Being a Buddhist Nun: The Struggle for Enlightenment in the by Kim Gutschow

By Kim Gutschow

They might shave their heads, don uncomplicated gowns, and surrender materialism and worldly wishes. however the girls looking enlightenment in a Buddhist nunnery excessive within the folds of Himalayan Kashmir continually locate themselves topic to the tyrannies of subsistence, subordination, and sexuality. finally, Buddhist monasticism displays the very international it truly is alleged to surrender. Butter and barley turn out to be as serious to monastic lifestyles as advantage and meditation. Kim Gutschow lived for greater than 3 years between those ladies, amassing their tales, staring at their methods, learning their lives. Her booklet bargains the 1st ethnography of Tibetan Buddhist society from the viewpoint of its nuns. Gutschow depicts a gender hierarchy the place nuns serve and clergymen direct, the place priests bless the fields and kitchens whereas nuns toil in them. Monasteries may well continue ancient endowments and important political and social energy, but international flows of capitalism, tourism, and feminism have began to erode the stability of energy among priests and nuns. regardless of the stumbling blocks of being thought of impure and inferior, nuns interact in daily different types of resistance to pursue their ascetic and private pursuits. A richly textured photo of the little recognized tradition of a Buddhist nunnery, the publication bargains relocating narratives of nuns suffering from the Buddhist self-discipline of detachment. Its research of how within which gender and sexuality build ritual and social strength offers precious perception into the connection among ladies and faith in South Asia this day. (20040501)

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Ironically, those monks seen as the most virtuous— like the Dalai Lama—acquire the largest streams of wealth. They are given palaces which they will never inhabit, even as nearby nuns struggle to subsist. The lay donors and monastics caught up in the economy of merit systematically misrecognize this concentration of wealth. 29 Yet such donations have yet to displace the steady flow of patronage toward the richest monks or monasteries. The Thai monk Buddhadasa once attacked this problem in merit making as follows: What is called merit or merit making is for those caught up in the world because it tempts people to lose their way in the grasping of the senses.

When her father spotted the soldiers in their gray uniforms, he ran to tell Yeshe to hide. Grabbing all the butter she could and stuffing it into her wicker basket, Yeshe ran off with her friends, the daughter and wife of the local Zaildar, or tax collector. They ran up the riverbed and hid behind a huge boulder, where they tried to bury the skins of butter under stones. Yeshe saw her father come out of the hut, greet the soldiers, and then begin gesticulating toward a distant plain which housed abandoned fields named after the wife of the epic hero Gesar.

The inhospitable terrain has been a mixed blessing. While the forbidding ranges and high passes have kept Islamic terrorism at bay, they have also hindered development and infrastructure. More than half of the state’s ten million inhabitants live 30 Being a Buddhist Nun in Kashmir Valley, which is now over 99 percent Muslim because of the exodus of Hindus in the wake of terrorism and militancy after 1989. Slightly less than half the population resides in Jammu, which was 66 percent Hindu in 1981.

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