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Boundaries And Segregations: Introduction

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Chapter Summary

Religions serve to heighten discrimination and oppression by drawing boundaries, instituting segregations, and justifying and sanctioning ontological differences that are deemed to be unchangeable. Professor Satha-Anand focuses on the absence of female ordination in the modern Buddhist institution in Thailand, taking a close look at the plight of female Buddhist practitioners who have no religious status in the official institution of the sangha. She argues that this form of male-female segregation, which in reality is grounded in sexual discrimination, betrays the Buddhist ethics of tolerance, which embrace all beings as part of one continuum. Such segregation thus leads to a violation of women's right to religious practice. Satha-Anand criticises the institutional subordination of Buddhist women and reconstructs Buddhist arguments for sexual tolerance, so as to re-establish the female Buddhist sangha, where women are recognised as fully-fledged spiritual agents.

Keywords: Buddhist ethics; Buddhist institution; female Buddhist practitioners; male-female segregation; Professor Satha-Anand; Thailand



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