Following Two Paths: Buddhism and Feminism

By Huron, Debra | Herizons, Fall 1996 | Go to article overview

Following Two Paths: Buddhism and Feminism


Huron, Debra, Herizons


Following two Paths: Buddhism and Feminism

In the late 20th century, women are putting their stamp on Buddhism like never before. While two International conferences for Buddhist nuns have been held since 1987, many women outside the religious realm are finding that being a Buddhist and an activist are complimentary pursuits.

American anti-nuclear activist and feminist Joanna Macy made the link in her book World as Lover, World as self, a plea for integration of eco-feminism and a Buddhist perspective to change the path planetary destruction.

In Canada, Pema Chodron, established and is now the abbess of Gampo Abbey, a 340 acre Buddhist retreat on Cape Breton Island. Further west in Ottawa, Bozica Costigliola is coordinator of the Shambhala Center, a Buddhist meditation hall and sangha. As a feminist, a writer and an activist in the labour movement, Bozica says Buddhism and her commitment to social change blend well.

"What Buddhism offers me as a woman is a way to stay sane in a very aggressive world and way to develop non-aggression as a spiritual path," Bozica explains.

Born into an Italian-Canadian family, Bozica's mother rejected Roman Catholicism. Bozica follows the teachings of Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan lama.

"The main thing about Buddhism is to surrender your ego," Bozica explains. This does not mean surrendering will, but working with the mind. "The way the teachings have been presented to me is that you join to practice (meditation) and to study but, in fact, if what you hear and what you learn are not confirmed by your own experience, then there isn't really much point.

"You can't become enlightened just by studying. You actually have to connect with your heart."

Bozica first connected in 1981 at a weekend seminar in Tibetan Buddhism in Montreal. "I had never meditated before and the experience of meditation was what sparked the connection for me, more than the words that were said," she remembers. "It was sitting down and doing nothing for hours on end and experiencing what happens in the mind."

Buddhism teaches that everyone is inherently pure. The practice of meditation provides glimpses of that purity of mind, an experience that means "there's intrinsically nothing wrong with you as a human being... a realization that can only be helpful to women."

"If you can transcend ego, you can deal with the world as it is and you can deal more skillfully with it." She laughs, adding, "It's really hard to do, though."

As happened in China, Japan and southeast Asia during the last 500 years, Buddhism is sowing seeds in North America, on soil fertilizer by disenchantment with other faiths. The fundamental tenets of Buddhism flow form the experiences of Siddharta, an Indian price born in 450 B.C Echewing the princely life, he began a search for truth that first embraced ascetic practices, a path he later rejected in favour of the "middle way." Sitting under a bo tree, he is said to have gained profound insight into the nature of mind and reality and was dubbed the Buddha - the enlightened one.

During his life, the Buddha recognized people of all castes as equal partners on the spiritual path. He also accepted women as adherents, though not without a struggle. After being asked by his aunt, Queen Mahaprajapati Gautami, who wanted to become a member of the Sangha (community of Buddhists) and devote herself to the spiritual life. She and 500 other women lobbied the Buddha, who eventually agreed to allow women to enter the order.

As part of her spiritual path, Bozica has embarked on Shambhala training, an international secular path developed by the late Tibetan lama, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, for people who may be of other faiths, or have no particular religion but are interested in Buddhist teachings and ways of embarking a spiritual life. Some of the ideals of Shambhala training include building an enlightened society and developing confidence and bravery on a personal level. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Following Two Paths: Buddhism and Feminism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.