Malcolm wrote: Who cares? "Early" Buddhism is not the standard of what Buddhadharma is. "Early Buddhism" is a pedantic reconstruction.
There have been a lot of people who have wished to uncover what earliest Buddhism was, be it out of purely historical interest or some desire to practice the forms of Buddhism that represented the earliest Buddhist communities. So it seems there are people who care.
Do you say early Buddhism is not the standard of what Buddhadharma is and that attempting to discern earliest Buddhism is a pedantic reconstruction because you sincerely believe that or because the tradition you belong to is among the most different to earliest Buddhism? I don't have anything against it for this reason, but it seems to me that the tantra of Vajrayana is derived from Shaivist rather than Buddhist sources as Alexis Sanderson points out in this article:
http://www.alexissanderson.com/uploads/ ... rayana.pdf
Daniel Odier in his book "Yoga Spandakarika" points this out as well:
I took it a step further and grasped the impact of the Kashmiri siddhas on Tibetan Buddhism, which, by the way, "Buddhafies" the siddhas to such a degree that Alain Danielou would go on to write that "Tibetan Buddhism is Shaivism in disguise." One of the most striking examples is Saraha's "Queen Doha," which includes the following stanzas:
A [Saivite] yogi in whom a [pseudoexistential] pristine
awareness [allegedly imparted to him by Siva himself] has
come about, [and hence] in whom there is no fear,
will, whilst wearing the insignia of Siva [as a charm], look for
a woman born in the outskirts.
. . . Taking in her qualities he will [reciprocate by] offering his
Reverberating within the intensity of immediate experience,
For the time being, he will take this pristine awareness -
heightened in its sensibility through Being's genuineness
[operating in it], approximating in flavor,
[Being's nothingness replete with everything in highest
perfection] - as the Mahamudra experience.
Scholars with Buddhist tendencies, uncomfortable with this passage, have it follow, or replace it with, similar verses - sometimes in parentheses, it is true - removing the allusion to Shaivism, just as they often delete, purely and simply, all allusion to Saraha's master, who was a Shaivite yogini.