Women & Gender Politics in Buddhism
Rita Gross, Sylvia
Boorstein, Pema Chödrön, Joan Sutherland, and Polly Young-Eisendrath are but a
few of the notable women now teaching in the West—about Buddhism, gender,
feminism, and feminine principle.
Enjoy this selection of pieces from these and other
writers, from the pages of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma magazines. Individually and together they paint an inspiring picture of the growing, supportive—and supported—role that women are playing as Buddhism's roots reach more deeply into the Western soil.
Just click any article's title to read further.
All the major
religions say that men and women have the same essential nature. Yet in
practice these religions are dominated by men. Irshad Manji, Karma Lekshe
Tsomo, and Patricia Wittberg discuss the struggles of women in three of the
world's major religions.
Women are taking Buddhism away from its patriarchal past, participating
confidently as practitioners, teachers, and leaders. The job is not
finished, says Rita M. Gross, one of Buddhism's leading feminist
thinkers, but the role of American Buddhist women is unprecedented and
may change Buddhism forever.
Shambhala Sun Audio and Q&A with Rita Gross
The Buddhist-feminist icon speaks to the Shambhala Sun's Rod Meade Sperry, and answers readers' via an interactive Q&A.
Like just about any progressive mother, Karen Maezen Miller was torn
when her daughter entered the Barbie stage. But what was worse — Barbie’s
commercialism and hyper-sexuality, or Mom’s grownup judgments and
The Wise Woman Who Talked Back to God
The ancient Buddhist tale of the Seven Wise Sisters has Zen teacher Bonnie Myotai Treace thinking about the koan of gender.
Sandy Boucher on her life as a student of Ruth Denison at Dhamma Dena.
Christina Feldman on the compassion embodied in the bodhisattva Kuan
Yin, and how engendering such compassion is not only good for others,
but for also for us.
Buddhism in America has
changed dramatically in the three decades since the Shambhala Sun was founded. Says
senior editor Barry Boyce, it’s been a fascinating time of growth, gender
revolution, and ever-increasing impact on American society.
There is a key
moment, says Pema Chödrön, when we make the choice between peace and conflict.
In this teaching from her program Practicing Peace in Times of War, she
describes the practice we can do at that very moment to bring peace for
ourselves, for others, and for the world.
Related: Shambhala Sun “Spotlights” Pema
Author Sandy Boucher
introduces the American Buddhist scene—its issues, weaknesses and strengths—to
women interested in taking up Buddhist practice.
The practice of love,
says bell hooks, is the most powerful antidote to the politics of domination.
She traces her thirty-year meditation on love, power, and Buddhism, and
concludes it is only love that transforms our personal relationships and heals
the wounds of oppression.
bell hooks meets with
Thich Nhat Hanh to ask: how do we build a community of love?
Related: Shambhala Sun “Spotlights” bell hooks
How Sharon Salzberg found loving-kindness in the darkest of
Over the course of
nine months—from October, 1995 to June, 1996—Alan Clements had an exceptional series
of conversations with one of the world’s most steadfast and courageous
The student-teacher relationship is always an intimate and
intense one, and who could be closer to the guru than the student who is also
his wife? Diana Mukpo was married to the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a
figure of controversy whose genius surpassed convention, and undoubtedly one of
the great Buddhist teachers of the twentieth century. She talks about her
challenging, inspiring, and entirely surprising life married to the guru.
Related: Diana Mukpo’s Dragon Thunder: My
Life With Chögyam Trungpa
For more reading, see also Shambhala Sun's “Spotlight”
sections devoted to:
• Pema Chodron
• bell hooks
• Becoming the Ally of All Beings, by Sharon Salzberg
• Khandro Rinpoche's Tough Love, by Trish Deitch Rohrer
• How to be a Help, by Judith Lief
• Annie Mirror Heart, by Maura O'Halloran
• We Cannot Stop the Hail, But We Can Be Awake, by Bonnie Myotai Treace
• I Married a Monk, by Sumi Loundon Kim
Rita M. Gross•
Sharon Salzberg •
Bonnie Myotai Treace• Joan Sutherland
• Karen Maezen Miller
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