Buddhist Scriptures as Literature: Sacred Rhetoric and the Uses of Theory

Buddhist Scriptures as Literature: Sacred Rhetoric and the Uses of Theory

by Ralph Flores
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0791473406

ISBN-13: 9780791473405

Pub. Date: 01/01/2009

Publisher: State University of New York Press

Looks at a variety of Buddhist sacred writings as literature and includes insights from literary theory.

Buddhist Scriptures as Literature explores the drama, lyricism, and compelling storylines in Buddhist sacred writings, while illustrating how rhetoric and ideology are at work in shaping readers’ reactions. Ralph Flores argues that the Buddha’s

Overview

Looks at a variety of Buddhist sacred writings as literature and includes insights from literary theory.

Buddhist Scriptures as Literature explores the drama, lyricism, and compelling storylines in Buddhist sacred writings, while illustrating how rhetoric and ideology are at work in shaping readers’ reactions. Ralph Flores argues that the Buddha’s life story itself follows an archetypal quest-romance pattern: regal surroundings are abandoned and the ensuing feats are heroic. The story can be read as an epic, but it also has a comic plot: confusions and trials until the Prince becomes utterly selfless, having found his true element—nirvana. Making use of contemporary literary theory, Flores offers new readings of texts such as the Nikāyas, the Dhammapada, the Heart Sutra, Zen koans, Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva, and the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Understanding these works as literature deepens our sense of the unfolding of their teachings, of their exuberant histories, and of their relevance for contemporary life.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791473405
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
01/01/2009
Pages:
231
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1. Fictions of Reading: Westerners and Buddhist Texts

2. A Prince Transformed: The Nikāyas, the Nidānakathā, Aśvaghoşa’s Acts of the Buddha

3. The Buddha Awakening: The Nikāyas

4. Winning Conversions: The Nikāyas

5. Passing on: The Nikāyas

6. Figures of Right Speech: The Dhammapada

7. Joyous Negations: The Heart Sutra

8. Masters of Emptiness: The Gateless Barrier and Zen Folktales

9. Extreme Giving: The Vessantara Jātaka and Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life

10. Final Emergency Reading: The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Epilogue: Images in the Reader
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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