Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Women and Buddhism

  • Ellison B. FindlyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9183

The Buddha warns against “walking in the jungle of opinion,” suggesting that all concepts of the self are nothing but cultural constructs imposed on various experiences of the mind-body continuum. In this way, then, as Buddhism moves from country to country, the Buddhist view of the human condition derived from early experience sheds its old “constructs” or cultural trappings and, in its accommodative mode, takes on new ones.

In exploring the place of women in Buddhism, there is canonical evidence that the Buddha held a positive view of women as potential beings of enlightenment but that this view came to be reframed within more negative Brahmanic constructs contemporary to the canon’s compilation (Findly 1999). Thus, the self-understanding and self-esteem of women engaged in Buddhist practice has varied considerably from culture to culture and is at high “therapeutic” levels in environments like that of the North America where women are [theoretically] free and religiously...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bartholomeusz, T. (1994). Women under the Bo tree. Cambridge, UK: University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boucher, S. (1985). Turning the wheel: American women creating the new Buddhism. San Francisco: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  3. Cabezon, J. I. (Ed.). (1985). Buddhism, sexuality, and gender. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  4. Dresser, M. (Ed.). (1996). Buddhist women on the edge: Contemporary perspectives from the western frontier. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.Google Scholar
  5. Findly, E. (1993). Ananda’s case for women. International Journal of Indian Studies, 3(2), 1–31.Google Scholar
  6. Findly, E. (1999). Women and the arahant issue in early Pali literature. Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 15(1), 57–76.Google Scholar
  7. Findly, E. (2000). Women teachers of women: Patacara and early nuns ‘worthy of my confidence’. In E. Findly (Ed.), Women’s Buddhism: Buddhism’s women. Boston: Wisdom Publications.Google Scholar
  8. Friedman, L. (1987). Meetings with remarkable women: Buddhist teachers in America. Boston: Shambala Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Friedman, L., & Moon, S. (1997). Being bodies: Buddhist women on the paradox of embodiment. Boston: Shambala Publications.Google Scholar
  10. Gross, R. (1993). Buddhism after patriarchy: A feminist history, analysis, and reconstruction of Buddhism. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  11. Horner, I. B. (1990). Women under primitive Buddhism. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.Google Scholar
  12. Klein, A. C. (1995). Meeting the great bliss queen: Buddhists, feminists, and the art of the self. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  13. Murcott, S. (1999). The first Buddhist women: Translations and commentaries on the Therigatha. Berkeley: Parallax Press.Google Scholar
  14. Norman, K. R. (Trans.) (1969). The Elders’ verses I, Theragatha. London: Pali Text Society.Google Scholar
  15. Norman, K. R. (Trans.) (1971). The Elders’ verses II, Therigatha. London: Pali Text Society.Google Scholar
  16. Obeyesekere, R. (2001). Portraits of Buddhist women: Stories from the Saddharmaratnavaliya. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  17. Paul, D. (1979). Women in Buddhism. Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press.Google Scholar
  18. Simmer-Brown, J. (2002). Dakini’s warm breath: The feminine principle in Tibetan Buddhism. Boston: Shambala.Google Scholar
  19. Tsomo, K. L. (Ed.). (1988). Sakyadhita: Daughters of the Buddha. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publication.Google Scholar
  20. Tsomo, K. L. (Ed.). (1999). Buddhist women across cultures: Realizations. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  21. Willis, J. (Ed.). (1987). Feminine ground: Essays on women and Tibet. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trinity CollegeHartfordUSA