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Sakyadhita, "Daughters of the Buddha," the world's leading international organization of Buddhist women, is an alliance of women (and men) committed to transforming the lives of women in Buddhist societies. This international alliance was founded at the conclusion of the first International Conference on Buddhist Women, held in Bodhgaya, India, in 1987. Sakyadhita seeks to unite Buddhist women of diverse countries and traditions, to promote their welfare and to facilitate their work for the benefit of humanity.
In the sixth century BCE, the Buddha affirmed the equal spiritual potential of women and men. This affirmation presented a significant departure from prevailing views that defined women in terms of their biological function and their capacity for productive labor. Buddhism is unique among major religions in recognizing the spiritual equality of women and men. Unfortunately, despite this egalitarian philosophy, women in most Buddhist cultures today do not enjoy equal opportunities.
There are an estimated 300 million Buddhist women worldwide, including more than 130,000 nuns. Many of these women live in poverty, without adequate opportunities for education or facilities for Buddhist practice. Although the Buddha acknowledged women's equal spiritual potential and established a monastic order for women, as Buddhism spread abroad, patterns of male dominance persisted. In only three traditions today—Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese—can women achieve ordination status equal to men. Sakyadhita members are working to achieve gender equity in Buddhism and equal opportunities for education and training for Buddhist women around the world. Members cooperate to help women develop their potential as scholars, practitioners, teachers, counselors, artists, community organizers, and compassionate social activists. Sakyadhita's objectives are:
To establish an international alliance of Buddhist women
To advance the spiritual and secular welfare of the world's women
To work for gender equity in Buddhist education, training institutional structures, and ordination
To promote harmony and dialogue among the Buddhist traditions and other religions
To encourage research and publications on topics of interest to Buddhist women
To foster compassionate social action for the benefit of humanity
To promote world peace through the teachings of the Buddha
A keen awareness and commitment to social activism develops naturally among women who attend the Sakyadhita International Conferences on Buddhist Women. Sakyadhita International Conferences have been held in Bodhgaya (1987), Bangkok (1991), Colombo (1993), Leh (1995), Phnom Penh (1998), Lumbini (2000), Taipei (2002), Seoul (2004), Kuala Lumpur (2006), Ulaanbaatar (2008), Ho Chi Minh City (2009-2010), Bangkok (2011) and upcoming in Vaishali (2013). Visit the Events page for updates on the 13th Sakyadhita Conference in Vaishali, Bihar, India.
Encouraged by Sakyadhita gatherings...
Women have established new meditation centers, education projects, monasteries, and women's shelters. In addition, they have initiated national and local conferences, retreats, study groups, and other projects. thousands of women are now taking new roles in Buddhism and their communities. Hundreds of nuns have been inspired to seek higher ordination in countries where it was previously impossible. Far greater progress has been made than was ever imagined when Sakyadhita began in 1987.
We invite you to join us in developing comprehensive resources to assist Buddhist women around the world in their efforts to study, practice, and create a better world. Please send your membership to Sakyadhita International. All donations in the U.S. are tax-deductible.