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The Sea of Desire

"The Devil in A Flowering Nun" and "Fleeing down the Mountain" are two special Kunqu Plays. Written over three hundred years ago, these two plays pose a bold challenge to China's traditional, feudalistic moral codes and to its conventional, rigorous Buddhist teaching.

Si Fan (The Devil in A Flowering Nun)

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Sent in childhood to a temple by her parents, Sekong has grown into a Buddhist nun. She has lately been brooding with increasing intensity over what she has come to view as the arid life of a Buddhist nun. Being left alone one day in her present dark mood, she resolves to leave the temple permanently to resume a secular life which she intends to live fully as a woman. So decided, she promptly discards her ecclesiastic robes and flees away down the mountain to fetch herself a sweetheart.

Xia Shan (Fleeing Down the Mountain)

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Benwu complains about his parents whose superstition caused them to send him to a Buddhist temple to become a monk. One day he seizes the opportunity of being left alone in the temple and flees down the mountain. On his way down he runs into Sekong, a Buddhist nun, who also has just fled from a nunnery. As they talk they find that they share a desire to resume a secular life. In the end they fall in love and marry each other.

 
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