Buddhist Women in the 2020's: Gender Perceptions in the Buddhist World | Archive

With Catherine Pawasarat Sensei

As classic Buddhist teachings emerge in the global mainstream, it adapts to cultures where women enjoy relative equality with men. In such contexts many practitioners may naturally feel that women and men have the same opportunities to awaken.

Historically, however, birth in a female body was considered the result of bad karma, and the lowest and youngest monks enjoyed greater formal status than the most realized nun. Western women and men are unlikely to embrace this part of Buddhist tradition. 

This confluence of cultures presents a transition ripe with opportunity. While there may be frustration, grief and rage about historical gender inequity in Buddhism, we can use Buddhist methodologies to transform these conflicting emotions into greater compassion and wisdom.

Furthermore, we can re-examine how different Mahayana and Theravadin practices—from Tantra to celibacy—can foster healthier sexuality. We can use sex scandals and discrimination as part of our practice, to cultivate more integrated views and relations among all genders. Along the way, we co-create what global spiritual awakening looks like in the 20th century.

Catherine Pawasarat Sensei, a contemporary dharma teacher, attendant, consort, co-teacher via Planet Dharma and co-founder of Clear Sky Retreat Center shares her unique views, experience, and practices regarding this contemporary and planetary Triple Gem.

Streamed live via Zoom 2021, Length: 6+ Hours

Includes lifetime access to video stream and course materials

Catherine Pawasarat was a student of metaphysics, Western spiritual traditions, and the ayahuasca sacraments in the 1990s. She worked as an advocacy photojournalist and studied traditional Japanese arts in Kyoto, Japan for 20 years.

Since 1998 she has trained daily with Buddhist teacher Achariya Doug Duncan in an intensive spiritual apprenticeship that’s rare in the modern West. Transmitted from the remarkable Namgyal Rinpoche, they are both lineage holders of these teachings.

With Doug, she is co-founder and resident teacher at Clear Sky Retreat Center in the British Columbia Rockies. There Catherine has spearheaded an innovative and sustainability-oriented culture and organization. Together Doug and Catherine also teach through a virtual vehicle, Planet Dharma. In 2018 they wrote the best-selling book Wasteland to Pureland.

Catherine has recently written and published the first English guidebook to Kyoto’s famous Gion Festival, a gigantic collection of ancient and diverse spiritual rituals.

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