4. Women in Buddhism

It is possible to spend many years as a student of Zen or Buddhism without encountering much of the history or teachings of Buddhist women. Nonetheless, there have been powerful and sincere women practitioners and teachers since the time of the Buddha, and it is clear that for the last 2,500 years, women have been practicing and waking up, often in the face of tremendous societal oppression and barriers to formal study. As Buddhism has come to the West, there has been a flowering of women teachers in all traditions, and many scholars are studying and exploring the history of women within Buddhism. The Soto Zen teachers in America have recently recognized the role of women in our tradition by creating a document of women ancestors, honoring the women throughout history whose practice still inspires us. Whether you are male or female, knowing the stories and teachings of these courageous women can deepen your own practice.

Books

 
Title
Description
Author/Lecturer
Date

Download
Zen Seeds
Teachings by a contemporary, female Japanese Soto Zen teacher and priest
Shundo Aoyama
Mar 15, 1991
Feminism and Religion
Rita Gross’s reflections on the importance of a feminist approach to religious study and practice.
Rita M. Gross
Oct 31, 1996
Subtle Sound
Teachings by an American Rinzai teacher who brought forward a deeply feminine (but also tough!) way of practice. An i...
Sherry Chayat
Nov 19, 1996
Being Bodies
Wonderful collection of personal essays on the body in practice.
Sue Moon
Aug 28, 1997
Women Living Zen
A remarkable study of Soto Zen Buddhist nuns, based on both historical evidence and ethnographic data. Paula Arai sho...
Paula Arai
Aug 26, 1999
Buddhism After Patriarchy
A sophisticated and essential discussion of Buddhism from a feminist perspective.
Rita Gross
Nov 17, 1992
Buddhist Women on the Edge
Well-written, highly thoughtful essays from many contemporary female teachers and practitioners, exploring gender, cl...
Marianne Dresser
Aug 22, 1996
Women in Buddhism
Explorations of many Sanskrit and Chinese sutras and the role, image, and position of women and women’s practice in...
Diana Y. Paul
Apr 23, 1985
Meetings with Remarkable Women
A collection of interviews and profiles of some of the most significant first-generation American women teachers.
Lenore Friedman
Aug 15, 2000
Daughters of Emptiness
The poems and life stories of 48 Chinese Buddhist nuns over 16 centuries. Much of the poetry is exquisitely beautiful...
Beata Grant
Jun 15, 2003
First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening
A very important book. Translation and discussion of the poems of the Therigata, written by the first women to be ord...
Susan Murcott
Feb 14, 2006
Women of the Way
Based on what historical evidence is known about female awakened practitioners since the time of the Buddha, Sallie T...
Sallie Tisdale
Mar 13, 2007
Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens, and Macho Masters
Biographies and stories of Zen women in China, Korea, and Japan, with commentary by Grace Schireson. An important col...
Grace Schireson
Oct 27, 2008

Audio

 
Title
Description
Author/Lecturer
Date

Download
Stories of Zen Women
Stories of Zen Women
Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Jun 25, 2005
Suffering of Women
Talk of Suffering of Women and Buddhism
Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Jun 23, 2005
Women in Buddhism (Talk 1 of 4)
A series of talks on women in Buddhism
Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Mar 01, 2006
Women in Buddhism (Talk 2 of 4)
A series of talks on women in Buddhism
Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Mar 08, 2006
Women in Buddhism (Talk 3 of 4)
A series of talks on women in Buddhism
Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Mar 22, 2006
Women in Buddhism (Talk 4 of 4)
A series of talks on women in Buddhism.
Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Mar 29, 2006
Women Teachers in Buddhism
Zoketsu reads from the writings of Maureen Stuart Roshi, Ayya Khema, and Sue Moon.
Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Mar 26, 2006
Women in Buddhism 2009 - 1
First in a series on Women in Buddhism 2009 based on two texts: Grace Shireson's "Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron ...
Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Nov 05, 2009
Women in Buddhism 2009 - 2
Meg Alexander leads the seminar in the second dharma talk on Women in Buddhism referencing Grace Shireson's "Zen Wome...
Meg Alexander
Nov 12, 2009
Women in Buddhism 2009 - 3
Sue Moon leads the seminar in the third dharma talk on Women in Buddhism referencing Grace Shireson's "Zen Women: Bey...
Sue Moon
Nov 19, 2009
Women in Buddhism 2009 - 4
Fourth in a series on Women in Buddhism 2009 based on two texts: Grace Shireson's "Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron...
Norman Fischer
Dec 03, 2009
Women in Buddhism 2009 - 5
Chris Fortin leads the seminar in the fifth talk of a series on Women in Buddhism 2009 based on two texts: Grace Shir...
Chris Fortin
Dec 10, 2009
Women in Buddhism 2009 - 6
Sixth and final in a series on Women in Buddhism 2009 based on two texts: Grace Shireson's "Zen Women: Beyond Tea Lad...
Norman Fischer
Dec 17, 2009

Texts

 
Title
Description
Author/Lecturer
Date

Download
Suffering of Women
Talk of Suffering of Women and Buddhism
Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Jun 23, 2005
Women in Buddhism 2009 - 5
Chris Fortin leads the seminar in the fifth talk of a series on Women in Buddhism 2009 based on two texts: Grace Shir...
Chris Fortin
Dec 10, 2009
Women in Buddhism 2009 - 6
Sixth and final in a series on Women in Buddhism 2009 based on two texts: Grace Shireson's "Zen Women: Beyond Tea Lad...
Norman Fischer
Dec 17, 2009
A Few Koans About Women
Koans from the upcoming collection, compiled and edited by Sue Moon and Florence Caplow, of Zen Koans about women.
Florence Caplow Sue Moon
Oct 31, 2010
Getting the Marrow by Doing Obeisance
The title of this essay is taken from a well known story, in which Bodhidharma asks four disciples to state their und...
Dogen Zenji
Oct 31, 2010