Desire for Enlightenment and the Feminine in Early Buddhist Myth

by André Zsigmond

Om Mani Padme Hum - Hail, the Jewel in the Lotus

The immaculate conception of BuddhaSolomon’s Song of Songs in the Hebrew Bible has a rich, sensuous and erotic imagery that has been the subject of various allegorical interpretations, chiefly as relating to God's love for Israel, or Christ's love for the Church.

In fact, the poem is what it seems - an unashamed celebration of the feminine: erotic sexual love, both human and divine, rooted in the fertility religions of the ancient Near East, the sacred marriage rite. Janie “Oquawka” Rezner’s article: The Journey of the Soul into the Mother, in the Spring 2009 issue of this journal, looks at the dismissive comments made by the Dalai Lama on sexual love and reminded me of parallels in Buddhist religious doctrine and interpretation.

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Thoughts on Sacred Sexuality, Non-Attachment and Renunciation

By Tiziana Stupia

Buddhist MonkJanie Rezner makes many excellent points in her interesting article ‘The Journey of the Soul into the Mother’. I’ve been researching the subject of renunciation for a while and would indeed agree that, in many cases, religious celibacy can be traced back to a fear of the feminine and the power of sexuality per se.

However, I feel that Janie has misinterpreted the Buddhist concept of ‘non-attachment’ somewhat.  Non-attachment is not to be confused with ‘detachment’, the latter meaning avoiding emotional involvement altogether. In contrast, non-attachment does not equal non-involvement; rather, it is the understanding that everything on earth is impermanent and that it is therefore futile to cling to it. It consists of being calm and collected, even in stressful and painful situations; not attaching oneself to either pleasure or pain, as both will pass eventually.

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The Journey of the Soul into the Mother …

... and my response to the Dalai Lama’s assertion that sex spells trouble*

by Janie “Oquawka” Rezner, MA

Opening up the rock?I hope someone passes Riane Eisler’s beautiful book, “Sacred Pleasure,” on to the Dalai Lama. Did he really say that “sex invariably spells trouble?” He is definitely missing something! It’s that nasty body again with all its feelings that patriarchal religion abhors, getting close, being vulnerable, opening one’s heart to love.  He is missing being connected in that way.

Compare the life of a monk to a man with a family living in a community, in a life rich with attachments to his loved ones, a man who experiences a deep love for his child as he watches her grow, who cares for his friends,  who is  engaged in a variety of interactions and tasks in his life.   A separated being like a monk is living half a life;  his opportunities to experience life's important and maturing processes, like loving and being committed to another human being, like experiencing the heart connection of fatherhood, and the responsibilities of that role, are non-existent.

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