COURTESANS IN BUDDHIST LITERATURE
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The conversion of a courtesan is a popular motif in Buddhist litera ture,1 one that provides dramatic impact. The presence of a beautiful courtesan demonstrates the Buddha’s utter indifference to the sexual charms of women, since a rich and successful courtesan will be the most attractive of women.2 This suggests to the male audience that they, too, should be beyond such attractions. At the same time, though, these stories about courtesans and ascetics still retain their as sociations with the power and auspiciousness of female sexuality.