Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: October 18, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412979344 | Print ISBN: 9781412960830 | Online ISBN: 9781412979344| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 50: Women as Leaders in Buddhism
Karma Lekshe Tsomo
Women as leaders in Buddhism For Buddhists, the epitome of enlightened leadership is the Buddha himself. The Buddha, the “awakened one,” led by teaching a path to awakening that is open to all. The path to awakening—a process of purifying the mind of afflictions, such as greed, hatred, and ignorance—can be followed by women and men alike. Traditionally, however, the fact that the Buddha, the model of human perfection, was male seemed to imply to future generations that men were somehow more capable of awakening than women. This impression was bolstered by the eight special rules attributed to the Buddha that assigned nuns a subordinate status within the Sangha (monastic order). As a consequence, it became customary in Buddhist societies to give greater opportunities to monks than to nuns, men than to women, and boys than to girls. Historically, monasteries for monks were the democratically organized training centers for Buddhist ...