This book is a selection of fifteen articles dating, for the most part, since the completion of my book Civilized Shamans.
The articles in this new collection span India, Tibet, and modern Western societies. They are linked thematically, in that all deal with religion, particularly various forms of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Tantra. They are also linked in their approach, which is that of a historically and textually informed anthropology. The question of the relation between popular (folk, domestic, village, shamanic) religion and elite (literary, textual, monastic) religion forms a recurring theme through the chapters of this book, as does the need to locate and understand religion in its social and cultural context. Many of these chapters, too, are concerned to stimulate new thinking and new perspectives on topics which have become, perhaps, excessively dominated by the respectful repetition of the views of earlier authorities.
Five chapters have not been previously published, while many of the remaining ten were published in conference proceedings and other publications which are difficult to locate outside major specialist libraries, so that most of the material here is unavailable or not easily available elsewhere. All chapters have been revised for this publication.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Tibet as a Stateless Society
Chapter 3. The Dissenting Tradition of Indian Tantra
Chapter 4. Some Reflections on the Vajrayana and its Shamanic Origins
Chapter 5. Buddhism and the State in Eighth Century Tibet
Chapter 6. Shamanism, Bon and Tibetan Religion
Chapter 7. The Indus Valley Civilisation and early Tibet
Chapter 8. Gesar of Ling: The Origins and Meaning of the East Tibetan Epic
Chapter 9. Tibet and the Southeast Asian Highlands: Rethinking the Intellectual Context of Tibetan Studies
Chapter 10. The Vajrayana in the Context of Himalayan Folk Religion
Chapter 11. The Effectiveness of Goddesses: Or Why Ritual Works
Chapter 12. Women, Goddesses and Auspiciousness in South Asia
Chapter 13. Tibetan Buddhism as a World Religion: Global Networking and its Consequences
Chapter 14. The Westernisation of Tibetan Buddhism
Chapter 15. The Attractions of Tantra: Two Historical Moments
This book is in press with Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi, and should appear in late 2002 or early 2003. Further details will be announced when available.
Updated GBS 27/09/2002