Buddhist Nuns in Taiwan and Sri Lanka: A Critique of the Feminist Perspective, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Buddhist Nuns in Taiwan and Sri Lanka

A Critique of the Feminist Perspective, 1st Edition

By Wei-Yi Cheng


226 pages

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Paperback: 9780415596268
pub: 2011-02-10
Hardback: 9780415390422
pub: 2006-10-18
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pub: 2007-01-24
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Taking a comparative approach, this fieldwork-based study explores the lives and thoughts of Buddhist nuns in present-day Taiwan and Sri Lanka. The author examines the postcolonial background and its influence on the modern situation, as well as surveying the main historical, economic, and social factors which influence the position of nuns in society.

Based on original research, including interviews with nuns in both countries, the book examines their perspectives on controversial issues and in particular those concerning the status of women in Buddhism. Concerns discussed include allegedly misogynist teachings relating to women’s inferior karma, that they cannot become Buddhas, and that nuns have to follow additional rules that monks do not.

Bridging the gap between feminist theory and the reality of women in religion, the book makes a distinct contribution to the study of women in Buddhism by focusing on nuns from both of the main wings of Buddhism (Theravada and Mahayana) as well as furthering feminist studies of Buddhism and religion in general.


'The strength of this book lies in its wealth of historical, descriptive and statistical details about Buddhist women in Taiwan and Sri Lanka, its informative, specialized Bibliography, its overall Conclusion with its valuable comparative insights and its recommendations regarding future research and developments among Buddhist women in Sri Lanka and Taiwan. Wei-Yi Cheng is to be congratulated on undertaking this important, innovative research which sets a new trail and is a real inspiration for doing more research on Buddhist nuns, opening up many new perspectives of enquiry for other scholars in the field.' - Ursula King, Religions of South Asia

"Buddhist Nuns in Taiwan and Sri Lanka: A Critique of the Feminist Perspective, provides readers a thought-provoking interpretation of the nuns’ experiences and their perspectives on the monastic life…It is a book to be appreciated—despite the need for significant editorial attention—both for what she reports about Buddhist nuns in Asia and what scholars can glean from it regarding how to take future research on nuns’ roles and responsibilities one step farther in the future."- RELIGIOUS STUDIES REVIEW Vol 39, Number 1, March 2013.

Table of Contents

1. Theological and Methodological Standpoint 2. Buddhist Women in Sri Lanka and Taiwan 2.1 Buddhist Women in Sri Lanka 2.2 Buddhist Women in Taiwan 3. Buddhist Nuns at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century 3.1 Scriptural Influence 3.2 Renunciation 3.3 Education 3.4 The Mixed-Sex Sangha 3.5 The Bhikkhuni Ordination 3.11 Buddhist Scriptures and Buddhists 3.12 Women’s Karma 3.13 Ultimate Goal 3.14 The Eight Special Rules 4. Conclusion. Bibliography

About the Author

Wei-Yi Cheng is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, Hsuan Chuang University, Taiwan. Her research interests include the Feminist study of Religions, Women in Buddhism, Buddhism in Taiwan, Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Postcolonialism.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism is a comprehensive study of the Buddhist tradition. The series explores this complex and extensive tradition from a variety of perspectives, using a range of different methodologies. The series is diverse in its focus, including historical, philological, cultural, and sociological investigations into the manifold features and expressions of Buddhism worldwide. It also presents works of constructive and reflective analysis, including the role of Buddhist thought and scholarship in a contemporary, critical context and in the light of current social issues. The series is expansive and imaginative in scope, spanning more than two and a half millennia of Buddhist history. It is receptive to all research works that are of significance and interest to the broader field of Buddhist Studies.

Some of the titles in the series are published in association with the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, which conducts and promotes rigorous teaching and research into all forms of the Buddhist tradition.

Editorial Advisory Board:
James A. Benn, McMaster University, Canada

Jinhua Chen, The University of British Columbia, Canada

Rupert Gethin, University of Bristol, UK

Peter Harvey, University of Sunderland, UK

Sallie King, James Madison University, USA

Anne Klein, Rice University, USA

Lori Meeks, University of Southern California, USA;

Ulrich Pagel, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

John Powers, Australian National University, Australia;

Juliane Schober, Arizona State University, USA

Vesna A. Wallace, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Michael Zimmermann, University of Hamburg, Germany

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Buddhism / General (see also PHILOSOPHY / Buddhist)
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General