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RELS 356 Buddhism and Gender

Faculty: Starling
Content: Examination of women and gender in Buddhist mythology, doctrine, practice, and institutions spanning the length of the Buddhist tradition (i.e., 500 BCE to the present), addressing examples from Indian, Southeast Asian, Tibetan, and Japanese Buddhist contexts. Tension between Buddhism’s theoretical discourse on women and gender; actual roles and experiences of women in the Buddhist tradition. Topics include the founding myth of the Buddhist order of nuns and the writings of early nuns; Buddhist discourse on female impurity and the exclusion of women from sacred mountains; female tantric adepts and depictions of the feminine in Tibetan Buddhism; the movement to revive full ordination for nuns in Southeast Asia; the Buddhist feminist movement in contemporary Japan.
Prerequisites: Any 200-level RELS course.
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.