Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

Daughters of Emptiness - Praise

Poems of Chinese Buddhist Nuns

“A landmark collection of exquisite poems scrupulously gathered and translated by Beata Grant. Grant provides an impressively compact and readable overview of the changing fortunes of Buddhist nuns in China, beginning in the fourth century, all the way to the present.”—Buddhadharma

Daughters of Emptiness was a revelation and joy to me. It presents the readers with an extraordinary collection of poems written by Buddhist nuns across 16 centuries. Grant’s introduction gives a well-researched account of the history of Chinese Buddhism and the place of poet-nuns within that history. It makes fascinating reading. The book is beautifully presented: each poet is given her own distinictive place; after her name, written in both Chinese script and in English, there is a brief account of her life. This is followed by a poem, presented in the original, side-by-side with the translation. The calm beauty of the presentation mirrors the spirit of the poems.”—Dharma Life

“Nothing is more relevant for today’s students of Buddhism than practice instructions for difficult times. This beautiful book, the poetry of 48 nuns, ranging over 16 centuries of imperial China, testifies to the power of Buddhist practice to nourish the human spirit even when war, physical hardship, class discrimination, and oppression seem insurmountable. The poems are lovely in themselves, but they are also teachings on how to maintain a steady mind and steady practice while chaos reigns around us. They teach us how to radiate beauty within hardship, how to continue looking after as many people as we can, without becoming bitter, angry, or disheartened. Beata Grant, as a translator, brings us fresh material, and as a scholar, helps us make sense of it. The poems are also enlivened by the beautiful calligraphy for each nun’s name and by the Chinese characters for each poem. A rich addition to Buddhist literature and teaching; [it] exposes a feminine side that contrasts with the austere Chinese hermits and spare, dutiful, samurai-style Zen masters who may be more familiar to us. I gratefully await further publications from this talented and dedicated scholar.”—Grace Schireson, in Turning Wheel