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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the question of whether it can ever be doctrinally or ethically appropriate in Buddhism to discriminate against women. It does this by assessing arguments for female inferiority that are found historically within the texts of the tradition. It attempts to demonstrate that such views are not doctrinally or ethically reinforced or substantiated, and therefore appear to have found their way into this religious literature through the ingestion of cultural mores and norms, rather than through advocacy of them as foundational and fundamental to the tradition. However, once engrained as part of revered texts, challenging such views can appear as sacrilegious if done by a practitioner, or as evidence of non-comprehension/lack of respect for tradition by an outsider. Anālayo discusses something akin to this in his chapter in this volume, in noting how differences in interpretation of texts can result in differing standpoints.

Keywords: Buddhism, women, ethics, dependent arising, female nature

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