Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Roots of Tantra

The study of Tantrism as a specialized academic field has
been a relatively recent phenomenon, perhaps stretching
over only the last three or four decades; and, in the last few
years, specialized studies dedicated to this often misunderstood
subject have been published and received with increasing

This book is an  initial study addressing origins in that it
attempts to seek out and understand some of the nascent
forms and sources of Tantrism in ancient India. The volume
grew out of two conferences held in the greater Los Angeles
area in October 1989 and March 1995 that were devoted
specifically to fleshing out the meager evidence on
early Tantrism. It is a matter of great satisfaction that so
many scholars have worked to address questions concerning
the origins and have shaped careful and detailed responses,
particularly given the paucity of material remnants, both
archaeological and textual, known at this time.

The reader will encounter various approaches to the general
topic concerning roots and origins; the diversity is the
result of specific disciplines and backgrounds, each scholar
bringing unique insights to the general topic. By no means does
this volume attempt to be comprehensive; the problems
involved in uncovering inchoate elements giving rise to
Tantrism and its early manifestations are far too broad to
be bound in a single volume. What we hope to accomplish
is to pose a body of new questions and stimulate new dialogue
and research in the field of Tantric studies.

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