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Buddhist Women on the Edge: Contemporary Perspectives from the Western Frontier (IO) Paperback – August 22, 1996
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As Buddhism is assimilated into the West, it is imperative that women reshape its patriarchal structures and carve out a fully legitimate, empowering position for themselves. Marianne Dresser brings together the likes of Pema Chodron, Tsultrim Allione, and bell hooks, 30 women in all, who are doing just that. Writers, nuns, scholars, priests--even a martial arts master and a private investigator--discuss women in Buddhism in a range of essays. Several pieces question the suppression of emotion required for selflessness, appealing to the undeniable reality of day-to-day living. Others discuss their experiences as women in Buddhism, whether as nuns or as lay practitioners. Still others address the history of women in Buddhism, racial questions, meditation, poetry, compassion, social activism, and sexual orientation. Most of these writers have been in Buddhism for two or three decades and offer a wealth of experience and insights, targeted at women readers but no less valuable to men. --Brian Bruya
"A superb collection. Not only does this book fill a long-vacant gap, but the quality of work is astonishingly high."
-San Francisco Chronicle
"As this collection reveals, women's perspectives are significantly expanding the American Buddhist agenda. A path-breaking anthology."
"Dresser has astutely laid out the parameter of contemporary Buddhist thought. This book is important reading regardless of your spiritual tradition or perspective. These essays pose questions at the very heart of existence, morality, and prosperity for thoughtful Americans living into the 21st century. Don't miss this one!"
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Many contributors addressed Buddhist psychological issues: p. 108: Tsultrim Allione, "The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism"-quoting Alex Wayman;s "The Buddhist Tantras"-The Kalachakra Tantra: "When the yogin attains the Great Time his recessive female becomes actualized; when the yogini attains this time her recessive male becomes actualized." [i. e. Jung's anima/animus] & p. 109: "It is often those who most adamantly insist that one should go beyond relative considerations about men and women who abuse and undervalue women practitioners the most." Including some great sound bites: p. 237: Michele Benzamin-Masuda, "fertile Grounds for a Warrior"-"I signed a peace treaty with all the warring factions inside myself." And p. 264: Anne Waldman---"We are all just conglomerates of psychological tendencies." And, my favorite essay, "No right, no wrong" in which Pema Chödrön relates Buddhism & psychology: pp. 301-2: Pema Chödrön-"Psychotherapy has a lot to offer Buddhism in terms of the language & because it really deals with people's suffering. And unfortunately, people can misuse Buddhism to try to just get comfortable. The teachings on the nature of emptiness can be misused to numb yourself out and circumvent real issues. But actually Buddhism is about diving into your real issues and fearlessly befriending the difficult and blocked areas and deep-seated habitual patterns that keep us stuck in ignorance and confusion...Buddhism can definitely work with people's real issues, it can be an enormously powerful tool & maybe work in balance with psychotherapy. But if it comes to making Buddhism into psychotherapy, then we risk losing a sense of vast mind and timelessness...of making the mind available to insights that just completely cut the root of confusion. & psychotherapy doesn't do that."
I am constantly in search of new texts in my study of Buddhism, and almost as helpful to me as this book are the bibliographies at the end of each chapter. They have led me to look for other related material, and to continue my discovery of Buddhism.
The authors in this tome are intelligent and well-written. The styles vary from the very academic to the anecdotal, but each brings a shining light to her topic, and makes an eloquent argument. I highly recommend this book.
Not very far into it, but this is my initial impression.
I think this might fit the bill. I thought it was biographical, but instead it's a collection of essays. The first woman is REALLY on the edge! I don't agree with her ideas (i want to study Buddhism because it's a systematic method that has been proven to work consistently - she wants to shake it up and make tons of changes, which sound exciting and affirming but will they work? why waste time re-inventing the wheel? if you need a woman's perspective, go study with a woman - we are VERY fortunate to have that opportunity even in the west nowdays!!) but it's interesting nonetheless.