VERVOLG DECEMBER 2004
Dochters, is een internationale organisatie van boeddhistische vrouwen.
Ze werd in 1987 in Bodh Gaya opgericht, belegt eens in de twee jaar een
conferentie, en houdt zich verder bezig met welzijnswerk onder de boeddhistische
vrouwen-gemeenschap in de wereld.
VERVOLG DECEMBER 2004-PAGINA
Voortzetting van het - Sakyadhita-artikel:
Conference Report about the 8th Sakyadhita International Conference
on Buddhist Women, Seoul, South-Korea, June 27 to July 2, 2004
Temple Tour July 3 to 5
The 8th Conference on Buddhist Women happened to be this summer in
Korea at the beginning of the rainy season. The Buddhist rain retreat
began short after the conference on July the 7th. That allowed the participants
to get a small impression of what rainy season will be, and why rain retreat
should be kept. But who is interested in rain, if you have the chance to
participate among a conference with 1300 women and very few men, coming
to Seoul from all around the world, whether they are ordained or laypeople.
"Discipline and Practice of Buddhist Women: Present and Past" had
been the title of this remarkable conference.
Since the first conference of the network, founded in 1987 in Bodhgaya
(India), visited by 2500 nuns, that conference 2004 was the biggest. Ordained
and laypeople from all over the world have come, from USA, Russia, Australia,
Europe etc. meeting at Joongang Sangha University of the Korean Buddhist
Jogye Order, who had been the organizer. The dormitories where the participants
were accomodated, were the dormitories of the nuns, and that meant a very
special experience for Westerners who are not used to sleep on the ground
like Korean nuns do. But for any health problems, from paining backs to
burnt skin (Korea heeft vloerverwarming die soms oneven verdeeld is, en
soms te hoog wordt opgestookt) medical doctors had been invited, who helped
whatever problem occurred.
Anyway: The day of the inspiring conference began always at 6 o'clock
with meditation of the different Buddhist traditions, e.g. Korean, Tibetan,
So everyone had a chance to find a tradition, which fits for him
After the Morning and Afternoon Panel Presentations with simultaneous
translation into Chinese, Japanese, English, and Korean, there were discussion
groups concerning the talks of the panels. Conference language was English,
but also among the discussion groups there had been taken care of translating
into languages necessary.
Speakers were e.g. scholars like Rita Gross, who already participated
on the Conference on Buddhist Women in Bangkok, Thailand, 1991, Anne C.
Klein, or Carola Roloff, a German, called by her ordained name Ven Jampa
Tsedroen, who is living in the Tibetan Centre in Hamburg, or Ven Tenzin
Palmo, who was born in England, but, too, is an ordained Tibetan Buddhist
The talks were deeply interesting, and had been printed already,
so that the participants could read the talks, too. That shows the facilities
in South-Korea. On the conferences before often it was difficult to get
talks printed, because the facilities were lacking. However, I may add, that
there had been published a book to every conference with all the talks by
Ven Karma Lekshe Tsomo. So the talks will be available soon for everyone
who is interested.
There were twelve Panel Presentations to different topics, like "Buddhist
Women in Korea", "Buddhist Women of the World", "Meditation Practices",
"Dharma and Discipline", "Buddhist Education", "Buddhist Monastic Training",
"Everyday Practice", and "Buddhist Practice and Wome's Issues". The last
two panels were "Engaged Buddhist Practice", and "Buddhism Today".
The different panels and talks, and the discussion groups were really
interesting, and the additional cultural program the Korean nuns had organized,
was as interesting as the talks: In the late afternoon there were chanting
and different offerings for the participants like painting fans or Korean
tea ceremony, and every evening there was an exciting cultural programme
with Korean Buddhist music ans theatre, Tibetan music, and the Nirvana
Philharmonic Orchestra played different music from Vivaldi to Spirituals
and Beatle songs, and so on. That happened to be in a big amphitheatre behind
the university. As I wrote in the beginning, the rainy season already had
begun, and so we got umbrellas by the Korean nuns, and plastic rain coats,
but the rain did not bother anyone watching the fabulous programme: Amazing,
e.g. the Korean dance theatre, showing Buddhist stories in deaf-and-dumb-alphabet.
Also very special was a Band of Five Ecuadorian young men with guitars,
and flutes who made the participants, whether they were laypeople or ordained
ones clapping hands, and waving. The engagement of the Korean nuns, who
clapped hands to the music was not shared by the nuns of the Theravada-tradition.
They seem to be stricter following their precepts. The laywomen, however,
finally danced to the Ecuadorian music in the midst of South-Korea. An extraordinary
composition of contrasts!
After the conference there was a temple tour to e.g. Haein-sa Temple,
Pulguk-sa Temple or Unmun-sa Temple, where the participants got an impression
of Korean Buddhist art and architecture. Now we "only" were 300 women -
as many as participate on other Sakyadhita conferences usually. We had six
busses, and the women shared their time singing songs in their own languages,
what shortened the bus journeys and made much fun.
The next conference, which will be the 9th conference on Buddhist
Women, will be held in Malaysia in 2006.
Dr. Rotraut Wurst
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