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date: 17 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the various attitudes toward female ordination and constructions of bodies in Buddhist texts, doctrine, and culture to provide an overview of the complexities of gender at play in the Buddhist tradition. It specifically explores the historical and contemporary struggles for the full ordination for nuns, themes of motherhood and the maternal in Buddhist literature, and attitudes toward bodies, non-self, and subjectivity. The latter section of this chapter moves beyond the more traditional subjects associated with topic of Buddhism and gender and focuses on role of the laity and laywomen, past and present, in the maintenance and flourishing of the Buddhist tradition. Thus, this section of the chapter explores dana (giving) as a form of pragmatic reciprocity to render a more complex and vibrant form of Buddhism that attends to the experiences of the multitude of peoples that make up the larger category of “Buddhists.”

Keywords: Buddhism, gender, laity, motherhood, ordination, subjectivity

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