Miracles of Book and Body

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Buddhist Textual Culture & Medieval Japan
By Charlotte Eubanks
"This is an exciting exploration of the world of Buddhist attitudes towards religious texts, from Indian scriptures to Japanese medieval tales. Its emphasis on discursive strategies—how Buddhist texts function and what they expect of their readers/users (especially, the connection between books, their content, and their readers' bodies)—is a welcome new perspective."—Fabio Rambelli, author of Buddhist Materiality

"Miracles of Book and Body is fluidly written and engaging. This book brings the reader to an awareness of the range and foci of medieval 'popular' readings of sutra literature, and Eubanks provides an important perspective to interpreting these narratives that is original and stimulating."—Thomas W. Hare, author of Zeami: Performance Notes

"Charlotte Eubanks' sophisticated, insightful and readable study of the physicalities of sutra texts and sutra recitation makes sense of some of the strangest phenomena in medieval Japan. By disentangling the literal and metaphorical meanings in Buddhist setsuwa, Eubanks explains such things as how memorizing a text is an embodiment thereof, how texts can become sentient beings, and why the scroll is an appropriate format for recording dharma. Her work is both important and engaging."—Margaret H. Childs, University of Kansas

"Drawing on an impressive range of Mahayana scriptures and medieval Japanese didactic tales, Eubanks unpacks recurrent tropes correlating text and flesh to reveal surprising connections among the literary, material, and ritual dimensions of Buddhist textual culture. Elegantly written and theoretically astute, this volume will be welcomed not only by specialists in Buddhist literature but also by readers interested in broader issues of text-based religious practice."—Jacqueline Stone, author of Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism