Changing Gender Roles in American Buddhism

It is even possible now to identify at least two generations of American Buddhist women teachers, with a third just on the horizon. It would be helpful to offer some generalizations about these many women teachers, but for the most part, it is their diversity and lack of homogeneity that makes them so interesting. On the other hand, we can generalize about how the two generations of women teachers in America have affected American Buddhism. Clearly, the more recent group of women teachers has brought an insistence on equality, a strong criticism of male hierarchical patterns of authority, an identification of misogynist texts and practices, and a concern for eliminating sexist language from Buddhism. This view has been promoted and intensified by the patience and spiritual perspective of the first generation. Together, they have mutually begun to bring about an American Buddhism that is more open to women's needs, more receptive to women's spiritual leadership, and less dependent on formerly hierarchical, male-dominated Buddhist social institutions.

8/13/2014 4:00:00 AM
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