Temple Wives, Nuns, and Female Empowerment

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Title: Temple Wives, Nuns, and Female Empowerment
Author: Lee, Nicolette
Advisor: Glassman, Hank; Lin, Pauline
Department: Bi-College (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges). Dept. of East Asian Studies
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: This thesis explores the topic on the extent of female empowerment in Japanese Buddhism from the perspectives of female religious figures. The main argument posits that, despite contrary belief, maintaining attachments to the secular world is a way for women to empower themselves. The approach of this thesis explores three different female religious figures to assess their lifestyle choices of maintaining relationships. The three women researched are Eshinni, the medieval temple wife, the modern temple wife, and medieval Kumano teaching nuns. The three different women interpret their decision to keep attachments to the secular world as empowering their religious lives and the lives of their parishioners. Nurturing relationships are not necessarily perceived as impeding one's path to enlightenment but rather as a tool to enrich one's religious life.
Subject: Women in Buddhism -- Japan -- History
Subject: Women -- Japan -- History
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Lee, Nicolette. "Temple Wives, Nuns, and Female Empowerment". 2010. Available electronically from

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