The Concept of Science in the Kālacakra Tradition

Vesna A. Wallace

in The Inner Kalacakratantra

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780195122114
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834808 | DOI:
The Concept of Science in the Kālacakra Tradition

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When the issue of science is raised within the context of Indian Buddhist thought, there are no more advanced or comprehensive matrices of theory and practice than those presented in the literature of the Kālacakra tradition. A textual study of the Indian literary sources of this tantric tradition reveals that when Brāhmaṇic formal education in eleventh century India was exclusively theological and disdainful of technical knowledge, north Indian Buddhist monastic education incorporated training in nontheological skills that required knowledge of medicine, alchemy, mathematics, artisanship, and even weaponry. The sharp split between theological and scientific education, which impaired the Brāhmaṇic educational system of that time, was absent in Buddhist monastic education owing to the prevailing Buddhist view that theological knowledge and technical and scientific learning are not only compatible but complementary. The literature of the Kālacakra tradition with its diverse and well‐integrated topics and applications of diverse fields of knowledge attests to that fact, and has its roots in the Buddhist monastic, educational system. This chapter presents examples of science from the Kālacakratantra and other Kālacakra literature; almost half of it is devoted to the Buddhist tantric medicine, which integrates classical Āyurdevic medicine, alchemy, and magic.

Keywords: Buddhist tantric medicine; Indian Buddhism; Kālacakra literature; Kālacakra tradition; Kālacakratantra; medicine; science

Chapter.  7149 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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