Gendered symbols and pre reform theravada

Gendered symbols in theravada buddhism

Sharing this article because I think it’s interesting and relevant! I notice a bit of a superiority conceit here sometimes when we discuss the EBT and early Buddhism. Alot of Mahayana is thrown out as completely corrupted. I think that this is a bit of a “throwing the baby out with the bath water” situation.

Early Buddhism is a lot more than just the nikayas or agamas. I believe early Buddhism is also seeing these other traditions, and seeing what they might have preserved outside of the collected canon of the early core texts. This is why studying extant oral literature or oral traditions are also important. Alot of things that go with early Buddhism are not solely rooted there.

I think this article by Kate Crosby is a wonderful companion to have in early Buddhist studies. Pre reform theravada can give a lot of insight into early buddhism, where later texts or Mahayana fits into that and where cultural addition begins. As well as women, intersex & nonbinary people’s place in early buddhism. Helping to navigate away from a protestant style bias or subtle reform theravada superiority conceit when researching it.


Thanks for the heads up!

FYI, I wrote about these issues extensively, in my White Bones Red Rot Black Snakes, which you can read online here:

Or buy the printed edition here:


No problem, and thank you too Bhante!! Excited to read, loved your work sects and sectarianism :o)

Excited to read this article! Also I found this online which may be of interest?


Thank you!! I’m excited for this, haven’t seen this before :smile:

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