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Books > History > Asia > 0520054288
  1. Women in Buddhism: Images of the Feminine in the Mahayana Tradition
    Women in Buddhism: Images of the Feminine in the Mahayana Tradition
    Women in Buddhism: Images of the Feminine in the Mahayana Tradition
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  2. Women in Buddhism: Images of the Feminine in the Mahayana Tradition

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    Customer Ratings (2 reviews)
    Price R952.00

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"In seeking to explore the interrelationships between, and mutual influence of, varieties of sexual stereotypes and religious views of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, Women in Buddhism succeeds in drawing our attention to matters of philosophical importance. Paul examines the 'image' of women which arise in a number of Buddhist texts associated with Mahayana and finds that, while ideally the tradition purports to be egalitarian, in actual practice it often betrayed a strong misogynist prejudice. Sanskrit and Chinese texts are organized by theme and type, progressing from those which treat the traditionally orthodox and negative to those which set forth a positive consideration of soteriological paths for women. . . . In Women in Buddhism, Diana Paul may be forcing our consideration of the problem of female enlightenment. Thus the main purport and accomplishment of her scholarship is revolutionary."—Philosophy East and West

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Diana Y. Paul
University of California Press
University of California Press
University of California Press
University of California Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

This is, p. xii, "an attempt to document a range of problems concerning the depiction of women & her feminine nature in Mahayana literature." It covers the 2nd to 6th c. CE, following Horner's "Women Under Primitive Buddhism" which addressed 1st c. CE Theravada Buddhism. Thus, it has become a classic work. It presents texts in 3 Parts "progressing from the most negative images of the feminine to the most positive." Within each Part, each chapter has a chapter introduction, excerpt introductions, & selected excerpts, 19 in all (16 are sutras, 9 are translated for the 1st time). Tantric Buddhism is excluded but mentioned a few times. The best parts IMHO are Paul's general introduction & conclusion. She gives pithy, generic, but undocumented comments on Mahayana sutras, providing context for the work: pp. xxii-xxiv: "The sutras developed over 100's of years in different regions & by different authors...the sutras are not dated & the authorship is unknown...some of the sutras were... Read more
This is an interesting commentary and translation of several key pieces of early Buddhist literature on women and their various roles in society. Paul organizes the book around several key types, such as "Temptress", "Mother", and "Nun". Each translation is preceeded by a very useful "introduction" which explains the context of the piece that follows as well as providing some interpretation. This book is not for those interested in exploring the lives of contemporary Buddhist women, but rather provides for those interested in such things, an interesting analysis of ancient texts that relate to women.
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