Rescuing History from Tantric Sex: Tibetan Tantric Buddhism at the Mongol Court of the Great Khans
Dr. Weirong Shen, Changjiang Chair Professor of Sino-Tibetan History, Tsinghua University
Discussant: Dr. Dedong Wei, Associate Professor of Philosophy/Director, International Center for Buddhist Studies, Renmin University of China
Tantric Buddhist rituals and practices were performed enthusiastically by the Great Mongol Khans and their ministers at the Yuan imperial court. However, little is known of the true history apart from several distorted and fantastic stories related to tantric sex that appeared in both official and unofficial Chinese historical books of the Mongol-Yuan dynasty. Through in-depth studies of Chinese texts of Tibetan tantric Buddhism stemming from the Mongol-Yuan period, which were instructions as to Tibetan tantric Buddhist practices carried out at the Mongol court, we are now able to explain these fantastical and bewildering stories and reveal the original forms of and the religious meanings behind these tantric rituals and practices.