So I believe that the argument of the Vajrayana/Mahayana monks was not "we are superior to you because we have tantra and yoga" but it was more like "our tantra/yoga is superior to your tantra/yoga".
Please comment on my conclusion.
Zhen Li wrote:Important also to keep in mind is that Tantric practitioners almost always were not monks, but siddhis. When you find ceremonies which appear to be similar in monastic lineages at the time, they very well may be, as you suggest, carry overs from the most common practices in the South Asian religious milieu in general. But the defining feature of Tantric Buddhism is indeed Abhiseka, which is an expression/extension of the feudalism in medieval South Asia.
In the end, if you are trying to find a clear dividing line between any such ideas in history, it's not going to happen. Siddhis enjoyed staying over at, and initiating monks at monasteries, and monks were keep to break their precepts to get into the circle of siddhis who were associated with politically powerful figures, such as kings. Most of them probably weren't in the monastic business for nirvana anyway.
It's all a very different picture from Tibetan Buddhism.
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