Who Am I? A response to the Koan 'Woman'

Byrne, Jean Marie (2004) Who Am I? A response to the Koan 'Woman'. Women - Church: An Australian Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 35 38-43.

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Author Byrne, Jean Marie
Title Who Am I? A response to the Koan 'Woman'
Journal name Women - Church: An Australian Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion
ISSN 1030-0139
Publication date 2004-11-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 35
Start page 38
End page 43
Total pages 6
Editor C. Paule
E. Lindsay
Publisher Women - Church Journal Collective
Language eng
Subject 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts - General
C1
Abstract Buddhist theory can provide a new perspective from which we can understand the problem of how to define ‘woman’. Relating Mahayana Buddhist ideas of emptiness and not-self to a definition of woman allows for the conceptualising of an idea of ‘woman’ which is simultaneously absolute and relative, without being oppositional. Mahayana Buddhist theory shifts the emphasis on gender from being a static category to gender as fluid and boundless. Such a conception allows for social action based on an idea of ‘woman’ without binding all women to an homogenising and fixed category - ‘woman’ - creating a space in which women can simply ‘be’. The question of how to define woman can then become a koan, allowing us to see our true nature, rather than invoking an intellectual crisis.
Keyword Buddhism
Gender
Self
Feminism
Koan
Woman
References Alcoff, L. 'Cultural Feminism versus Post-structuralism: The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory,' In Nicholson, L. Ed. The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory. New York: Routledge, 1997, 330-354. Butler, J. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity, New York: Routeledge, 1993 Campbell, J. Traveller in Space: In search of female identity in Tibetan Buddhism, London: Althone, 1996. Collins, S. Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. Falk, N. 'The case of the Vanishing Nuns.' In Falk, N & Gross, R. Eds. Unspoken Worlds: Women’s religious lives, California: Wadsworth Publishing Co, 1989. Gottschall, M. 'The Ethical Implications of the Deconstruction of Gender.' Journal for the American Academy of Religion, 70/2 (2002):279-300. Gross, R. Buddhism after Patriarchy, New York: State University of New York Press, 1993. Harrison, P. 'Who gets to ride in the Great Vehicle? Self image and identity among the followers of early Mahayana' Journal of International Association of Buddhist Studies, 10/7 (1998):67-89. Harvey, P. An Introduction to Buddhism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Irigaray, L. This Sex Which Is Not One, New York: Cornell University Press, 1985. Jay, N. 'Gender and Dichotomy.' Feminist Studies, 7/1 (1981):38-56. Kalupahana, D. A History of Buddhist Philosophy: continuities and discontinuities Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992. Klein, A. 'Non Dualism and the Great Bliss Queen: A study in Tibetan ontology and symbolism' Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 1/1 (1985):73-98. Whitford, M. The Irigaray Reader, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991. Wilson, F. 'The Nun.' In Paul D.Y. Ed. Women in Buddhism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Communication and Arts Publications
 
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Created: Mon, 12 Sep 2005, 10:00:00 EST by Jean Marie Byrne on behalf of School of Communication and Arts