The Power of Denial
Buddhism, Purity and Gender
By (author) Bernard Faure
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Power of Denial by Bernard Faure
Book DescriptionInnumerable 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.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691091716
(229mm x 152mm x 27mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 10-Feb-2003
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Bernard Faure
Chan Buddhism in Ritual Context, Paperback (September 2010)
Features the essays that place the Chan and Zen tradition in their ritual and cultural contexts, looking at various aspects heretofore largely (and unduly) ignored. This book emphasises the importance of ritual for a proper understanding of this allegedly anti-ritualistic form of Buddhism.
Unmasking Buddhism, Hardback (February 2009)
An ideal introduction to Buddhism for anyone who has unanswered questions about one of the world's largest and most popular religions.
Visions of Power, Paperback (May 2000)
Looks at Chan/Zen with an array of postmodernist critical techniques. This book probes the imaginaire, or mental universe, of the Buddhist Soto Zen master Keizan Jokin (1268-1325). It draws on texts particularly the "Record of Tokoku" and the kirigami, or secret initiation documents.
Red Thread, Paperback (October 1998)» View all books by Bernard Faure
Is there a Buddhist discourse on sex? This book reveals Buddhism's paradoxical attitudes toward sexuality. It covers the geography of this religion, and its long evolution from the time of its founder, Xvkyamuni, to the premodern age.
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Author Biography - Bernard Faure
Bernard Faure is George Edwin Burnell Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University. He is the author of "Visions of Power", "The Red Thread", "Chan Insights and Oversights", and "The Rhetoric of Immediacy," (all Princeton).
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