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The Power of Denial : Buddhism, Purity, and Gender - Bernard Faure

The Power of Denial

Buddhism, Purity, and Gender

Paperback Published: 2nd March 2003
ISBN: 9780691091716
Number Of Pages: 488

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Innumerable studies have appeared in recent decades about practically every aspect of women's lives in Western societies. The few such works on Buddhism have been quite limited in scope. In "The Power of Denial," Bernard Faure takes an important step toward redressing this situation by boldly asking: does Buddhism offer women liberation or limitation? Continuing the innovative exploration of sexuality in Buddhism he began in "The Red Thread," here he moves from his earlier focus on male monastic sexuality to Buddhist conceptions of women and constructions of gender. Faure argues that Buddhism is neither as sexist nor as egalitarian as is usually thought. Above all, he asserts, the study of Buddhism through the gender lens leads us to question what we uncritically call Buddhism, in the singular.

Faure challenges the conventional view that the history of women in Buddhism is a linear narrative of progress from oppression to liberation. Examining Buddhist discourse on gender in traditions such as that of Japan, he shows that patriarchy--indeed, misogyny--has long been central to Buddhism. But women were not always silent, passive victims. Faure points to the central role not only of nuns and mothers (and wives) of monks but of female mediums and courtesans, whose colorful relations with Buddhist monks he considers in particular.

Ultimately, Faure concludes that while Buddhism is, in practice, relentlessly misogynist, as far as misogynist discourses go it is one of the most flexible and open to contradiction. And, he suggests, unyielding in-depth examination can help revitalize Buddhism's deeper, more ancient egalitarianism and thus subvert its existing gender hierarchy. This groundbreaking book offers a fresh, comprehensive understanding of what Buddhism has to say about gender, and of what this really says about Buddhism, singular or plural.

Industry Reviews

"The questions Faure raises are important ones: Is Buddhism a tool of liberation or oppression for women? What might a more egalitarian Buddhist practice consist of? Faure approaches his subject in his usual thorough manner. The wealth of historical, sociological, and cultural references may be daunting to some readers, but those who persevere will be rewarded."--Martine Batchelor, Tricycle

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: "Soaring and Settling"--Too Soon?p. 2
The Cultural Approachp. 6
Gender Revisitedp. 8
Gendering Buddhismp. 15
Buddhism And Womenp. 21
The Second Orderp. 23
The Evolution of the Female Sannghap. 24
The Female Order in Japanp. 28
The Issue of Ordinationp. 36
Sociological Context(s)38 Sorely Missedp. 47
Nunhood and Feminismp. 51
The Rhetoric of Subordinationp. 55
A Theodicy of Disprivilegep. 57
The Five Obstacles and the Three Dependencesp. 62
A Case of Blood Poisoningp. 66
Drinking from the Blood Bowlp. 73
The "Facts" of Lifep. 79
The Red and the Whitep. 81
The Rhetoric of Salvationp. 91
The Legend of the Naga-Girlp. 91
Becoming Malep. 99
Interpretative Divergencesp. 103
Amida's Vow and Its Implicationsp. 106
A Feminine Toposp. 116
The Rhetoric of Equalityp. 119
Gender Equality in Mahayanap. 120
Gender Equality in Vajrayanap. 122
Chan/Zen Egalitarianismp. 127
Imagining Buddhist Womenp. 143
Monks, Mothers, and Motherhoodp. 145
Bad Mothersp. 146
The Ambivalent Motherp. 148Mater Dol
The Forsaken Motherp. 152
The Changing Image of Motherhoodp. 160
Varieties of Motherly Experiencep. 163
Mad Mothersp. 167
The Law of Alliancep. 168
Conflicting Imagesp. 181
Women in the Life of the Buddhap. 182
Queens, Empresses, and Other Impressive Ladiesp. 188
Eminent Nunsp. 198
Femmes Fatalesp. 204
Of Women and Jewelsp. 205
Women Against Buddhismp. 217
Crossing the Linep. 219
The Utopian Toposp. 222 Stopped
Kukai's Motherp. 228
The Kekkai Stonep. 233
Conflicting Interpretationsp. 235
The Symbolic Reading of Transgressionp. 238
The Kekkai and the Logic of Muenp. 243
Women on the Movep. 250
The "Nuns of Kumano"p. 250
What's in a Namep. 254
Down by the Riverp. 261
The Monk and the Bayadegrave;rep. 262
The Discourteous Courtesanp. 267
Paradigmsp. 269
The Power of Womenp. 287
The Myth of Tamayorihimep. 290
The Miko and the Monkp. 304
Women on the Edgep. 310
Women, Dragons, and Snakesp. 316
Afterthoughtsp. 325
Notesp. 341
Bibliographyp. 401
Indexp. 459
Introduction and history
Formulation and linear Orr-Sommerfeld theory
Hierarchy of model equation
Experiments and numerical simulation
Periodic and solitary wave families
Floquet theory and selection of periodic waves
Spectral theory for gKS solitary pulses
Spectral theory and drainage dynamics of realistic pulses
Pulse interaction theory
Coarsening theory for naturally excited waves
Transverse instability
Hydraulic shocks
Drop formation on a coated vertical fiber
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691091716
ISBN-10: 0691091714
Series: Buddhisms
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 488
Published: 2nd March 2003
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.66