Giving without merit: nuns in a post-merit Buddhist economy
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Buddhist monastic institutions have endured for centuries, supported by donations from the lay community. This economic system has been driven by the religious concept of merit, a concept which is regarded as producing adverse economic effects for nuns. However, scholars have begun to identify the absence of belief in merit in Buddhist organisations operating outside Asia and to consider the implications of this post-merit Buddhism for the funding of monastic institutions. The purpose of this paper is to consider the position of nuns in a Buddhist economy that operates without reference to merit and to demonstrate that the economic effects of gender in this model of the Buddhist economy are not a given, but the product of a negotiated attribution of value involving both the lay and monastic community.