Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Buddhist Studies | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The religious traditions that help shape society’s attitudes toward women and also women’s attitudes toward themselves often send mixed messages. The world’s major religions—Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—assert that women and men have equal potential, whether for liberation or in the sight of a higher being, but social realities reveal a stark contradiction between rhetoric and reality. Women continue to lack equal representation in social, political, and religious institutions. For many, the failure of the world’s religions to live up to their professed ideals not only exposes their lack of social responsiveness to the needs of human society but is also hypocritical.


Table of Contents

Preface | ix

Thea Mohr and Jampa Tsedroen

Abbreviations | xiii

Female Ordination in Buddhism:

Looking into a Crystal Ball, Making a Future | 1

Janet Gyatso

The Vinaya Between History and Modernity:

Some General Reflections | 23

Jens-Uwe Hartmann

Sects and Sectarianism

The Origin of the Three Existing Vinaya Lineages: Theravāda, Dharmaguptaka, and Mūlasarvāstivāda | 29

Bhikkhu Sujato

Some Remarks on the Status of Nuns and Laywomen in Early Buddhism | 39

Gisela Krey

Women's Renunciation in Early Buddhism:

The Four Assemblies and the Foundation of the Order of Nuns | 65


The Revival of Bhikkhunī Ordination in the Theravāda Tradition | 99

Bhikkhu Bodhi

The Eight Garudhammas | 143

Ute Hüsken

A Need to Take a Fresh Look at Popular Interpretations of the Tripiṭaka:

Theravāda Context in Thailand | 149

Dhammananda Bhikkhunī

A Lamp of Vinaya Statements:

A Concise Summary of Bhikṣuṇī Ordination | 161

Tashi Tsering

A Tibetan Precedent for Multi-Tradition Ordination | 183

Thubten Chodron

A "Flawless" Ordination:

Some Narratives of Nuns' Ordinations in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya | 195

Damchö Diana Finnegan

Buddhist Women's Role in the Saṅgha | 207

Lobsang Dechen

Preserving Endangered Ordination Traditions in the Sakya School | 211

David Jackson

Presuppositions for a Valid Ordination with Respect to the Restoration of the Bhikṣuṇī Ordination in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Tradition | 217

Petra Kieffer-Pülz

Creating Nuns Out of Thin Air:

Problems and Possible Solutions concerning the Ordination of Nuns according to the Tibetan Monastic Code | 227

Shayne Clarke

Bhikṣuṇī Ordination:

Lineages and Procedures as Instruments of Power | 239

Jan-Ulrich Sobisch

Human Rights and the Status of Women in Buddhism | 253

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

Gender Equity and Human Rights | 281

Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Appendix | 291

Glossary | 305

Bibliography | 309

About the Contributors | 325


Original publication information:

"Gender Equity and Human Rights." In Thea Mohr & Jampa Tsedroen (Eds), Dignity and Discipline: Reviving Full Ordination for Buddhist Nuns. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2010, pp. 281-290.