Rita Gross was born in 1943, and died on November 11, 2015.
She was an American Buddhist feminist theologian and author.
Before retiring, Rita was Professor of Comparative Studies in Religion at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.
In 1974 Rita was named the head of Women and Religion, a newly created section of the American Academy of Religion.
Rita earned her PhD in 1975 from the University of Chicago in History of Religions, with the dissertation “Exclusion and Participation: The Role of Women in Aboriginal Australian Religion.”
This has been the first dissertation ever on women’s studies in religion.
In 1976 Rita published the article “Female God Language in a Jewish Context” (Davka Magazine 17), which Jewish scholar and feminist Judith Plaskow considers “probably the first article to deal theoretically with the issue of female God-language in a Jewish context”. Rita was herself born Jewish.
In 1977 Rita took refuge with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, becoming a Tibetan Buddhist.
In 2005 Rita was made a lopön (senior teacher) by Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche, and she now teaches at Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche’s Lotus Garden Center, located in the United States.
Rita died of a massive stroke, on November 11, 2015, at her home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.