Contents: Introduction/Jose Ignacio Cabezon. I. Gender and Buddhist history: 1. Attitudes toward women and the feminine in early Buddhism/Alan Sponberg. 2. The female mendicant in Buddhist Sri Lanka/Tessa Bartholomeusz. II. Gender and contemporary Buddhist culture: 3. Buddhism and abortion in contemporary Japan: Mizuko Kuyo and the confrontation with death/Bardwell Smith. 4. Buddhist women of the contemporary Maharashtrian conversion movement/Eleanor Zelliot. III. The rhetoric of gender in Buddhist texts: 5. Gender and persuasion: the portrayal of beauty, Anguish, and nurturance in an account of a Tamil nun/Paula Richman. 6. Lin-chi (Rinzai) Ch’an and gender: the rhetoric of equality and the rhetoric of heroism/Miriam L. Levering. IV. Gender and Buddhist symbols: 7. The gender symbolism of Kuan-yin Bodhisattva/Barbara E. Reed. 8. Mother wisdom, father love: gender based imagery in Mahayana Buddhist thought/Jose Ignacio Cabezon. V. Buddhism and homosexuality: 9. Homosexuality as seen in Indian Buddhist texts/Leonard Zwilling. 10. Kukai and the tradition of male love in Japanese Buddhism/Paul Gordon Schalow. Index.
"This book explores historical, textual, and social questions relating to the position and experience of women and gay people in the Buddhist world from India and Tibet to Sri Lanka, China, and Japan. It focuses on four key areas: Buddhist history, contemporary culture, Buddhist symbols, and homosexuality, and it covers Buddhism’s entire history, from its origins to the present day. The result of original and innovative research, the author offers new perspectives on the history of the attitudes toward, and of the self-perception of women in both ancient and modern Buddhist societies. He explores key social issues such as abortion, he examines the use of rhetoric and symbols in Buddhist texts, and cultures, and he discusses the neglected subject to Buddhism and homosexuality. ." (jacket)