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Living KarmaThe Religious Practices of Ouyi Zhixu$
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Beverley McGuire

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168021

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168021.001.0001

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Slicing, Burning, and Blood Writing

Slicing, Burning, and Blood Writing

Karmic Transformations of Bodies

Chapter:
(p.93) Five Slicing, Burning, and Blood Writing
Source:
Living Karma
Author(s):

Beverley Foulks McGuire

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231168021.003.0006

This chapter explores various types of bodily practices that Ouyi Zhixu engages in, including “filial slicing” to heal ailing relatives, burning his head and arms, and writing texts in his blood. His practices reflect diverse constructions of bodies as gifts from parents that require repayment, as products of previous karma, as sources of suffering, and as vehicles for karmic transformation. He advocates practices aimed at extracting practitioners from the cycle of birth and death, and transforming their bodies into those of bodhisattvas. By suggesting that illness not only signals karmic retribution but also provides an opportunity for perfecting bodhisattva virtues of forbearance, Ouyi portrays bodies not only as sources of suffering but also vehicles for realizing the truth of suffering, and thereby escaping such suffering.

Keywords:   Ouyi Zhixu, filial slicing, burning, blood writing, karmic transformation, bodhisattvas, karmic retribution, bodhisattva virtues

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