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Lecture, 7/23: Mark Singleton

Originally Posted on admin, July 23, 2008

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Lecture, 7/23: Mark Singleton: “Tantra in the Indian Tradition”


WHAT: St. John’s College Graduate Institute Summer Lecture Series

The Graduate Institute Summer Lectures are given by St. John’s tutors, last about an hour, are followed by discussion, and are free and open to the public.

WHEN: Wednesday, July 23, at 3 p.m.

WHO: Mark Singleton: “Tantra in the Indian Tradition”

WHERE: Junior Common Room, Peterson Student Center, St. John’s College, 1160 Camino Cruz Blanca, Santa Fe NM

CONTACT: 984-6000 (St. John’s College Switchboard)

In the history of Europe and America’s encounter with India, there are few subjects that have provoked more indignation, fascination and misunderstanding than Tantra. For many early scholars, Tantra represented everything that was wrong with the Indian people. It was backward, savage and licentious, involving dimly perceived satanic rites, outrageous sexual acts and narcotics. Within the New Age movement, Tantra has largely been understood as “erotic empowerment,” sex therapy, or as a technique which guarantees spiritual growth through multiple orgasms. In his lecture Singleton will consider the historical and philosophical basis for the practices of Tantra, especially as they manifest within the Śaiva traditions of Kashmir. Through a reading of several short texts of Kashmir Śaivism (from around the 8th century CE), he will explore the relationship of Tantra to the orthodox philosophical teachings of Hinduism, and to the wider context of tantric yoga practices in religious traditions such as Jainism and Vajrayana Buddhism.