Special Issue "Women in Buddhism"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Lisa Battaglia

Department of Religion, Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive Birmingham, AL 35229-2251, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Women in Buddhism; postcolonial, feminist, and ethnographic approaches to the study of women and religion; critical methods in the study of religion; religion and the body across religious traditions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The topic of women in Buddhism spans a large geographical and historical expanse, beginning some 2500 years ago during the lifetime of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Throughout the history of Buddhism, women—their status within the traditions, their contributions, and their myriad roles—have been a subject of attention and concern.  The present volume seeks to examine how women’s roles in Buddhism have changed over time, how the women’s ordination movement has developed in specific contexts, and how women have changed the landscape of Buddhism, both as practitioners (lay and monastic) and as scholars in the field.

(1) This issue will examine the changing landscape of women in Buddhism;

(2) It will consider existing literature on the topic and will contribute to new avenues of research and scholarship.

Prof. Dr. Lisa Battaglia
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Buddhism
  • Women
  • Bhikkhuni
  • Nuns
  • Laywomen
  • Gender
  • Body
  • Bodhisattva
  • Enlightenment
  • Feminism
  • Theravada
  • Mahayana
  • Vajrayana
  • Ordination
  • Sexuality
  • Therigatha

Published Papers (6 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-6
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Other

Open AccessArticle Dōgen and the Feminine Presence: Taking a Fresh Look into His Sermons and Other Writings
Religions 2018, 9(8), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080232
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 3 July 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
PDF Full-text (484 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Dōgen’s gender-egalitarian stance on women to attain awakening in their zazen practice is well known. At the same time, a nagging suspicion lingers on among some scholars that he grew increasingly misogynistic in his old age. In this present study, which focuses on
[...] Read more.
Dōgen’s gender-egalitarian stance on women to attain awakening in their zazen practice is well known. At the same time, a nagging suspicion lingers on among some scholars that he grew increasingly misogynistic in his old age. In this present study, which focuses on Dōgen’s sermons compiled in the Record of Eihei (Eihei kōroku), the Shōbōgenzō, and other writings related to women, we find that even after Dōgen moved to Eiheiji, his stance on women remained consistent. Not only did he readily respond to his female disciples’ requests to give special sermons in memory of their parents, but also positively saw women’s presence in the development of the Buddhist tradition. Through this study it also becomes clear that Dōgen came to embrace a more flexible view on filial piety in his later years, as he deepened his reflection on this matter—the sense of gratitude one feels for one’s parents is concomitant with nurturing one’s compassion. The aspect of compassion that sustained Dōgen’s life of teaching begins to loom large. It was his Chinese master Nyojō (Rujing) who emphasized compassion as the pillar of the zazen practice. Two sermons Dōgen delivered on the anniversary of his father’s death, moreover, have given the scholars new information concerning his parentage. The focus on the aspect of "feminine presence” in Dōgen inadvertently (or naturally?) leads to the heart of Dōgen’s own identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Buddhism)
Open AccessArticle Revisiting the “Secret Consort” (gsang yum) in Tibetan Buddhism
Religions 2018, 9(6), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9060179
Received: 14 April 2018 / Revised: 23 May 2018 / Accepted: 25 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (351 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article revisits the question, first introduced by feminist scholars in the mid-1990s, about whether sexual practices within Buddhist tantra (heterosexually conceived) are empowering or exploitative to women. The purpose here is to complicate this question, given the different geographic settings and cultural
[...] Read more.
This article revisits the question, first introduced by feminist scholars in the mid-1990s, about whether sexual practices within Buddhist tantra (heterosexually conceived) are empowering or exploitative to women. The purpose here is to complicate this question, given the different geographic settings and cultural contexts in which consort relationships have been embedded—from eastern Tibet to North America—and to nuance our understanding of the potential and pitfalls of sexuality in tantric contexts. To do so, I query the dynamics of secrecy and sexuality in tantric practice, examining twentieth century examples of female practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism who have participated in such relationships and thereby highlighting the localized ways that the “secret consort” (gsang yum) has been invoked as a social role. This issue is especially relevant today in light of the global #MeToo movement and recent disclosures of sexual improprieties and alleged abuse involving Tibetan teachers at the head of Buddhist communities in Europe and North America. For this reason, to conclude, I discuss shifting perspectives on sexuality as Buddhist tantra has spread beyond Asia and draw attention to current voices calling for greater transparency and community accountability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Buddhism)
Open AccessArticle Women and Ultramodern Buddhism in Australia
Religions 2018, 9(5), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9050147
Received: 5 April 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 24 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
PDF Full-text (275 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Buddhists started arriving in Australia in large numbers during the mid-1800s, and the first Buddhist societies and centres began to be formed in the mid-late 1900s. This paper examines the role of women in bringing Buddhism to and establishing it in Australia. Women
[...] Read more.
Buddhists started arriving in Australia in large numbers during the mid-1800s, and the first Buddhist societies and centres began to be formed in the mid-late 1900s. This paper examines the role of women in bringing Buddhism to and establishing it in Australia. Women have featured prominently in a small amount of scholarship, including Paul Croucher’s (1989) Buddhism in Australia: 1848–1988 and Cristina Rocha and Michelle Barker’s (eds. 2011) edited volume on Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. This paper draws on these sources, but primarily on more recent digital oral histories of prominent Buddhist women and men in Australia, recorded as part of the first stage of the Buddhist Life Stories of Australia project in 2014–2015. These first-hand accounts bring the early female pioneers of Buddhism in Australia to life and provide a rich re-telling of this history with emphasis on women’s contributions to it. We also argue that these women’s experiences can best be understood through a framework of ‘ultramodern Buddhism,’ built upon theories of modern and post-modern Buddhism, as many of these women were trailblazers bridging dualisms of tradition and modernity, Asia and the West, and adhering to both feminist and Buddhist principles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Buddhism)
Open AccessArticle “Mountains, Rivers, and the Whole Earth”: Koan Interpretations of Female Zen Practitioners
Religions 2018, 9(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9040125
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
PDF Full-text (303 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Though recent years have seen a critical reappraisal of Buddhist texts from the angle of performance and gender studies, examinations of Zen Buddhist encounter dialogues (better known under their edited form as “koan”) within this framework are rare. In this article, I first
[...] Read more.
Though recent years have seen a critical reappraisal of Buddhist texts from the angle of performance and gender studies, examinations of Zen Buddhist encounter dialogues (better known under their edited form as “koan”) within this framework are rare. In this article, I first use Rebecca Schneider’s notion of “reenactment” to characterize interpretative strategies developed by contemporary female Zen practitioners to contest the androcentrism found in koan commentary. Drawing on The Hidden Lamp (2013), I suggest that there are two ways of reading encounter dialogues. One of these, the “grasping way,” tends to be confrontational and full of masculine and martial imagery. The other, the “granting way,” foregrounds the (female) body and the family as sites of transmission, stressing connection instead of opposition. I then argue that these “granting” readings of encounter dialogues gesture towards a Zen lineage that is universal, extended to everyone, even to the non-human. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Buddhism)
Open AccessArticle Transcending Gender: Female Non-Buddhists’ Experiences of the Vipassanā Meditation Retreat
Religions 2018, 9(4), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9040090
Received: 20 February 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
PDF Full-text (230 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Female non-Buddhists have been writing detailed descriptions of their personal experiences in vipassanā meditation retreats since the 1960s. These memoirists relate to the English-speaking world their experience of the retreat process and self-transformations. Early memoirists traveled Asia in order to learn and practice
[...] Read more.
Female non-Buddhists have been writing detailed descriptions of their personal experiences in vipassanā meditation retreats since the 1960s. These memoirists relate to the English-speaking world their experience of the retreat process and self-transformations. Early memoirists traveled Asia in order to learn and practice vipassanā meditation. These memoirs are as much about the meditation practice itself as living in an Asian culture. The mindfulness craze, beginning in the late 2000s, brought with it increased awareness of vipassanā practice. At this time we see a renewed interest in recording vipassanā retreat experiences, but these are even more personal and not concerned with travel, as many vipassanā meditation retreats are now available outside of Asia. I consider four female memoirists: Marie Byles and Jane Hamilton-Smith, writing in the 1960s and 1970s, and Raji Lukkoor, and Jennifer Howd, whose memoirs appeared in 2010 and 2014, respectively. These women’s writings demonstrate that, although non-Buddhist female meditators understand vipassanā meditation as a nongendered practice, it is still an embodied, gendered experience. Each of these women has different reactions to the female gender on the retreat, from outrage at gender discrimination to acceptance of it, from judgment of female teachers and meditators to revealing a more feminine self. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Buddhism)

Other

Jump to: Research

Open AccessFeature PaperEssay Bowing to the Dharma: Japanese Buddhist Women Leaders & Healers
Religions 2017, 8(11), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8110247
Received: 28 September 2017 / Revised: 20 October 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
PDF Full-text (229 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The prodigious stream of Japanese Buddhist women in roles of leadership and healing extends the length of Japanese Buddhist history. This article will highlight the transformative power of bowing that helped galvanize Sōtō Zen nuns on the eve of the twentieth century and
[...] Read more.
The prodigious stream of Japanese Buddhist women in roles of leadership and healing extends the length of Japanese Buddhist history. This article will highlight the transformative power of bowing that helped galvanize Sōtō Zen nuns on the eve of the twentieth century and feature twentieth-century leaders who institutionalized their disciplined commitments. It will also offer a window into the creative healing practices that characterizes women’s activity in the home. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Buddhism)
Back to Top