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Tantric Traditions in Transmission and Translation$
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David B. Gray and Ryan Richard Overbey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199763689

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199763689.001.0001

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Buddhas, Siddhas, and Indian Masculine Ideals

Buddhas, Siddhas, and Indian Masculine Ideals

Chapter:
(p.12) 1. Buddhas, Siddhas, and Indian Masculine Ideals
Source:
Tantric Traditions in Transmission and Translation
Author(s):

John Powers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199763689.003.0002

This chapter charts a shift in Indian Buddhist paradigms of ideal masculinity from the Buddha—conceived as both the ideal scholar-priest and also as the paragon of warriors and rulers—to the figure of the tantric siddha. Siddhas, unlike earlier paradigms, are often physically ordinary. They are distinguished not by their physical appearance, but by their possession of magical powers. This shift is a core element of the tantras, which emphasize ritual and meditative practices that lead to the development of supernatural abilities, which are used to advance their religious careers and benefit others. This represents a significant new development in Indian Buddhism, one that was part of the transgressive aspect of the tantric corpus.

Keywords:   masculinity, tantra, siddha, Buddhism, India

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