Buddhist Women and Social Justice

Ideals, Challenges, and Achievements

Edited by Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Subjects: Women In Religion, Women's Studies, Religion, Buddhism
Series: SUNY series, Feminist Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791462546, 286 pages, October 2004
Hardcover : 9780791462539, 286 pages, October 2004

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Table of contents


Family, Monastery, and Gender Justice: Reenvisioning Buddhist Institutions
Karma Lekshe Tsomo

PART ONE: Theoretical Foundations for Buddhist Social Action

1. Buddhist Understandings of Subjectivity
Anne Carolyn Klein

2. Reflections on Buddhism, Gender, and Human Rights
Lin Chew

3. Is the Bhiksuni Vinaya Sexist?
Karma Lekshe Tsomo

4. Transforming Conflict, Transforming Ourselves: Buddhism and Social Liberation
Paula Green

5. Redefining and Expanding the Self in Conflict Resolution
Meenakshi Chhabra

6. Integrating Feminist Theory and Engaged Buddhism: Counseling Women Survivors of Gender-based Violence
Kathryn L. Norsworthy

PART TWO: Women Transforming Buddhist Societies

7. Reclaiming the Robe: Reviving the Bhikkhuni Order in Sri Lanka
Ranjani de Silva

8. Dharma Education for Women in the Theravada Buddhist Community of Nepal
Sarah LeVine

9. Buddhism, Women, and Caste: The Case of the Newar Buddhists of the Kathmandu Valley
David N. Gellner

10. Trafficking in Buddhist Girls: Empowerment through Prevention
Khandu Lama

11. Khunying Kanitha: Thailand's Advocate for Women
Karma Lekshe Tsomo

12. Crisis as Opportunity: Nuns and Cultural Change in the Spiti Valley
Margaret Coberly

13. Spiritual Piety, Social Activism, and Economic Realities: The Nuns of Mantokuji
Diana E. Wright

14. The Infinite Worlds of Taiwan's Buddhist Nuns
Elise Anne DeVido

15. Resistance without Borders: An Exploration of Buddhist Nuns across Cultures
Caren I. Ohlson


List of Contributors


Looks at Buddhist women's activism for social change from the time of Buddha to the present day.


This book on engaged Buddhism focuses on women working for social justice in a wide range of Buddhist traditions and societies. Contributors document attempts to actualize Buddhism's liberating ideals of personal growth and social transformation. Dealing with issues such as human rights, gender-based violence, prostitution, and the role of Buddhist nuns, the work illuminates the possibilities for positive change that are available to those with limited power and resources. Integrating social realities and theoretical perspectives, the work utilizes feminist interpretations of Buddhist values and looks at culturally appropriate means of instigating change.

Karma Lekshe Tsomo is Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego. She is the author of Sisters in Solitude: Two Traditions of Buddhist Monastic Ethics for Women and the editor of Buddhist Women Across Cultures: Realizations, both also published by SUNY Press.