than India, as the homeland of Buddhism? This talk draws on Sanskrit tantric literature, Bengali pilgrimage texts, and the author’s own ethnographic fieldwork to explore these questions. Starting with a narrative trope in which the Hindu sage Vasishta must travel to ‘Greater China’ to learn from the Buddha how to worship the goddess Tara, the presentation first examines the idea of Buddhist ‘China’ in medieval Sanskrit tantras. Next it considers how later ritual manuals adapt and re-localize the Hindu Tara in Eastern India, and further development of the tradition as the cremation ground/temple at Tarapith became a major pilgrimage site in the Indian state of West Bengal. Finally, since contemporary devotees increasingly identify the ‘Greater China’ of the tantras with Tibet, the presentation contextualizes the conversation with the globalization of Tibetan Buddhism.