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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Overview

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

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 Nikaμyas, 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: 9780791478837
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 09/18/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 697 KB

About the Author

Ralph Flores teaches literature at Thammasat University in Thailand and is the author of A Study of Allegory in Its Historical Context and Relationship to Contemporary Theory.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Fictions of Reading: Westerners and Buddhist Texts     1
A Prince Transformed: The Nikayas, the Nidanakatha, Asvaghosa's Acts of the Buddha     17
The Buddha Awakening: The Nikayas     35
Winning Conversions: The Nikayas     51
Passing on: The Nikayas     67
Figures of Right Speech: The Dhammapada     87
Joyous Negations: The Heart Sutra     103
Masters of Emptiness: The Gatless Barrier and Zen Folktales     119
Extreme Giving: The Vassantara Jataka and Shantideva's A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life     141
Final Emergency Reading: The Tibetan Book of the Dead     163
Epilogue: Images in the Reader     183
Notes     187
Bibliography     207
Index     219

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