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Love: An Ethnographic Exploration of Emotions in Sri Lankan Buddhist Nuns’ Temple


May 23, 2013
6:15 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Dept of Religious Studies Seminar Room
Bldg. 70, Rm 72A1

Lecture by Susanne Mrozik, Mount Holyoke College.  Co-sponsored by the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford and the Department of Religious Studies.

The Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist order of bhikkhunis, or fully ordained nuns, died out in the late 10th or early 11th centuries. Amidst significant national as well as international controversy, the order was revived in Sri Lanka in 1998.  The bhikkhuni order is growing steadily in spite of the fact that neither the Sri Lankan government nor the Sri Lankan (male) monastic community have formally approved the revival. Prof. Mrozik, who spent two years (2010-2012) in Sri Lanka conducting ethnographic research on the bhikkhuni revival, will discuss the central role affective ties between laity and bhikkhunis play in this revival.  Focusing especially on lay expressions of love (adaraya) for bhikkhunis, Prof. Mrozik will examine what love means to laity in the context of their relationships with bhikkhunis.  She will also compare these views of love with Buddhist views of compassion (karuna) and loving kindness (metta).

About the speaker: Susanne Mrozik is Associate Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Religion at Mount Holyoke College. She received her Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University in 1999 and her M.T.S. in World Religions from Harvard Divinity School in 1990. Prof. Mrozik is currently engaged in ethnographic research on the revival of the order of fully ordained nuns (bhikkhuni) in Sri Lanka. She has also conducted research on Buddhist ethics (Virtuous Bodies: The Physical Dimensions of Morality in Buddhist Ethics [Oxford University, 2007]) and Buddhism in America (Women Practicing Buddhism: American Experiences [Wisdom Publications, 2008]; co-edited with Peter N. Gregory).