AMERICAN BUDDHIST WOMEN

Quarterly Electronic MagaZine from Sakyadhita USA

Issue No. 17 Fall 2018

Compassion and Social Justice

The Proceedings of the 14th Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, ed.

Published by Sakyadhita, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2015

328 pages. Free downloadable PDF at Sakyadhita.org

Elise Ann DeVido, Ph.D received her doctorate in History and Asian Languages from Harvard University. She has published works on women and gender in Chinese and in Vietnamese Buddhism; on the transnational Buddhist revivals of the early twentieth century; and on Engaged Buddhism. Currently she is the Sheng Yen Foundation Visiting Fellow in Chinese Buddhism at the Graduate Institute for Religious Studies, National Chengchi University, Taiwan.

Compassion and Social Justice

The Proceedings of the 14th Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, ed.

 

Reviewed by Elise Anne DeVido

Published by Sakyadhita, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2015

328 pages. Free downloadable PDF

Since its founding in 1987 by Dr. Karma Lekshe Tsomo and other Buddhist women, Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women has held fifteen international conferences. The book under review comprises edited and revised papers from the 14th Conference in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia, June 23-30, 2018.

The archipelago of Indonesia is home to 225 million Muslims, making it the largest Muslim population in the world. Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Confucianism and various “folk traditions” also make up the Indonesian spiritual and cultural landscape. As Karma Lekshe Tsomo wrote in her Preface, “[t]he 14th Sakyadhita International Conference in Yogyakarta is timely, considering the growing religious, national and ethnic intolerance found everywhere in Asia, including in Indonesia”(p. ix). This volume explores how Buddhist women in Indonesia and around the world manifest compassion and work for social justice.

This book includes fifty-three chapters grouped under thirteen headings. Each chapter is worthy. However, rather than discuss each chapter, I will mention some that readers might find particularly enlightening. Karma Lekshe Tsomo’s “Preface” and her chapter entitled “Buddhist Women of Indonesia: Diversity and Social Justice” are fine introductions to both the conference and the published book.  Each essay included in the sections “Buddhist Women of Indonesia” and “Indonesian Buddhist Women in Historical Perspective will most likely be new and refreshing to readers. I further recommend the following chapters: Wei-yi Cheng’s “Living with HIV: Two life-stories from Taiwan”; Annie McGhee’s “Compassionate Legacy: Indonesian influence on Buddhism in Tibet”; Hudaya Kandahjala’s “What is Borobudur?”; Emma Tomalin, Caroline Starkey, and Anna Halofoff’s “Gender and the Cybersangha: Buddhist women’s online activism and practice”; SungJa Cho’s “The Universality of Buddhism: Proposing A Sakyadhita Sangha”; Diana Cousens’ “Managing Sexual Harassment and Child Abuse: A coordinated approach”; Rotraut (Jampa) Wurst’s “Buddhism and Sexual Diversity in Germany”; Chang Shen Shih’s “An emerging alliance: The Diverse Family Formation Bill and Buddhist gender justice in Taiwan”; Bhikkhu Sujato’s “The Imaginarium of the Nuns: Days past and futures yet to be”; Pema Khandro’s “Bridging the Lay-Monastic Divide: Women’s religious leadership in Tibet”; Chenxing Han’s “The Invisible Majority: Conversations with Young Adult Asian American Buddhists”; Carol L. Winkelmann’s “Emerging Buddhist Women’s Leadership: Competing Feminist Views at the Intersections of the Sacred and the Profane”; Rita Gross’ “The Real Problem regarding Buddhist women and gender justice: gender-neutral models of humanity”; Teresa Sivilli’s “Compassion: the path to Resilience”; and Thich Nu Phuoc Uyen’s “Buddhist Schools in Australia: Buddhist Women’s Roles.”

Lastly, a word on the Contributors’ biographies. Reading about these talented Buddhists from diverse countries and traditions is inspirational and perfectly illustrates Sakyadhita International’s mission: to work for dialogue and collaborations among ordained religious and laypersons of various genders, cultures, nations, and fields to advance the status and well-being of Buddhist girls and women specifically and local communities more generally.

For more information about Sakyadhita International’s conferences and publications, see website at www.sakyadhita.org

In addition, SUSA’s Ezine, Issue 7, Summer 2015 includes Reports on the Yogyakarta Conference.

 

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SUSA is the USA National Branch of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women

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