Susanne Mrozik: "Love: An Ethnographic Exploration of Emotions in Sri Lankan Buddhist Nuns' Temples"
The Sri Lankan Theravāda Buddhist order of bhikkhunīs, or fully ordained nuns, died out in the late tenth or early eleventh centuries. Amidst significant national as well as international controversy, the order was revived in Sri Lanka in 1998. The bhikkhunī 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. Susanne Mrozik, who spent two years (2010–2012) in Sri Lanka conducting ethnographic research on the bhikkhunī revival, will discuss the central role affective ties between laity and bhikkhunīs play in this revival. Focusing especially on lay expressions of love (adaraya) for bhikkhunīs, Mrozik will examine what love means to laity in the context of their relationships with bhikkhunīs. She will also compare these views of love with Buddhist views of compassion (karuna) and loving kindness (metta).
Susanne Mrozik is Associate Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Religion at Mount Holyoke College. She received her PhD in the Study of Religion from Harvard University in 1999 and her MTS in World Religions from Harvard Divinity School in 1990. Mrozik is currently engaged in ethnographic research on the revival of the order of fully ordained nuns (bhikkhunī) 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).