“Be all You Can't Be” and Other Gainful Losses in theDiamond Sūtra

Alan Cole

in Text as Father

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780520242760
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931404 | DOI:
“Be all You Can't Be” and Other Gainful Losses in theDiamond Sūtra

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This chapter examines the Diamond Sutra, its basic plotline, the various kinds of self-imposed “needs” of the discourse, and the multiple subject-sites that it creates for the reader to desire, inhabit, and reproduce. It is suffused with alarming negations of “normal” Buddhism and considers text-as-object as the totality of tradition, locating it in the thoroughly self-conscious and fetishized object of the text. However, unlike the multilayered parables and the sophisticated narratives within narratives of the Lotus Sutra, the Diamond Sutra develops the conversion process with straightforward negative dialectics. It relies almost exclusively on declarations that disrupt and reorganize Buddhist authority and value. The challenge is to understand how the author manages to convince the reader that the essence of Buddhism is within its own textual borders by deploying brief but bewildering negations of prior forms of Buddhism.

Keywords: Diamond Sutra; text-as-object; fetishized object; negative dialectics; Buddhist authority; Buddhist value

Chapter.  18177 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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