The Afterlife of Indian Esoteric Buddhist Poetry


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


Religious Studies


This dissertation is an in-depth study of the use of Apabhramsa language verses in Tantric Buddhist texts. These verses are ubiquitous within the Tantric Buddhist canon, performing similar roles as mantras and dharanis. However, they are reserved for specific uses within Tantric Buddhist texts and rituals, comprising a form of esoteric language heretofore largely unstudied. Furthermore, these verses form the earliest evidence for the genesis of modern north Indian vernacular languages and literature. What does it mean when the origins of Hindi-language Hindu devotional literature is found within Tantric Buddhist ritual? This dissertation seeks to answer this question by focusing on the use of Apabhramsa verses in Tantric Buddhist texts, and exploring its afterlife within Indian literature.