Buddhist Studies Review, Vol 27, No 1 (2010)

On Women as Teachers in Early Buddhism: Dhammadinnā and Khemā

Gisela Krey
Issued Date: 7 Sep 2010


The present article investigates two prominent bhikkhunīs, Dhammadinnā and Khemā, who were renowned for their preaching abilities in the time of the Buddha. It focuses on two texts of the Sutta-piṭaka, the Cūḷavedalla-sutta and the Khemātherī-sutta, and demonstrates how and why these texts were among the most authoritative in providing a measure for spiritual leadership among bhikkhunīs in early Buddhism. Among women who taught the Dhamma, Dhammadinnā and Khemā attract attention because the texts show them even teaching male listeners of high status. The examples of female leadership presented here challenge any view that throws doubt on the spiritual capability of women and may be used as models by contemporary Buddhist nuns.

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DOI: 10.1558/bsrv.v27i1.17


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