Buddhist Nuns and Gendered Practice: In Search of the Female Renunciant

Paperback | September 6, 2013

byNirmala S. Salgado

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Nirmala S. Salgado offers a groundbreaking study of the politics of representation of Buddhist nuns. Challenging assumptions about writing on gender and Buddhism, Salgado raises important theoretical questions about the applicability of liberal feminist concepts and language to the practicesof Buddhist nuns. Based on extensive research in Sri Lanka as well as on interviews with Theravada and Tibetan nuns from around the world, Salgado's study invites a reconsideration of female renunciation. How do scholarly narratives continue to be complicit in reinscribing colonialist and patriarchal stories aboutBuddhist women? In what ways have recent debates contributed to the construction of the subject of the Theravada bhikkhuni? How do key Buddhist concepts such as dukkha, samsara, and sila ground female renunciant practices? Salgado's provocative analysis of modern discourses about the supposed empowerment of nuns challenges interpretations of female renunciation articulated in terms of secular notions such as 'freedom' in renunciation, and questions the idea that the higher ordination of nuns constitutes a movementin which female renunciants act as agents seeking to assert their autonomy in a struggle against patriarchal norms. Salgado argues that the concept of a global sisterhood of nuns - an idea grounded in a notion of equality as a universal ideal - promotes a discourse of dominance about the lives ofnon-Western women and calls for more nuanced readings of the everyday renunciant practices and lives of Buddhist nuns. Buddhist Nuns and Gendered Practice is essential reading for anyone interested in the connections between religion and power, subjectivity and gender, and feminism and postcolonialism.

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Nirmala S. Salgado offers a groundbreaking study of the politics of representation of Buddhist nuns. Challenging assumptions about writing on gender and Buddhism, Salgado raises important theoretical questions about the applicability of liberal feminist concepts and language to the practicesof Buddhist nuns. Based on extensive research...

Nirmala S. Salgado is Professor of Religion at Augustana College.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:September 6, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199760012

ISBN - 13:9780199760015

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroductionPart I Narration1. Decolonizing Female Renunciation2. Institutional Discourse and Everyday Practice3. Buddhism, Power, and PracticePart II Identity4. Invisible Nuns5. Subjects of Renunciation6. Becoming Bhikkhunis, Becoming TheravadaPart III Empowerment7. Renunciation and ''Empowerment''8. Global Empowerment and the Renunciant EverydayNotesWorks CitedIndex