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Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

Here is another great opportunity  to meet Zen Women author and Zen teacher Grace Schireson.

Grace will be signing her book from 1 – 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25th at California State University, Stanislaus, Faculty Center, Room F-118.

Here are just a few of the many excellent endorsements of Zen Women:

“So here’s the thumbnail review: Read this book.”-Buddhadharma“Encouraging, inspiring, and profoundly useful. A kind of Blue Cliff Record for our own time.” -Jane Hirshfield

“An exceptional and powerful classic with great depth, humor, and clarity.”-Joan Halifax, abbess of Upaya Zen Center

This book changes everything! Zen Women is about all of us. It resets the common understanding of Zen history with eye-opening stories. A must-read.”- Pat Enkyo O’Hara, abbess of the Village Zendo

“Of great value to all of us. You cannot  find a more useful or more inspiring book on this subject.” – from the foreword by Miriam Levering, author of Rethinking Scripture

If you can’t make it to the signing click here for a copy.

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This Saturday January 9th Grace Schireson will be giving a lecture and signing her fascinating and important new book Zen Women at the Berkeley Zen Center.

The lecture starts at 10 a.m. followed by the signing at 11 a.m. and a Female Ancestors Workshop from 1p.m.-3p.m.

Zen Women is a landmark presentation at last makes heard the centuries of voices of Zen’s women. Through exploring the teachings and history of Zen’s female ancestors, from the time of the Buddha to ancient and modern female masters in China, Korea, and Japan, Grace Schireson offers us a view of a more balanced Dharma practice. The lessons of Zen’s women are especially applicable to our complex lives, embedded as they are in webs of family relations and responsibilities, and
the challenges of love and work. Zen Women lets us all benefit from the wisdom of our Dharma grandmothers.

Grace Schireson is a Dharma teacher in the Suzuki Roshi lineage empowered by Sojun mel Weitsman Roshi, abbot of Berkeley Zen Center. She has also been empowered to teach koans by Keido Fukushima Roshi, chief abbot of Tofukuji monastery in Kyoto, Japan. Grace is the head teacher of the Central Valley
Zen Foundation and has founded and leads three Zen groups and a Zen retreat center in California. Grace is also a clinical psychologist who has specialized in women and families. She has been married for forty-one years and has two grown sons and three grandchildren.

Click here for more on the Berkeley Zen Center.

If you can’t make it to the event you can still order a copy of the book here.

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A guest post by Wisdom editor David Kittelstrom.

DhammasaraNuns
The first Theravada bhikkhuni (nun) ordination in Australia, and the first in the Thai Forest Tradition anywhere in the world, was performed in Bodhinyana Monastery in Western Australia on October 22nd. Four nuns from the nearby Dhammasara Nuns Monastery took ordination: Vayama, Nirodha, Seri, and Hassapañña. The second half of the ordination ceremony was performed by  Ajahn Brahm—the abbot of Bodhinyana—along with other monks from the monastery.

Many feel reestablishing the full ordination of nuns, which was first established by the Buddha himself  is vital for ensuring the respect and vitality of the Buddhist Sangha in the modern world and accords with the essential message of the Buddha. As with monks, well-trained and observant nuns are a wonderful field of merit, wonderful exemplars, and a wonderful source of teachings for all who seek to live life according to the Dharma, and seeds of peace for the world as a whole.

While the Chinese tradition has preserved female ordination, the lineage died out in the Tibetan and Theravada traditions. In recent years, women within these traditions have been taking full ordination nonetheless, but the practice has not yet been endorsed by a consensus of senior lineage holders, the resistance coming primarily from older monks in Asia. The Dalai Lama has been vocal in his support and an important international conference to advance the issue was held in Hamburg, Germany in 2007. Proceedings from this conference will appear soon in Wisdom’s forthcoming book Dignity and Discipline: Reviving Full Ordination for Buddhist Nuns.

The  ordination drew a severe reaction from conservative lineage holders in Thailand. The monks of the Ajahn Chah tradition headed at Wat Pa Pong complained that they had not been consulted and called Ajahn Brahm to a meeting in Northeast Thailand this past Sunday, November 1st, where they voted to expel him from the Wat Pa Pong community.

Ajahn Sujato, another central figure in the ceremony, has been posting regular updates on his blog as events unfold. Ajahn Brahm’s comments from the time of the ordination can be heard here. There is also apparently a group on Facebook with lively discussion of the event and its ramifications.

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, a Buddhist nun and a professor of Religious Studies at the University of San Diego, says in Dignity and Discipline, “Just as countries who refuse women the right to vote are considered backward today, Buddhists will certainly go down on the wrong side of history if they deny fundamental rights and freedoms to women…Recognizing full ordination for women is not only a matter of social justice, it is also simply a matter of common sense.”

Dignity and Discipline goes into these issues in great detail. I would highly suggest reading it when it comes out. The analyses of scripture presented in that book would indicate that the means exist to pursue bhikkhuni ordination in keeping with the Vinaya,  but that what is missing is the will to do so.

For photo’s from the event click here.

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One Hundred Days of Solitude author Jane Dobisz ( Zen Master Bon Yeon ) will give a dharma talk and a question and answer session on Wednesday, October 21 from 7:30 to 8:30 PM on the Boston University campus at Sargent College, room 101.

In One Hundred Days of Solitude: Losing My Self and Finding Grace on a Zen Retreat,American teacher of Korean Zen Jane Dobisz (Zen Master Bon Yeon), recalls her first solitary meditation stint in the woods. Luckily, this is not just a recounting of a winter’s worth of cabin fever. Instead, Dobisz takes us into her cabin, and into her mind, as she tries–at least temporarily–to live a Walden-like existence.

All the bowing and meditating and wood-chopping that is part and parcel of her retreat is hardly first nature, but the good-humored and tenacious Dobisz is able to adapt, and to relate her hundred days with moving insight and humanity. Her Solitude in fact offers us all a chance to commune with her and to look inside and rediscover our own grace.

Click here for more.

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Wisdom is proud to announce the release of Zen Women by Grace Schireson.

“An exceptional and powerful classic with great depth, humor, and clarity.”-Joan Halifax, abbess of Upaya Zen Center

This landmark presentation at last makes heard the centuries of the voices of Zen’s women. Through exploring the teachings and history of Zen’s female ancestors, from the time of the Buddha to ancient and modern female masters in China, Korea, and Japan, Grace Schireson offers us a view of a more balanced Dharma practice, one that is especially applicable to our complex lives, embedded as they are in webs of family relations and responsibilities, and the challenges of love and work.

Part I of this book describes female practitioners as they are portrayed in the classic literature of “Patriarchs’ Zen”-often as “tea-ladies,” bit players in the drama of male students’ enlightenments; as “iron maidens,” tough-as-nails women always jousting with their male counterparts; or women who themselves become “macho masters,” teaching the same Patriarchs’ Zen as the men do. Part II of this book presents a different view-a view of how women Zen masters entered Zen practice and how they embodied and taught Zen uniquely as women. This section examines many urgent and illuminating questions about our Zen grandmothers: How did it affect them to be taught by men? What did they feel as they trying to fit into this male practice environment, and how did their Zen training help them with their feelings? How did their lives and relationships differ from that of their male teachers? How did they express the Dharma in their own way for other female students? How was their teaching consistently different from that of male ancestors? And then part III explores how women’s practice provides flexible and pragmatic solutions to issues arising in contemporary Western Zen centers.

“Encouraging, inspiring, and profoundly useful. A kind of Blue Cliff Record for our own time.” -Jane Hirshfield

To read more endorsements and order your copy click here.

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This Wednesday May 20th Katie Willis Morton will be reading from her moving and inspiring memoir, The Blue Poppy and the Mustard Seed at the Harvard Coop bookstore.

The Blue Poppy and the Mustard Seed helps us confront the universal truths of love and loss that we all will eventually and inevitably encounter. This book will be a comfort to anyone who has faced a tragic loss, but not only that, it takes us all on a rich journey, through joy, suffering, and ultimately to hope, in a way that is quietly beautiful and, above all, utterly life-affirming.

The Blue Poppy and the Mustard Seed is a tribute to all mothers who struggle with the enormous grief that follows devastating loss. A thoughtful, honest, and hopeful book.”–Anne Hood, author of Comfort

The event will take place upstairs at 7pm.



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From our friends at Buddhadharma.

Nineteen women received Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards at a March 6 ceremony in Bangkok. The six American honorees were Lama Tsultrim Allione, Joan Hogetsu Hoeberichts, Susan Pembroke, Bhikkuni Pannavati, Carol Gansho O’Dowd, and Jan Willis.

“The awards,” Willis says, “provide 
inspiration and encouragement for Buddhist women practitioners
 around the world who, in spite of 2,600 years, are still struggling to practice in societies that are less than supportive of
 them.”

The annual awards, held in honor of the United Nations’ International Women’s Day, celebrate the accomplishments of Buddhist women in meditative practice, social work, community development, spreading the dharma, and peace activism.  The honorees were selected by a panel of Buddhist scholars and practitioners and received their awards at a ceremony held at the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women.

“The ceremony and the activities surrounding it,” Willis says, “provided participants with a great opportunity for sharing. It’s a chance for courageous women to meet, inspire each other, and learn about other women’s struggles and triumphs. The meetings and the networking will undoubtedly continue to bear fruit.”

For more on these and other recipients of this year’s Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards, visit http://www.owbaw.org/2009.htm

For more on Jan Willis check out her wonderful book Dreaming Me.

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