With its thoroughly "reader friendly" text, Susan Murcott's The First Buddhist Women offers a contemporary translation of, and commentary on, the enlightenment verses of the first female disciples of the Buddha. Murcott explores Buddhism's essential liberal attitude towards women since its founding nearly 2,6000 years ago through the study of the "Therigatha", the earliest known collection of women's religious poetry. Murcott also traces the journey of the wives, mothers, teachers, courtesan, prostitutes, and wanderers who became leaders in the Buddhist community. The poetry of these early women followers of the Buddha express their search for spiritual attainment and their struggles in society. The First Buddhist Women is an outstanding contribution to Buddhist studies and highly recommended for women's studies and multicultural studies supplemental reading lists.
Forget the obvious feminist stance of the book, and focus on the quite lucid commentary and collation of hard to find material on great Buddhist women.