Taking the dharma into their lives : a study of New Zealand women who have chosen to undertake Buddhist practice
Thesis DisciplineReligious Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This study presents a view of New Zealand women in Buddhism, based on information supplied by 62 women who have personally decided to undertake Buddhist practise. It excludes those from Buddhist family backgrounds. The aim of the study is to portray these women from sociological, religious, and psychological points of view. Survey techniques involved the use of interviews and questionnaires. Questions were predominantly open-ended in order to obtain both factual data and personal opinions. Chapters 2 and 3 record background data to provide an overview of the women, including their reasons for turning to Buddhism, and some of the ways in which it has influenced their attitudes and actions. Chapter 4 explains why 'conversion' is a proper term to use when describing these women's Buddhist practice even though it differs from the familiar Christian form. Chapters 5 and 6 describe what women and Buddhism each give to the other. They also include a criticism of Buddhism's patriarchal structure. Chapter 7 discusses the women's views on possible future changes to Western Buddhist communities in New Zealand.