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A Garland of Feminist ReflectionsForty Years of Religious Exploration$
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Rita Gross

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520255852

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520255852.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Is the Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

Is the Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

A Feminist Assessment of Buddhism at the Beginning of the Twenty-first Century

(p.291) Chapter 19 Is the Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?
A Garland of Feminist Reflections

Rita M. Gross

University of California Press

Buddhism is free of the myths and symbols that make some other religions so intractable to feminist reforms. In philosophical views and meditation practices, Buddhism has tremendous potential for deconstructing gender, but all that potential has led to very few results. This chapter considers three topics in looking at the half-full, half-empty glass: first, Buddhism's potential for deconstructing gender; second, some reasons why this potential did not come to fruition historically; and third, some of the changing situations in the contemporary Buddhist world, both Asian and Western. It reveals that Buddhist teachings on interdependence, egolessness, and emptiness mean that nothing exists by itself or has inherent, independent reality, which is what Buddhists mean when humans claim that things are illusory and dreamlike. The primary purpose of Buddhist discipline and practice is to eliminate suffering, so if it is determined that something causes suffering, Buddhists should try to overcome that obstacle. That is why Buddhists held out the promise of rebirth as men to women suffering under male dominance.

Keywords:   Buddhism, feminist reforms, philosophical views, deconstructing gender, Buddhist teachings

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