Enchanting, powerful, horrific, beautiful, wise, deadly, compassionate, seductive. Women in Buddhist story and image are all these things and more. She takes the signs of the ancient goddess – the lotus, the sacred grove, the serpent, the sacrifice – and uses them in astonishing new ways. Her story is one of suffering and great trials, and through it all an unquenchable longing to be free. This beautifully illustrated work is as layered and subversive as mythology itself. Based directly on authentic Buddhist texts, and informed with insights from psychology and comparative mythology, it takes a fresh look at how Buddhist women have been depicted by men and how they have depicted themselves.
Although historically marginalized, Buddhist nuns are taking their place in modern Buddhism. Like the monks, Buddhist nuns live by an ancient system of monastic law, the Vinaya. This work investigates various areas of uncertainty and controversy in how the Vinaya is to be understood and applied today.
The First Council was a critical turning point in Buddhist history, defining the direction Buddhism was to take after the death of its founder. Here is the account from the Mahīśāsaka Vinaya, translated from the Chinese canon.
While discussion on women’s role in the Sangha proceeds, those who most need to take part in the discussion — the monks — are conspicuously absent. The issue is not so much a dialogue as a call to the darkness, for a sympathetic hearing that is just not there.
Ordination is more than a change in lifestyle. It is a fundamental shift in the orientation of one’s very being. While denied bhikkhuni ordination, women are forever excluded from the heart of the Buddha’s community.
Through careful attention to the earliest Buddhist teachings, preserved in scriptures in Pali, Chinese, Tibetan, and Sanskrit, we can not only come closer to the Buddha’s original message, but can discern the teachings shared among all Buddhist traditions.
Fifteen hundred years ago, Buddhist nuns from Sri Lanka braved the long sea voyage to China in order to introduce the authentic bhikkhuni ordination lineage. Here are their stories, translated from the ancient Chinese histories.
The search goes on for something that we can identify as the earliest Vinaya, the principles of monastic conduct that have set the standard for Buddhist monastics from the Buddha until now. For scholars this is part of the enigmatically meaningful need to search for the origins of things. For myself as a practicing monk, it …