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Gunn, R.W. (1999). Dualism, Splitting, Gender, and Transformation. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 4(4):413-431.

(1999). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 4(4):413-431

Dualism, Splitting, Gender, and Transformation

Robert W. Gunn, Ph.D.

Buddhist dualism and psychological splitting share a similarly critical posture toward the human tendency to divide reality into opposites and contradictions. Buddhism and feminist thought share a similarly critical posture toward the common tendency to reify inherited notions of reality into a fixed view of things, and both Buddhism and feminist thought encourage a transformation of consciousness that goes beyond socially constructed identities, especially the identity of male and female.

In a koan from Zen Buddhism, the dynamics of dualism, splitting, and gender assumptions are manifested in the story of “Seijo's Soul is Separated.” An analysis of the story from Buddhist, feminist, and psychodynamic perspectives sheds light on the ways in which gendering and deconstructing of gender, leading to transformation, might take place.

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