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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Women changing Buddhism in the world--very fine, March 28, 2005
This review is from: Women's Buddhism, Buddhism's Women -- Tradition, Revision, Renewal (Paperback)
This is a collection of over 30 pieces by and about Buddhist women. It is based on papers from "Women Changing Contemporary Buddhism" Conference. Some are scholarly, some biographical (noted with symbol in the Table of Contents). Many of the latter were interviews by Martine Batchelor (author of "Walking on Lotus Flowers"). It includes pieces on many countries both Eastern and Western, providing an eye-opening breadth of view. It includes considerable material on ordination and the relationships among different categories of nuns, monks, and lay practitioners. Some of the contributors are well known in the West (e.g. Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, Martine Batchelor, and Jan Willis). The topics also have large scope: teachers/teachings, political & social change, the arts, and health. Some of the articles were outstanding, though each reader will have differing favorites. I particularly liked Amy Schmidt's piece on Dipa Ma, Melissa Kerin's on Tibetan nuns now creating sand mandalas and thangkas and visiting the West, Kate Wheeler's sensitive piece on motherhood, and the last piece about famed Tibetan female doctor Kandro Yangkar. But my favorite of all was Hi-ah Park's fascinating piece on how she became a Buddhist Shaman. There's a wealth of material here-something for everyone interested in Buddhist women. I think it makes much headway towards (p. 5): The hypothesis of this book: "that, in the contemporary setting, women are playing a significant and even decisive role in the way forms, practices, and institutions of Buddhism are changing to meet the needs and demands of life in late 20th and early 21st century culture." Supporting the editor's contention that we (p. 6): "need new and more efficacious forms of Buddhist practices in the contemporary setting," contributors have made some profound and potentially far-reaching conclusions concerning adaptation of Buddhism to the West:

p. 98: Rotraut Wurst: "Many Western women don't normally retain many Asian elements in their Buddhist practice."

p. 330: Melissa Kerin quoting Alan Spoonberg: "Buddhist attitudes towards women were shaped, in part at least, in reference to the social circumstances of the day."

p. 339: Judy Dworkin quoting the Dalai Lama in "Freedom in Exile": "It is not sufficient for religious people to be involved with prayer. Rather they are morally obliged to contribute all they can in solving the world's problems...For what is religion? As far a I am concerned, any deed done with good motivation is a religious act. On the other hand, a gathering of people I a temple or church who do not have good motivation are not performing a religious act when they pray together."

p. 419: Kate Lila Wheeler: "...'the take it or leave it' part of the doctrine. Even the Buddha emphasized in one of his sermons that his followers should test his theories, take what they needed, and leave the rest."

p. 431: Theanvy Kuoch: "Children are disrespectful of parents who no longer teach them right from wrong and who do not have the energy to correct them."

This is an important and valuable book for world-wide Buddhists and feminists alike.
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Women's Buddhism, Buddhism's Women -- Tradition, Revision, Renewal
Women's Buddhism, Buddhism's Women -- Tradition, Revision, Renewal by Ellison Banks Findly (Paperback - June 15, 2000)
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