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First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening Paperback – February 14, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Parallax Press; 2nd edition (February 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188837554X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888375541
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Murcott was draw to Buddhism as a peace activist in Boston in the late 1960's. She traveled to Japan, Australia, and Hawaii to study Zen and Buddhist philosophy, and spent more than 10 years researching and translating this text. She was a co-founder and editor of Kahawai: Journal of Women and Zen for many years, and taught meditation at Wellesley College while completing her graduate studies in environmental engineering at M.I.T. Currently, Susan Murcott is a professor of environmental engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T) and has become a noted expert in safe drinking water technologies for developing countries.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Hutchinson on June 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
In the past half year I have been studying Buddhism, and of all the books I have read, this is my favorite. I love how it combines primary source poetry, lovingly translated to preserve its measure and tone, with historical background that covers each Buddhist woman studied, as well as placing her in her original historical context. A well-reseached work, the author has extensive footnotes allowing the reader to follow up on particular items of interest. I highly recommend this book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
First Buddhist Women: Poems And Stories Of Awakening tells the true story of the wives, mothers, teachers, courtesans, prostitutes, and travelers who became the first female followers of the Buddha. Professor Susan Murcott offers a translation and extensive commentary upon the Therigatha, the earliest know collection of women's religious poetry, and contemplates issues of spiritual enlightenment and societal demands that are as important today as they were thousands of years ago. First Buddhist Women is written with a decidedly objective eye, observing equally both the positive aspects that Buddhism brought to the lives of women, particularly those women who pursued enlightenment or joined the sangha, and the negative aspects, especially those who were in effect widowed when their husbands renounced the earthly world following Buddha's example. Highly recommended for women's and Buddhist studies shelves.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent overview of early Buddhist nuns and enlightened laywomen from the time of Shakyamuni Buddha through to a few centuries after his mahaparinirvana. The author's skill in translating their poetry into intelligible, readable modern language is excellent. The book gives a fair view of the lot of women in both primitive Buddhism and lat Vedic cultures with neither radical feminist rhetoric nor patriarchal sugar coating. A must read for all Western Buddhists, male and female.
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By Michael Dixon on October 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author has beautifully woven the stories of the poets/arhats into the book. This adds in a very real sense to our understanding of the lives, aspirations and realisations of these great women and early Buddhists.
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