What is ritual? Tantric Buddhism employs ritual in radical ways to work towards the goal of enlightenment in this very lifetime. This course provides an introduction to the principles of tantric ritual, including themes of guru devotion, rites of consecration, vows of secrecy, and visualization practice. In particular, the course guides students in contemplating what it means to imagine oneself as a deity as a means of attaining enlightenment. The importance of ritual to the practice of Tantric Buddhism invites us to reflect upon the larger significance of "ritual" for understanding tantra, Buddhism, and religion at large. The course culminates in an in-class colloquium aimed at defining ritual in dialogue with tantric materials.
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