Chapter

Owning It

Alan Cole

in Fathering Your Father

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780520254848
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943643 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520254848.003.0003
Owning It

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This chapter explores the Shaolin narrative on a certain master named Faru, in which the Shaolin authors rewrote prior Buddhist narratives and joined them willy-nilly in order to produce a convincing account of Shaolin's uniqueness. Faru is a buddha-like figure precisely, and solely, because of a past that was made present in accord with the lineage mode of inheritance and its supposedly accurate representation in the narrative on the stele at Shaolin. The narrative delineates a sudden authorial gesture to hook together two pieces of literature that previously had nothing to do with one another and whose narrative connections could not be coherently explained otherwise. It shifts Faru's identity from being an ordinary man from Shangdang into a buddha replica. Grounds for reaching this kind of conclusion about the connection between suddenness and narrative construction are also found in the way that in Du Fei's genealogy, the next Bodhidharma genealogy that attempted to supersede Faru's genealogy. Suddenness marks that dangerous power to give and take identity which is arguably the workhorse of patriarchy.

Keywords: Shaolin narrative; Faru; Shaolin authors; Buddhist narratives

Chapter.  19041 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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