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The Inner KalacakratantraA Buddhist Tantric View of the Individual$
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Vesna A. Wallace

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195122114

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195122119.001.0001

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The Social Body

The Social Body

Chapter:
(p.109) 6 The Social Body
Source:
The Inner Kalacakratantra
Author(s):

Vesna A. Wallace (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195122119.003.0007

The two sections of this chapter discuss the individual in relation to society and the individual as society. The Kālacakratantra's views of the individual's place in society and of the individual as society are closely interrelated and provide a sociological framework for the traditional interpretation of the Kālacakratantra's history and for its eschatology and soteriology. The Kālacakra tradition's interpretation of social relations and its sharp criticism of caste divisions and social bias have multiple goals and practical applications, some of which are unique to the Kālacakra tradition and some of which are characteristic of all Indian Buddhist systems. For the Kālacakra tradition, the individual is not merely a member of the vajra (indestructible or indivisible)‐family or the society but is the vajra‐family and the society itself, and is the microcosmic manifestation of the social and religious bodies of the Buddha in both their phenomenal and ultimate aspects. The Kālacakra tradition interprets the individual as the embodiment of its society in various ways, and while doing so, utilizes a conventional classification and characterization of the social classes of India at that time and reinterprets them in the light of its broader theory of the nature and composition of the individual.

Keywords:   caste, Indian Buddhism, Kālacakra tradition, Kālacakratantra, social bias, social class, social relations, society and the individual, society, vajra‐family

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