A Bull of a Man: Images of Masculinity, Sex, and the Body in Indian Buddhism

A Bull of a Man: Images of Masculinity, Sex, and the Body in Indian Buddhism

by John Powers
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 0674033299

ISBN-13: 9780674033290

Pub. Date: 06/19/2009

Publisher: Harvard

The androgynous, asexual Buddha of contemporary popular imagination stands in stark contrast to the muscular, virile, and sensual figure presented in Indian Buddhist texts. In early Buddhist literature and art, the Buddha’s perfect physique and sexual prowess are important components of his legend as the world’s “ultimate man.” He is both

Overview

The androgynous, asexual Buddha of contemporary popular imagination stands in stark contrast to the muscular, virile, and sensual figure presented in Indian Buddhist texts. In early Buddhist literature and art, the Buddha’s perfect physique and sexual prowess are important components of his legend as the world’s “ultimate man.” He is both the scholarly, religiously inclined brahman and the warrior ruler who excels in martial arts, athletic pursuits, and sexual exploits. The Buddha effortlessly performs these dual roles, combining his society’s norms for ideal manhood and creating a powerful image taken up by later followers in promoting their tradition in a hotly contested religious marketplace.

In this groundbreaking study of previously unexplored aspects of the early Buddhist tradition, John Powers skillfully adapts methodological approaches from European and North American historiography to the study of early Buddhist literature, art, and iconography, highlighting aspects of the tradition that have been surprisingly invisible in earlier scholarship. The book focuses on the figure of the Buddha and his monastic followers to show how they were constructed as paragons of masculinity, whose powerful bodies and compelling sexuality attracted women, elicited admiration from men, and convinced skeptics of their spiritual attainments.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674033290
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
06/19/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  1. The Ultimate Man
  2. A Manly Monk
  3. Sex and the Single Monk
  4. The Problem with Bodies
  5. The Company of Men
  6. The Greater Men of the Greater Vehicle
  7. Adepts and Sorcerers
  8. Conclusion

  • Appendix 1: The Major and Minor Physical Characteristics of a Great Man
  • Appendix 2: Epithets of the Buddha
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >