27 July 2009, by Peter Pasedach
In July 2009, more than forty scholars and graduate students gathered in Pondicherry, at the east coast of India, to attend the Second International Workshop on Early Tantra, which was hosted by the École française d’Extrême-Orient centre. In the morning, reading sessions took place in the EFEO library, while the afternoons were dedicated to presentations, each followed by various contributions and lively discussions.
In the first week (July 20-24), reading sessions focused on the following texts:
• The Niśvāsatattvasaṃhitā (session headed by Prof. Alexis Sanderson)
• The Mañjuśriyamūlakalpa (session headed by Dr. Martin Delhey).
• A Sanskrit commentary on the Trisamayarājatantra, and the Kalyāṇakāmadhenu (session headed by Prof. Harunaga Isaacson).
The afternoons saw the following presentations (handouts made available by permission of the speakers):
• Dr. Dominic Goodall: On the tattvas in the Niśvāsatattvasaṃhitā.
• Prof. Alexis Sanderson: How Buddhist is the Herukābhidhānatantra?.
• Dr. Diwakar Acharya: Glimpses of early Vaiṣṇavism in the Niśvāsatattvasaṃhitā and the Svāyambhuvapāñcarātra
• Prof. Harunaga Isaacson: The Buddhist Kriyātantras and their exegesis: the Trisamayarājatantraṭīkā and the Kalyāṇakāmadhenu.
• Dr. Martin Delhey: Miscellaneous Remarks on the Mañjuśriyamūlakalpa.
Readings in the second week (July 27-31) concentrated on the Brahmayāmala, with additional sessions on the Niśvāsatattvasaṃhitā and the Mañjuśriyamūlakalpa. In the afternoons, the following presentations were held:
• Dr. Csaba Kiss: The category of the sādhaka in the Brahmayāmalatantra.
• Dr. Judit Törszök: The alphabet goddess Mātṛkā in some early Śaiva tantras.
• Dr. Shaman Hatley: Clans of the goddesses: kulabheda in the Brahmayāmalatantra.
• Dr. Peter Bisschop: A 12th-century (?) Vārāṇasīmāhātmya and its account of a hypethral Yoginī temple.
• Diwakar Acharya: Fragments of Palm-leaves and Tidbits of Evidence: A report of some otherwise unknown Bhūta- and Gāruḍa-Tantras.
• Nirajan Kafle: The rewriting of the Niśvāsamukha to create part of the Śivadharmasaṅgraha.