Series Four Volume 3

Gifts of the Goddess: Offerings of Dhāraṇī (Memory Enhancement), Mantras, and Tantric Invocation Rituals by Sarasvatī and Śrī in the Sutra of Golden Light

The present study proposes that the goddesses Sarasvatī and Śrī appear in the Sutra of Golden Light (Suvarṇaprabhāsottama sūtra, 金光 明經, ca. early fifth century CE) as exemplars of the relationship of female deities to bodhisattvahood, dhāraṇī bestowal, and developments in deity invocation via mantra-based rituals. The goddesses demonstrate agency as Mahāyāna practitioners (i.e., bodhisattvas) who work on behalf of…

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Series Four Volume 2

Śrāvaka Ordination in a Mahāyāna Embrace: Triple Platform Ordination in Chinese Buddhism

The use of Chinese tradition bhikṣuṇī ordinations to revitalize female monastic lineages in other traditions has led to disputes as to their Mahāyāna status. Here we examine the Chinese Buddhist triple plat- form ordination in terms of its Mahāyānic features using a polythetic rather than monothetic definition of what constitutes Mahāyāna Buddhism. Our examination of these ordinations’ organizational structures, preceptors and preceptees, and daily lifestyle, as well as the rites themselves for each of the three ordinations and the instructive lectures that accompany the rites, reveals that the Mahāyāna spirit pervades and embraces the entirety of these ordinations.

Series Four Volume 1

Self-Referential Passages in Mahāyāna Sutra Literature

This study explores self-referential passages in Mahāyāna sutra literature. It argues that these passages serve to mediate a reader or listener’s approach to a text in much the same manner as paratexts mediate one’s approach to a text through external or adjacent devices such as commentaries; these passages, rather than being paratextual and outside of a text, are rather within the body of the text itself. This study explicates the types of self-referential passages in Mahāyāna literature, including encouragement to practice and propagate the text; turning it into a book; preserving the text; statements regard- ing the text’s benefits; identification of the text with other qualities or principles; the qualifications required for obtaining the text; and passages for the entrustment of the text. After noting the relative absence of such passages outside of Mahāyāna literature, it is argued that such passages reveal that for some of the adherents of the disparate early Mahāyāna, textuality was a medium of unprecedented value and utility in promoting novel texts and doctrines.