The Newsletter 72 Autumn 2015

Esoteric Buddhist networks in Maritime Asia, 7th-13th centuries

Andrea Acri

Esoteric Buddhism – also called Mantranaya (Method of Mantra) or Vajrayāna (Diamond/Thunderbolt Way) – had a tremendous impact on the religious and cultural history of Asia. Esoteric Buddhist traditions were vectors for the circulation of philosophical ideas, cults and ritual technologies, artistic motifs, material culture, and political paradigms. This circulation spanned across Maritime Asia – a vast swathe of maritime, littoral and landmass territory spanning from the Indian subcontinent to East Asia, the geographical fulcrum of which encompasses mainland and insular Southeast Asia.