Chronotopic Narratives of Seven Gurus and Eleven Texts: A Medieval Buddhist Community of Female Tāntrikas in the Swat Valley of Pakistan

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.20.2018.02.02

Keywords:

place, gender, Swat, Uḍḍiyāna, Pakistan, women’s writing, female Sanskrit authors, Tantric Buddhism, Tibetan translation literature, biography, hagiography

Abstract

Chronotopic Narratives of Seven Gurus and Eleven Texts: A Medieval Buddhist Community of Female Tāntrikas in the Swat Valley of Pakistan

Modern South Asian women’s writing wells up to the stirring surface of contemporary literature in now globally recognizable forms of fiction and memoir, inter alia, the novel, the poem, the biography, the autobiography. Yet, beneath these topmost layers of colonial and post-colonial literary tides flow undercurrents of precolonial women’s writing, often in radically other figurations of lettered expression. Even further down than the familiar temporal strata of the Vaiṣṇavite and Śaivite religious poetry written by the dozen authoresses ranging from Muktābāi to Rūpa Bhavānī between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries, there exists another place in the deep, like an underwater lake, of a much older women’s writing penned by Tantric women gurus. The majority of this archaic Buddhist literature streamed out of the Swat valley in Pakistan, a locality for no less than seven known female gurus, who lived, taught, or wrote there between the eighth and eleventh centuries. After a short prologue on Swat and its recent history, the essay surveys eleven female-authored medieval Tantric works, which range in genre from ritual treatises, meditation practice-texts, and mystic poems, to literary forms that even seem evocative of contemporary women’s gendered voices: spiritual biography and autobiography empowered by a place.

References

Benard, E. A. 1994. Chinnamastā: The Aweful Buddhist and Hindu Tantric Goddess. Buddhist Tradition Series, vol. 22. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.

Bhattacharyya, B. 1925–1928. Sādhanamālā. Gaekwad’s Oriental Series vols. 26, 41. Baroda: Oriental Institute.

Bühnemann, G. 1996. The Goddess Mahācīnakrama-Tārā (Ugra-Tārā) in Buddhist and Hindu Tantrism. In: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 59(3): 472–493.

Dietz, S. 2007. Buddhism in Gandharā. In: A. Heirman and S.P. Bumbacher (eds.). The Spread of Buddhism. Leiden: Brill: 49–74.

Dowman, K. 1985. Masters of Mahāmudrā: Songs and Histories of the Eighty-Four Buddhist Siddhas. New York: State University of New York Press.

Dyczkowski, M. S. G. 2001. The Inner Pilgrimage of the Tantras: The Sacred Geography of the Kubjikā Tantras with Reference to the Bhairava and Kaula Tantras. In: Journal of the Nepal Research Center, 12: 43–100.

Förster-Lühe, V. 1991. The Life of Women in the Zenana. In: J. Kalter (ed.). The Arts and Crafts of the Swat Valley: Living Traditions in the Hindu Kush. (Trans. by S. Womell). London: Thames and Hudson: 68–83.

Frembgen, J.W. 1991. Mountain Peoples in North Pakistan. In: J. Kalter (ed.). The Arts and Crafts of the Swat Valley: Living Traditions in the Hindu Kush. (Trans. by S. Womell). London: Thames and Hudson: 171–177.

Gray, D. B. 2007. The Cakrasamvara Tantra (The Discourse of Śrī Heruka): A Study and Annotated Translation. New York: The American Institute of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University in New York, Columbia University’s

Center for Buddhist Studies, and Tibet House U.S. Hay, W. G. 1934. The Yusufzai State of Swat. In: The Geographical Journal, 84(3): 236–246.

Jettmar, K. 2000. Historical Comments. In: P. Alford Andrews and K. Jettmar (eds.). Sazin: A Fortified Village in Indus-Kohistan. Antiquities of Northern Pakistan: Reports and Studies vol. 4. Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern: 109–118.

Kalter, J. (ed.). 1991. The Arts and Crafts of the Swat Valley: Living Traditions in the Hindu Kush. (Trans. by S. Womell). London: Thames and Hudson.

Kragh, U. T. 2010. On the Making of the Tibetan Translation of Lakṣmī’s *Sahajasiddhipaddhati: ’Bro Lotsā ba Shes rab grags and His Translation Endeavors. (Materials for the Study of the Female Tantric Master Lakṣmī of Uḍḍiyāna, part I). In: Indo-Iranian Journal, 53: 195–232. https://dx.doi.org/10.1163/001972410X520009.

—. 2011a. Appropriation and Adaptation of the Female Self: Materials for the Study of the Female Tantric Master Lakṣmī of Uḍḍiyāna. In: Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 27(2): 85–108.

—. 2011b. Personal Biography in Jain Literature. In: Śramaṇa 62(1). Varanasi: Parshvanath Vidyapeeth: 103–127.

—. 2015. Tibetan Yoga and Mysticism: A Textual Study of the Yogas of Nāropa and Mahāmudrā Meditation in the Medieval Tradition of Dags po. Studia Philologica Buddhica Monograph Series vol. 32. Tokyo: The International Institute for Buddhist Studies.

—. 2017. Determining the Corpus of South Asian Female-Authored Buddhist Texts of the Ninth to the Eleventh Centuries. In: K. Sheel, C. Willemen and K. Zysk (eds). From Local to Global: Papers in Asian History and Culture. Prof. A. K. Narain Commemoration Volume. Vol. 3. New Delhi: Buddhist World Press: 627–644.

Lo Bue, E. F. 1997. The Role of Newar Scholars in Transmitting the Indian Buddhist Heritage to Tibet (c. 750–c. 1200). In: S. Karmay and P. Sagant (eds.). Les Habitants du Toit du Monde: Etudes du recueillies en hommage à Alexander W. Macdonald. Nanterre: Société d’ethnologie: 639–643.

von der Lühe, D. 1991. The History of the Swat Valley. In: J. Kalter (ed.). The Arts and Crafts of the Swat Valley: Living Traditions in the Hindu Kush. (Trans. by S. Womell). London: Thames and Hudson: 164–168.

Maggi, W. 2001. Our Women are Free: Gender and Ethnicity in the Hindukush. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Mibu, T. 1967. Taishō Daigaku Shozō Chibetto Daizōkyō Naruta-ban Ronbobu Mokuroku / A Comparative List of the Tibetan Tripitaka of Narthang Edition (bsTan-ḥgyur Division) with the sDe-dge Edition. Tokyo.

Naudou, J. 1968. Bouddhistes Kaśmīriens au moyen age. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

Roberts, P. A. 2007. The Biographies of Rechungpa: The Evolution of a Tibetan Hagiography. Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism Series. London: Routledge. https://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780203963388.

Salomon, R. 1999. Ancient Buddhist Scrolls from Gandharā: The British Library Karoṣṭhī Fragments. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Sanderson, A. 2007. The Śaiva Exegesis of Kashmir. In: D. Goodall and A. Padoux (eds.). Mélanges Tantriques à la mémoire d’Hélène Brunner, Tantric Studies in Memory of Hélène Brunner. Pondicherry: Institut français de Pondichéry; Paris: École française d’Extrême-Orient: 231–442, 551–582.

Samdhong R. and V. Dwivedi. 1987. Guhyādi-Aṣṭasiddhi-Saṅgraha, Gsang ba grub pa la sogs pa’i grub pa sde brgyad. Rare Buddhist Text Series 1. Sarnath: Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Rare Buddhist Text Project.

Shaw, M. 1994. Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

—. 2006. Buddhist Goddesses of India. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Snellgrove, D. L. 1959. The Hevajratantra: A Critical Study. 2 vols. London Oriental Series vol. 6. London: Oxford University Press.

Suzuki, D.T. 1955–1961. The Tibetan Tripitaka: Peking Edition, Reprinted under the Supervision of Otani University, Kyoto. Tokyo–Kyoto: Suzuki Research Foundation.

Tatz, M. 1987. The Life of the Siddha-Philosopher Maitrīgupta. In: Journal of the American Oriental Society, 107(4): 695–711. https://dx.doi.org/10.2307/603308.

Ui, H. et al. 1934. Chibetto Daizōkyō Sōmokuroku / A Complete Catalogue of the Tibetan Buddhist Canons (Bkaḥ-ḥgyur and Bstan-ḥgyur). Sendai: Tōhoku Imperial University.

Yousafzai, M. and C. Lamb. 2013. I am Malala: The Girl who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Downloads

Published

2018-12-31

How to Cite

Kragh, Ulrich Timme. 2018. “Chronotopic Narratives of Seven Gurus and Eleven Texts: A Medieval Buddhist Community of Female Tāntrikas in the Swat Valley of Pakistan”. Cracow Indological Studies 20 (2):1-26. https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.20.2018.02.02.

Funding data