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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In surveying the discursive landscape of ancient, classical, and medieval Indo-Tibetan Buddhist sexual ethics, this chapter takes a Foucauldian approach that holds Buddhist sexual norms and ideals to be an evolving discourse productive of a wide variety of sexual persons. It focuses on the manner in which Buddhist sexual ethics foster states of self rather than Buddhist ethics as a universally applicable set of moral obligations. Topics considered include the theory and practice of brahmacarya, representations of the Buddha as hyper-masculine, the sexual upāyas of bodhisattvas as articulated in Mahāyāna teachings, the revalorization of sexual union as a yogic practice in medieval Indian and Tibetan Tantra, and articulations of lay ethics in the scholastic traditions of classical and medieval India and Tibet. This chapter also contextualizes instances of sexual abuse in contemporary Western Buddhist saṅghas and notes the emergence of a distinctive queer Buddhist discourse.

Keywords: antinatalism, brahmacarya, celibacy, homosexuality, kāma, paṇḍaka, queer Buddhism, sexuality, sexual misconduct, Tantra

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