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Passionate Enlightenment Paperback – October 8, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Winner of the 1994 James Henry Breasted Prize, American Historical Association

Winner of the 1994 Tricycle Prize for Excellence in Buddhist Scholarship

"This book is a welcome and wonderful addition to feminist scholarship on Buddhism, a rapidly growing endeavor. . . . Miranda Shaw's discussion of passion and intimacy as a path of practice is exemplary in its demonstration that such practices can only be undertaken by equals who share the same vision, the same aspiration for enlightenment, and the same training and meditative skills."--Rita Gross, Shambhala Sun

"A feminist critique of a male (and Western) view of the Tantric tradition [and also] a balanced reassessment of a tradition too long misunderstood."--James George, Parabola
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Product Details

  • Series: Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology
  • Paperback: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (September 18, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691010900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691010908
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is amazing. Shaw describes the content of the Tantric texts starting from an awareness of women's full participation in creating Tantric buddhism as a religious system. She reads the texts through the eyes of who the participants in Tantra really were and uncovers a ton of material about visualization practices, gender relations, enlightenment, and relationships between men and women. She is very sensitive to the interplay between religious texts, awareness practices, and social realities and really talks about Tantra as a religious construction meant to bring awareness within a particular social setting (a setting which is not that unfamiliar in certain tragic respects-- ie patriarchy). It was extremely satisfying to be introduced to the concept of "dakinis" with as much depth and poetry as she brings to her discussion.

I used a lot of the images and text in her book to do my own visualizations, with very powerful results in my own life. I think these Tantric buddhists are really on to something.

I am in a feminist episcopal community and a lot of her discussion about the way the metaphysics and theology of Tantra supported female enlightenment and full participation by women in this religious community, in a context of patriarchy, was illuminating. I can see in our own Christian community many of the dynamics she describes and this book helped shed light on various strategies for engaging those dynamics.

Much respect for the proud and fierce women who created the dakini images of Tantra-- and much respect for Miranda Shaw for writing with such depth and passion about such an important religious accomplishment. The level of commitment that was required to write a book with this kind of substance is amazing to contemplate. Thank you Dr. Shaw for bringing the fruits of your research to light, for the benefit of others.
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Format: Paperback
This study by Miranda Shaw is a must for everyone trult interested in the finer aspects of Tantric Buddhism. The author thoroughly explores the role of women in the development of vajrayana and comes to the justified conclusion that women's role has been much greater than is usually admitted by both Tibetan AND Western scholars.

Rufus C. Camphausen
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Many of the books I have read on Tantra are basically garbage. This one, however, is that jewel that makes it worth while sifting through the garbage. It is well written, well researched, and can be understood by westerners. I highly recommend it.
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This is a great book, it is groundbreaking in its attempt to trace histories of the women in esoteric Buddhism. I read this book years ago, and reading it again I have the same strong appreciation for the author's research and what are now, clearly reasonable assumptions. Good work Dr. Shaw!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Half of he book is full of references to numerous scholars of tantrism; another half are all kind of proofs, that women in Buddhism are equal to men, as if anybody objects it.It is too much. The author, apparently, is not sure of this fact and wants to prove it to all the world. Techniques of this yoga is reflected well. After all it is a good book.
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Definitely worth a read and further research. There was so much truth brought to light about women's contributions to the practice, that white westerners intentionally hid
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