Buddhist Women and Social Justice
Ideals, Challenges, and Achievements
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: State University of New York Press
BUDDHIST WOMEN AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
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INTRODUCTION. Family, Monastery, and Gender Justice: Reenvisioning Buddhist Institutions
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Buddhist women have actively worked for more than two millennia to implement Buddhist social ideals, yet rarely have their stories been told. Through the tarnished lens of history, men’s achievements have dominated the narrative of Buddhist scholarship and practice...
Part One: Theoretical Foundations for Buddhist Social Action
1. Buddhist Understandings of Subjectivity
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Buddhist materials speak of a subjective intelligence other than reason, for example, one that is associated with intense mindfulness, one that is not a matter of information accretion, but which focuses on another area of subjectivity altogether. The mind-body paradigm has governed much of Western...
2. Reflections on Buddhism, Gender, and Human Rights
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From 1999 to 2002, I worked at the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), based in Hong Kong, as the program officer for human rights education. AHRC is a nongovernmental organization that has historical links with the Christian Conference of Asia, but has been developing independently...
3. Is the Bhiksuni Vinaya Sexist?
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Feminists generally assume that Buddhism is detrimental to women. Despite the Buddha’s spiritual egalitarianism, they cite certain Buddhists’ claims that female rebirth is inferior to male rebirth and references to women as being inclined to lust, aversion, and craving like Mara’s...
4. Transforming Conflict, Transforming Ourselves: Buddhism and Social Liberation
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The world community has become increasingly interdependent. War in one region destabilizes not only neighbors, but the global commons as well. Problems of weapons proliferation, human trafficking, poverty, and disease know...
5. Redefining and Expanding the Self in Conflict Resolution
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In the seventh chapter of the Lotus Su�tra, The Parable of the Phantom City, the Buddha narrates a story to his disciples about a leader who guides a group of people along a difficult and treacherous path toward a place full of rare treasures. After journeying part of the way, the group becomes disheartened...
6. Integrating Feminist Theory and Engaged Buddhism: Counseling Women Survivors of Gender-Based Violence
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In 1995, along with over 30,000 women and a few men from more than 180 countries, I attended the NGO (Nongovernmental Organization) Forum on Women, in Beijing, China. The Forum was held concurrently with the United Nation’s more official End-of-the- Decade Conference on...
Part Two: Women Transforming Buddhist Societies
7. Reclaiming the Robe: Reviving the Bhikkhuni Order in Sri Lanka RANJANI DE SILVA
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S´akyamuni Buddha first began ordaining women in India in the sixth century BCE. His foster mother, Queen Paja patı Gotamı¯, was the first woman he ordained. She became the first...
8. Dharma Education for Women in the Theravada Buddhist Community of Nepal
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Dharma education for women of all ages has been a central feature of the Therava�da Buddhist movement in Nepal from the 1930s to the present. After a review of the social and religious conditions that gave rise to the...
9. Buddhism, Women, and Caste: The Case of the Newar Buddhists of the Kathmandu Valley
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It is natural for modern observers and interested Western Buddhists to ask, “How did caste get into Buddhism?” It is perhaps equally natural for scholars of Buddhism, and especially for an anthropologist, to be tempted to deconstruct this question...
10. Trafficking in Buddhist Girls: Empowerment through Prevention
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Trafficking in human beings is so incomprehensible to many people that it is almost beyond their power to conceptualize.1 Yet if we cannot conceive of the extent of the problem, it will be difficult to conceive of solutions....
11. Khunying Kanitha: Thailand’s Advocate for Women
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The first time I met Khunying Kanitha was during the Second Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women, which was held in 1991 at Thammasat University in Bangkok. I wanted to send five nuns from Jamyang Choling, our monastery in India, to attend a meditation course...
12. Crisis as Opportunity: Nuns and Cultural Change in the Spiti Valley MARGARET COBERLY
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In this chapter, I describe several of the innovative religious education programs for women that have been introduced into the north Indian Himalayan region of Spiti. In particular, I analyze their potential impact on constructs of gender identity among Spiti women and on the reconfiguration of traditional...
13. Spiritual Piety, Social Activism, and Economic Realities: The Nuns of Mantokuji
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While much is known about the daily lives of Buddhist monks in premodern Japan, relatively little is known about the lives of nuns, particularly Jishu� (Time Sect) nuns. The degree to which these women (and female clerics in general) interacted with the secular world around them has been...
14. The Infinite Worlds of Taiwan’s Buddhist Nuns
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Since the mid-1980s, Taiwan has experienced a large-scale religious revival, not only within the traditional popular religious sphere, but also within institutionalized Buddhism and Daoism. This profound cultural phenomenon, heretofore overshadowed by worldwide scholarly and media attention to...
15. Resistance without Borders: An Exploration of Buddhist Nuns across Cultures
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When I began my research on Buddhist nuns, I was excited to explore the links between Asian Buddhism and Western feminism. As a Western Buddhist and a student of women’s studies, this seemed a likely topic for me. I was expecting to write mostly about the ways that Buddhism has...
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Page Count: 286
Publication Year: 2004
Series Title: SUNY series, Feminist Philosophy
Series Editor Byline: Jeffner Allen