Gender & Women Empowerment
Female Buddhist Leadership
for Social Transformation
The Xing Guang Mountain Temple of the Luminary Sangha, Association of Buddhist Sangha Lifelong Education (ABSLE), and INEB are collaborating on an initiative to design and support an international Female Buddhist Leadership for Social Transformation. The first planning meeting convened in May 2018, at the Xing Guang Mountain Temple facilitated by Venerable Zinai Shi (ABSLE).
The initiative’s goal is: To empower Buddhist women so that all fourfold Buddhist communities are equally capable of fully engaging with social issues locally and globally with values guided by the Buddha-Dharma.
The initiative’s 10 Year Objectives are:
- To have full quality ordination for women renunciated in all the Buddhist traditions
- To improve Buddhist women’s education, for monastic and lay women
- To work together to support and nurture sustainable models for community living such as the eco-temple model.
By the close of the planning meeting the participants had agreed on a basic design to educate women as Buddhist leaders for social transformation. Then, after identifying the learning outcomes and their collective resources, they also agree to the next steps that need to be taken. Using the groups collective resources of platforms and networks, existing successful models and information, internet technology education, digital libraries, etc., and space resources will optimize the ability to reach women throughout the Asia region and enhance their learning experience.
During the next two years a newly designed framework will be put in place that supports Buddhist women from countries in the Asia region which prepares them to participate in international leadership training for transformation in 2020. This framework integrates key components of empowering women through training, learning, sharing, appreciation, commitment, and role models. The first international two-week course will be launched in 2020 as a pilot for approximately 30 women students, both ordained and lay, supported by 10 faculty.
INEB looks forward to collaborating on this initiative with ABSLE and the Luminary Sangha as an opportunity to not only provide core education and learning resources to Buddhist women throughout the Asia region, but also to shift the power relations and gender dynamic that opens the space for supporting both ordained and lay Buddhist women.
he practice of love, says bell hooks, is the most powerful antidote to the politics of domination. She traces her thirty-year meditation on love, power, and Buddhism, and concludes it is only love that transforms our personal relationships and heals the wounds of oppression.
The Female Sangha Initiative for Social Transformation in Southeast Asia was a collaborative project made possible with generous funding from JTS Korea.
Join Tin Ma Ma Htet, Founder and Director of the Saya Foundation, and Opor Srisuwan, Project Coordinator of INEB’s Female Sangha Initiative for a lively Clubhouse conversation exploring the ways in which Saya are utilizing education as a tool for female empowerment in Myanmar.
Reflections on The Female Sangha Initiative for Social Transformation in Southeast Asia by Opor Srisuwan
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