Loading Events

« All Courses

  • This event has passed.
Women in the Buddha’s Life: Ordained Women as Teachers

Online Program
Dates: Apr 02, 2023

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

Course Navigation

Program Description:

This short series of communal readings and discussions will lift up and illuminate the depiction of women as teachers in Buddhist texts preserved in the Pali language. This is is part of an ongoing collective project that focuses on presentations in Buddhist literature about “The Women in the Buddha’s Life.” This short series anticipates a residential program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in August 2023 that will continue the work of the Women in the Buddha’s Life project: “Mothers, Sisters, Seekers, Friends: Stories of Struggle and Transformation.

We will read together selected stories about women as Buddhist teachers, participate in group activities, and share experiences. The texts for communal reading and reflection selected for this short series are all drawn from the Pali literature of the Pali traditions, although generally the programming of “The Women in the Buddha’s Life” project has lifted up materials drawn from multiple Buddhist traditions. Reading, discussing, and learning from these stories about women as teachers helps us to see them better and to listen to them, opening up new depths in the Buddha’s teachings and presenting unfamiliar angles of vision on our own practice and lives, whatever our practice or our gender. These stories of the women in the Buddha’s life who were also teachers of his message are engaging resources for reflection and insight and are particularly relevant to our troubled world.

    About the Instructor(s):
  • Wendy Garling has a BA from Wellesley College and MA specializing in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a vajrayana practitioner and dharma teacher in the Gelug Lam Rim tradition; her root teacher was Venerable Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden. In 1976, she took refuge with His Holiness the 16th Karmapa and in 1979 after a first meeting in Dharamsala began lifelong teachings with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She is the author of two books: the award-winning "The Woman Who Raised the Buddha: The Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati," with the foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Shambhala Publications, 2021) and  "Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life" (Shambhala Publications, 2016). Wendy lives in Concord, Massachusetts and can be contacted at wendy.garling@yahoo.com.

  • 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.

  • Georgia Kashnig is a Zen practitioner, a dancer, and a facilitator of sacred reading spaces. They received an MTS in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School, an MA in the Regional Studies, East Asia Department at Harvard University, and they are currently a doctoral student in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Georgetown University. Their research focuses on religion and literature, interfaith inquiry, and developing contemplative methods of reading that foster reflection, connection and liberation.

  • Janet Surrey, PhD is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. She teaches Insight Dialogue retreats worldwide and leads a longstanding practice group in the Boston area. 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 is currently serving on the Teachers Council of 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.