Social responsibility, sex change, and salvation: Gender justice in the "lotus sūtra"

Philosophy East and West 52 (1):50-74 (2002)
Abstract
What can the "Lotus Sūtra" teach us about social responsibility? This question is explored through the lens of gender by examining the specifically female-gendered images in the "Lotus Sūtra" in order to assess its messages regarding normative gender relations, and the implications of these messages for gender justice in the contemporary world. First, gender imagery in the Lotus is explored. Second, these images are compared with those found elsewhere in the Buddhist tradition in order to provide a clearer assessment of how representative the "Lotus'" messages are regarding gender in Buddhism more generally. Measuring the gender imagery in the "Lotus Sūtra" against that in comparable Buddhist texts reinforces an assessment that this text reflects somewhat ambivalent and contradictory messages regarding women's capacity for Enlightenment
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