Zen Book Club 2022
Nancy Hedgpeth JDPSN
The First Free Women & First Buddhist Women
Reading and discussion from the earliest known collection of Buddhist women’s religious poetry from two books. Explore together the history and context of the first women who took the path of Buddhahood, and how they expressed their experiences through the art of poetry.
This book discussion is on the earliest known collection of women’s religious poetry. We will use two books (although there are many and participants are free to use others in addition).
Susan Murcott’s book uses translations of the poems and offers historical context as well as researched accounts of these women’s lives and relationships. Matt Weingast’s book is more of a personal and interpretive rendering of these poems. This will be an opportunity to learn together about these early Buddhist women practitioners, the personal, cultural, political and religious context in which they lived and how they expressed themselves within those contexts using the poetic forms of the times.
These two books approach the poems quite differently at times. Matt Weingast’s book—as well as himself— was an object of contention when it first came out. Two of the reasons for this were that it was not a translation (but advertising seemed to imply that it was) and because it was written by a man. My intention in using this book is to encourage us to leave room for our own interpretive experiences of these poems in relation to our practice and Sanghas—in today’s world.
This will not be a lecture. We will read and share our experience of these poems as well as our responses to and reflections on what we learn about the lives of these women. Over the six weeks we will move through the chapters of Murcott’s book and all of the poems in the order she presented them. Perhaps these poems will inspire us to write ourselves. There will be time for that if it appears.
Book Club Host
Nancy Brown Hedgpeth JDPSN
Nancy Brown Hedgpeth JDPSN has practiced with the KUSZ since 1979 and received inka in 1994. She has lived at and worked for a number of zen centers and has sat long retreats in the US and South Korea. She is Co-Guiding Teacher for the Providence Zen Center. She is a retired nurse. These days she lives in Waterville, Maine from which she does most of her group practice online.
Learn together with an experienced Zen teacher about the early Buddhist women
Explore the personal, cultural, political and religious context in which they lived and how they expressed themselves within those contexts using the poetic forms of the times.Sign Up Now