Courtesans and Tantric Consorts: Sexualities in Buddhist Narrative, Iconography and Ritual

By Serinity Young | Go to book overview

Advance Praise for Courtesans and Tantric Consorts

“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. Drawing on sources primarily in the Indian Mahayana and Tibetan traditions, Young deftly connects the Tantric consort cycle to that of the more ancient Buddhist courtesan convert. In the process, she raises compelling questions about the human condition as envisioned in Buddhism. Given the physical, cultural, and spiritual nature of gender and sexuality, the categories of male and female are ones of great instability, with dynamic relations emerging at the great distance of these two gendered extremes and with unusual visions about gender populating the rich continuum between them. This book is not to be missed and is a significant contribution to our understanding of the Indo-Tibetan culture of Buddism.”

-Ellison Findly, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Trinity College, Hartford

“Young's book examines the place of women in the Indian and Tibetan Bud-dhist traditions through the lens of two important classes of women: consorts and courtesans. 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.”

-José Ignacio Cabezón, XIVth Dalai Lama Professor of Tibetan Buddhism and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara

This is a groundbreaking investigation into several aspects of gender in Buddhism that have not been sufficiently taken into consideration before. Even-handed and thorough, and written in clear and accessible language, Young analyzes textual sources as well as Buddhist art from a refreshingly new point of view. The book is highly recommended for all those who love and appreciate Buddhism without idealizing it, scholars as well as practitioners. A pioneering work!

-Dr. Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt, Lecturer in Religious Studies, Philipps-University, Marburg, Germany

-ii-

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