Suggested donation – $10.00 - $125.00

Date & Time Details: Thursday June 20th 2024 7-9pm EST

Location: ONLINE

Contact: ZMM Registrar
(845) 688-2228


Beacons of Wisdom, Leadership, and Community: Stories of Our Early Buddhist Foremothers (online)

with Wendy Garling

June 20, 2024

As much as their participation has been undervalued, women comprised an integral, dynamic half of the Buddha’s original fourfold sangha. Evidence of this becomes clear reading across the early literature, especially the Jatakas, Therigatha, Theri-apadana and many canonical sutras. Truly a unique cohort, these first Buddhist women had the marvelous good fortune to be direct disciples of the Buddha himself. At the same time, they faced many obstacles as they pursued their spiritual aspirations in an era that was steeped in patriarchy and social injustice, much like today. What can we learn from these exemplary women? How can their voices and stories help guide us?

In this 2-hour session, author and dharma teacher Wendy Garling will introduce a selection of little-known stories that illustrate the inspirational role our foremothers played at the founding of Buddhism. Through storytelling, group discussion, and small group sessions, we will explore the rich landscape of their contributions, underscored by their profound wisdom, agency, and dedication to the dharma. Together, we will investigate the gifts our foremothers bring as role models to our own lives and practice, as we similarly face an unjust and challenging world.

Our online programs are offered by donation so that everyone can participate. We appreciate your support.


Wendy Garling
Wendy Garling is a writer, mother, gardener, independent scholar, and authorized dharma teacher with a BA from Wellesley College and MA specializing in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Woman Who Raised the Buddha, the Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati, with foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2021, Shambhala Publications) and Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life (2016, Shambhala Publications), a groundbreaking new biography of the Buddha that relates his journey to awakening through the stories of Buddhism’s first women. 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 1979. In 1991-92, she coordinated the Georgia chapter of the International Year of Tibet bringing Tibetan cultural and religious events to Atlanta and Emory University for the first time. Pilgrimage has played an important role in Wendy’s life: in November 2023 she led a 9-day pilgrimage in Nepal and India, “In the…
Learn more about Wendy Garling