Historical Women in Buddhism

It is relevant to the theme of this issue to reflect on how much women accomplish and how many people they aspire to serve whether or not they receive any recognition for their efforts.

Until recently, anyone who enquired into the history of Buddhism soon realized how difficult it is to find information about the lives and contributions of Buddhist women. Although some schools of Buddhism celebrate female goddesses, the “divine feminine, ” and the consorts of male teachers, ordinary women have generally been overlooked. What else but the demands of daily life might have overshadowed women’s contributions to Buddhism?

In Vaishaili with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

One factor is that in many cultures, it is considered unseemly for women to draw attention to themselves or their accomplishments. Buddhists, even those training in mindfulness and compassion, both in the past and present, are quick to rebuke as egotistic or “reifying a sense of self” a woman (not necessarily a man) who seeks acknowledgment for her work. Scholars and practitioners investigating the history of women in Buddhism have noticed this lacuna and over the past few decades, and momentum for studying the lives of eminent women in Buddhism has been growing.
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Popular Q&A

What are key historical events for Buddhism?

The key events for Buddhism are: c. 800-500 BCE Composition of Hindu Upanishads, 552-479 BCE Life of Confucius etc

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