Despite the daunting barriers of geography and language that separate them, Buddhism and contemporary feminism have much to say to each other. Buddhist practices such as mindfulness (in which calm centering and keen awareness of change coexist) and compassion (in which the self is recognized as both powerful in itself and interdependently connected with all others) can be important resources for contemporary women, while feminism can expand the traditional horizons of Buddhist concerns to include social, historical, and psychological issues. The image and ritual of the Great Bliss Queen, an important Buddhist figure of enlightenment, form the unifying theme of the book modeling the practices and theory that can assist each of us in being at one with ourselves and fully engaged with others.
News & Reviews
"At the same time there is an element of personal reflection in Klein's work that makes the book immediately approachable and that contextualizes the scholarly material in a way that is rare in contemporary writing in the field of Buddhist studies. A work of great erudition and sensitivity. A must-read for anyone interested in the dialogue between Buddhism and feminism."—José Ignacio Cabezón, Iliff School of Theology
"An astute and absorbing exploration of the interface between Buddhism and Feminist perspectives."—Tsultrim Allione, founder of Tara Mandala and author of Women of Wisdom
"A groundbreaking and important book. Klein is one of the few scholars in the Buddhist studies field who has devoted serious attention to the literature of Western feminism; likewise her long experience in the field of Tibetan Buddhist study and practice provides her with the solid grounding necessary to speak for that tradition. The bringing together of these totally dissimilar worlds holds great promise for adding new insights to contemporary discussions of the nature of the self; indeed it is difficult to imagine that the kind of conversation Klein proposes will not end by profoundly transforming the participants on both sides."—Jan Nattier, Indiana University
"This book is a breakthrough in feminist cross-cultural reflection on self and subjectivity. An eminent scholar of Tibetan Buddhist studies has distilled twenty-five years of her rich research and personal experience in this compelling study. She succeeds in showing the current relevance of Buddhism to Western feminists without minimizing any of its challenge to certain notions about selfhood. The conversation constructed around the Great Bliss Queen is artful, elegant, and of importance to anyone interested in feminist theory Buddhist religious philosophy in America and different meanings of the self."—Nancy K. Frankenberry, Dartmouth College
"Through the symbol of the Great Bliss Queen, a mythical figure of Tibetan Buddhism, she explores the problems of a cross-cultural dialogue between women. Klein's well-wrought work challenges traditional understandings of Buddhist textual and interpretive traditions as well as a number of feminist assumptions. The book will be welcomed by those of us who examine gender issues in the classroom as well as in our own work. Meeting the Great Bliss Queen moves the debate forward and opens it to new participants."—Bernard Faure, Stanford University
"Anne Carolyn Klein lays bare the interface between Buddhism and the feminist world view with deep grasp of both. This is a lucid and scholarly explanation of the western feminist standpoint placed in matrix of the Buddhist thought process."—Tibet Journal