The survey of Buddhist Tantras by Mkhas-grub-rje (1385-1438 A.D.) is a sample of the rich literature on this topic in the Tibetan language. In accordance with Tson-kha-pa's tantric reform (the Gelugpa), after the theory about how Gautama Buddha became enlightened the author presents the non-tantric materials stipulated as preliminary for tantric study and practice. He then sketches the Kriya, Carya, Yoga, and Anuttarayoga tantra divisions, showing the generation of self into deity and generation of deity in front, the remarkable meditations of dwelling in the flame and in the sound, numerous definitions of tantric terms, the rich correspondence system of the Yogatantra, the difference between 'Father Tantra' and "Mother Tantra', mandala ritual including the various kinds of 'initiation' or 'consecration'. A severe contraction of ritual detail allows the Tibetan author room to go into the theory at each step, including the mysterious beings called samayasattva and jnanasattva, states of 'Bliss-Void', the four Voids including the Clear Light, and the three kinds of 'Evam'. The translation was collaborated in the 1950s between F.D. Lessing and Alex Wayman at Berkeley, California. After Lessing's death, Wayman annotated and published the text in 1968, and has provided a new introduction for the present reissue of this seminal treatise. Lessing was the first professor to offer courses in the Tibetan language at an American University.
Introduction to the Buddhist Tantric Systems, Alex Wayman, Motilal, Hardcover, 1998, 383 pages, $22.50