The Red Thread: Buddhist Approaches to Sexuality / Edition 1

The Red Thread: Buddhist Approaches to Sexuality / Edition 1

by Bernard Faure
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691059977

ISBN-13: 9780691059976

Pub. Date: 10/26/1998

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Is there a Buddhist discourse on sex? In this innovative study, Bernard Faure reveals Buddhism's paradoxical attitudes toward sexuality. His remarkably broad range covers the entire geography of this religion, and its long evolution from the time of its founder, Xvkyamuni, to the premodern age. The author's anthropological approach uncovers the inherent

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Overview

Is there a Buddhist discourse on sex? In this innovative study, Bernard Faure reveals Buddhism's paradoxical attitudes toward sexuality. His remarkably broad range covers the entire geography of this religion, and its long evolution from the time of its founder, Xvkyamuni, to the premodern age. The author's anthropological approach uncovers the inherent discrepancies between the normative teachings of Buddhism and what its followers practice.

Framing his discussion on some of the most prominent Western thinkers of sexuality--Georges Bataille and Michel Foucault--Faure draws from different reservoirs of writings, such as the orthodox and heterodox "doctrines" of Buddhism, and its monastic codes. Virtually untapped mythological as well as legal sources are also used. The dialectics inherent in Mahvyvna Buddhism, in particular in the Tantric and Chan/Zen traditions, seemed to allow for greater laxity and even encouraged breaking of taboos.

Faure also offers a history of Buddhist monastic life, which has been buffeted by anticlerical attitudes, and by attempts to regulate sexual behavior from both within and beyond the monastery. In two chapters devoted to Buddhist homosexuality, he examines the way in which this sexual behavior was simultaneously condemned and idealized in medieval Japan.

This book will appeal especially to those interested in the cultural history of Buddhism and in premodern Japanese culture. But the story of how one of the world's oldest religions has faced one of life's greatest problems makes fascinating reading for all.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691059976
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
10/26/1998
Series:
Buddhisms: A Princeton University Press Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
324
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction3
The Two Roads4
Buddhist Sexualities8
Ch. 1The Hermeneutics of Desire15
Protean Desire16
The Buddhist Economy of Desire23
Ascetic Lust29
The Trend Reversal39
The Ambivalent Body54
Ch. 2Disciplining Sex, Sexualizing Discipline64
Law, Order, and Libido65
Sexual Offenses74
The Rise of Mahayana Precepts89
Ch. 3The Ideology of Transgression98
The Rule of Antinomianism100
Crazy Cloud111
Transgression - Sublime or Sublimated?118
Ritual Infractions124
Feminine Transgression129
Ch. 4Clerical Vices and Vicissitudes144
Monastic Decline and Anticlericalism145
The Demonic Priest161
The Juridical Background172
Nyobon181
Order or Freedom197
Ch. 5Buddhist Homosexualities207
The New Sodom207
The Social and Cultural Context(s)227
The Quest for Origins233
Ch. 6Boys to Men241
The Literary Tradition of the Chigo241
The "Divine Child" Mystique249
Head or Tail265
Afterthoughts279
Glossary289
Bibliography293
Index333

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