This book explores historical, textual, and social questions relating to the position and experience of women and gay people in the Buddhist world from India and Tibet to Sri Lanka, China, and Japan. It focuses on four key areas: Buddhist history, contemporary culture, Buddhist symbols, and homosexuality, and it covers Buddhism's entire history, from its origins to the present day. The result of original and innovative research, the author offers new perspectives on the history of the attitudes toward, and of the self-perception of, women in both ancient and modern Buddhist societies. He explores key social issues such as abortion, he examines the use of rhetoric and symbols in Buddhist texts and cultures, and he discusses the neglected subject of Buddhism and homosexuality.
José Ignacio Cabezón is Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Iliff School of Theology in Denver. He is the author of A Dose of Emptiness: An Annotated Translation of the sTong thun chen mo of mKhas grub dGe legs dpal bzang, also published by SUNY Press.
"It fills an important gap in the field—a serious, textually close reading of gender's influence on Buddhist thought and vice versa. " — Anne Klein