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Text as FatherPaternal Seductions in Early Mahayana Buddhist Literature$
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Alan Cole

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520242760

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520242760.001.0001

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Text as Father

Text as Father

(p.25) 1 Text as Father
Text as Father

Alan Cole

University of California Press

This chapter examines the motif of paternity that is featured prominently in Buddhist discourse. There is evidence of the presence of paternal figures of various sorts, familial, monastic, and ontological, in the early literature of the Mahayana that arose several hundred years after Buddhism was founded. An investigation of symbolic machinery at work in Mahayana narratives provides an understanding of the desires and fears of a sector of Mahayana authors and their intended readers, and it is precisely on this field of desire and fear that the paternal figures appear so prominently. The chapter points out how patriarchal rhetorics work in Mahayana texts, and then sketches the structure of literary culture that appears to have supported and encouraged the writing of just these kinds of texts.

Keywords:   motif of paternity, paternal figures, Mahayana narrative, Mahayana authors, patriarchal rhetorics

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