I am happy to inform you of the publication of a new Open Access book:
A Buddhist Ritual Manual on Agriculture: Vajratuṇḍasamayakalparāja – Critical Edition and Translation
This volume is the first in-depth study of a recently discovered Sanskrit dhāraṇī spell text from around the 5th century CE surviving in two palm-leaf and three paper manuscript compendia from Nepal. This rare Buddhist scripture focuses on the ritual practice of thaumaturgic weather control for successful agriculture through overpowering mythical Nāgas. Traditionally, these serpentine beings are held responsible for the amount of rainfall. The six chapters of the Vajratuṇḍasamayakalparāja present the vidyādhara spell-master as a ritualist who uses maṇḍalas, mudrās and other techniques to gain mastery over the Nāgas and thus control the rains. By subjugating the Nāgas, favourable weather and good crops are guaranteed. This links this incantation tradition to economic power and the securing of worldly support for the Buddhist community.
Gergely Hidas is an Indologist and expert on Sanskrit Buddhist texts. He is also the author of Mahāpratisarā-Mahāvidyārājñī: The Great Amulet, Great Queen of Spells. (New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture and Aditya Prakashan, 2012).
His new book is available for free download from De Gruyter publishers, due to an Open Access agreement made possible by the European Research Council’s funding of the project “Beyond Boundaries: Religion, Region, Language and the State” (ERC Synergy Project 609823 ASIA). Please follow this link: https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/509288
This is volume 3 of the new book series Beyond Boundaries: Religion, Region, Language and the State, edited by Michael Willis, Lewis Doney and Sam van Schaik. The series is a research initiative hosted by the British Museum and the British Library in London. Moving beyond geographical, chronological, disciplinary and historiographical boundaries, the books in this series explore the interactions of India and her neighbors from late antiquity to the close of the medieval. More information on the series is available at: https://www.degruyter.com/view/serial/485244