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Buddhist Nuns and Gendered PracticeIn Search of the Female Renunciant$
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Nirmala S. Salgado

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199760022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199760022.001.0001

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Global Empowerment and the Renunciant Everyday

Global Empowerment and the Renunciant Everyday

(p.211) 8 Global Empowerment and the Renunciant Everyday
Buddhist Nuns and Gendered Practice

Nirmala S. Salgado

Oxford University Press

Transnational discussions about the higher ordination of nuns have assumed a global feminism and a homogeneity of perspectives, as shown in their defining of the “struggles” of nuns in terms of the nuns’ “empowerment” and in their comparative equivalence of nuns of different lineages. This chapter considers conversations with Theravada and Tibetan Buddhist nuns from around the world and analyzes select transnational debates about their higher ordination. Supported by the work of Ananda Abeysekara, Talal Asad, and Chandra T. Mohanty, it argues that the idea of a global sisterhood of nuns that promotes the notion of equality as a universal ideal engages in a discourse of dominance about the lives of “non-Western” women. Moreover, this chapter proposes that a colonialist rhetoric pervades debates about the higher ordination of nuns in both Theravada and Tibetan Buddhism.

Keywords:   transnational, global, sisterhood, feminism, Theravada, Tibetan Buddhism, empowerment, higher ordination

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