Rita Gross

Buddhist Teaching Uses Images of Androgyny, but Men Have Held Power for Centuries

Rita Gross (born 1943)

is an American Buddhist feminist theologian and author.  Before retiring, she was Professor of Comparative Studies in Religion at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

In 1974 Gross was named the head of Women and Religion, a newly created section of the American Academy of Religion. She earned her PhD in 1975 from the University of Chicago in History of Religions, with the dissertation "Exclusion and Participation: The Role of Women in Aboriginal Australian Religion."  This was the first dissertation ever on women's studies in religion.  In 1976 she published the article "Female God Language in a Jewish Context" (Davka Magazine 17), which Jewish scholar and feminist Judith Plaskow considers "probably the first article to deal theoretically with the issue of female God-language in a Jewish context".  Gross was Jewish herself at this time.[10]

In 1977 Gross took refuge with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, becoming a Tibetan Buddhist.  In 2005 she was made a lopön(senior teacher) by Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche, and she now teaches at Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche's Lotus Garden Center, located in the United States.




  • Religious Diversity—What's the Problem? Buddhist Suggestions for Flourishing with Religious Diversity (forthcoming)
  • A Garland of Feminist Reflections: Forty Years of Religious Reflection, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2009.
  • Religious Feminism and the Future of the Planet: A Buddhist-Christian-Feminist Conversation (with Rosemary Radford Ruether), New York: Continuum, 2001.
  • Soaring and Settling: Buddhist Perspectives on Contemporary Social and Religious Issues, New York: Continuum, 1998.
  • Feminism and Religion: An Introduction; Boston: Beacon Press, 1996; Korean translation, 1999; Chapter One “Defining Feminism, Religion, and the Study of Religion” reprinted in Theory and Method in the Study of Religion, ed. by Carl Olson (Belmont, CA:Wadsworth, 2004), pp. 511–20
  • Buddhism After Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism; Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993; Spanish translation, Editorial Trotta, Madrid, Spain, 2005.

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