is the unique characteristic in American Buddhism which might
interest a feminist?
Americans came across Buddhism during the Second World War through
the work of Ven.D.T.Suzuki, a Japanese priest. The unique characteristic
of Zen Buddhism fit in well with the spiritual vacuum in the
USA at that time while many Americans were critical of the conservative
institutionalised church and found satisfactorily the same matching
spirit in Zen Buddhism.
were many other forms of Buddhism i.e. Chinese, Korean, Japanese,
Tibetan. Among the Theravadin propagators, Sri Lankan and Burmese
monks gained the upper-hand being equipped with better access
to English. American Buddhists became aware of the need to sift
the essential teaching from various cultural cloaks.
factor one may find in Buddhism is the Indian cultural baggage
which tends to suppress women. Critical American Buddhists became
more aware of the need to do away with unnecessary cultural
burdens and by so doing they have, to a great extent freed Buddhist
women from suppressing elements. A unique characteristic of
Buddhism in the US is the strong participation of women in Buddhism.
women have limited opportunity both in their role and responsibility
toward Buddhism. This not only bars women's participation in
Buddhism but also prevents the natural growth of Buddhism as