- Paperback: 298 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (February 21, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415914833
- ISBN-13: 978-0415914833
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Courtesans and Tantric Consorts: Sexualities in Buddhist Narrative, Iconography, and Ritual 1st Edition
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"By considering both the textual and the art historical data, this interdisciplinary study offers us many new insights concerning both women and women's relationships to men. An erudite book that, while taking into account all of the most recent scholarship in the field, goes beyond it to offer us fresh new insights....A major contribution to the literature on women in Buddhism."
-Jose Ignacio Cabezon, XIVth Dalai Lama Professor of Tibetan Buddhism and Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
"This book is excellent...wonderfully detailed, full of substantial narrative and anecdote and liberal in its comparisons."
-Ellison Findly, Professor of Religion and International Studies, Trinity College
"Clearly structured, lucidly written, judiciously illustrated with examples from the primary texts, and accessible to the nonspecialist...it will be an important resource for students and teachers alike."
-Eugene V. Gallager, Connecticut College
"This book is a tour de force, marshalling a broad range of materials--textual, ritual, and iconographical--to tackle a complex issue in the forefront of Buddhist studies today, that of sexuality and gender. This book is not to be missed and is a significant contribution to our understanding of the Indo-Tibetan culture of Buddism."
-Ellison Findly, Trinity College, Hartford
About the Author
Serinity Young is Whitney Tibetan Scholar-in-Residence at the American Museum of Natural History, division of Anthropology. She is the author of Dreaming in the Lotus: Buddhist Dream Narrative, Imagery, and Practice, General Editor for the two volume Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion, and editor of An Anthology of Sacred Texts by and About Women. She currently resides in New York City.
Top customer reviews
Young makes an effort at criticizing Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism's view towards women. One might be tempted to criticize the very goal of this endeavor - after all, it does not seem to make much sense to use perspectives of the enlightened west to skewer the traditions of an isolated land seemingly trapped in a time capsule. However, one does not need to engage in such discourse before criticizing the book.
(1) The research is sophomoric. Young really did not bring any original research into this book, and her observations based on art history really adds little to what we already know. Reading through her rather pathetic bibliography, one sees the same names over and over again. Snellgrove seems to be her only guide in exploring karmamudra. My question is, if Snellgrove has already done such a good job, what is the point of wasting more paper (and taxpayer's money) on this new little volume? Because of the esoteric nature of the karmamudra practice, it would be nice to have some new insight, and some original research. We have quite a lot of material available in Tibetan, and it would be nice if Young can explore these materials. But, as it would become apparent to the readers very early on, she does not know the Tibetan language.
(2) The title is misleading. The title gives you the perception that this book is actually about tantric Buddhism. You will be disappointed. Only one chapter of this book deals with tantric Buddhism. Most of the materials for that chapter came either from Snellgrove's magna opus, or Dowman's book on Yeshe Tsogyel. There is really nothing original about this book.
(3) Organization is poor. The book is crudely divided into three parts, with one focused on the life of the Buddha, one on parents-children relationship, and one on sexuality in Buddhism. Since Buddhism is a large and diverse religion (one might even be tempted to call it "religions"), it is not helpful at all to criticize the entire Buddhist universe. The Mahayana's view towards women has nothing to do with the southern, or the northern Buddhist lineages.
Conclusion. This book reminds me of myself during my college days, when I would attempt to write a paper the night before it's due, and desperately try to drag myself across the final word count (while drinking copious amounts of coffee and energy drinks). The product in the end is poor. Looking back, I am ashamed of what I have written. Young should similarly be ashamed of this book.
This is an account that is somewhat wider than its title implies. It examines various categories of women (including courtesans and consorts) through the use of Buddhist texts. Young provides a pleasingly nuanced analysis of how male monastic writers have suppressed and marginalised women in the Buddhist tradition in an attempt to control and co-opt their power.
Worth reading for anyone with an interest in gender and Buddhism.