Japanese Gender History Essay Example

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Buddhism and Christianity 5

Buddhism and Christianity


Women and religion: Do Pure Land School Buddhism compare with Christianity in treatment of women?

This paper will look at the general comparison between Buddhism, and especially Pure Land School Buddhism and Christianity. Women in both Christianity and Buddhism have been biased by way of cultural and doctrinal bias (Motomochi 1997). Both of these forces counter-influence each other in both Christianity and Buddhism. History of both religions shows that women have been actively involved in religion from the very beginning, not only as nuns, but also in other important activities like acting as sponsors, called sangha in Buddhism (Pandey 1995). Unfortunately, the voice of women have been ignored and instead men have been given all credit. This paper will look at the difference and similarities that Christianity and Pure Land Buddhism have in their treatment of women or lack of it (Wakita 2006).

General topic

The paper will generally talk about the difference between Christianity and Pure Land school.

Research question

This research paper will look at how the two religions compare in their treatment towards women. The question that the paper will try to answer will be:

Do women have a better position in the Pure Land Buddhism? How does this compare with Christianity in how they treat women?

Historiographical significance

For a long time, it has been evident that women have been seen to have lesser roles and been biased in Buddhism and Christianity. Although this has been the case, this issue has been ignored in many English sources because of much emphasis has been laid on denomination difference. Much attention has been given to the difference that exists in many religions of the world (Wakita 2006). To prove that women biasness has been in existence, Gotami, who was Sakyamuni’s grandmother. She was denied access to serve as a monk (in the Sangha). After a lot of pestering, Sakyamuni agrees to Gotami’s request to serve in the Sangha. He, however, gives her one condition, that she, together with other women who were to join later, were to accept eight rules which were to define their lesser and submissive status while serving in the community. This has been there from the beginning but it has not attracted much attention (Paul 1985).

Literature review and approach

While other scholars like Aristotle have looked at the issue of gender basing on political and economic perspective, I will delve on the historical perspective and the religious perspective where I will look at the status and the position that women have held concerning religion in both religions.


Hitomi, Tonomura et al (eds). «Women and class in Japanese history.» In Medieval nuns and nunneries: The case of Hokkeji, by Hosokawa Ryoichi, 67-79. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 1999.

Hoover, Thomas. «No.» In Zen culture, by Thomas Hoover, 67-68. Arkana: Arkana Publishers, 1977.

Keene, Donald. Twenty plays of the No theatre. Columbia: Columbia University Press, 1970.

LaFleur, William R. «Chap. 2, In and out of the Rokudo ‘re Kyokai’s miraculous tales of karma and Chap. 6, Zeami’s Buddhism.» In The Karma of words: Buddhism and the literary arts in Medieval Japan, by William R. LaFleur, 26-59, 116-132. California: University of California Press, 1983.

Motomochi, Nakamura Kyoko. Miraculous stories from the Japanese Buddhist tradition: The Nihon Ryoii of the Monk Kyokay. Surrey: Curzon Press, 1997.

Pandey, Raj. «Women, sexuality and enlightment: Kankyo no Tomo.» Monumenta nipponica 50, no. 3 (1995): 325-56.

Paul, Diana. Women and Buddhism: Images of the feminine in Mahayana tradition. California: University of California, 1985.

Toshio, Kuroda. «Shinto in the history of Japanese religion.» Journal of Japanese Studies 7, no. 1 (1981): 1-21.

Wakita, Haruko. Women in Medieval Japana: Motherhood, household management and sexuality. Clayton: Monash Asia Institute, 2006.

Yoshiro, Tamura. «Key features of Kamakura Buddhism.» In Japanese Buddhism: A cultural history, by Tamura Yoshiro, 103-112. Tokyo: Kosei Publishing Co., 2000.