Buddhism Beyond Gender: Liberation from Attachment to Identity
|Author:||Rita M. Gross|
|Author:||Rita M. Gross|
Zen teachers are fond of saying things like "don't make man, don't make woman." Other Buddhist teachers may not use the same Zen-like saying, but they also generally teach that gender, like anything else, is essentially empty and not to be clung to. That's fine and good, but how does it relate to actual oppression we experience based on gender? It's complicated, of course. This book is an examination of those complications as they relate to the lives of Buddhist practitioners, beginning with gender--then moving on to the other, inevitable, manifestations of identity. Rita Gross outlines the issues of gender and identity as they relate to Buddhism and discusses the evolution of these issues throughout the history of Buddhism. Then she delves into these difficult issues as they occur today. Finally, in revealing all the inadequacies involved in clinging to gender identity, she illuminates the suffering that results from clinging to any kind of identity at all.
"Rita Gross offers readers an amazing example of a lifelong, ongoing commitment to feminist thinking and practice. Her visionary insistence that the path to ending patriarchal domination must lead us beyond gender is a revolutionary paradigm shift, one that can lead to greater freedom for everyone."--bell hooks "The Buddhist scriptures tell us that we are neither male nor female--that gender is an illusion, and that clinging to it just brings suffering. In this, her last book, Rita Gross, one of the founding figures in the feminist study of religion, explains why this is so. One of the few academics to speak from an insider's perspective, Professor Gross devoted most of her life to challenging the structures of patriarchy and oppression in the Buddhist tradition--to 'repairing' the tradition and making it more just. Buddhism beyond Gender is Rita Gross at her very best: clear, direct, insightful, and uncompromising. The book is not just an important contribution to Buddhism and gender studies, it is a practical guidebook on how to see through the fictions of gender identity and free oneself from the prison of gender roles so as to lead a more liberated life."--Jose Ignacio Cabezon, Dalai Lama Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
RITA M. GROSS (1943-2015) was Professor Emerita of Comparative Studies in Religion at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. An important figure in the study of women in religion in general, she was also a Vajrayana Buddhist practitioner and teacher, appointed a lopon by Mindrolling Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of eleven books, including her classic Buddhism after Patriarchy- A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism.