Anne Carolyn Klein
- Meeting the Great Bliss Queen; Buddhists, Feminists, and the Art of the Self
- Boston: Beacon Press, 1995
- The Great Bliss Queen is Yeshey Tsogyel, a historic woman acknowledged as a Buddha ("awakened one"). What makes her relevant to feminists, Klein says, is her unique contribution to Buddhist theory of the self: she was the first person to say that the path of struggle to develop oneself / to grow spiritually / to discipline the mind, and the apparently contradictory path of letting go / discovering one's essential nature / authentic spontaneity, are two sides of the same coin, and necessary to each other.
- Feminists, Klein observes, have been split by a similar dichotomy between "postmodern" analyses of the self as a cultural construct, and "essentialist" theory drawing on "an empowering sense of being clearly located within one's own mind and body." The Great Bliss Queen gives us an image and a path of healing this dichotomy, grasping it as a living paradox, grokking it as a koan--and being nourished thereby.
- Note in particular her discussion of "collateral coherence," her term for the "centering associated with mindfulness." This effect of Buddhist practice is another powerful tool not available [as far as I have found] in Western philosphy, psychology or theology. When I read it I realized why vipassana is more meaningful to me than anything else I have done in 35 years of active spiritual work.
- Other recommended reviews of this book:
- Review from Philosophy East & West, Vol. 46 No.2 (Apr 1996), pp.295-296.
(no author credited)
- A brief general review, but more complete than mine.
- Review by Brian Karafin of Ithaca College, from the Journal of Buddhist-Christian Studies Vol. 19 No.1 (1999) pp. 227-232
- A critical review, in depth; gives background of the subject and analysis of Klein's argument.
- © Copyright Catherine Holmes Clark 1996; last updated 27 Feb 2001