Buddhist Nuns and Gendered Practice: In Search of the Female by Nirmala S. Salgado

By Nirmala S. Salgado

In accordance with broad examine in Sri Lanka and interviews with Theravada and Tibetan nuns from world wide, Salgado's groundbreaking research urges a rethinking of lady renunciation. How are scholarly money owed complicit in reinscribing imperialist tales in regards to the subjectivity of Buddhist ladies? How do key Buddhist "concepts" resembling dukkha, samsara, and sila ground lady renunciant perform? Salgado's provocative research questions the secular idea of the better ordination of nuns as a political flow for freedom opposed to patriarchal norms. Arguing that the lives of nuns defy translation right into a politics of world sisterhood equivalent earlier than legislations, she demands more-nuanced readings of nuns' daily renunciant practices.

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Whether such evaluations apply to small-scale tribal and ethnic traditions, such as Native American or African traditional religions, is a much more complex question” (106). ”7 In her analysis of religion, Gross tends to dismiss essential questions related to the idea of comparative religion. Such questions, raised by Timothy Fitzgerald among others, focus on how the study of religion is rooted in specific ideological and colonial processes (Fitzgerald 17–19, 31). Gross grounds her work in the assumption that the discipline of religion has an “inherently comparative character” (Garland 80) and goes on to adopt a phenomenological perspective in her study of religion.

Bartholomeusz, by inscribing master narratives on perceptions of female renunciants, holds the renunciants and their everyday practices hostage to discourses not of their making. ” There she discusses the ordination of sil matas in the United States and gives a separate account of sil matas who claim bhikkhuni status. In both cases, Bartholomeusz implies that the sil matas are failed bhikkhunis. Those who travel to the United States for the ordination return to Sri Lanka and continue their lives as novice nuns rather than as fully ordained bhikkhunis.

Recent scholarship on Buddhist nuns tends to be guided by norms of canonical texts, supplemented by feminist presuppositions and liberal theories, in understanding the meaning of renunciant freedom and of debates about the higher ordination; it is also guided by a supposed need to find comparative categories of analysis across Buddhist traditions. That is, feminist notions of freedom are often perceived as valid not because they are universally valid; they gain their validity precisely in the comparative applications of them elsewhere, away from their birthplace.

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