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Frequently Asked Questions

Well, maybe not frequently, but anyway, questions I've been asked*...

What is meant by "feminist Buddhism?" Could you just give me a hint or two? (I don't want a discussion.)

It's a pretty tall order, boiling feminist issues down to "a hint or two." But for starters, I think a Buddhism informed by feminist means more emphasis on...

  • valuing exploration, vision and change, to correct for institutionalized hindrances like sexism
  • working for justice within Buddhism for example more opportunities for women to e educated and ordained as nuns and priests
  • balance between effort and relaxing into original perfection (see Anne Carolyn Klein, Meeting the Great Bliss Queen)
  • relationship including childrearing and community as a practice
  • everyday life as practice
  • respect for the body, not disgust at it (see Friedman & Moon, Being Bodies: Buddhist Women on the Paradox of Embodiment)
  • affirmation of life (in contrast to valuing escape from it)

This is all just off the top of my head, I'm sure ther's a lot I will think of, as soon as I upload this, that is just as important. The whole SkyDancer site is my ongoing exploration of the topic.

(In particular I recommend Rita Gross, Buddhism after Patriarchy for a thorough exploration of the idea of a feminist Buddhism. On page 3, Gross says "My primary task in this book is a feminist revalorization of Buddhism. In feminist theology in general the task of 'revalorization' involves working with the categories and concepts of a traditional religion int he light of feminist values.")

What other themes do other feminists out there see as important in a feminist Buddhism? Tell me your thoughts?

What is "mindfulness?"

This is an important question; I hear many people misusing the term, and when I started investigating Buddhism I didn't understand it either. Here's an attempt to describe my current understanding.

* Do you have questions about feminist Buddhism? Email them to me at catherine@loudzen.com.

 © Copyright Catherine Holmes Clark 2001 and 2002. Last Updated 9 March 2002