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By Nirmala S. Salgado

In accordance with vast examine in Sri Lanka and interviews with Theravada and Tibetan nuns from world wide, Salgado's groundbreaking examine urges a rethinking of lady renunciation. How are scholarly bills complicit in reinscribing imperialist tales concerning the subjectivity of Buddhist girls? How do key Buddhist "concepts" comparable to dukkha, samsara, and sila ground woman renunciant perform? Salgado's provocative research questions the secular concept of the better ordination of nuns as a political move for freedom opposed to patriarchal norms. Arguing that the lives of nuns defy translation right into a politics of world sisterhood equivalent prior to legislation, she demands more-nuanced readings of nuns' daily renunciant practices.

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Extra info for Buddhist Nuns and Gendered Practice: In Search of the Female Renunciant

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To her credit, Cheng articulates an awareness of her complicity in the narrative disjunction that she has produced. She states that many of the issues she raises in her study, such as those relating to the nature of “inferior karma” ascribed to women and those relating to women’s ability to realize ultimate goals, are of little relevance: “Throughout my fieldwork, I often felt foolish for asking the hermetical questions (about women’s karma and the ultimate goals). , Gross 1993), it soon became apparent to me that these issues are trivial to the nuns” (80).

This study provides no easy answers but raises questions that may help scholars rethink contemporary Buddhism and the responsibility of scholarship that seeks to represent it. What I am calling for is not more “ethnography,” but more self-critical evaluation of how one reflects on everyday lives, and the practices that make them possible. This page intentionally left blank PART I Narration This page intentionally left blank 1 Decolonizing Female Renunciation Introduction In this chapter I seek to question scholarly narratives on gender and female renunciation in Buddhism.

My research subjects are partially silenced because I forced them to speak about issues raised by Western feminists, rather than beginning with their own agenda. . But if I had not asked the questions first, what would the nuns have said? What issues would they have indicated as the issues that matter most in their lives? (190) What Cheng indicates is that her research represents nuns whose responses are constrained by her questions, whereas who they are and what is most important to them remain somewhat obscure.

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