Three female figures with a lotus flower.

As a core teaching, Rama – Dr. Frederick Lenz emphasized that the empowerment of women is the key to creating an enlightened American society. Recognizing the hierarchical and male-dominated nature of imported Buddhist culture, the Foundation champions the cause of women’s leadership in American Buddhist communities and organizations.

In Dr. Lenz’s Words

“Enlightenment comes through the feminine side of the being.”

“The most important problem for our world to solve is the inequality of men and women.”

“When women come into their full power, a balance will occur which has not been seen for so long that no one remembers it.”

“Until women assume their rightful place on earth there will never be an end to wars, cruelty and oppression.

Insights: Talks on the Nature of Existence, “Why Don’t More Women Attain Enlightenment?”

What We Fund

For 2024, our grant-making theme is “Women Leaders in Buddhism”: 

From the time of the Buddha to the present, women have played an important part in the flourishing of the dharma, but their stories have been lost and their contributions forgotten. Newly surfaced histories of Buddhist realized women practitioners, activist nuns, and a new generation of female teachers and leaders are creating an exciting wave of change. It is no longer a rarity to find Buddhist women leaders and role models, but is enough being done? How are female leaders inspired and cultivated? What kinds of Buddhist leadership do these women exhibit, and how do they serve sentient beings? How can this trend develop and grow?

“You cannot be what you cannot see.“ This phrase has been used to promote leaders in media and STEM fields. As contemporary women exemplify change and growth, develop educational and training programs, and uncover a vast historic library of powerful Buddhist females, the time is right for Buddhist women to see who they can be. They can deepen their practice, awaken their realization and lead their communities to the full flower of the dharma.

In 2024 through 2025, Lenz Foundation grants cover the  broad-based field of women’s leadership in Buddhism, bringing women to the foreground in innovative ways and providing support for programs that empower women.  

Grantees

View a list of our Women In Buddhism Grants to date.