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The New BuddhismThe Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition$
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James William Coleman

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195152418

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195152418.001.0001

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Sex, Power, and Conflict

Sex, Power, and Conflict

Chapter:
(p.139) Five Sex, Power, and Conflict
Source:
The New Buddhism
Author(s):

James-William Coleman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195152418.003.0005

This chapter examines the issues of sex and power in Western Buddhism. Buddhism entered the West during a time of growing spiritual thirst, but Western society lacked the cultural matrix necessary to evaluate the claims and the behavior of the teachers working to quench that thirst. In Asia, everyone knows how Buddhist teachers are supposed to behave, and someone who violates those expectations is likely to be viewed with a skeptical eye. Many of the problems that have surfaced in the West can be traced to the lack of the cultural background necessary to provide Buddhist centers and their students and teachers a framework to guide and evaluate their endeavors. But the spread of Buddhism and other forms of spirituality new to the West are inevitably laying the foundation for a cultural matrix that may eventually turn these kind of difficulties into self-limiting problems. The most important transformation Buddhism has undergone, and the one that seems most likely to be a permanent fixture in the West, has been the growing power of women and the trend toward full gender equality.

Keywords:   sex, power, Western Buddhism, Buddhists, women, gender equality

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