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Women in Tantric Buddhism – Self Paced Course

With Holly Gayley, Judith Simmer-Brown, Sarah Jacoby, Amy Langenberg , Damchö Diana Finnegan, Venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo and Pema Khandro

Open Dates

This is the missing history of women in Tantric Buddhism. This course addresses the fascinating story of nuns, mothers, teachers, consorts, prophets, and disciples. Taught by scholar-practitioners whose groundbreaking research on women and Buddhism has changed the way we think of Buddhist history. This course will address the history of women in Buddhism, the history of yoginis and dakinis in India and Tibet, the stories of important Buddhist women, Buddhist philosophy on gender, sex, and sexuality, and the role of the consort in historical Tibet, and contemporary manifestations and so much more.

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Holly Gayley
Holly Gayley, Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, is a scholar and translator of contemporary Buddhist literature in Tibet and Himalaya. Her research areas include gender and sexuality in Buddhist tantra, ethical reform in contemporary Tibet, and theorizing translation, both literary and cultural, in the transmission of Buddhist teachings to North America. Gayley is author of Love Letters from Golok: A Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet (Columbia University Press, 2016), co-editor of A Gathering of Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from the Rimé Masters of Tibet (Wisdom Publications, 2017), translator of Inseparable Across Lifetimes: The Lives and Love Letters of the Buddhist Visionaries Namtrul…
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Judith Simmer-Brown
Judith Simmer-Brown Raised a minister’s daughter in Nebraska, Judith Simmer-Brown began meditation practice as a student of Suzuki Roshi. It was while teaching religion and Buddhism at Western Washington University in Bellingham that Judith received a flyer inaugurating The Naropa Institute. Meeting the Vidyadhara at that first summer session in 1974 “blew her world apart,” and Judith fled back to Bellingham, “not sure whether to hide or pack.” But when offered a position in the new Buddhist Studies M.A. program at The Naropa Institute in 1977, Judith accepted one-week’s notice to join the tiny faculty. She never left. During her…
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Sarah Jacoby
Sarah Jacoby studies Asian Religions with a specialization in Tibetan Buddhism. She received her B.A. from Yale University, majoring in women’s studies, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia’s Department of Religious Studies. She joined Northwestern University in 2009 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University. Her research interests include Indo-Tibetan Buddhist doctrine and ritual in practice, studies in gender and sexuality, Tibetan literature, autobiography studies, Buddhist revelation, the history of emotions, Buddhism in contemporary Tibet, and eastern Tibetan area studies. For an overview of Professor Jacoby’s research…
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Amy Langenberg 
Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Eckerd College Amy Paris Langenberg is a specialist in classical South Asian Buddhism with a focus on monasticism, gender, sexuality, and the body. She also conducts ethnographic research on contemporary Buddhist feminisms, contemporary female Buddhist monasticism, and, more recently, sexual abuse in American Buddhism. Dr. Langenberg is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Eckerd College. She is the author of Birth in Buddhism: The Suffering Fetus and Female Freedom (Routledge, 2017) and is currently collaborating with Dr. Ann Gleig on a study of sexual abuse in American Buddhism, titled Abuse, Sex, and the Sangha, which…
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Damchö Diana Finnegan
Damchö Diana Finnegan After a career as a journalist based in New York and Hong Kong, Damchö Diana Finnegan ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1999. In 2009, she received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a thesis on gender and ethics in Sanskrit and Tibetan narratives about Buddha’s direct female disciples in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya. After completing her dissertation she worked closely with the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, serving as co-editor on various publications, including Interconnected: Embracing Life in a Global Society and The Heart Is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out. In…
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Venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo
Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo is a Buddhist nun and professor of Buddhist studies at the University of San Diego. She is a founder of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women and director of Jamyang Foundation, which supports educational programs for Buddhist women and girls.
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Pema Khandro
Pema Khandro is an internationally renowned teacher and scholar of Buddhist philosophy. Ordained in the Nyingma lineage, enthroned as a tulku, and trained as an academic, her teachings celebrate the dynamic coalescence of tradition and the modern context. She is the founder of Ngakpa International and its three projects: The Buddhist Studies Institute, Dakini Mountain and the Yogic Medicine Institute. In her work as a Buddhist teacher she is an authorized Lama and lineage holder of the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions and was enthroned to carry on the lineage of her predecessor, the first Pema Khandro, an early twentieth century…
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