Women in Buddhism

Kim Gutschow

in Buddhism

ISBN: 9780195393521
Published online April 2012 | | DOI:
Women in Buddhism


The very existence of a “Women and Buddhism” entry but no “Men in Buddhism” entry implies a set of methodological lacunae in Buddhist studies. On the one hand, Buddhist studies have often proceeded as if the history of men in Buddhism stands in for Buddhist history, with little effort made to mention or recover the significance of women. On the other hand, systematic methodological choices, such as the discounting of feminist analysis and the privileging of text over other sources of knowledge, have exacerbated the tendency to elide the role of women in Buddhism. This elision of women, or their marginalization, in Buddhist analyses where “man” or “male” is assumed to represent “human” has prompted a countersurge of analyses. These latter analyses have found ample evidence for the centrality of gender and women in shaping Buddhist society and soteriology. Although works are now available that cover the role of women and gender in most Buddhist eras or societies, these have only scratched the surface of an extraordinarily rich set of material and questions. It remains to be seen how well Buddhist scholarship can give gender and women their proper place in developing its central concerns.

Article.  9855 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism ; Tibetan Buddhism ; Zen Buddhism

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