Nov 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Poems of the First Buddhist Women and How They Might Inspire Practitioners Today with Meg Gawler
The ancient poems of the Therīgāthā are a celebration, with many different human faces, of the personal experience of awakening by women who practiced in the time of the Buddha. In this daylong, we will study the distinguishing characteristics of these early female voices transmitting the Buddha’s teachings. The poems of these enlightened women will be explored through talks, readings, interactive break-out groups, general discussions, and meditations.
We will begin by examining the religious, social, and literary context in which they were composed. We’ll look at how the poems of these female teachers differ from those of their male counterparts. We will then investigate a central message of the text – that awakening or Nibbāna is possible for practitioners of all sorts. The Therīgāthā provides examples of vanquishing poverty, rejection, mental contaminants, wild mind, debilitating grief, despair, and even insanity – leading to complete freedom. We will end with what may be one of the functions of the Therīgāthā, namely to elicit delight, thus setting in motion a natural process that prepares the mind for the profound release of awakening.
Meg Gawler began practicing Buddhism in 1968 as disciple of the Zen Master, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, including over three years of monastic training. Later, Meg trained with Gil Fronsdal and others in the Theravāda tradition. Authorized as a meditation teacher by Jack Kornfield, Meg holds a Master’s in Buddhist Studies, specializing in early Theravāda studies, from the Graduate Theological Union.