Returning to the Mother: Buddhism’s Story Retold with Wendy Garling2021-09-27T06:01:22-07:00

RETURNING TO THE MOTHER:

Buddhism’s Story Retold with Wendy Garling

Author and dharma teacher Wendy Garling will offer an in-depth study of the life of the Buddha’s adoptive mother Mahaprajapati Gautami, from her recent biography, The Woman Who Raised the Buddha, The Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati with a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

We extend deep gratitude to Wendy Garling for all her meticulous research into the story of Mahaprajapati Gautami, bringing to light forgotten anecdotes and illuminating this most important woman in Buddhist history.

– Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Founding Director of Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery

Register

RETURNING TO THE MOTHER:

Buddhism’s Story Retold with Wendy Garling

Author and dharma teacher Wendy Garling will offer an in-depth study of the life of the Buddha’s adoptive mother Mahaprajapati Gautami, from her recent biography, The Woman Who Raised the Buddha, The Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati with a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

We extend deep gratitude to Wendy Garling for all her meticulous research into the story of Mahaprajapati Gautami, bringing to light forgotten anecdotes and illuminating this most important woman in Buddhist history.

– Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Founding Director of Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery

Register

About the Course:

In group discussion we will explore questions that arise from Mahaprajapati’s many inspiring life stories, including her virtual erasure from Buddhist records and the significance of her contributions to the birth of Buddhism, especially for Buddhist women. Participants are invited to keep up with the weekly readings and bring their insights, as well as a copy of the book, to each session. Both beginners and advanced practitioners are welcome.

6 Friday Sessions | October 8 – November 12, 2021 | 9am to 11am PDT (12PM-2PM EST)

Oct. 8: Introduction, Prologue, Chapter 1 Growing Up in Devadaha

Oct. 15: Chapters 2 & 3 Birth of the Buddha, Mother and Queen

Oct. 22: Chapters 4 & 5 Reunion of Mother and Her Son, The Empowerment of the Sakya Women

Oct. 29: Chapters 6 & 7 Mahaprajapati Makes a Robe for Her Son, The Fall of Kapilavastu and Rise of the Sakya Women

Nov. 5: Chapters 8 & 9 Ordination of Mahaprajapati and the Five Hundred Women, Mahaprajapati: Foremost in Seniority

Nov. 12: Chapter 10, 11 & Epilogue A Patchwork of Stories, The Parinirvana of Mahaprajapati

About the Course:

In group discussion we will explore questions that arise from Mahaprajapati’s many inspiring life stories, including her virtual erasure from Buddhist records and the significance of her contributions to the birth of Buddhism, especially for Buddhist women. Participants are invited to keep up with the weekly readings and bring their insights, as well as a copy of the book, to each session. Both beginners and advanced practitioners are welcome.

6 Friday Sessions | October 8 – November 12, 2021 |

9am to 11am PDT (12pm to 2pm EST)

Oct. 8: Introduction, Prologue, Chapter 1 Growing Up in Devadaha

Oct. 15: Chapters 2 & 3 Birth of the Buddha, Mother and Queen

Oct. 22: Chapters 4 & 5 Reunion of Mother and Her Son, The Empowerment of the Sakya Women

Oct. 29: Chapters 6 & 7 Mahaprajapati Makes a Robe for Her Son, The Fall of Kapilavastu and Rise of the Sakya Women

Nov. 5: Chapters 8 & 9 Ordination of Mahaprajapati and the Five Hundred Women, Mahaprajapati: Foremost in Seniority

Nov. 12: Chapter 10, 11 & Epilogue A Patchwork of Stories, The Parinirvana of Mahaprajapati

The Book:

 

Mahaprajapati was the only mother the Buddha ever knew. His birth mother, Maya, died shortly after childbirth, and her sister Mahaprajapati took the infant to her breast, nurturing and raising him into adulthood.

In this groundbreaking new book, the entire arc of Mahaprajapati ‘s life story is presented for the first time, with attention to her early years as sister, queen, matriarch, and mother, as well as her later years as a nun.

Drawing from story fragments and canonical records, Garling reveals just how exceptional Mahaprajapati’s role was as leader of the first generation of Buddhist women, helping the Buddha establish an equal community of lay and monastic women and men.

Mother to the Buddha, mother to early Buddhist women, mother to the Buddhist faith, Mahaprajapati’s journey is finally presented as one interwoven with the founding of Buddhism.

Garling reminds us that human love as well as human suffering lie embedded together at the very core of Buddhist teaching and life.

– Charles Hallisey, Harvard Divinity School

A brave, extraordinary, and powerful rendering of the life of the mother of the Buddha, this remarkable book is eye-opening and heart-opening.

– Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

The Book:

Mahaprajapati was the only mother the Buddha ever knew. His birth mother, Maya, died shortly after childbirth, and her sister Mahaprajapati took the infant to her breast, nurturing and raising him into adulthood.

In this groundbreaking new book, the entire arc of Mahaprajapati ‘s life story is presented for the first time, with attention to her early years as sister, queen, matriarch, and mother, as well as her later years as a nun.

Drawing from story fragments and canonical records, Garling reveals just how exceptional Mahaprajapati’s role was as leader of the first generation of Buddhist women, helping the Buddha establish an equal community of lay and monastic women and men.

Mother to the Buddha, mother to early Buddhist women, mother to the Buddhist faith, Mahaprajapati’s journey is finally presented as one interwoven with the founding of Buddhism.

Garling reminds us that human love as well as human suffering lie embedded together at the very core of Buddhist teaching and life.

– Charles Hallisey, Harvard Divinity School

A brave, extraordinary, and powerful rendering of the life of the mother of the Buddha, this remarkable book is eye-opening and heart-opening.

– Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

JOIN US:

Dates: Fridays, Oct 8 – Nov 12

Sessions take place on Zoom

Cost: Sliding scale donation for the six-session series of $95 – $15

Please bring your own copy of The Woman Who Raised the Buddha, The Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati to the sessions.

Sukhasiddhi welcomes people of all religions, ages, racial backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities.

Register

The Teacher:

WENDY GARLING is a writer, mother, gardener, independent scholar, and authorized dharma teacher with a BA from Wellesley College and MA in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life (2016, Shambhala Publications) and more recently, The Woman Who Raised the Buddha, The Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati (2021 Shambhala Publications). For many years Wendy has taught women’s spirituality focusing on Buddhist traditions, while also pursuing original research into women’s stories from ancient Sanskrit and Pali literature.

A Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, Wendy has studied with teachers of different schools and lineages, foremost her refuge lama His Holiness the 16th Karmapa (who gave her the name Karma Dhonden Lhamo), her kind root lama, the late Sera Je Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama whom she first met in India in 1979.

Pilgrimage has played an important role in Wendy’s life: in 2007 she journeyed to the sites of women saints in Tibet, and in 2012 and 2018 to sacred sites of the Buddha in India. Her dream is to bring back the stories of Buddhism’s first women, reawaken their voices, and ensure that they are not just remembered, but valorized as integral to the roots of Buddhism. Wendy lives in Concord, Massachusetts and can be reached at wendy.garling@yahoo.com.

The Teacher:

WENDY GARLING is a writer, mother, gardener, independent scholar, and authorized dharma teacher with a BA from Wellesley College and MA in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life (2016, Shambhala Publications) and more recently, The Woman Who Raised the Buddha, The Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati (2021 Shambhala Publications). For many years Wendy has taught women’s spirituality focusing on Buddhist traditions, while also pursuing original research into women’s stories from ancient Sanskrit and Pali literature.


A Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, Wendy has studied with teachers of different schools and lineages, foremost her refuge lama His Holiness the 16th Karmapa (who gave her the name Karma Dhonden Lhamo), her kind root lama, the late Sera Je Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama whom she first met in India in 1979.

Pilgrimage has played an important role in Wendy’s life: in 2007 she journeyed to the sites of women saints in Tibet, and in 2012 and 2018 to sacred sites of the Buddha in India. Her dream is to bring back the stories of Buddhism’s first women, reawaken their voices, and ensure that they are not just remembered, but valorized as integral to the roots of Buddhism. Wendy lives in Concord, Massachusetts and can be reached at wendy.garling@yahoo.com.

The Hosting Community:

Sukhasiddhi Foundation is a spiritual center in the Vajrayana/Tibetan Buddhist tradition that offers a guided path of embodied wisdom, compassion, and kindness, rooted in practices arising from the divine feminine that are relevant to life and the world today.

The heart of our offerings comes from the Shangpa lineage. This feminine lineage dates back to the 11th century; the time of two awakened Kashmiri women, Niguma and Sukhasiddhi. This lineage is historically non-sectarian, non-dogmatic, and its inclusive teachings are a stream that flows through all lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. The profound teachings of these awakened dakinis (teachers) are elegant and penetrate straight to the heart of the matter, making them an accessible, relevant, and efficacious method for engaging in the world today.

All of our offerings are currently online.

The Hosting Community:

Sukhasiddhi Foundation is a spiritual center in the Vajrayana/Tibetan Buddhist tradition that offers a guided path of embodied wisdom, compassion, and kindness, rooted in practices arising from the divine feminine that are relevant to life and the world today.

The heart of our offerings comes from the Shangpa lineage. This feminine lineage dates back to the 11th century; the time of two awakened Kashmiri women, Niguma and Sukhasiddhi. This lineage is historically non-sectarian, non-dogmatic, and its inclusive teachings are a stream that flows through all lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. The profound teachings of these awakened dakinis (teachers) are elegant and penetrate straight to the heart of the matter, making them an accessible, relevant, and efficacious method for engaging in the world today.

During the coronavirus pandemic all of our offerings are happening online.

Join Our Mailing List: 

Sign up for our email list for upcoming events, classes, retreats and community offerings. 

Join Our Mailing List:

Sign up for our email list for upcoming events, classes, retreats and community offerings.