Abstract and Keywords
Because Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, its concepts of ultimate reality do not include the kind of deity familiar from most religions. Instead, one does find anthropomorphic representations of key Buddhist virtues, such as wisdom and compassion, but they have no independent, eternal existence. As a religion that has always valued celibate monasticism, Buddhism has multiple evaluations of sexuality. For monastics, it must be avoided because of the imprisoning entanglements to which it leads, but laypeople can enjoy the pleasures of sexuality without guilt so long as they observe basic sexual ethics. Regarding gender, Buddhism has always had male-dominated institutions, but its philosophy or world view is completely gender-neutral and gender-free. Modern commentators on Buddhism and gender are seeking to alleviate this internal contradiction by changing Buddhism’s institutions.
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