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A Rite of Their Own: Buddhist Nuns and the Anan Koshiki

  • Hall Science Building 101 US-25 Berea, KY, 40403 United States (map)


The Anan kōshiki is a chanted lecture that has been exclusively performed by Buddhist nuns. It commemorates the Buddha’s disciple Ānanda’s role in convincing the Buddha to admit women to the monastic order. The ritual has been an important marker of a special female monastic identity for centuries and has functioned polysemously for nuns, affirming their marginalization and lesser status vis-à-vis the male clergy, while also serving as a means for nuns to celebrate their gender difference as female monastics. In performing the Anan kōshiki, nuns employ oblique strategies of self-affirmation that allow them to invert androcentric concepts to suit their own agendas.

Dr. Barbara Ambros, UNC-Chapel Hill
Hall Science Building, Room 106
Berea College

Co-sponsored by the Asian Studies Program and the Religion Program