Women in Early Indian Buddhism: Comparative Textual Studies

Hardcover | October 29, 2013

EditorAlice Collett

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The path of practice as taught in ancient India by Gotama Buddha was open to both women and men. The texts of early Indian Buddhism show that women were lay followers of the Buddha and were also granted the right to ordain and become nuns. Certain women were known as influential teachers ofmen and women alike and considered experts in certain aspects of Gotama's dhamma. For this to occur in an ancient religion practiced within traditional societies is really quite extraordinary. This is apparent especially in light of the continued problems experienced by practitioners of manyreligions today involved in challenging instilled norms and practices and conferring the status of any high office upon women. In this collection, Alice Collett brings together a sampling of the plethora of Buddhist texts from early Indian Buddhism in which women figure centrally. It is true that there are negative conceptualizations of and attitudes towards women expressed in early Buddhist texts, but for so many textsconcerning women to have been composed, collated and preserved is worthy of note. The simple fact that the Buddhist textual record names so many nuns and laywomen, and preserves biographies of them, attests to a relatively positive situation for women at that time. With the possible exception of thereverence accorded Egyptian queens, there is no textual record of named women from an ancient civilization that comes close to that of early Indian Buddhism. This volume offers comparative study of texts in five different languages - Gandhari, Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese and Sinhala. Each chapter is a study and translation, with some chapters focusing more on translation and some more on comparisons between parallel and similar texts, whilst others are morediscursive and thematic.

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The path of practice as taught in ancient India by Gotama Buddha was open to both women and men. The texts of early Indian Buddhism show that women were lay followers of the Buddha and were also granted the right to ordain and become nuns. Certain women were known as influential teachers ofmen and women alike and considered experts in ...

Alice Collett is a Fellow of the Arts and Humanities Council of Great Britain (AHRC) and Lecturer at York St John University. She has worked in different universities in North America and the UK, and published several articles on women in early Indian Buddhism, including two which look at reception history and review the modern schola...

other books by Alice Collett

Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:October 29, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199326045

ISBN - 13:9780199326044

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Table of Contents

ContributorsA Note on Non-English WordsAbbreviationsIntroduction1. The Bajaur Collection of Kharosthi ManuscriptsMahaprajapati Gautami and the Order of Nuns in a Gandharan Version of the Daksinavibhangasutra2. The British Library Kharosthi FragmentsBehind the Birch Bark Curtain3. Pali VinayaRe-conceptualizing Female Sexuality in Early Buddhism4. Mahasamghika-Lokottaravada Bhiksuni VinayaThe Intersection of Womanly Virtue and Buddhist Asceticism5. Anguttara-nikaya / Ekottarika-agamaOutstanding Bhikkhunis in the Ekottarika-agama6. Samyutta-nikya / Samyukta-agamaDefying Mara - Bhikkhunis in the Samyukta-agama7. TherigathaNanda, Female Sibling of the Buddha8. Apadana: Theri-ApadanaWives of the Saints: Marriage and Kamma in the Path to Arahantship9. AvadanasatakaThe Role of Brahmanical Marriage in a Buddhist Text10. Dhammapada- atthakatha/SaddharmaratnavaliyaWomen in Medieval South Asian Buddhist SocietiesBibliography