Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women
Conference: June 27 to July 2, 2004
Temple Tour: July 3 to 5
Discipline and Practice of Buddhist
Women: Present and Past
Korea, known as the Land of Morning Calm, is
the venue of the 8th Sakyadhita International Conference on
Buddhist Women. Everyone is welcome to attend the conference:
lay or ordained, and neither lay nor ordained, of all nationalities
and religious backgrounds. In addition to discussions and meditation,
they can enjoy the beautiful mountains and forests of Korea.
South Korea is proud of its rich Buddhist cultural history.
Seoul, with many temples, monuments, and an ancient Buddhist
history of its own, provides a magnificent setting for this
gathering of international scholars and practitioners of the
worlds Buddhist traditions. According to some scholars
the word Seoul comes from the word Sravasti,
the Indian town where the Buddha spent 25 rainy season retreats.
A GLIMPSE OF KOREAS BUDDHIST CULTURAL HISTORY
Two thousand years of Buddhist culture has been preserved
and is still widely practiced in the Republic of Korea today.
An estimated 2000 historic Buddhist temples and monuments are
testimony to the living presence of the Buddhas teachings.
Koreans generally follow the Mahayana tradition, making vows
to attain enlightenment to liberate all beings from suffering.
Lay Buddhists generally marry and have families. They may join
any temple they like and may take the five lay precepts as well
as the Bodhisattva precepts. Buddhists may also decide to renounce
household life and train as a monk or nun. Many lay and ordained
Buddhist take bodhisattva precepts, eat vegetarian food, and
emphasize the practice of the six perfections generosity, Buddhism
was introduced to Korea from China around 372 C.E. Because Buddhism
was perceived to be compatible with indigenous shamanistic beliefs,
it was quickly adopted. Gradually Buddhism developed to a position
of cultural dominance during the Shilla Period (668-935 C.E.).
Emphasis during this period was the law of cause and effect,
and the interrelatedness of all things.
The Koryo Period (935-1392) is noted for an emphasis
on ritual practices. The Korean Tripitaka was carved onto wood
blocks, which are preserved to the present day in Haein-sa Temple.
The practice of meditation (Chinese: Chan, Japanese: Zen, Korean:
Son) and the tradition of textual study gave Buddhism new vitality.
During both the Shilla and Koryo Periods, Buddhism enjoyed the
patronage of the royal court.
During the Choson Period (1392-1910) was a time of decline
for Buddhism. The new rulers favored Neo-Confucianism and adopted
it as the state religion. Buddhism was severely restricted and
periodically persecuted for five centuries. Temples could only
be built in mountain areas and monks were prohibited from entering
the capital city.
From 1910-1945, Korea was annexed by Japan. The Japanese
colonial administration supported Buddhism, but promoted the
Japanese sects with a married priesthood, and monks were encouraged
to abandon their vows of celibacy. After the Japanese occupation
ended, the indigenous Korean forms of Buddhism and the ideal
of celibacy were reestablished.
Currently Buddhism is flourishing in Korea. Many new
temples are being constructed and many ancient temples are being
restored. Buddhists are actively engaged in society, organizing
education programs, meditation classes, social welfare projects,
and Buddhist cultural events. In Korea, the numbers of nuns
and monks are roughly equal. After five or six years of training
as novices, they are eligible to receive full ordination as
bhiksunis and bhiksus. Monasteries for nuns and monks are strictly
separate and function independently. Buddhist colleges and institutes
provide equal education opportunities for both nuns and monks.
This year a nun was selected to head the Department of Cultural
Affairs of the Chogye order a historical first.
GLOBAL COALITION OF BUDDHIST WOMEN
Since 1987, Sakyadhita: International Association of Buddhist
Women has been working to benefit Buddhist women around the
world. Established at the conclusion of the 1st Sakyadhita Conference
in Bodhgaya, India, in 1987, the organization has 1900 members
and friends in 45 countries around the world. Every two years
an international conference is held to bring laywomen and nuns
from different countries and traditions together to share their
experiences on issues of mutual interest and encourage projects
to improve conditions for Buddhist women, especially in developing
Working at the grassroots level, Sakyadhita provides
a communications network among Buddhist women internationally.
The organization promotes research and publications on Buddhist
womens history and other topics of interest. It supports
Buddhist womens initiatives to create education projects,
retreat facilities, training center, womens shelters,
and local conferences and discussion groups. Members strive
to create equal opportunities for women in all Buddhist
The theme of the 8th Sakyadhita Conference is
Discipline and Practice of Buddhist
Women: Present and Past.
Tentative topics for discussion include:
CONFERENCE THEME AND DISCUSSION TOPICS
Shamatha and Vipassana in the Buddhist Traditions
Buddhist Meditation Practices: Asia and the West
Practices for Developing Loving Kindness and Compassion
Mindfulness in Daily Living,Meditation and Work
Combining Religious Practices, Combining Buddhist Practices
Practical Meditation Techniques
Meditation on Emptiness
Practice of the Precepts: Lay and Monastic
Food of Dharma: Rituals at Meals and in the Kitchen
Rituals of the Robes
Dharma in Everyday Life
Dharma in Relationships
Discipline, Education and Training
Teaching Dharma to Children
The Education and Training of Laywomen and Nuns
Buddhist Women and Discipline: Transitions
Historical Spread of Buddhism Throughout the World
Engaged Buddhist Practice
Buddhist Responses to Social and Political Realities
(e.g., Abortion, Death Penalty, Burma, Tibet)
Buddhist Approaches to Conflict Resolution
Interfaith Understanding, Inter-Buddhist Understanding
Trafficking in Women and Children: What Can Buddhists
(e.g., Learning from Koreas Experience of Comfort
NGOs: Organizing for Social Change
Buddhist Theories of Interdependence and the Environment
Buddhist Practice and Womens Issues
Buddhist Liberation, Womens Liberation
Is an Egalitarian Buddhism Possible?
Buddhism and Womens Health
Feminist Interpretations of Buddhist Doctrine
Can Women Become Enlightened? How Do We Do It?
Buddhist Practice in Uncertain Times (International Security,
Nuclear Danger, Global Economics, etc.)
Contemporary Buddhist Practices
Buddhist Practice Today: Tradition and Adaptation
Deadline for registration, with payment, is May 15, 2004.
conference updates: www.sakyadhita.org
47-710-2 Hui Kelu Street Kaneohe,
HI 96744 USA
(Inchoen International Airport)
7:00-7:50 am Breakfast
8:00-11:00 am Opening Ceremony
Chanting in the Buddhist Traditions,
Words of Welcome, Keynote Speakers
1:00-6:00 pm Seoul City Tour
6:00-8:00 pm Welcome Reception,
Dinner and Cultural Program
(Korean Bhikkhuni Association)
7:00-7:50 am Breakfast
8:00-9:30 am Panel Presentations
9:40-11:00 am Discussion Groups
12:00-1:00 pm Free Time
1:00-2:30 pm Panel Discussions
2:40-4:00 pm Discussion Groups
4:00-5:00 pm Tea Break
5:00-6:00 pm Chanting
7:00-8:30 pm Cultural Program
Departure (after 6 pm)
The weather in summer in Korea is warm and a bit humid, with
occasional showers. Modest summer clothes, a light sweater,
walking shoes, and sandals are recommended. Out of respect for
our host culture, please do not wear shorts or revealing tops.
Please bring toiletries, any medications you may require, and
snacks, if you wish.
Participants should arrive in Seoul on June 26.Those who provide
arrival information by June 10 will be greeted at the airport
by members of the reception committee, who will arrange transportation
to the conference site.
Foreign currency may be exchanged at the airport upon arrival.
The local currency is the South Korean won (approximately US$1
= 1200 won and Euro = 1300 won). Travelers from some countries
do not need visas, but some do. Check http://english.tour2korea.com/coming/essential/entry.asp
The cost of the conference is US$300 for members and $350 for
non-members. The conference fee includes simple Koreanstyle
accommodations (futon), three vegetarian meals, and shuttle
service at the conference site. Hotel accommodations are available
nearby for those who wish. The cost of the temple tour is $120,
inclusive of transportation, Korean-style temple accommodations,
and three meals. Transportation from the airport to the conference
site will be provided for arrivals on June 26 all day, and for
departures on July 3 morning, July 5 evening, and June 6 all
day. The fee for roundtrip airport transportation is $30. Payment
for registration must be received by May 15, 2004.
OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP
Thousands of women from developing countries would love to come
to the Sakyadhita Conference in Korea, but lack the financial
resources to attend. Your generosity can provide a laywoman
or nun from one of these countries this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We encourage groups of friends to pool their resources and provide
needed support. A donation of $1000 will cover all expenses
for a laywoman or nun from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal,
Sri Lanka, Tibet, or Vietnam to attend the conference.
We welcome your ideas, suggestions, and participation in the
conference planning! 8th th Sakyadhita International Conference
on Buddhist Women Seoul, Korea June 27 - July 2, 2004