Tuesday, December 27, 2016

15th Sakyadhita International Conference Panel: Kwong-Chuen (Kenneth) Ching on Filial Piety in Buddhism

Perfection of Filial Piety in Buddhism: A Study of Lady Clara Ho’s Social Welfare Activities in Hong Kong

Lady Clara
Photo Credit: BuddhistDoor
Lady Clara Ho’s social welfare activities to benefit Buddhism and society in Hong Kong during the 1920s and 1930s in Hong Kong are well known. Her early contributions included providing Buddhist education for nuns and laywomen, and general education for the poor. Later, she established Tung Lin Kok Yuen as a permanent institution for propagating Buddhism.

The strict application of traditional academic disciplines such as sociology, psychology, and anthropology to explain religious behavior tends to reduce research findings to collective behaviours and neglect individuals’ search for meaning in the religious context. Some theorists using liberal feminist methodologies have also been critiqued for neglecting to study individuals’ everyday lives. This research gap may also extend to the study of Lady Clara’s social welfare activities.

Friday, December 23, 2016

20 Nuns Conferred Geshema Degree by H.H. Dalai Lama

On Thursday, December 22nd, twenty Tibetan nuns have been awarded the Geshema degree, the highest academic title in Tibetan Buddhism. The degree was conferred by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at a ceremony to honor the nun's achievements at Drepung Monastery in Mundgod, South India.

At the conferment ceremony, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke about the immense importance of gender equality in education. His Holiness also emphasised the need for secular ethics to make modern education more holistic.

“Through the power of education, women have been able to rise up to prominent roles including leadership in various societies. Education has played a big role in the advancement of gender equality and material development,” His Holiness said.

Monday, December 19, 2016

15th Sakyadhita International Conference Workshops: Eva Yuen on ZenVisual

Ways of Seeing - 2014 Eva Yuen Solo Exhibition

The Art ZenVisual workshop- the ways of seeing through sketching

Aim: participants learn about the cognitive process of seeing through sketching, which involves perception and conception, so to understand how to look into the intangible qualities of the objects and how to record such observation visually.

Monday, December 12, 2016

15th Sakyadhita International Conference Workshops: Ruth Richards and Vivian Ting Chuk Lai on Chaos Theory, Gender & Buddhism

Designed by Chevanon - Freepik.com
Designed by Chevanon - Freepik.com


Chaos, Creativity & Gender

Do join us for a new type of dialogue we hope can help transform society. Our manifest world is full of change, complexity, and surprise. It is not all linear, predictable, or due to limited factors showing simple, or controlling relationships. We are all profoundly interconnected and interdependent, as Buddhists know well. This is now becoming more clear to Western science due to advances including Chaos and Complexity Theory. At a metaphorical level, such advances can be used in engaging and colorful ways to open up and advance understanding of our mutual effects on each other (all of us), the multiplicity and unpredictability of factors in our lives, the wonder and humility of emergent systems and events, the importance of lovingkindness, compassion, equanimity and sympathetic joy, and other spiritual virtues as we advance together, our roles as “open systems” in dynamic interaction, and features that at once honor modes where women have brought great value and benefit, while revealing other areas of stereotyping and gender polarization in society. Women and men alike can benefit.

Monday, December 5, 2016

15th Sakyadhita International Conference Panel: Pema Khandro on Buddhist Identity & Self Esteem Without Self

Pema Khandro with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo at the 14th Sakyadhita International Conference.
Photo by Olivier Adam.

Becoming Vajrayogini: Buddhist Identity & Self Esteem Without Self

As Buddhism has crossed borders in the global context, contemporary Buddhist women have drawn heavily on positive female iconography from Tibet: becoming Vajrayogini, praying at the feet of White Tara or echoing the aspiration of Yeshe Tsogyal or other female heroines. What is the philosophical basis of this adaptation if any? While the availability of such positive iconography should not be mistaken as representative of female equality in Buddhist history, does it express a positive potential for how Buddhist philosophies can arise in the lives of western women today?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Awakening Buddhist Women Awarded Top 50 Buddhist Blog Award

Sakyadhita: Awakening Buddhist Women  has been selected by a team of panelists as one of the Top 50 Buddhist Blogs on the web! We are very honored to have been awarded this recognition and sit among the ranks of other amazing Buddhist blogs available online. Thank you!

The Best Buddhist blogs list was complied from thousands of top Buddhist blogs in their index using search and social metrics. This is the most comprehensive list of best Buddhist blogs on the internet.

These blogs are ranked based on following criteria
  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review
To view the complete list of Top 50 Buddhist Blogs please click this link.

Monday, November 28, 2016

15th Sakyadhita International Panel: Bee Scherer on Buddhist Tantric Thealogy?

Tara Kalasan Tara 8th c. famous Tārā temple near Yogjakarta, Java (Indonesia).
Photo by Patrick de Vries & Bee Scherer.


Buddhist Tantric Thealogy?

The Genealogy and Soteriology of Tārā

Tara Bodh Gaya
The wish-fulfilling Tārā;
Pala era (?) relief at the
Mahābodhi temple in
Bodh Gayā (Bihar, India)
Photo credit Patrick
de Vries & Bee Scherer
The-a-logy can be seen as a feminist religious subversion of (hetero-)patriarchal theology. Thealogy stresses nurturing, motherhood and wisdom; the body and the embodied spiritual journey in aid of liberating women (and men) from patriarchal silencing, power, and oppression. Thealogical narratives have employed empowering female divine archetypes such as Ishtar, Isis, Gaia, Demeter, Diana, Sophia, and the Virgin Mary. I argue that Tārā can provide (and is indeed already providing) such an empowering frame in contemporary global Buddhist traditions.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

15th Sakyadhita International Conference Workshop: Rotraut Jampa Wurst on Sakyadhita Herstory, LGBTQQI, Buddhist Women and Science Fiction, and Dharma Rap

Rotraut Jampa Wurst leading the Dharma Rap Workshop at the 14th Sakyadhita International
held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2015. Photo by Olivier Adam.

The 15th Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women

What an auspicious conference we will celebrate in Hong Kong in 2017! You know, it's Sakyadhita's  30th Anniversary!!! Unbelievable, isn´t it? Thank you to Venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo, who keeps this wonderful project going over so many years, as founder, former Sakyadhita International President, and also as the one who is taking care for all the Sakyadhita branches around the world.

We all, my Sakyadhita sisters, we have to meet on this very, very special Sakyadhita conference, and we have to share Sakyadhita's herstory.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spotlight On: Three Newly Emerging Theravada Bhikkhuni Projects for the 2600th Bhikkhuni Sangha Anniversary

Photo courtesy of Karuna Sevena.

This year has seen the dedication of two Bhikkhuni monastery projects in the west, while another is taking momentous steps forward. This is especially momentus as the Global Bhikkhuni Sangha celebrates its 2,600th anniversary between the full moon of September 2016 and the full moon of September 2017. To read more on the Bhikkhuni Sangha please read Ven. Ayya Tathaaloka's article from BuddhistDoor Global here.


May the Dhamma flourish!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Interviewing Buddhist Women: Jacqueline Kramer, Part 2

Jacqueline Kramer with Susan Pembroke, founder of  the Alliance for Bhikkhunis
and Insight Meditation Ventura

In this two part series, Ven. Adhimutta interviews Jacqueline Kramer, author of Buddha Mom and 10 Spiritual Practices for Busy Parents. To read Part 1 please click here.

Ven. Adhimutta: How did you become involved with Sakyadhita International (SI) and what are your her opinions on women in Buddhism?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Interviewing Buddhist Women: Jacqueline Kramer, Part 1

Photo Courtesy of Luboš Račanský, "Love." Creative Commons.
In this two part series, Ven. Adhimutta interviews Jacqueline Kramer, author of Buddha Mom and 10 Spiritual Practices for Busy Parents. Stay tuned for Part 2 in September.

Ven. Adhimutta: What led you to be interested in Buddhism? 

Jacqueline Kramer: I was led to Buddhism at a very young age. I had the good fortune to have a mother who was a mystic and spiritual seeker. She was meditating and practicing yoga in the late 1950’s. My birth religion is Judaism and my mother taught Sunday school at our local temple. They didn’t have her continue teaching because she was too ecumenical for them. She imparted this openness to all wisdom paths to me. When I was around 11 years old, she asked me if I wanted to commit to Judaism and become batmitzvahed. I told her there were certain things Judaism taught that I couldn’t go along with. She said, that was fine, but I had to continue my religious training somewhere. I chose a Vedanta temple I had visited in Hollywood. This is the wonder of my mother - she drove me to that temple to hear the sermons every weekend. Then in junior high, I got hold of the Paul Reps book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, and carried it around in my purse. I loved its direct, clear expression and have since returned to the koan practice it introduced to me.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

80th Birthday Celebration: Ven. Pema Chodron

Today we celebrate the birthday of one of Sakyadhita International's co-founders, Ven. Pema Chodron who was born Diedre Blomfield in 1936 in New York City. She grew up in a Catholic family in New Jersey, earned a master's in education from the University of California, Berkeley and taught elementary school in California and New Mexico. In 1972, after 2 marriages and 2 children, she discovered Tibetan Buddhism. From 1974 until his death in 1987, Ven. Pema studied under Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, founder of the Shambhala school of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. In 1981, at the age of 45, Ven. Pema became the first American in the vajrayana tradition to become a fully ordained Bhikshuni. 

We invite you to celebrate Ven. Pema's 80th birthday with an article that first appeared in Shambhala Sun (Sept '98), republished here with the gracious permission of Lion's Roar.

Ven. Pema Chodron, a co-founder of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women,  at the 1st Sakyadhita International Conference held on Bodhgaya, India in 1987.
Ven. Pema Chodron, a co-founder of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women,
at the 1st Sakyadhita International Conference held on Bodhgaya, India in 1987.
Pictured top row, 2nd from right.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Announcement: Sakyadhita E-Book Now Available

The Compassion and Social Justice E-Book is now available online as both a PDF and a Bookmarked PDF. Please visit our Sakyadhita Publications Page to view our E-Publications, as well as available print publications and conference materials.

Additionally, Buddhist Women in A Global Multicultural Community is also available as an e-book.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Settle Into The Bliss: An interview with Shaila Catherine

by Vlad Moskovski

Photo courtesy of Freepik.com.

Shaila begins to speak. Her voice, like her personality, fits her well. It is like a warm whisper that washes over the gathered crowd at this public talk. I am moved by her peaceful and calm demeanor and awed by her experience in meditation and the clarity with which she is able to describe the most subtle of concepts. Shaila has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than eight years of accumulated silent retreat experience and has studied with masters in India, Nepal and Thailand. She has taught since 1996 in the USA and internationally, and is the founder/lead teacher at Insight Meditation South Bay.

Monday, June 6, 2016

In Memory of Zenkei Blanche Hartman (1926-2016)

Zenkei Blanche Hartman from Boundless Life: A Chronicle Dedicated to Zenkei Blanche Hartman

Zenkei Blanche Hartman (1926-2016) was a Soto Zen teacher practicing in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki. From 1996 to 2002 she served two terms as co-abbess of the San Francisco Zen Center. She was the first woman to assume such a leadership position at the center. A member of the American Zen Teachers Association, Blanche was especially known for her expertise in the ancient ritual of sewing a kesa, called Nyoho-e, the practice of sewing Zen ceremonial robes in the lineage of Sawaki Kodo Roshi, which she had learned during the 1970s from Kasai Joshin Sensei, formerly of Antaiji. She taught this unique form of Zen practice to hundreds of students at the San Francisco Zen Center, and played an important role in establishing the practice in North America.

Lou and Blanche Wed from Boundless Life:
A Chronicle Dedicated to Zenkei Blanche Hartman
Born in Birmingham, Alabama to non-practicing Jewish parents in 1926. Blanche was educated in the Catholic school system in the early 1930s, but in 1943 her family moved to California, where her father served in the military. After taking up biochemistry and chemistry at the University of California she married Lou Hartman in 1947, giving birth to four children. In the late 1950s she found work as a chemist, though by 1968 she began questioning the direction of her life. She and her husband began sitting zazen regularly at the Berkeley Zen Center in Berkeley, California in 1969, and in 1972 the two entered Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. The couple lived at all of the other San Francisco Zen Center sites, including City Center and Green Gulch Farm. Shuun Lou Hartman passed away in 2011.

Friday, May 20, 2016

On Vesak: Venerable Patacara

Author Anonymous

Vesak Day honors the birth, Enlightenment, and death of the Buddha.

It is very useful to regularly reflect on how the things we do affect our minds. When you have done something well, how do you feel about it? There is a feeling of satisfaction and happiness. In turn, this feeling of happiness supports your daily practice, as well as a cause for a successful meditation practice. When we know what habits support the generation of good states of mind we are inclined to develop those habits.

Again and again, looking at the mind, we can see that the actions, tendencies, and habits are very important. The actions and habits we cultivate in the mind are all important factors contributing to the success of our meditation.

Illustration from thebitterstickgirl.sg
Today being the day we commemorate the birth of the Buddha (Vesak), I want to recount a story that will remind us of the qualities that the Buddha possessed. 

This is the story of Patacara, a very important female disciple of the Buddha. In fact, she became the chief disciple of the Buddha with the role of taking care of the training of the monastic rules (vinaya) for female disciples, i.e. the bhikkhuni sangha. According to the story, once she realised all that had to be realised, she became the vinaya expert. Over time Patacara had a huge following of female disciples and students, all of whom also bore the name of Patacara.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Nuns at Yarchen Gar Monastery in Sichuan Province Defy Poverty in Pursuit of Learning

Craig Lewis

 Yarchen Gar Monastery in Gandze Prefecture, Sichuan Province. From smh.com.au

Situated high on the Tibetan Plateau, Yarchen Gar Monastery nestles at an elevation of more than 13,000 feet in a remote valley of the Hengduan mountain range in China‘s southwestern Sichuan Province. With a monastic population numbering about 10,000—most of them nuns—Yarchen Gar is widely considered to be the world’s largest monastery.

Monday, April 18, 2016

15th Sakyadhita International Conference: Call for Papers

The 2017 Sakyadhita International Conference theme, “Contemporary Buddhist Women: Contemplation, Cultural Exchange & Social Action,” highlights the diversity of contemporary Buddhist women throughout the world.

Buddhism is a significant cultural force in our world, influencing virtually every sphere of human activity from business to popular music. This global spread of Buddhist ethics, iconography, meditation, and philosophy is having an impact on science, psychology, government, and the arts. Today, women have more pathways to self-enrichment than at any time in recorded history. Whether the choice is career, family, or monastery, women are expanding beyond traditional roles in creative and beneficial ways. Women also take different paths and approaches to spirituality. Depending on their cultural backgrounds and personal interests, they may be inclined to meditation, scholarship, social activism, or the arts. The 2017 conference theme is broad enough to encompass the many aspects of what Buddhism means to women and to embrace the range of Buddhist women's experiences.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Sweetest Daughters of the Buddha

by Dita Sudarmawan 

Indonesian Volunteers with Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo at the 14th Sakyadhita International
Conference held inYogakarta, Indonesia during the summer of 2015.

Imagine that you are a young woman with a very limited view of yourself and your future. And then one day, you learn that an organization is having their international gathering in your hometown. They put a call out for volunteers, and you find yourself saying “yes” to their request for assistance. And that “yes” leads to a chance encounter that alters your view of the world and what you choose to do with your life.

Hardita “Dita” Libriasanti Sudarmawan was 23 years old when she agreed to volunteer at the 14th Sakyadhita International Conference held just outside of her hometown, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in June 2015 where she lives with her mother and brother. As the conference planning evolved, she found herself leading a culturally diverse group of dedicated volunteers in an uncharted adventure. Together, they created fond memories for all!

This is her story.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Curiosity and Doubt: The Spiritual Career of Judith Simmer-Brown

By Caitlin Dwyer
Teaching on the Dakini in Tibetan Buddhism at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat.
Watch teaching on YouTube.

Small-town Nebraska is about as far from India as a person can get, but for Buddhist scholar and acharya Judith Simmer-Brown, who grew up there, that faraway place always had a particular draw. Located in the Midwest of the United States, Nebraska has wide swaths of flat farmland sliced by paths for pickup trucks, wind plucking through the fields of corn.

“As a child, I had tremendous religious and spiritual curiosity,” recalls Simmer-Brown, the daughter of a Methodist minister. “I asked a lot of people, I read biographies . . . I started a methodical prayer practice. I feel like I had some kind of past-life affinity for meditation.”

That curiosity has carried Simmer-Brown through a lifetime of religious study—leading her to India, where she was first exposed to meditation, to an early devotion to Zen, to a doctorate in Buddhism, and eventually, to a position as an acharya, or senior Dharma teacher, in the Shambhala lineage of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and to a teaching role at Naropa University in Colorado. Curious and questioning, her spiritual intellect has driven her to embody a unique position bridging the divide between the practice of Dharma and the analytical study of religion.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Announcement: 2016 Numata Center for Buddhist Studies E-Learning Course

Photo: Anandajoti Bhikkhu

The University of Nuremburg's Numata Center for Buddhist Studies in cooperation with Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts offers an e-learning course on the topic of Asian Buddhist Women. The course consists of a series of lectures by a group of international scholars who will present their research on the situation of women during various periods in the history of Asian Buddhism, based on textual studies and archaeological evidence. Participation is free of charge but requires online registration. The registration period will be from the 15th of February until the end of March.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Gyalwang Karmapa Teaches on Bodhichitta &
Discusses Bhikshuni Ordination Plans

His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa during the Third Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering.

January 15, 2016 -Tergar Monastery, Bodh Gaya, Bihar India 

During the second day of the Third Arya Kshema Winter Dharma Gathering, the Gyalwang Karmapa continued his teaching on Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation, describing the causes for arousing bodhichitta. He also discussed the issue of the nun’s ordination, indicating that although he had hoped to initiate the process of giving Bhikshuni ordination this year, it had to be postponed for a variety of reasons.

The teaching today was focused on the four causes of arousing bodhichitta presented in the Levels of the Bodhisattva by Asanga. The first cause of arousing bodhichitta is seeing or hearing of the powers of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The Karmapa explained that for this reason, studying the life stories of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the past is important.