The Misery of the Embodied
Within Sinhalese religion, in both Buddhist doctrinal tradition and mythical traditions associated with village exorcism, women are treated metaphorically as vehicles for impermanence and sorrow. This consistent depiction of women may provide a link between the “great” and “little” traditions through a common metaphor that is expressed more or less concretely in different contexts.* Both practical and doctrinal Sinhalese Buddhism reveal the way in which certain philosophical assumptions about reproductive processes contribute to a negative image of women, and the elaboration of this image in mythology suggests some general questions about the relationship between mythical representations and women’s lives.
KeywordsInnocent Victim Buddhist Text Human Flesh Origin Myth Buddhist View
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Barnett, L. D. 1916. Alphabetical guide to Sinhalese folklore from ballad sources. Indian Antiquary 45:46.Google Scholar
- Boyd, James. n.d. Satan and Mara: Christian and Buddhist symbols of evil. Unpublished paper.Google Scholar
- Conze, Edward. 1959. Buddhism, Its Essence and Development. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
- Dahlke, Paul. 1908. Buddhist Essays. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Gombrich, Richard. 1971. Precept and Practice. New York and London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Goonewardena, Dandris De Silva. 1866. On demonology and witchcraft in Ceylon. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch) 4:13.Google Scholar
- Obeyesekere, Gananath. 1963a. The great tradition and the little in the perspective of Sinhalese Buddhism. Journal of Asian Studies 22:2.Google Scholar
- Obeyesekere, Gananath. 1968. Theodicy, sin and salvation in a sociology of Buddhism. In E. R. Leach (ed.), Cambridge Papers in Social Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Ortner, Sherry B. 1973. Is female to male as nature is to culture? In M. Z. Rosaldo and L. Lamphere (eds.), Woman, Culture and Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Rahula, Walpola. 1959. What the Buddha Taught. London and New York: Evergreen Books, Grove Press.Google Scholar
- Wirz, Paul. 1954. Exorcism and the Art of Healing in Ceylon. Leiden: E. J. Brill.Google Scholar