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Mongolian Buddhist Women’s Conference

Dec 13th, 2015

The goal of the July, 2015 Mongolian Buddhist Women’s Conference was to bring together 300 Mongolian Buddhist women who are active in their local communities, both rural and urban, to share their experiences, aspirations, and challenges, to learn from each other, and to establish common goals and cooperation.

“Women constitute the majority of Mongolian population and the majority of those who attend Buddhist teachings and engage in Buddhist practices, complete university degrees, teach in schools, and are active in social work,” said Vesna Wallace, conference organizer and professor of Religious Studies at University of California Santa Barbara. “However, their contribution to society has not received adequate attention.”
Mong Conf 2 082115 _MG_4994-1Attendees included lay and ordained women, Buddhist scholars, nuns who study in India, women representing Buddhist centers, female Dharma teachers, western women scholars, and some prominent Mongolia lamas. A Khyentse Foundation grant helped to cover travel assistance and stipends to women from rural areas who otherwise might not have been able to attend, as well as meals and rental of the conference space.

The two-day conference covered a wide range of topics. Day one was a mixture of the academic and practical guidance, counsel, and suggestions about the methods of solving certain social and ethical problems that Buddhism in Mongolia faces. Day two focused on women from rural areas.

Rural women shared the unique challenges to their studies and practices, local Buddhist customs, social activism, and social needs that require attention. For instance, several attendees were primary and secondary school teachers. In addition to introducing classes on Buddhist ethics at their schools, they have organized educational programs for nomadic parents and for families with alcoholics about living in a way that is conducive to Buddhism and proper ways of treating children. In Mongolia, children in rural areas are often expected to help with livestock and other chores after school and are not given adequate support to study. These rural teachers are working to change that.Mong Conf 3 082115_MG_4788

“I was very impressed by women from the countryside and their strength, who despite hard work, modest living, and harsh conditions have demonstrated fortitude in Buddhist practices and working for their communities.”

— Vesna Wallace

 

Read More about Women in Buddhism in the February 2012 Communiqué.

Comments on “Mongolian Buddhist Women’s Conference”

  1. Wondering says:

    Where did this conference take place?

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