Women in Buddhism: an Early History

| October 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

We’ll take a look at the history of women in Buddhism, focusing mainly on the period of the Buddha and his immediate followers. Then we’ll spend a little time looking at later developments, before finishing up with the fascinating story of an early nun who is responsible for one of the most famous analogies in all of Buddhism.


Rita Gross, Buddhism After Patriarchy
Geoffrey Samuel, The Origins of Yoga and Tantra
Williams, Tribe, and Wynne, Buddhist Thought

Articles, websites, videos:

Buddhism’s Second-Class Citizens

Making the Sangha Whole Again


Of Mara and Men

What the Buddha Taught About Sexual Harassment

Kajiyama Yuichi “Women in Buddhism” The Eastern Buddhist, v. 15 no. 2 (Autumn, 1982), pp. 53-70.

Alliance for Bhikkhunis

Issues around the ordination of women

Suttas mentioned:

AN 8.51: With Gotamī 
SN 5.2: Somā Sutta
AN 7.51: Bound and Unbound
Snp. 3.9: To Vāseṭṭha
AN 1.279-283
SN 5.10: Vajira Sutta

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Category: Videos

Doug Smith

About the Author ()

Doug is Study Director of the Secular Buddhist Association. He has a PhD in Philosophy, with a minor in Buddhist philosophy and Sanskrit. In 2013 he completed the year-long Integrated Study and Practice Program with the BCBS and NYIMC. A long time scientific skeptic, he pursues a naturalized approach to practice. He is also interested in scholarship about the Tipiṭaka, and the theoretical and historical origins of the dhamma. He posts videos at Doug's Secular Dharma on YouTube. Some of his writing can be found at academia.edu.

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