I am reading Doug Osto’s book Power, Wealth and Women in Indian Mahayana Buddhism:
The Gandavyuha-sutra Amazon

It is thorough, academic and requires concentration. but is very well written. I am finding it an absolute delight. I can imagine that Doug must be a superb teacher - lucky the students that populate his classes. Furthermore, one can feel his love of the text coming through. I am sure that putting together this work, while requiring a vast amount of research, study and reflection, was no chore even though it must have been a lot of work.

Many academic books are turgid. This one is exemplary in its clarity which is what makes it a pleasure to read. There are plenty of long complicated words, but all is explained, and in a manner that the intelligent general reader can handle. This is a gift.

The subject matter is the Gandhavyuha Sutra which tells the story of the pilgrim Sudhana who is sent by Manjushri to visit and learn from a series of spiritual friends (kalyanamtras) who are all in some sense emanations of Vairochana, the highest Buddha. In this story Vairochana is the “other power” and Sudhana is the “foolish being”, yet one who emerges as very spiritually advanced. This story became of immense importance in medieval Mahayana Buddhism as it displays in narrative form the whole devotional world view.

Osto’s treatment of the subject is not a straightforward commentary. He wants to position the narrative in terms of the society in which it came into being - India in the early centuries of the common era. In particular he clarifies the worldview of the sutra and shows what we can know from an analysis of its narrative structure and then draws out three particular dimensions - power, wealth and women - for special attention teasing out the connections between the content of the sutra and the society it was written in. As he says,  “Power, wealth and gender are perennial concerns of every society.”

Views: 18

Events

ITZI Conference 2017

Blog Posts

A Special Weekend

Posted by David Brazier on June 26, 2017 at 23:52 1 Comment

I have spent the past weekend at meetings of the Amida Order in Malvern in UK. Apart from approving the advancement of a number of good people there was not a lot of "business" so we were able to concentrate upon our relationships with each other and with life and upon practising together. The whole thing turned out very well. The temple in Malvern is very comfortable and the location superb. It is difficult to convey the quality of interaction between people to those who were not there -…

Continue

COMPASSION FOR OUR WORLD

Posted by David Brazier on June 1, 2017 at 14:00 1 Comment

I suppose that for many people politics seems something rather remote. For me, it is always close to my heart. Not that I strongly support this or that party, but because the issues are of such consequence. This is perhaps because of my early years having been passed in the Middle East where those consequences are evident in a more raw way. Over my lifetime I have watched as a pivotal region of the world has been systematically wrecked and ruined. Beautiful, cosmopolitan, multi-religious…

Continue

First Thing's First!

Posted by Adam Dunsby on May 28, 2017 at 17:24 0 Comments

       

                                                          …

Continue

Message from Geeta

Posted by David Brazier on May 26, 2017 at 19:30 0 Comments

I (Geeta) can offer up to 3 people a lift from Surrey to Eleusis, leaving at 5 am on 1st June and/or returning to England about 5 pm on 4th June. I can offer one person (or a couple) accommodation on the night before we travel and the night that we return.

Thank you Geeta - nice offer.

© 2017   Created by David Brazier.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service