The Heart of the Lotus – Women and Buddhism

Translated from the German into American English by Jane Anhold

About this book

Why do present day women take an interest in a „middle age“ religion. Buddhism like Christianity was founded by a male teacher and was organised, transmitted and interpreted by men. This book is „a protocol of an encounter“. A contemporary women has read the teachings of the Buddha „against the grain“ and has found some answers and many more questions. In order for a religion to stay „alive“ it has to be rediscovered by every generation anew. Just to follow tradition is not enough. Whenever women take interest in a traditional religion – be it Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism or Islam – they are given a double task: We are looking for a contemporary expression of an old teaching. Many contemporary male Buddhists from the West and some from Asia are working on this task. Women have to read patriarchal teachings critically „with the eyes of a woman“. The Heart of the Lotus presents central teachings of Buddhism and describes traps we fall into, if we don not consider our cultural background and our biological sex and social gender. It takes up typical questions women are asking when they encounter buddhist teachings and methods and it presents first practical results: concepts and exercices which can support contemporary women (and men) on their path to inner and outer freedom.

First published as „Das Herz des Lotos. Frauen und Buddhismus“ with Fischer Spirit January 1999, Germany
(c) of the English version Sylvia Wetzel, Berlin 2002


Table of content


Part One: The Teachings

1 Buddhism is Changing
2 The Heart of the Path: Mindfulness
3 Joy in Life: Dealing with Feelings
4 Karma: Incination and Experience
5 Ethics of Mindfulness: The Wonderful Precepts
6 Why do I live?

Part Two: Following the Path

1 What is Meditation?
2 Practice
3 Sixteen Exercices

Part Three: Women and Buddhism

1 Women Ask Questions
2 Imagine you are Male
3 Women and Men

Part Four: Women and Freedom

1 How Female Freedom Arises
2 Mother – Daughter, Woman – Godess
3 Green Tara


Places and Names