The Carnal Prayer Mat
In the three hundred years since its initial publication, Li Yu's The Carnal Prayer Mat has been widely read in China, where it is recognized as a benchmark of erotic literature and currently enjoys the distinction of being a banned-in-Beijing classic. The story centers on Scholar Vesperus, a handsome orphan and student of Zen. Before taking his monastic vows, Vesperus embarks on a career of licentiousness. His adventures as "hero of the boudoir, a champion of sex" take both comic and calamitous turns, until eventually he attains "enlightenment on the carnal prayer mat".
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