Sex and Buddhist Cosmology

José Cabezón, UC Santa Barbara

Indian Buddhism Lectures
co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies

Like most religious literatures, Indian Buddhist sources espouse a complex theory of human embodiment. Found in bits and pieces throughout canonical and post-canonical literature, these theories are often elaborated through narratives about how human beings "get physical" and become sexually differentiated. This lecture examines some of these sources with the goal of gleaning something about Buddhist views on sex. The talk argues that Buddhist monasticism is, among other things, a mimetic reenactment of life in the early Buddhist universe.

José Cabezón is the XIVth Dalai Lama Professor of Tibetan Buddhism and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and currently Chair of the Religious Studies Department. Trained at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he formerly held positions at Carleton College, Ohio State University & Iliff School of Theology in Denver. His many publications include Buddhism, Sexuality and Gender (1992), A Dose of Emptiness: An Annotated Translation of mKhas Grub rje's sTong thun chen mo (1992), Buddhism and Language: A Study of Indo-Tibetan Scholasticism (1994), Tibetan Literature (1995), Identity and the Politics of Scholarship in the Study of Religion (2006), and Tibetan Ritual (2010), as well as numerous papers on Buddhist philosophy, sexuality in Buddhism, Buddhist Studies, and many other topics. He is also involved in the Sera Project, a multimedia, web-based initiative to document one of Tibet’s most important monasteries (

Thursday, April 21, 2011 | 5:15 pm — 6:30 pm
Encina Hall West - Room 208

Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford
Department of Religious Studies