Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.


Transforming Gender Bias in Tibetan Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Blossoms of the Dharma: The Contribution of Western Nuns in Transforming Gender Bias in Tibetan Buddhism

Elizabeth Swanepoel
University of Pretoria

This article investigates the nature of gender imbalance in Tibetan Buddhism, particularly pertaining to the unavailability of bhikṣuṇī ordination, and the specific role Western nuns have played in contributing to transforming this imbalance. The article postulates that male privilege continues to dominate the institutional cultures of religious life in Tibetan Buddhism. However, fertile tensions have of late emerged between an underground tradition of highly accomplished female practitioners and the institutional preference for male practitioners. A revalorization process has been initiated in recent years by a number of Western female Buddhologists, some of whom are also fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist nuns. The article highlights the efforts of these accomplished nuns as well as a number of other prominent Western Tibetan Buddhist nuns.

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Bhikkhunī Academy: A Case of Cross-Tradition Exchange

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Bhikkhunī Academy at Manelwatta Temple: A Case of Cross-Tradition Exchange

Cheng Wei-yi
Hsuan Chuang University

This article is the result of an investigation continued from an earlier article on an exchange between Buddhists in Taiwan and Sri Lanka (“A Cross-Tradition Exchange Between Taiwan and Sri Lanka,” Journal of Buddhist Ethics, vol. 18, 2011). In that article, I investigated the exchange between a Mahāyāna Taiwanese nunnery and a Theravāda Sri Lankan missionary monk. After the initial exchange, described in the 2011 article, a more permanent institute for the education of Sri Lankan Buddhist nuns has been established. This article describes the cross-tradition exchange behind the founding of the educational institute and its implication for exchanges across different Buddhist traditions in Asia.

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Rethinking the Precept of Not Taking Money

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Rethinking the Precept of Not Taking Money in Contemporary Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese Buddhist Nunneries

Tzu-Lung Chiu
University of Ghent

According to monastic disciplinary texts, Buddhist monastic members are prohibited from accepting “gold and silver,” and arguably, by extension, any type of money. This rule has given rise to much debate, in the past as well as in the present, particularly between Mahāyāna and Theravāda Buddhist communities. The article explores the results of my multiple-case qualitative study of eleven monastic institutions in Taiwan and Mainland China, and reveals a hitherto under-theorized conflict between Vinaya rules and the bodhisattva ideal, as well as a diversity of opinions on the applicability of the rule against money handling as it has been shaped by socio-cultural contexts, including nuns’ adaptation to the laity’s ethos.

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Review: Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia. By Thomas David DuBois. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, xii+ 259 pages, ISBN 987-1107400405 (paperback), ISBN 978-1107008090 (cloth) $81.00.

Reviewed by Yueh-Mei Lin

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A Reexamination of Buddhist Teachings on Female Inferiority

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

Right View, Red Rust, and White Bones: A Reexamination of Buddhist Teachings on Female Inferiority

Allison A. Goodwin
College of Liberal Arts
National Taiwan University

Hundreds of psychological and social studies show that negative expectations and concepts of self and others, and discrimination based on the idea that a particular group is inferior to another, adversely affect those who discriminate as well as those who are subject to discrimination. This article argues that both genders are harmed by negative Buddhist teachings about women and by discriminatory rules that limit their authority, rights, activities, and status within Buddhist institutions. Śākyamuni Buddha’s instructions in the Tripiṭaka for evaluating spiritual teachings indicate that because such views and practices have been proven to lead to harm, Buddhists should conclude that they are not the True Dharma and should abandon them.

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A Cross-Tradition Exchange Between Taiwan and Sri Lanka

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

A Cross-Tradition Exchange Between Taiwan and Sri Lanka

Wei-Yi Cheng
Hsuan Chuang University

This paper uses as an example an alms-offering ceremony that took place on October 5, 2010 to illustrate cross-tradition exchanges between Asian Buddhists of different geographic locations. This ceremony had been intended to give alms to all of the bhikkhunīs in Sri Lanka and was thus itself noteworthy. However, the attention of this paper is on the two main players behind this ceremony. One is a Sri Lankan monk who has been a long term Theravāda missionary in Mahāyāna Taiwan, and the other is a Taiwanese nunnery which has not limited its works to Taiwan. This paper wishes to shed light on cross-tradition exchanges among Asian Buddhists.

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Review: Taiwan’s Buddhist Nuns

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Taiwan’s Buddhist Nuns. By Elise Anne DeVido. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010, xvii + 188 pages, ISBN: 978-1438431482 (paper), US $24.95.

Reviewed by Mavis L. Fenn

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Review: Religion in Modern Taiwan

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 11, 2004

Religion in Modern Taiwan: Tradition and Innovation in a Changing Society. Edited by Philip Clart and Charles B. Jones. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2003, 352 pages, ISBN 08248-2564-0 (cloth), $52.00.

Reviewed by Marc L. Moskowitz

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Review:Reform and Self-examination in Modern Taiwanese Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 11, 2004

Taiwan jindai fojiao de biange yu fansi (Reform and self-examination in modern Taiwanese Buddhism). By Jiang Canteng (Chiang Tsan-t’eng). Taipei: Dongda, 2003. 400 pages. ISBN 9571925233. Price NT$400.

Reviewed by Bret Hinsch

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Luminary Nuns in Contemporary Taiwan

SSN 1076-9005
Volume 10 2003

Luminary Buddhist Nuns in Contemporary Taiwan: A Quiet Feminist Movement

Wei-yi Cheng
School of Oriental and African Studies

Luminary order is a well-respected Buddhist nuns’ order in Taiwan. In this essay, I will examine the phenomenon of Luminary nuns from three aspects: symbol, structure, and education. Through the examination of the three aspects, I will show why the phenomenon of Luminary nuns might be seen as a feminist movement. Although an active agent in many aspects, I will also show that the success of Luminary nuns has its roots in the social, historical, and economic conditions in Taiwan.

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Review: Buddhism in Taiwan 1660-1990

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Buddhism in Taiwan: Religion and the State, 1660-1990. By Charles Brewer Jones. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1999, xvii + 259 pages, ISBN 0-8248-2061-4, US $46.00.

Reviewed by André Laliberté

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