There is no greater sin than dispassion, no greater virtue than pleasure.1 In Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists and the Art of Self, feminist religious studies theorist and practising Buddhist Anne Klein argues that the Buddhist concepts of selflessness and çünyatä are “fully compatible with dynamic personal agency, as well as with material cause and effect.”2 This chapter seeks to examine this claim by considering the dynamic and embodied aspects of çünyatä (including its energetic ontology): the practice of witnessing and the resulting detachment that the accompanying modification of subjectivity entails. It will be shown-in contradistinction to Glass’s denigration of the more physical forms of pleasure-that the realisation of çünyatä does not require the suppression of emotion (in particular passion) or the denial of pleasure. Indeed, these psycho-physical energetic states are the ‘foundation’ of an interpersonal (intersubjective) ethics without which the cultivation and expression of compassion-an integral goal of Buddhist practice-would not be possible. As previous chapters (particularly Chapters 1 and 7) have articulated, there are resonances between the type of self-cultivation process required in Irigaray’s dual subjectivity and çünyatä practice; with both incorporating models of subtle subjectivity.3 In this chapter, further resonances will be drawn between Irigaray’s proposal of a horizontal transcendence-a reappraisal of Western Christian relations with the spiritual that emphasises embodied participation in establishing relations with alterity-and the experience of emptiness-bliss in Tantric Buddhism. The recognition and
1. Christopher S. George, trans., Candamiahäroñaëa-tantra, Chapters 1-8: A Critical Edition and English Translation, American Oriental Series 59 (New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1974), 31, quoted in Miranda Shaw, Passionate Enlightenment (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), 169. 2. Anne C. Klein, Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists, and the Art of Self (Boston: Beacon Press, 1995), 127. çünyatä.