Climbing the Final Step: Buddhism and the Female Emperor Wu In the four thousand years or so of Chinese history, only one woman has succeeded in transcending the bonds of gender and being accepted as the supreme ruler of the state in name as well as in fact. There have been a few others who managed to control the country by hiding behind a pretense of male rule, the best known of these being the Dowager Empress Lü of Former Han and the Dowager Empress Cixi at the end of the Qing dynasty (Latourette 147). But only one, Wu Zhao of the Tang dynasty, managed to disregard her presumed feminine inferiority entirely. Indeed, she went so far as to establish her own dynasty, the Zhou, though it lasted only as long as she retained her health and...The end:
.....The Chinese: Their History and Culture. Fourth Edition. New York, NY: Columbia. 1972. Print. McBride, Richard D., II. "Cult of Maitreya." Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. Ed. Karen Christensen and David Levinson. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002. 220-221. Print. Meskill, John T. "A History of China." An Introduction to Chinese Civilization. Eds. John T. Meskill and J. Mason Gentzler. Columbia: Columbia University Press, 1973. 3-338. Print. Sen, Tansen. Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-Indian Relations 600-1400. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2003. Print. The Holy Teaching of Vimalakīrti: A Mahāyāna Scripture. Tr. Robert A. F. Thurman. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1978. Print.