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Lust for Enlightenment: Buddhism and Sex [Kindle Edition]

John Stevens
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Over the centuries, Buddhism has responded to sexuality in a variety of fascinating ways, sometimes suppressing the sexual urge, sometimes sublimating it, sometimes cultivating it, and, on the highest levels, transforming it. This book reveals how Buddhists, beginning with Shakyamuni Buddha himself, relate to the “inner fire” that drives humankind. Included are chapters on the Buddha’s love life before his enlightenment and his later relationships with women; the tantric approach to sex among Buddhists of ancient India, Tibet, China, and Japan; Zen in the art of love; and a positive discussion of women and Buddhism.



Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Stevens is Professor of Buddhist Studies and Aikido instructor at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, Japan. He is the author or translator of over twenty books on Buddhism, Zen, Aikido, and Asian culture. He has practiced and taught Aikido all over the world.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1958 KB
  • Print Length: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications; 1st edition (April 22, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JVRN082
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,635 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a very good book March 9, 2002
Format:Paperback
Just for the record, my real name is D. Green. Now about the book...
This book was like nothing I have seen before on the subject of Buddhism. With that said, let me say that Stevens, even though he is a Westerner, has done a heck of a job breaking down the romanticized stereotypical Western view of Buddhism. What I mean is that, the author looks past the trendiness and glamour that is often associated with Buddhism and its followers in the west.
Stevens orchestrates a look into the uncovered side, the not so tready and not so glamorous side of the religion. He uncovers the reality. Buddhist nuns and monks indulging themselves in wild acts of passion. The common "Temple illnesses." Zen monks, their famous courtesans, and the children they fathered. The wild sex lives of past Dali Lamas. And even the sex life of the historical Buddha (of course, before he realized his Buddha nature). Its all within these pages. But do keep in mind that this is only a review.
What Stevens' also does, which is as equally important, in addition to uncovering the truth, is provide just explanations
to why all these things happened. The Book reminds readers that nothing is never as it appears to be, which oddly enough seems to be very apart of the Buddhist prospective and belief system. Thus, making this book an important read for any one who is a Buddhist (especially Western Buddhist) or anyone who is remotely interested in the religion/philosophy.
I would not be surprized if this very book is banned in certain parts of the world. ...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining! July 5, 2009
Format:Paperback
Entertaining stories about the secret randy lives of Buddhist monks and nuns! From hypocritical "puritans" and indulgent Tantrics to Buddha (Gotama) himself - fun to read. NOT a how-to book! Try the Tao of the Loving Couple if that's what you're looking for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lust for Enlightment July 16, 2011
By josey
Format:Paperback
Lust for Enlightenment by John Stevens

John Stevens is a Zen scholar and Aikido instructor who has also written The Way of Harmony and Sacred Calligraphy of the East. He is also a Professor of Buddhist Studies in Tohoku Social Welfare University in Sendai, Japan.

This book was an eye-opener for me. For one thing, I had not read the monastic code in quite some time, and having it introduced again in a condensed version helped me to see things differently. For one thing it caused me to think of Buddha in a different manner, one of a person that expected way too much from his monks in the way of celibacy. Certainly not all men and women are able to be celibate, and hopefully, being asked to leave the monastery did not add more suffering to their already so-called "fallen state"
in the way of shame or even shunning.

But I also used to idolize the monastic life. Not any more. Not sure how I even feel about Buddhism now,

I found this to be interesting:

"Although it may have been officially proscribed, homosexuality in fact flourished in Buddhist monasteries throughout the centuries: In China the character for hemorrhoids is `temple illness': male love is said to not have existed in Japan until it was introduced by Buddhist monks in the ninth century; homosexuality was prevalent in Yellow Hat monasteries in Tibet and was regarded as a virtue, since it meant that a monk had completely conquered sexual attachment to women."

All in all, the book gave me a complete different view of monastic life, leaving me with the belief that celibacy is out dated just as Stephen Batchelor had stated.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting topic! March 20, 2007
Format:Paperback
Big on all things Japanese, the author teaches in a Japanese University. I enjoyed his book. It is an intriguing topic. The puritan elders upheld that enlightenment and sexual activity are incompatible. However,

Tantric Buddhism (Vajrayana) says that ruthless suppression of the natural propensity to seek union with a member of the opposite sex sours people, making them morbid, compulsive and neurotic. We should re-direct and transform our natural desires instead. Now the question is: are the teachings of the tantras to be taken literally or just imaginatively? In Tantric sex there is always a sense of detachment, an emphasis on transcending the physical form of one's partner, and focusing on his or her impersonal, universal aspects (see Sexual Secrets). Check out The Prayer Mat of the Flesh by Li Yu.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good book March 9, 2002
Format:Paperback
Just for the record, my real name is D. Green. Now about the book...
This book was like nothing I have seen before on the subject of Buddhism. With that said, let me say that Stevens, even though he is a Westerner, has done a heck of a job breaking down the romanticized stereotypical Western view of Buddhism. What I mean is that, the author looks past the trendiness and glamour that is often associated with Buddhism and its followers in the west.
Stevens orchestrates a look into the uncovered side, the not so tready and not so glamorous side of the religion. He uncovers the reality. Buddhist nuns and monks indulging themselves in wild acts of passion. The common "Temple illnesses." Zen monks, their famous courtesans, and the children they fathered. The wild sex lives of past Dali Lamas. And even the sex life of the historical Buddha (of course, before he realized his Buddha nature). Its all within these pages. But do keep in mind that this is only a review.
What Stevens' also does, which is as equally important, in addition to uncovering the truth, is provide just explanations
to why all these things happened. The Book reminds readers that nothing is never as it appears to be, which oddly enough seems to be very apart of the Buddhist prospective and belief system. Thus, making this book an important read for any one who is a Buddhist (especially Western Buddhist) or anyone who is remotely interested in the religion/philosophy...
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More About the Author

John Stevens lived in Japan for thirty-five years, where he was a professor of Buddhist studies at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai. Stevens is a widely respected translator, an ordained Buddhist priest, a curator of several major exhibitions of Zen art, and an aikido instructor. He has authored more than thirty books and is one of the foremost Western experts on aikido, holding a ranking of 7th dan Aikikai. Stevens has also studied calligraphy for decades, authoring the classic Sacred Calligraphy of the East.

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