Women of the Way: Discovering 2,500 Years of Buddhist Wisdom

Women of the Way: Discovering 2,500 Years of Buddhist Wisdom

Sallie Tisdale

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0060598166

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this groundbreaking work, Sallie Tisdale traces women Buddhist masters and teachers across continents and centuries, drawing upon historical, cultural, and Buddhist records to bring to life these narratives of ancestral Buddhist women.

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to form a metaphorical ancestral line representing many different kinds of women—old and young, lay and monastic, rich and poor. I realized that it was possible to chant the names of women who had held the Dharma, for my present benefit, from the beginning of Buddhism until today. Engaging with the stories of these women, I have been so humbled by their patient perseverance, their courage, their very lack of bitterness in circumstances much more difficult than those most Buddhist women face today,

emptiness of bodhisattvas, and finally, the emptiness of the Buddha himself. mythical ancestors 39 The Buddha was watching this exchange cheerfully. He had known Maha¯ka¯s´yapa a long time and had recognized him from the first moment as a true disciple; he knew Maha¯ka¯s´yapa was capable of great humility and effort. And he knew that even his first disciple wasn’t free from human foibles. He needed sympathy to temper his discipline. For some time the princess continued to explain the nature of

person whose passions and delusions are stilled, who is free of desire and ignorance. So when she heard this, she wasn’t swayed. Her stepson was a very young Buddha still. If he demanded that she follow a few extra rules so that the world he was changing so radically would not change in one particular way—well, so be it. Perhaps she remembered his diapers and rolled her eyes. “Yes,” she said out loud. “I’ll pick up and carry these rules like a garland of blue lotuses on my head.” So began the

person whose passions and delusions are stilled, who is free of desire and ignorance. So when she heard this, she wasn’t swayed. Her stepson was a very young Buddha still. If he demanded that she follow a few extra rules so that the world he was changing so radically would not change in one particular way—well, so be it. Perhaps she remembered his diapers and rolled her eyes. “Yes,” she said out loud. “I’ll pick up and carry these rules like a garland of blue lotuses on my head.” So began the

sky. Then she became Uppalavan.n.a¯ again, in a slim, dusty robe, and bowed at Siddha¯rtha’s feet in humility. She was a little embarrassed for having shown off. “You,” she said, “are the refuge of the entire world.” Her cousin had desired Uppalavan.n.a¯ hand in marriage very much. He became obsessed with her after she retreated from the world and eventually discovered that she was living alone in a hut in Andhavana. One day he snuck into the hut while she was out walking and hid under her bed.

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