David Gray talks about revelatory or "treasure" texts from Indian and Tibetan perspectives in a comparative framework.
This presentation will attempt to shed some light on the process by which tantras are believed to have been revealed in the world in Indian Buddhist tantric traditions. Unfortunately, we have very little information about the actual revelation process, unlike in the Nyingma “Treasure” gter ma traditions, for which we have numerous sources describing this process. Surveying some of the available sources, I will argue that in India, as in Tibet, we find both accounts of discovery of physical texts as well as accounts of purely visionary revelation. However, even in the case of the former, we find that visionary experiences seem to play an important role in the revelation process. Drawing on these accounts, the work of Tanya Luhrmann and my own experience, I will suggest that visionary experiences likely triggered by intensive visualization practice likely played a central role in the revelation of tantric Buddhist scriptures in India.