Malcolm wrote:And that's about it, and in all of this there is no pre-recorded video abhiṣeka, etc., at least, not until this century.
Wonderful stuff, thanks Malcolm.
In regard to recorded empowerments, it might be fruitful to remember my earlier post at the beginning of this thread describing how empowerments were often improvised within the strict guidelines provided by the required criteria as outlined in the tantras, and then these empowerments were then "recorded" in the form of manuals which described the preparations, required substances, arrangements, teachings etc. After which the subsequent lineage holders would follow the accepted empowerment text when giving the empowerment. But, though the empowerment was recorded in written form, it has never been said that one can receive an empowerment simply by means of its record, i.e. by reading the empowerment manual, rather such an empowerment must be re-enacted by an authentic lineage master who himself had received it and achieved accomplishment in the related practice. In addition, it is traditional that the empowerment alone does not suffice, one must still receive the reading transmission for the related practice text itself, as well as any necessary instructions and explanations in order to do the practice properly. So there are several safeguards ensuring that the living lineage is passed on in person so that not only the recipient may then be confident that they hold a direct and personal connection to the authentic unbroken lineage going all the way back to its source. This also provides credentials to the recipient if they approach someone else for teachings or to join a group ritual or when in future they find themselves teaching or answering questions about the practice.
(Nowadays no doubt it would be beneficial if in addition to the manual the empowerment ritual were recorded on video as a study aid for future lineage holders so that the arrangement, creation of the mandala, mudras, pronunciation of mantras etc. can all be more easily learnt and accurately copied.)