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Bending Minds and Winning Hearts: On the Rhetorical Uses of Complexity in Mahāyāna Sūtras
Author Harrison, Paul (著)
Source Journal of Indian Philosophy
Volumev.50 n.4
Pages649 - 670
Publisher Url
LocationBerlin, Germany [柏林, 德國]
Content type期刊論文=Journal Article
NotePaul Harrison, Stanford University, 450 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA.
KeywordMahāyāna sūtras; Self-reference; Formulas; Recursiveness; Merit; Vectors; Rhetoric; Fourth wall
AbstractMahāyāna sūtras are obviously texts in the conventional sense of the word, but how they work as texts, the purposes they serve, and the manner in which they are constructed have so far attracted comparatively little sustained theoretical attention of the sort that goes beyond specific examples. This paper addresses itself to two well-known formal features of this voluminous genre which have yet to receive the critical reflection they deserve. The first is a pervasive self-referentiality, taking various forms, some of them fairly straightforward, even banal, others highly challenging and paradoxical in their effect. The second feature is the use of formulas and lists, not singly, but in combination, in a way which expands a theme along two or more axes or vectors concurrently. These two features, while by no means exhaustive of all the things that make Mahāyāna sūtras the distinctive type of scripture they are, provide evidence of a passion for complexity which seems to be part of their DNA. Intensely generative of ever greater amounts of text, these features blur and even erase the boundaries between the creators of texts, the writers and speakers, and their consumers, the readers and hearers. In this paper they are explored with special reference to a small number of sūtras, some of which are demonstrably early productions of the Mahāyāna movement.
Table of contentsAbstract 649
Introduction 650
Self-reference 651
The Generative Passion for Complexity 656
Concluding Remarks 666
References 669
ISSN00221791 (P); 15730395 (E)
Created date2023.06.30
Modified date2023.06.30

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