hédonisme libertaire (mmoneurere) wrote,
hédonisme libertaire

I feel so powerful!

OK, so one of my classes this quarter is Buddhist lit. (It's the only comp-lit class offered this quarter that doesn't conflict with the physics classes I need, and I figured, what the hell -- I've heard a few critical-theory people talking up Nagarjuna in the past.) It's actually cross-listed with Religious Studies -- the prof is the head of the RS department (and has been great fun, actually -- like her continued speculations about which of the two subjects of our "scary things" weeks, ghosts or women, was the "scariest" for early Buddhist philosophers), and about three-quarters of the students in the class are taking it as a RS class.

So anyway, one of our texts is Burton Watson's translation of the Lotus Sutra. The parts that we're focusing on are the parables (and how they're all first given in prose and then repeated in verse), but I find myself more amused by some of the other chapters. In particular, there's one bit about which people monks, boddhisattvas, and anyone else who wants to teach the Lotus Sutra should be careful around. Other than women and children, there are "the five types of unmanly men"; and while women and children are acceptable to teach as long as they're the ones who seek instruction, the "five types of unmanly men" are apparently such a problem that monks/teachers/etc. aren't even supposed to come near them. Now, Watson says in a footnote that these "five types" are men who are "impotent" or subject to other "sexual disabilities" -- but in the context, this makes less than no sense. I poked around a bit in other writings by classics and anthropology types about contemporary references to such "unmanly men" who were such a danger to good Buddhist behavior.

It seems I'm at least two or three of the "five types", if not six or seven.

I think it's perfectly in character that I take a bit of pride in how many religions will, in their more orthodox factions, start freaking out at the very thought of my existence.
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