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Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life: Resources for Reflection & Practice
Dates: Jul 14, 2022 - Jul 17, 2022
Days: Thu - Sun (3 Nights)

Instructor(s): Wendy Garling, Georgia Kashnig, Charles Hallisey, Janet Surrey

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The Buddha is remembered as saying that the religious life stands on two legs: focused attention and the voice of another. Traditionally, the former refers to methods of practice and cultivation, while the latter points to anything, including texts, that changes one’s way of seeing and engaging the world. In this course, we will examine little known stories about women in the Buddha’s life and explore how they change how we see a life of reflection and practice. In doing so, we will be expanding the range of texts that are generally used as a resource for Buddhist teaching as well as the repertoire of tools and practices that can be used for sacred reading. This course is part of a larger project that aims to provide new translations of stories about women in the Buddha’s life and to provide both context for understanding Buddhist heritage and resources for allowing that heritage to speak in our modern world. Women’s stories will be drawn from a variety of Buddhist traditions, and a wide range of reading practices will be used, from meditative to group reflection.

Noble Silence and Mindful Speech: 

Noble silence will be observed following the evening session through breakfast the following morning.

Experience Level:

This course is suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.

DEI Commitment:

Three spaces will be held for self-identified BIPOC participants until eight weeks before this course begins when they will be released generally. Therefore, we encourage you to join the waitlist even if the course appears full as additional spaces may become available. Please see our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies for more information.

As we work to become a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming; please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.

  • Wendy Garling is a writer, mother, independent scholar, and authorized dharma teacher with a BA from Wellesley College and an MA in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. A Tibetan Buddhist practitioner since her twenties, she took refuge with His Holiness the 16th Karmapa and studied for many years under the kind guidance of her root lama, the late Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha's Life (2016, Shambhala), and has recently completed her second book, The Woman Who Raised the Buddha: The Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati (March 2021, Shambhala).

  • Georgia Kashnig is an independent scholar whose research focuses on the East Asian Buddhist world, and Japan in particular. She received a Master of Theological Studies in Buddhist Studies at Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Arts in Regional Studies, East Asia at Harvard University. Georgia has been a practitioner in the Soto Zen tradition for about fifteen years. She spent three years training at Buddha Eye Temple in Eugene, Oregon, where she received Zaike Tokudo ordination from Ejō McMullen. She is currently training to become an interfaith chaplain.

  • Charles Hallisey is Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures at Harvard Divinity School where he teaches about Buddhist scriptures and Buddhist ethics as well as Pali language and literature. His translation of the Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women was published in the Murty Classical Library of India in 2015.

  • Janet Surrey, PhD is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. She teaches Insight Dialogue retreats worldwide and leads a longstanding practice group in the Boston area.  Her first meditation  teacher was Vimala Thakar . She has practiced in the Insight tradition  for over 30 years, and trained as a Community Dharma Leader at Spirit Rock. Since 2007, Jan has worked intensively with Gregory Kramer and the Insight Dialogue Community. Jan is a practicing clinical psychologist and founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She is on the faculty and board of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. She is the author of The Buddha’s Wife: The Path of Awakening Together.