Buddhism Beyond Gender: liberation from attachment to identity
A prominent Buddhist scholar and practitioner challenges women and men to free themselves from the prison of gender roles.
Zen teachers are fond of saying things like "don't make man, don't make woman." Other Buddhist teachers may not use the same Zen-like saying, but they also generally teach that gender, like anything else, is essentially empty and not to be clung to. That's fine and good, but how does it relate to actual oppression we experience based on gender? It's complicated, of course.
This book is an examination of those complications as they relate to the lives of Buddhist practitioners, beginning with gender--then moving on to the other, inevitable, manifestations of identity. Rita Gross outlines the issues of gender and identity as they relate to Buddhism and discusses the evolution of these issues throughout the history of Buddhism. Then she delves into these difficult issues as they occur today. Finally, in revealing all the inadequacies involved in clinging to gender identity, she illuminates the suffering that results from clinging to any kind of identity at all.
RITA M. GROSS (1943-2015) was Professor Emerita of Comparative Studies in Religion at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. An important figure in the study of women in religion in general, she was also a Vajrayana Buddhist practitioner and teacher, appointed a lopon by Mindrolling Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of eleven books, including her classic Buddhism after Patriarchy- A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism.