The Scared Feminine: Women and the Sacred Feminine in Buddhism


Name Email Phone
Patricia Herring
Abbie Loomis

This class will explore what sacred texts and iconography reveal about women and the Sacred Feminine and how cultural attitudes shaped the role they played in early Buddhism. The class will focus on the pantheon of Buddhist goddesses, from the yakinis and Majadevi to the dakinis and protector goddesses, as well as the consorts of the Buddhas, and the Boddhisatvas such as Tara, Kuan Yin and Cunda. What role(s) have these goddesses played in the life of women? We’ll also examine how the evolution of Buddhism continues to redefine women’s roles in Buddhism.


Madison Senior Center

Meeting Day


Meeting Time

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Start Date

Oct 5, 2018

End Date

Nov 30, 2018


Regular participation and discussion

Class Size

Class Notes

To enroll contact the Course Coordinator before the first meeting

No Class: Nov 23rd

Class Syllabus (Preliminary)

Week 1 Readings:

Christ Rebirth of the Goddess p.50-69, 189-195 (Optional)

Eisler: Chalice and the Blade p.1-58 (Required)

Week 2 Reading: Lopez Part 1: p.727- 746     Lopez Part 2: p.747-764

Powerpoint Slides:

Week one: Goddess Questions

Week two:

Major Schools of Buddhism     Concepts of the Deity

Sacred Texts    Buddhist Tenets

Buddhist Attitudes to Women

Week 3:

Therigatha   Yaksinis     Dhrani and Parnasavari

Prthivi    Janguli

Week 4:

Dakinis    Chinnamunda and Machig Labdron

Simhamukha    Nairatmaya

Protector Deities and Ekajata

Week 5 & 6:

Missing Pages 72c and 72d from Reader


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