Mediating the Power of Buddhas: Ritual in the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa


About this Book


Mediating the Power of Buddhas offers a fascinating analysis of the seventh-century ritual manual, the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa. This medieval text is intended to reveal the path into a ritual universe where the power of a buddha abides.


Author Glenn Wallis traces the strategies of the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa to enable its committed reader to perfect the promised ritual, uncovering what conditions must be met for ritual practice to succeed and what personal characteristics practitioners must possess in order to realize the ritual intentions of the Buddhist community. The manual itself was written at a key point in Buddhist history, one when Hindu forms of practice were still imitated and on the cusp of the shift from Mahayana to Vajrayana (or Tantric) Buddhism.


In addition, the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa presents a rich compendium of Buddhist life in an earlier era, containing information on a variety of its readers' concerns: astrology, astronomy, medicine and healing, ritual practice, iconography, devotion, and meditation.


Order from SUNY Press

What the Critics Say


Wallis provides a persuasive and insightful exploration of the conceptual underpinning of the text, and skilfully reconstructs the symbolic world it describes...Much of this is rather arcane, but Wallis does an excellent job of explaining the background of the text and the context in which it developed. This work is essential reading for anyone interested in medieval Indian Buddhist ritual practice.

                                                                         —John Powers, Australian National University

"Wallis brings alive the world of the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa and its ritual practitioner, and he draws on a variety of medieval and modern sources to illuminate the text. The Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa is a crucial text for understanding medieval Indian Buddhism, yet, because of its immensity, it has been studied rather sparingly and incompletely—and never before with the particular ritual studies-cum-comparative -Indological perspective that Wallis brings to bear."   —Roger Jackson, Carlton College


Wallis has produced an extremely insightful and useful entry into this difficult and important text...He has done an admirable job in preserving the integrity of the text-of not reducing or diluting it-and he has added significantly to our understanding of late Indian Buddhism. As such, this is an invaluable book for anyone interested in Indian or Tibetan Buddhism.   —Jacob Kinnard, Iliff School of Theology


"Wallis sheds much new light on the transition between 'sutra' and 'tantra' literature of Buddhist India." —John J. Makransky, Boston College

Quick Links


Winter 2018

My new book , A Critique of Western Buddhism: Ruins of the Buddhist Real, can be pre-ordered at Bloomsbury Academic. More info here, too.


New seminars scheduled at Incite Seminars. First up is Akilesh Ayyar, "How to Find What isn't Lost," January 20th.


Fall 2017

"This is a rich disagreement!" Conversation with Tom Pepper at Speculative Non-Buddhism.


I moved the Incite Seminars page to Please have a look!


Summer 2017

Starting enrollment for two public courses: "Alienation and Its Antidotes: A Workshop with Anthony Paul Smith on the Thought of François Laruelle."


"Meditation: Self and Society" Monday mornings

September 25-October 16. 

Information on Incite Seminars. 


Tom Pepper at Speculative Non-Buddhism: "No Thought, No Problem."


Spring 2017

Starting enrollment for public course "Buddhism in the Age of Trump." Begins Tuesday, June 13. Information on Incite Seminars page. Make thinking great again!


New post at Speculative Non-Buddhism by Jonathan Earle: "Only Don’t Know! Reflections on a Thoughtless Life"


"Criticism Matters: A Response to Rick Repetti," my contribution to the new book Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context and Social Engagement (Basel: Springer Publishing, 2016) at Speculative Non-Buddhism.


Fall 2016

Ruin records He-Ho and Fiat Lux are being re-released with bonus tracks! Read about it at Earsplit. You can also pre-order directly from Southern Lord.


New essay by Tom Pepper, "Writing With Pencils and Eating Brownies: What Can Enlightened Brains Do?," at the SNB blog.


Spring 2016

I recently did two interviews with Matthew O'Connell at the Imperfect Buddha podcast.


A thoughtful discussion of the Speculative Non-Buddhism project at the Imperfect Buddha podcast. Link at SNB.


Summer 2016

* Several new posts at Lines of Flight.

* Cruel Theory | Sublime Practice is now available on Amazon US and Amazon UK. Read an informed review at the Journal of Buddhist Ethics.


* New interview with my Ruin band mate Cordy Swope at Seymour Magazine.


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