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Tibetan Buddhism and Feminism in an In-between Space: A Creative-Critical Autoethnography in a Non-Western Woman’s Voice

Shajahan Naomi, Sharin (2017) Tibetan Buddhism and Feminism in an In-between Space: A Creative-Critical Autoethnography in a Non-Western Woman’s Voice. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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As a religion and spiritual practice, Tibetan Buddhism is focused on training the mind to achieve inner tranquility, peace, and compassion. On the other hand, the feminist goal is to liberate women from patriarchal oppression. The possibility for exploring new feminist experiences through Tibetan Buddhist practice calls for a deeper conversation between feminism and Tibetan Buddhism on the basis of real life experiences, heterogeneity, particularity, differences and human conditions. The existing scholarly conversation between feminism and Tibetan Buddhism tends to be grounded in the perspective of Western women. Non-Western women like me have remained almost silent in expressing their reality through feminist-Buddhist lenses. My thesis presents the voice, representations, and experience of a non-Western woman through a creative-critical autoethnography. As a non-Western woman I found that without an epistemic disobedience to colonial aspects of knowledge I cannot speak in the academic area where Eurocentric and masculine approaches dominate in producing knowledge. Taking an arts-based and bricolage approach, I have expressed an epistemic disobedience to this hegemony through performative uses of images, story telling, archetypes, “fictocriticism”, and performative writing. Through this alternative paths, I explored how Tibetan Buddhism and feminism interact in an in-between space where the categories, binaries, cultural dichotomy and identities become fluid and non-dual. This is a space of multiplicity and ambivalence, a space that cannot be completely captured or defined; but can be demonstrated, articulated and interpreted. This in-between space gives birth to more open-ended questions, thoughts and possibilities for an enriched ongoing conversation between feminism and Tibetan Buddhism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Supervisor(s): Aveling, Nado and Jennings, Mark
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