New women and Buddhist mothers

Key information

10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Main Building
MB C325

About this event

Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Lecture Series in Chinese Buddhism at the SOAS Centre of Buddhist Studies.

In this seminar we will consider how Buddhism participated in establishing a new paradigm for modern households in the early twentieth century. During this period, discourse about womanhood and women’s roles within the family suggested that they were responsible for creating happy nuclear families and shaping citizens for a new nation. For Buddhist thinkers, religion had an important role to play in achieving these aims. 

Drawing on Essentials of Practicing Buddhism at Home (Zaijia xuefo yaodian 在家學佛要典) compiled by Chen Hailiang 陳海量 (1910–1983), we will ask what it meant to be both a Buddhist and a mother during this time period. To think through how mothers were expected to transmit Buddhist values, we will focus on two sections of Essentials of Practicing Buddhism at Home: the first, authored by a laywoman, is directed at mothers themselves. The second section we will consider is a primer for teaching children about Buddhism, which provides both a view of religious education and of the ideals and expectations of Buddhist households. 

About the speaker

Natasha Heller is a cultural historian of Chinese Buddhism with research interests spanning the premodern period (primarily 10th through 14th c.) and the contemporary era. She teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia and is currently a Faculty Fellow of UVA’s Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures. 

Attending the event

This event is free and open to all, but registration is required. 

  • Organiser: SOAS Centre of Buddhist Studies