A Tantric Understanding of Human Potential: The Bodies of a Buddha, The Path of Attainment, and Their Relevance to Tibetan Self-Immolation



Eskridge, Mark David

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This thesis examines the tragedy of Tibetan self-immolation through the perspective of Tantric Buddhism’s understanding of human potential. Such a perspective includes three topics that formulate the individual chapters in this work. They are (1) the result of the tantric path in the form of the bodies of a buddha. (2) The basis of purification in the form of the human body’s mental and physical properties, which tantric aspirants manipulate to produce an enlightened mind and body, and (3) the path—or the specific sequence of yogas—that culminates in the attainment of complete buddhahood. Altogether, these topics emphasize the profound potential of human life, and its ability to generate an altruistic, eternal, and god-like embodiment of enlightenment. Thus, this thesis argues that—when understood from the viewpoint of tantra—the sacrifice of self-immolation has a deeper and more significant meaning than it initially appears.



Self-immolation, Tibetan, Buddhism, Tibet, Tantra, Vajrayana