Religion and the Power of Women
Women in Religion and in Buddhism
by Gene Reeves
It can be argued that subjugation and subordination of women does not come so much from Buddhist teachings as from the customs of societies in which Buddhism exists.
Gene Reeves has done research and lectured on the Lotus Sutra worldwide for more than a quarter century. He is a professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing and serves as an international advisor to Rissho Kosei-kai. Before coming to Japan in 1989, he was head of Meadville Lombard Theological School and a lecturer at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His recent works include The Stories of the Lotus Sutra (Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2010).
The Future of Women in Buddhism
by Karma Lekshe Tsomo
We can no longer afford to squander half of our precious human resources by ignoring or devaluing women’s spiritual potential. Nowhere do the Buddhist texts say that teachers need to be male.
Karma Lekshe Tsomo is an associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego. She has a PhD in comparative philosophy from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Her primary academic interests include women in Buddhism, and Buddhism and bioethics. She integrates scholarship and social activism through the Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women and Jamyang Foundation, an innovative education project for women in developing countries.
Women Building a Just Society
by Sharon D. Welch
“The ennobling truths are not just challenges to act with wisdom and compassion but challenges to act with creativity and aesthetic awareness. . . . The human world is like a vast musical instrument on which we simultaneously play our part while listening to the compositions of others. The creation of ourself in the image of awakening is not a subjective but an intersubjective process. We cannot choose whether to engage with the world, only how to.”
– Stephen Batchelor, Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening
Sharon D. Welch is provost and professor of religion and society at Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago. She received a PhD in theology from Vanderbilt University. For many years she was professor of religious studies and women’s studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri. Dr. Welch is the recipient of numerous awards, many of which recognize her excellence in teaching. Her recent works include Real Peace, Real Security: The Challenges of Global Citizenship.
Being a North American Buddhist Woman: Reflections of a Feminist Pioneer
by Rita M. Gross
The process of contemplating and the encouragement to investigate for oneself mean that Buddhism is alive and that its insights can be applied to any situation or problem one might encounter.
Rita M. Gross, professor emerita of the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, is internationally known for her innovative work on gender and religion. She is also a Buddhist Dharma teacher, having been appointed to that position by Her Eminence Mindrolling Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche. She is the author of numerous books and articles, including A Garland of Feminist Reflections: Forty Years of Religious Exploration (University of California Press, 2009).
Islam and the Status of Women
by Yoshiaki Sanada
Islamic teaching itself is not the source of discrimination against women, this writer argues. There are no expressions of sexual discrimination, such as that women were created from men, in Islamic human creationism.
Until March 2007, Yoshiaki Sanada served as a professor of law at Chuo University in Tokyo, where he is now professor emeritus. He has also been a guest professor at the Institute of Comparative Law of the China University of Politics and Law in Beijing. He is director of the Peace Research Institute of the Japanese Committee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace.>
Japan’s Traditional Buddhism and the Gender Issue
by Noriko Kawahashi
Inherently, the teachings of Buddhism point the way to equality among all human beings.
We must not lose sight of the fact that the Buddha did not discriminate among human beings
by their birth regardless of race, ethnic group, gender, or anything else.
Noriko Kawahashi is an associate professor at the Graduate School of the Nagoya Institute of Technology. She received a PhD from Princeton University and specializes in religion and gender studies. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Japanese Association for Religious Studies and of the Advisory Committee on International Exchange of the Japan Buddhist Federation. She has authored and edited several books on religion and gender issues.
Religion and the Power of Women as Agents of Peace
by Lilian J. Sison
Dedicated women of faith, Christian and Muslim alike, have worked successfully to advocate peace and reconciliation in violence-torn Mindanao in the southern Philippines.
Lilian J. Sison is the secretary general of Religions for Peace Philippines, and coordinator of the Asia and the Pacific Women of Faith Network. Dr. Sison is also currently dean of the Graduate School of the University of Santo Tomas, in Manila. Her advocacy for interreligious dialogue and peace initiatives has brought her to become deeply concerned about the conflict areas of Central Mindanao.
Religions for Peace: Promoting the Roles of Women of Faith in Peace Building
by Jackie Ogega
The international nonsectarian organization is explicitly dedicated to mobilizing religious communities to collaborate for peace. Through its Women’s Mobilization Program, it works with others to develop programs that engage both men and women in efforts to empower women and girls.
Jackie Ogega is the director of the Women’s Mobilization Program at Religions for Peace. In addition to strategic program development, fund-raising, and partnership development, she manages and coordinates the Religions for Peace Global Women of Faith Network, with its regional and national networks around the world. Ms. Ogega is a doctoral candidate in peace studies at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. She also serves as adjunct professor at the School for International Training in Vermont.
Religion and Women: “Empower Women – Empower the Future”
by Johanna Boeke
The valley spirit never dies.
It is the woman, primal mother.
Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth.
It is like a veil rarely seen.
Use it. It will never fail.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Johanna Boeke was born and raised in the Netherlands, where she met her husband, Richard Boeke, at a congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom in The Hague in 1964. She is a Unitarian Universalist minister and past president of the International Association of Liberal Religious Women. She and her husband have served churches in the United States and England. They live in the United Kingdom and continue to be active in interfaith organizations.
Empower Women through Faithful Connections Around the World
by Barbara Kres Beach
The oldest international women’s organization and the youngest agree. Their principles are solidly in accord, and their members work hard, dedicated to their faiths and to their actions.
Barbara Kres Beach is executive director of Strategic Relations for Management Concepts, one of the leading training and professional development companies in the United States. She is past president of the Partner Church Council and current president of the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women. She became committed to international work and interfaith dialogue at her first congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom in Japan in 1984. She and her husband, the Reverend Dr. George K. Beach, live in Virginia.
Women and Nonviolence – Clearing a Path for the Future
The Twenty-seventh Niwano Peace Prize Commemorative Dialogue between Ms. Ela Ramesh Bhatt and Rev. Nichiko Niwano
The twenty-seventh Niwano Peace Prize was awarded to Ms. Ela Ramesh Bhatt of India, founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a women’s labor union with more than 1.2 million members throughout India. She was honored for her contributions of more than thirty years to improving the lives of her country’s poorest and most oppressed women workers. In this commemorative dialogue with Rev. Nichiko Niwano, president of the Niwano Peace Foundation, on the theme “Women and Nonviolence – Clearing a Path for the Future,” held on May 12, 2010, in Tokyo, she emphasized the importance of realizing that we are all bound together at all levels, now and for centuries.
Like a Mother’s Love
by Nichiko Niwano
We should consider others’ suffering as our own and comfort them with the selfless love that a mother gives her child.
Nichiko Niwano is president of Rissho Kosei-kai and the Niwano Peace Foundation, a president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, and special advisor to Shinshuren (Federation of New Religious Organizations of Japan).
The Threefold Lotus Sutra: A Modern Commentary (104)
The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 17: Discrimination of Merits (2)
by Nikkyo Niwano
This is the 104th installment of a detailed commentary on the Threefold Lotus Sutra by the founder of Rissho Kosei-kai, Rev. Nikkyo Niwano.