Family in Buddhism
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: State University of New York Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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...i would like to thank John Strong, Reiko Ohnuma, and Charles Hallisey, whose work on Buddhism and family has long inspired me. The contributors to this volume were generous with their time in gathering to discuss the con-tent and structure of the volume and patient in waiting for the final draft to be completed. Finally, I owe thanks to my own family members, especially my brother Andrew with his endless reserves of support on the telephone. And ...
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Today my birth is fruitful. Today my human life is justified. Today I am born into the family of the Buddha. Now I am the Buddha’s son. So that there may be no blemish upon this spotless family, I must now act as the familial ties that bind us in kinship networks are some of the most powerful social forces operating in our lives. Obligations to one’s kin can promote both virtue and vice, and they can both empower and disempower ...
Part IHistorical Families,Imagined Families
2Serving the Emperorby Serving the Buddha
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...the status of Buddhist monasticism in premodern Japan has never been simple. While the rhetoric of renunciation dominated discourse on monasticism in Japan before the Meiji period (1868–1912), making it seem as if taking the tonsure entailed complete detachment from family, friends, and state, premodern Japanese monasticism was actually quite diverse. There were vital traditions of clerical practice that entailed maintaining one’s involvement ...
3The Tantric Family Romance
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...beginning in the late seventh century, the “cutting edge” of Indian Buddhist scriptural production consisted of the closely related genres of Mahāyoga and Yoginī tantras. Texts included in these doxographical categories, such as the Guhyasamāja, Cakrasamvara, and Hevajra tantras, were notorious both for their descriptions of sexual practices, as well as their frequent description and prescription of incest. These elements of the late Indian Buddhist textual ...
4Bone and Heart Sons
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...the concept of family lineage—the transmission of religious author-ity through hereditary ties—has a long history in Tibetan culture. It has been marginalized in mainstream studies of Tibetan Buddhism due to the dominance of large celibate monasteries in different parts of the Tibetan pla-teau and the surrounding Himalayas. However, despite popular perceptions of these forms of Buddhism as antagonistic, Tibetan monasteries have not ...
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There are five ways in which a son should minister to his mother and father. . . . [He should think:] “Having been supported by them, I will sup-port them. I will perform their duties for them. I will keep up the family tradition. I will be worthy of my heritage. After my parents’ death I will distribute gifts on their behalf.” And there are five ways in which parents, so ...
Part IIParents and Children
6The Passion of Mulian’s Mother
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Chinese Buddhism stands out as an unusual religion in that it asserts that all mothers go to hell.1 Now, it is not the case that Buddhists in China always said this. Rather, this piece of religious terror became widespread in the wake of a series of texts dedicated to the topic that first began showing up in the sixth century and were then expanded rather significantly in the Tang dynasty (618–907). These texts sought to promote and legitimize the Buddhist ...
7Māyā’s Disappearing Act
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...many have noted that motherhood is venerated and extolled in Buddhist writings, but at the same time mothers themselves are slotted to the lowest rungs of the spiritual ladder, functioning as emblems of attachment and human suffering.1 Sponberg argues that such paradoxical portrayals of women may be evidence of the multiple voices of the tradition,2 but it is also possible that this is the product of an underlying tension and discomfort many ...
8Mother as Character Coach
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Our books teach that [it] is the pre-natal influence that gives the impe-tus to the child for good or evil. Go to a hundred thousand colleges, read a million books, associate with all the learned men of the world—better off you are when born with the right stamp. You are born for good or evil. The child is born a god or a demon; that is what the books say. Education and ...
Part IIIWives and Husbands
9Yasodharā in theBuddhist Imagination
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...this chapter explores representations of the Buddha’s wife Yasodharā (sometimes known as Bimbā) in Pali and Sinhala literature with a focus on how in popular Sinhala works Yasodharā emerges as a distinct personal-ity with a viewpoint of her own.1 Like the bodhisattva , who, over many eons, was born, died, and reborn a countless number of times, Yasodharā too went through samsara as his mate. In his final birth as Prince Siddhartha, Yasodharā ...
10Evangelizing the Happily MarriedMan through Low Talk
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...according to classicist Mabel Lang, who studied ancient graffiti in Athens’ agora, “one of the very earliest uses to which the art of writing was put, along with alphabetic exercises and marks of ownership, was sexual insult and obscenity.”1 Plato and Aristotle both criticized the use of obscene language in religious ceremony, ordinary conversation, public censure, and works of litera-ture, intimating, of course, its regular occurrence in those very contexts.2 Sexu-...
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...stories have been employed by every society historically known to us, both present and past. Not only do stories function as a form of entertainment, but perhaps more importantly, they may also serve as a means of transmission, a method of explanation, a source of identity, a foundation of legitimacy, and a pool of collective memory. Of course exactly what is transmitted, explained, identified, legitimatized, and/or remembered depends on the type of story....
12The Priesthood as a Family Trade
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...buddhists in other parts of Asia have been known to look askance at Japa-nese monks, who, unlike clerics in most of Buddhist Asia, openly engage in marriage and family life. In a recent textbook on Japanese Buddhism, Kenji Matsuo recalls how foreign students enrolled in his Japanese culture courses (especially those from Southeast Asia) consistently approached him with the Matsuo says that he first responded by repeating conventional wisdom ...
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Page Count: 298
Publication Year: 2013