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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2 thoughts on “A Reexamination of Buddhist Teachings on Female Inferiority”

  1. This is just an excellent article. Not only do you discuss the Buddha’s teachings on how to determine valid spiritual teaching and on role of women in the sangha, but you also clearly articulate what science tells us about how discrimination affects people.

    I’m familiar with much of the information in the paper, but have never seen it all put together in one place.

    Thanks you so much for this great work.

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