Reinscribing the Goddess into the Culturally Relative Minutiae of Tantric Texts and Practices: A Perennialist Response to Tantric Visual Culture
Author(s)Jeffrey S. Lidke
J. Z. Smith
Religions. Mythology. Rationalism
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AbstractA celebration and critical evaluation of Sthaneshwar Timalsina’s brilliant book, Tantric Visual Culture: A Cognitive Approach. In this groundbreaking work, Timalsina utilizes the lens of cognitive studies to shed interpretive light on the Tantric visualization practices that he knows both as a scholar and lifetime practitioner. Timalsina argues that mastery of Tantric practice requires immersion in the culturally relative metonymic and holographic logic framed by the Tantric ritual texts. The conclusion that arises from his analysis is that Tantric “truths” are bound to the linguistic and cultural systems that frame them. In response, I herewith offer a perennialist critique and argument for a more nuanced consideration of the transcendent “truth” or “being” that is the stated aim of Tantric practice.