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BUDDHISM, SEXUALITY, AND GENDER

Edited by Jose Ignacio Cabezon. State University of New York Press: Albany, 1992. 241 pp. $16.95 (paperback).

SERINITY YOUNG

JOSE IGNACIO CABEZON has brought together an intriguing collection of essays on gender and sexuality in Buddhism by first-rate scholars. As most of them point out, the bottom line in Buddhism is that ultimately gender does not ma tter. Yet Buddhist history, culture, texts, and symbols, to name a few of the topics covered in this book, all maintain gender distinctions.

Miriam L. Levering's essay is a good example of the confusing views about gender that can be found in Buddhist texts, in this case the texts of Chinese Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism. She compares the "rhetoric of equality," which states that gender does not affect one's ability to achieve enlightenment, with the" rhetoric of heroism," which she finds in genderlinked terms referring to the qualities needed for enlightenment.

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