WAiB – Bibliography on women and Buddhism
The following is a selection of books about women, the “divine feminine”, and the female influence in Buddhism. Most of the books are by women, although male authors are also included. Where possible the number of pages and ISBN is also provided. (All quotations are from the publisher's description, unless otherwise identified.)
Please note that, where the author has an ordained name, the last of these is read as a “surname”. This is not correct usage, strictly speaking, but this is how these texts are ly to be catalogued by librarians and publishers.
Other bibliographies on women and Buddhism may be found on our Miscellaneous page.
New since the last site update…
|Boucher, Sandy. Hidden Spring: A Buddhist Woman Confronts Cancer. Somerville, MA: Wisdom, 2000. ISBN 0-86171-171-8 (224 pp.). In 1995, Sandy Boucher – a well-known Buddhist and feminist writer – was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. In vivid prose, she describes her year-long encounter with the disease, and reveals how meditation techniques and her understanding of Buddhist principles prepared her to meet the mental and physical challenges of her illness. Read an excerpt here.|
|Findly, Ellison Banks (editor). Women’s Buddhism, Buddhism’s Women: Tradition, Revision, Renewal. Somerville, MA: Wisdom, 2000. ISBN 0-86171-165-3 (498 pp.). A diverse array of scholars, activists, and practitioners explore how women are bringing about change in the forms, practices, and institutions of Buddhism. Read an excerpt here.|
|Khema, Ayya. Be An Island: The Buddhist Practice of Ayya Khema. Somerville, MA: Wisdom, 1999. ISBN 0-86171-147-5 (160 pp.). “Ayya Khema's latest offering guides us along the path of Buddhist meditation with direct and practical advice, giving us contemplative tools to develop a healthy sense of personal being. Be an Island is at once an introduction to the teachings of Buddhism and a rich continuation of Ayya Khema's personal vision of Buddhist practice.” Read an excerpt (Chapter 8) from the book.|
|Maiden, Anne Hubbell and Farwell, Edie. The Tibetan Art of Parenting: From Before Conception Through Early Childhood. Somerville, MA: Wisdom, 2000. ISBN 0-86171-129-7 (224 pp.). “An invaluable guide for anyone interested in anything from holistic healthcare to the myths, legends, and child-rearing practices of the Tibetan people.” Read an excerpt here.|
|Marshall, Steven D. Rukhag 3: The Nuns of Drapchi Prison. London: Tibet Information Network (TIN), October 2000. “The deaths of five imprisoned Tibetan nuns in June 1998 can be seen as a culmination of the harsh treatment administered over the past decade to a group of female political prisoners held in Drapchi's Rukhag (Unit) 3 over the past decade. Rukhag 3: The Nuns of Drapchi Prison provides the most comprehensive documentation so far of a pattern of resistance and repression over an unbroken period of eight years (1992-99) inside the two sections of Unit 3, where all inmates are female and most are political prisoners.” The book is accompanied by a CD-ROM which includes the full text of Rukhag 3 and all the photographs, most of them in colour. The CD-ROM also contains the fourteen songs recorded by nuns in Drapchi in June 1993 (a tape of the songs was smuggled the prison and a copy obtained by TIN).|
|Sherrill, Martha. The Buddha From Brooklyn. New York/Toronto: Random House, 2000. ISBN 0-679-45275-3 (392 pp.). An enthralling, often disturbing study of the Tibetan Buddhist community of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo (Catharine Burroughs), a well-known teacher and reincarnate lama based in Poolesville, Maryland.|
|Tromge, Jane (Chagdud Khadro). Ph'owa Commentary: Instructions for the Practice of Consciousness Transference as revealed by Rigdzin Longsal Nyingpo. A commentary on the transference of consciousness, by the wife and teaching partner of H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche.|
|Williams, Angel Kyodo. Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace. Viking Press, 2000. ISBN 0670892688 (200 pp.). Amazon.com Review: “In this exquisite primer on Zen Buddhism, author and ordained Zen priest Angel Kyodo Williams is not trying to convert African Americans into a new religion. Instead, she is simply presenting Zen principles and practices that emphasize living a life of grace and self-acceptance. Having faced the daily challenges of growing up black in America, she is especially adept at showing how these Zen principles apply to the African American experience.” Read more about the book on Angel's site, http://www.beingblack.com.|
Books on women and Buddhism…
|Aitken, Molly Emma, ed. Meeting the Buddha: On Pilgrimage in Buddhist India. Riverhead Books (Tricycle), 1995 (370pp).|
|Allione, Tsultrim. Women of Wisdom. London: Arkana, 1984 / New York: Arkana, 1986. ISBN 0-14019-072-4 (282pp). A selection of life stories of great Tibetan women teachers, with a delightfully lengthy introduction to the topic of women and the female principle in Tibetan Buddhism.|
|Ama Adhe. Ama Adhe: The Voice That Remembers — The Heroic Story of a Woman's Fight to Free Tibet. Boston: Wisdom, 1997. ISBN 0-86171-130-0. ” 'I am free now. There are no guards outside my door. There is enough to eat … I feel my heart remains with the memories of my family and friends whose bones have become part of a land now tread by strangers.' Thus begins Adhe Tapontsang who spent 27 years in Chinese labor camps for participating in the resistance to China's occupation of Tibet. She survives to tell the stories of the torture, starvation, and degradation that countless Tibetans continue to endure. Her story speaks powerfully to modern Tibet's tragic saga of occupation, genocide, and cultural destruction.”|
|Ani Pachen and Donnelley, Adelaide. Sorrow Mountain: The Journey of a Tibetan Warrior Nun. London/New York: Kodansha International/Doubleday, 2000. ISBN 1568362943. “Pachen was imprisoned for 21 years by the Chinese because of her resistance to their invasion of her country. Fearful of recapture following her release in 1981, she escaped to India, where she practices her religion and advocates for Tibetan causes. In this book, she recalls a carefree girlhood as the only child of a Tibetan chieftain. When her father died, shortly after the Chinese invasion began, Pachen tried to merge her need to fulfill the duties of her father's only heir–to assist the resistance effort–and her personal spiritual needs. She helps assemble an army and plots resistance strategy. And although it is against Buddhist principles, she vows to kill, if necessary, to resist the Chinese invasion. When it comes, Pachen must flee her village and is later captured and imprisoned. Through her religion, she was able to separate the spiritual from the physical and thus endure brutal torture. Pachen intersperses the account of her life and spiritual journey with Buddhist prayers and dreams that show a desire for peace and enlightened spirituality.” (Vanessa Bush, Booklist)|
|Bartholomeusz, Tessa. Women under the Bo Tree: Buddhist Nuns in Sri Lanka. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.|
|Batchelor, Martine. Walking on Lotus Flowers: Buddhist Women Working, Loving and Meditating. London: Thorsons/Harper Collins, 1996. ISBN 0-7225-3231-8.|
|Batchelor, Martine and Brown, Kerry, eds. Buddhism and Ecology. Cassell, 1992. ISBN 0304303756 (114pp.).|
|Beck, Charlotte Joko . Everyday Zen: Love and Work. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989. ISBN 0-06-060734-3.|
|Beck, Charlotte Joko. Nothing Special: Living Zen. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1994. ISBN 0-06-251117-3 (277 pages). See also the review by Fumyo Mishaga.|
|Benard, Elisabeth. Chinnamasta: The Aweful Buddhist and Hindu Tantric Goddess. Motilal Banarsidass, 1995.|
|Beyer, Stephan. The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973. A study of Tibetan beliefs and practices concerning Tara, the female Buddha of compassionate activity.|
|Blackstone, Kathryn R. Women in the Footsteps of the Buddha: Struggle for Liberation in the Therigatha. Curzon Critical Studies in Buddhism. Richmond, Surrey, UK: Curzon Press, 1998. ISBN 0-7007-0962-2. See also the Journal of Buddhist Ethics review of this book (by Nancy J. Barnes).|
|Blakiston, Hilary. But Little Dust. Cambridge: Allborough Press, 1991.|
|Blofeld, John. Bodhisattva of Compassion: The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin. Boulder: Shambhala, 1978. A study of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, in the female forms of Kuan Yin (Chinese) and Tara (Tibetan).|
|Boucher, Sandy. Discovering Kwan Yin, Buddhist Goddess of Compassion: A Path Toward Clarity and Peace. Boston: Beacon Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8070-1340-4. “A women's book of chants, prayers, and ruminations honoring Kwan Yin.”|
|Boucher, Sandy. Opening the Lotus: A Woman's Guide to Buddhism. Boston: Beacon Press, 1997. “An introduction to Buddhist philosophy and practice for women.” ISBN 0-8070-7308-3 (hardcover), list $18.00 U.S.|
|Boucher, Sandy. Turning the Wheel: American Women Creating the New Buddhism (387pp). San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988. An extensive and highly fascinating series of interviews with women active in North American Buddhism.|
|Byles, Marie B. Journey into Burmese Silence. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1962. Byles, a practising lawyer and one of Australia's first Buddhists, visited Burma in 1953 and learned first-hand about the practice of vipassana meditation. This book can't seem to decide whether it is a diary of self-discovery or an Aussie memsahib's travel journal; but the author is endearingly sympathetic on behalf of the nuns of Burma. A fascinating read.|
|Cabez�n, Jos� Ignacio, ed. Buddhism, Sexuality, and Gender. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.|
|Campbell, June. Traveller in Space: In search of female identity in Tibetan Buddhism. London: Athlone Press, February 1996. ISBN 0-485-11494-1 (236pp.)|
|Changchub, Gyalwa and Namkhai Nyingpo. Lady of the Lotus-Born: The Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal. Boston: Shambhala, December 1998. ISBN 1-57062-384-8 (cloth). “The biography of the 'first lady' of Tibetan Buddhism, a great eight-century teacher who was instrumental in establishing Buddhism in her homeland — a dramatic spiritual adventure.”|
|Chayat, Roko Sherry, ed. Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart|
Zen Buddhism Reveals the Hidden Secret to Not Giving a F*ck
If you’ve read ideas on Ideapod, you’ve probably heard some wise sayings from master Buddhists The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh.
It’s a peaceful philosophy that emphasizes non-attachment and the art of letting go.
But have you also considered that it might be able to help you not give a f*ck?
Yep, by practicing some simple Zen philosophies, you’ll be able to let go of little things that don’t matter so you can focus on what really does.
First, What Not Giving a F*ck Really Means
I’ve always been reluctant to use this phrase as it can be associated with a reckless teen that values nothing and wouldn’t bat an eyelid to wrongdoing.
But that’s not what we’re talking about.
Zen Buddhism is a peaceful philosophy that emphasizes compassion and kindness to all sentient beings.
By opening our heart and mind to others, we can see the goodness in everyone, which in turn will bring out the good in us.
According to Buddhists, what goes around comes around. So if you want to be treated with respect and compassion, you should do the same for others.
Opening your heart to others will allow you stop reacting negatively. You’ll be at peace with other people because you’ll see the positive energy in others, and in turn you’ll be less ly to care if they do something that’s annoying.
The Art of Letting Go
The first noble truth of Buddhism is that desiring leads to suffering.
These desires can vary from material objects, sensual pleasures or even your relationships. The reason desiring causes suffering is because attachments are transient and loss is inevitable.
Buddhism says that the only constant in the universe is change, and by desiring you are trying to control and make something fixed. Suffering will follow because you are going against the forces of the universe, which is what causes anxiety, depression and negative emotions.
The trick is to focus your mind on the present moment and bask in the glory of now. By doing this, you’ll be able to let go of desiring and simply enjoy the experience of the present moment.
You’ll be able to more easily let go of negative emotions.
The Art of Non-Attachment
In a similar fashion, by relying on outside forces to control our emotions, it shows we’re not happy inside.
Buddhist’s say that to be truly content and at peace, we need to be comfortable with ourselves. In that way, no matter our circumstances, we will always be at peace.
The best way to get comfortable with ourselves is to practice non-attachment.
Many people get the philosophy of detachment wrong. They think it involves avoiding life and negative emotions. However, the key is to embrace all emotions.
People who have mastered non-attachment avoid getting entangled in negative emotions. Instead, they acknowledge, accept and even embrace them.
They don’t stifle their emotions, but let them rise naturally and dissolve on their own.
They understand that change is the only constant in the universe, and realize that no matter how uncomfortable a negative feeling is, it will eventually pass.
While it takes time and effort to practice this concept, all of us are capable of practising acceptance.
Mitch Albom explains why accepting your emotions allows you to detach:
“Take any emotion—love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, or what I’m going through, fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions—if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them—you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief.
You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. “But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, ‘All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion.
Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment’.”
To practice this, try meditation for 10 minutes a day and accept all emotions and feelings that come your way. Soon you’ll begin to understand yourself and how your mind works so you can let go of attachments to outside forces.
By practicing non-attachment and letting go, outside forces will be less ly to affect you. While you’ll still give a f*ck when it matters, you’ll be able to let go of the little worries that offer no benefit to your life.
Originally published on The Power of Ideas.
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