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Sarah Hieatt Jacoby: "Toward a Survivor-Centered History of Sexuality in Vajrayāna Buddhism"

Wednesday December 6th 2023, 5:00PM
Event Sponsor
The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies
Center for East Asian Studies
Stanford East Asian Library, Room 224
Sarah Hieatt Jacoby


As awareness about the depth of the problem of sex abuse in global Buddhist communities grows, Buddhist Studies scholars are increasingly faced with complex decisions about whether and how to address this issue. This talk will engage feminist and decolonial methodologies to consider what scholarship in the history of religions can contribute toward gaining a deeper understanding of this problem. In particular, the talk will center historical Tibetan women’s vantage points on Vajrayāna sexual ethics, particularly those drawn from the writings of Sera Khandro Dewai Dorjé (1892-1940), through which a nuanced vision of Vajrayana technologies of sexuality emerges.


Sarah H. Jacoby is an associate professor in the Religious Studies Department at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She specializes in Tibetan Buddhist studies, with research interests in Buddhist revelation (gter ma), religious auto/biography, Tibetan literature, gender and sexuality, the history of emotions, and the history of eastern Tibet. She is the author of Love and Liberation: Autobiographical Writings of the Tibetan Buddhist Visionary Sera Khandro (Columbia University Press, 2014), co-author of Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience (Oxford University Press, 2014), and co-editor of Buddhism Beyond the Monastery: Tantric Practices and their Performers in Tibet and the Himalayas (Brill, 2009). 

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Sera Khandro

 Sera Khandro