Is the Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

Rita M. Gross

in A Garland of Feminist Reflections

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780520255852
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943667 | DOI:
Is the Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

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Buddhism is free of the myths and symbols that make some other religions so intractable to feminist reforms. In philosophical views and meditation practices, Buddhism has tremendous potential for deconstructing gender, but all that potential has led to very few results. This chapter considers three topics in looking at the half-full, half-empty glass: first, Buddhism's potential for deconstructing gender; second, some reasons why this potential did not come to fruition historically; and third, some of the changing situations in the contemporary Buddhist world, both Asian and Western. It reveals that Buddhist teachings on interdependence, egolessness, and emptiness mean that nothing exists by itself or has inherent, independent reality, which is what Buddhists mean when humans claim that things are illusory and dreamlike. The primary purpose of Buddhist discipline and practice is to eliminate suffering, so if it is determined that something causes suffering, Buddhists should try to overcome that obstacle. That is why Buddhists held out the promise of rebirth as men to women suffering under male dominance.

Keywords: Buddhism; feminist reforms; philosophical views; deconstructing gender; Buddhist teachings

Chapter.  8569 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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