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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.



Women's Liberation

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.


How American Women Are Changing Buddhism

American 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.

The Dharma of Barbie

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 concepts?

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.


Woman to Woman

Sandy Boucher on her life as a student of Ruth Denison at Dhamma Dena.


She Who Hears the Cries of the World

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.

Celebrating Buddhism in America: 30 Great Years

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.


Choosing Peace

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 Chodron

The Dance of Gender: A Woman's Guide to American Buddhism

Author Sandy Boucher introduces the American Buddhist scene—its issues, weaknesses and strengths—to women interested in taking up Buddhist practice.

Toward a Worldwide Culture of Love

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.

Building a Community of Love: bell hooks and Thich Nhat Hanh

bell hooks meets with Thich Nhat Hanh to ask: how do we build a community of love?

Related: Shambhala Sun “Spotlights” bell hooks
 

To Love Abundantly

How Sharon Salzberg found loving-kindness in the darkest of times.

Conversations with Aung San Suu Kyi

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 political dissidents.
 

Married to the Guru

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

Plus: 
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



Links:

Rita M. Gross
Sylvia Boorstein
Sharon Salzberg
Pema Chödrön
Blanche Hartman
Rita Gross
Judy Lief
Bonnie Myotai Treace
Joan Sutherland
Karen Maezen Miller



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