Abstract

Charlotte Eubanks explores the conundrum posed by the confluence of piety and eros in the oratory of monastics in medieval Japan. Other scholars have tried to explain this by pointing to the itinerant, socially unstable outcasts who both sold sex and appropriated Buddhist oratory in order to beg for a living. Eubanks instead unravels the connections between performance arts and Buddhist oratory to argue that the erotic elements stemmed from the doctrine of "sympathetic response" (kannō 感応), which called for an emotional and sensual exchange, or mystical union, between believer and divine being, devotee and buddha. The marked association of the verbal arts with sexual favors was an elaboration of doctrine that evolved out of a pietistic desire for union with the divine as much as out of economic realities.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-6454
Print ISSN
0073-0548
Pages
pp. 43-70
Launched on MUSE
2012-05-06
Open Access
No
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