Incest and Schism in Indian Buddhist Legend and Historiography


“[In Riven by Lust: Incest and Schism in Indian Buddhist Legend and Historiography], Jonathan Silk takes a tale that has major importance for the history of the development of Buddhism, a tale about the man who caused the major schism in Indian Buddhism, and traces it through all of the texts, in all of the major languages of Buddhism, with a bit of Greek and Latin thrown in for good measure. He traces the myth back to its probable early sources and forward to its labyrinthine developments through the Buddhist (and Hindu) world. And since it is a tale of mother-son incest, he discusses its implications in the light of contemporary psychological understandings of incest. It is a highly original work, with truly impressive scholarship, both in the breadth of knowledge and in the care with which all the relevant texts are cited and translated. Beautifully and fluently written, it will surely capture a large audience of scholars, students, and those who take a personal interest in Buddhism.” —Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago

October 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3090-8 / $55.00 (CLOTH)