Northwestern Events Calendar


KFBSLS Year 4, Lecture 5: Jue Liang, "Making It as Buddhist Women: Rethinking Female Inferiority in Tibetan Buddhism"

When: Friday, February 16, 2024
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Joshua Shelton  

Group: The Khyentse Foundation Buddhist Studies Lecture Series

Category: Academic


One of the persistent tensions that has defined and challenged Buddhist communities (and the study of Buddhism) is the well-recognized and well-attested discourse of female inferiority and the equally pronounced statement on the capacity for enlightenment regardless of gender. In the Tibetan Buddhist world, even celebrated teachers like Yeshe Tsogyel still embody the ambivalent dialectic that shifts back and forth between Tibetan women’s social and cultural inferiority and the Buddhist claim of soteriological inclusivity. Using the example of didactic conversations between Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyel, and his other female disciples on female inferiority, Liang proposes an alternative reading of unfavorable descriptions of women. This alternative hermeneutics could also illuminate a broader literary strategy adopted by Buddhist women and their pro-women allies to create a discursive space to elevate women’s status in their communities.

Jue Liang teaches at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Her research and teaching engage with questions about continuities as well as innovations in the gender discourses of Buddhist communities. She is currently completing her first book, entitled Conceiving the Mother of Tibet: The Early Literary Lives of the Buddhist Saint Yeshé Tsogyel.

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