Northwestern Events Calendar


Lecture 5: Professor Lucia Dolce, "New abhiṣeka rituals in medieval Japan: Reimagining continental tantric practices?"

When: Thursday, February 23, 2023
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Graduate Students

Contact: Joshua Shelton  

Group: The Khyentse Foundation Buddhist Studies Lecture Series

Category: Academic


Several new types of initiatory practices were created by Japanese tantric ritualists between the 12th and the 14th centuries. Often defined as the ultimate consecration of a tantric practitioner, these rituals have been understood as the exclusive capital of one or the other tantric lineage, but in fact some were performed across sectarian borders. My talk explores one of these initiations, usually called yogin abhiṣeka (yugi kanjō 瑜祇灌頂), which we find documented in a great number of medieval sources, published and unpublished, but which remains little comprehended in terms of meaning and function. I shall highlight features that the yogin abhiṣeka shared with similar higher initiations and discuss whether these new rituals can be seen as a visual and performative reimagining of Yoga (and perhaps Mahāyoga) tantra practices as we know them from Indo-Tibetan examples. 

Professor Lucia Dolce is the Numata Professor of Japanese Buddhism in the Department of Religions and Philosophies at SOAS University of London.

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