The Carnal Prayer Mat by Yu Li Essay

The Carnal Prayer Mat by Yu Li Essay

Length: 3341 words (9.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Vesperus’ masculine beauty is a central theme in Li Yu’s moral comedy, The Carnal Prayer Mat. What’s more, his life trajectory parallels non-Mahayana Indic accounts of Siddhartha’s path to enlightenment, particularly on the emphasis placed on descriptions of both men’s physical perfection and their subsequent sexual appetite and prowess. Both Vesperus’ and Siddhartha’s masculine beauty propels them forward on their life paths, positioning them in the simultaneously instructive and destructive feminine sphere of the inner quarter. The wealth of sexual experiences gives both men the necessary insight for their critical realization of the superficiality and emptiness of a life guided by carnal desires and sexual pursuits of women. As a result, masculine beauty becomes a critical component in and indication of a man’s ultimate karmic destiny in The Carnal Prayer Mat. Beautiful women consequently are positioned as Vesperus’ sexually instructive tools and immoral opponents. Their further importance as sites of masculine karmic retribution speaks to the degree to which the novel works within a Buddhist framework of gender dichotomies. Ultimately, The Carnal Prayer Mat places beautiful men in a privileged position destined to enlightenment, as their physical perfection affords them access to the critical sexual experiences and lifestyles that they must reject in order attain enlightenment.

While The Carnal Prayer Mat is laced with Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist doctrine, this paper aims to understand Buddhist concepts of destiny, karma, and enlightenment through an analysis of representations of masculine ideal beauty in late Imperial China. Vesperus’ and Siddhartha’s parallel life journeys, particularly with respect to experiences i...


... middle of paper ...


...on for all human beings: “Desire is almost as defiling as the act itself, however….Desire, in the form of love (raga, a word meaning color, but also lewdness, concupiscence, lust, attraction), is therefore one of the ‘three poisons’ that pollute and maintain human existence” (Faure 17). Thus his experiences within “inner quarters,” defined by his desire for beautiful women that spark sexual excess that simultaneously affirm his virile masculinity, are fundamental components in his journeys to enlightenment.





Works Cited

Faure, Bernard. The Red Thread: Buddhist Approaches to Sexulity. Princeton:      Princeton University Press, 1998.

Li, Yu. The Carnal Prayer Mat. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990.

Powers, John. A Bull of a Man: Images of Masculinity, Sex, and the Body in      Indian Buddhism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The Prayer Of Prayer And Prayer

- Why do we need to be men and women of prayer. What does God’s word say about prayer. And how do we become prayer warriors even in the darkest of circumstances. These are all questions that many Christians ask themselves; questions I have asked myself many times. Striving to be all that God has called us to be in word, in deed and in prayer, is a journey that each of us must take, but no one path is the same. Rather than walking this road alone, it is good to seek out those who would take this journey of prayer with us....   [tags: Prayer, Spirituality, Religion, Holy Spirit]

Term Papers
1058 words (3 pages)

Essay about Analysis Of The Kingdom Of Mat

- Analysis Of The Kingdom Of Mat In order to understand the ramifications of Matthias's formation of his kingdom, the social,financial, ethnic, and sexual conditions of the times must be realized as the catalysts that cause the cults to form. A whole series of evangelic congregations appeared in the early decades of the nineteenth century in order to serve the poor, the emotionally needy, those barred from the new prosperousness, hopefulness, forbearance, personal freedom and sensible thought of the business classes....   [tags: Kingdom Mat Essays Papers]

Term Papers
1436 words (4.1 pages)

Prayer Is A Prayer Of Prayer Essay

- Prayer Prayer is another extremely important discipline for believers to practice. When explaining prayer one must first understand what prayer is. An anonymous author in an article known as the Quiver wrote the following statement about what prayer is: “Prayer is the application of want to Him who alone can relieve it. Prayer is the voice of a sinner to Him alone can pardon sin. Prayer is poverty pleading, humility worshipping, penitence confessing, and truth trusting. Prayer is no eloquence, but earnestness....   [tags: Old Testament, New Testament, Prayer, Spirituality]

Term Papers
1313 words (3.8 pages)

Relinquishment of Free Will in The Birthmark and Carnal Knowledge Essay

-     In literature it is common to find main characters that display unusual strength or might. Rarely are major literary characters (with the exception of villains) weak figures. Authors typically create strong roles for their protagonists. This is not the case, however, in the short stories "Carnal Knowledge" by T. Coraghessan Boyle and "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The narrator of "Carnal Knowledge," Jim, and one main character in "The Birthmark," Georgiana, have few outward similarities....   [tags: The Birthmark, Carnal Knowledge]

Term Papers
1200 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on A Portrait of Modern Life in Carnal Knowledge

- A Portrait of Modern Life in Carnal Knowledge T. C. Boyle's "Carnal Knowledge" is a very funny, and at the same time truthful portrayal of some of the things which are going on in the world today. His description of the narrator and the way he thinks, as well as his portrayal of Alena Jorgensen, leaves the reader wondering if they have ever believed so strongly in something or acted the same way to help reach their goal. What makes this story so unique and is that takes place in our world, in a world were some people are "fond of Kentucky Fried Chicken or Chicken McNuggets" (245) and others "don't eat meat or fish or milk or cheese or eggs, and they didn't wear wool or leather or f...   [tags: Carnal Knowledge Essays]

Free Essays
993 words (2.8 pages)

Carnal Knowledge by Boyle Essay

- Carnal Knowledge by Boyle In the story “Carnal Knowledge”, by T. Coraghessan Boyle, Jim is the main character who loves to eat meat. He would love nothing more than to enjoy a dinner of “Beef, mutton, pork, venison, dripping burgers, and greasy ribs”. (1107) However, Jim’s cravings for “Kentucky Fried or Chicken McNuggets” were no match for Alena Jorgensen. (1108) Alena is an obsessive animal rights activist whom Jim met while laying on the beach feeling sorry for himself. When a person has feelings of depression and loneliness it can be very easy for another person to come into their life and change their whole persona....   [tags: Carnal Knowledge Boyle Essays Papers]

Term Papers
644 words (1.8 pages)

Prayer Through A Prayer Of Paul Essays

- D. A. Carson’s Praying with Paul: a Call to Reformation is a fantastic read. Each chapter in this book addresses a different theological aspect of prayer through a prayer of Paul’s found in the New Testament. Some of the topics primarily reveal an aspect of God’s nature and the response desired of us. Others focus on practical implications for our prayer lives. The first chapter falls under the second category. Before turning to the ultimate authority on prayer, the Bible, Carson dedicates a chapter to the wisdom that has been given to him on the subject by other believers....   [tags: Prayer, Spirituality, Meditation]

Term Papers
1558 words (4.5 pages)

Essay about Prayer : The Mystery Of Prayer

- Murray states, “We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth”. The importance of prayer in the Christian faith is doubtless, this does not ensure the clarity with which it can be explained. Nevertheless, prayer can be expressed as both a highly unique individual experience, and a collective community expression; prayer is central to the Spirituality & Discipleship module. Prayer does not merely resonate within the module, but is a theme that runs through the centre of each tradition....   [tags: Spirituality, Prayer, Religion, Shema Yisrael]

Term Papers
1728 words (4.9 pages)

The And The New Of Prayer Essay

- Thirdly, according to vs 42 the new converts also spent time in prayer (And they continued steadfastly in the apostles ' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers). Prayer is communicating with God- we talking to God and pausing to hear from Him. The Bible in 1 Thes 5:17 tell us to pray without ceasing. Lk 18: 1 tells us that that man ought always to pray, and not to faint. It’s through pray that we are strengthened, that we get closer to God, get that desire intimacy, and hear his heartbeat....   [tags: Prayer, Spirituality, Mobile phone, Battery]

Term Papers
924 words (2.6 pages)

Essay about Prayer Journal

- After praying for a lengthy time, I began to feel revived and refreshed. The Lord had removed the burden from my heart and replaced it with a heart of peace. I walked over to my bed, and realized immediately, that I had not even made my bed this morning. I got everything cleaned up and put in order in my cabin. As I was finishing my cleaning, I heard a knock at the door. Up to this point, my door had been locked from the outside. I had no control over the lock, and now someone was knocking on the door waiting for me to give them an entrance....   [tags: Prayer]

Term Papers
1687 words (4.8 pages)