Buddhism and Women

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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clw_uk
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Buddhism and Women

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:27 pm

Why was it that the buddha was reluctant to admit women into the sangha and why did he give them more rules to follow than the bhikkhus?
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Cittasanto
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:43 pm

Hi Clw
a contact of mine from a blog or somewhere (defenetly not a group) sent me her Disertation on the subject of women in buddhism, and I still have it storred on my computer somewhere if anyone is interested I'll look for it, have a rough idea where it is! but as one of the teachers I have spoken to about it said, because women at the time who were renunciantes were either prostitutes or wives of the male renunciant, so they were generally looked on badly, how true this is I don't know but maybe the Buddha wanted to make sure that these women were doing it for the right reasons and not fooling themselves?


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Element » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:51 pm

The life of a monk was the 'homeless life'. Apart from the rainy season, monks freely walked around India, spreading the teachings. A well practised monk, lived in the forest.

If women ordained, they would have to be protected from rape, angry husbands, etc. Thus, the freedom of the Sangha would be lost, with monks having to protect nuns plus themselves facing danger. The homeless life becomes like the household life.

If a man has a wife, he must protect her. Further, his life is in danger because other men crave his wife. This is normal worldly life & not the homeless life.

Just my opinion.

Element

Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Element » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:56 pm

Heavy rules. A nun must never teach a monk and must always bow to monk, even if that nun is the monk's mother.

This stops worldly relationships, such as a woman's natural materal domineering behaviour or immature monks seeking the feelings of a woman's love.

For example, if you read about the disrobing of the monk Santikaro, he states he always enjoyed 'female energy'.

A monk who is mature, relies on the nirodha dhatu for sustenance and not female energy.

Female energy is the sustainer of creation and the nirodha dhatu is the way to nibbana.

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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:10 pm

- Peter


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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:25 pm

It probably was a result of the status of women at the time in northern India. I believe some of the commentaries state that the extra rules were to allow for the Dispensation to last longer. It may have been to please the male dominated society. Or it could have been a test of the resolve and determination of Maha Pajapati Gotami and the other future nuns (bhikkhunis).

An alternative, perhaps more controversial explanation is that the written account is wrong or added later: Bhikkhu Dr. Analayo, a scholar monk has been a strong advocate for bhikkhuni ordination and in his research feels that the Buddha was misrepresented in the texts about being reluctant to ordain women. Ven. Dr. Analayo pointed out an obvious timeline discrepancy that amazingly has gone undetected until now. It involves the deeply held belief that Ananda played an instrumental role in the founding of the bhikkhuni sangha. He was credited, and later chastised by the First Council, for advocating for the ordination of the Buddha's maternal aunt and stepmother, Mahapajapati. In a paper presented at the University of Marburg, Germany, Ven. Dr. Analayo writes, "There are many problems chronologically, however, in the traditional account of Mahaprajapati (from the Commentaries). She first requested ordination five years after Buddha's enlightenment; but Ananda, who requested Buddha on her behalf, first ordained only twenty years after Buddha's enlightenment. Considering that Mahaprajapati, as Buddha's maternal aunt, raised him after his mother's death, she would have been about eighty years old when Ananda was senior enough to make the request."

I added in "from the Commentaries" because I learned from another monk that that is where Ven. Analayo acquired the information.
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Fede » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:49 pm

A further possibility (and again, a theory, and as such, speculative due to the Buddha's silence upon the subject) is that when the Buddha declared that the Life-span or duration of the Dhamma would be severely curtailed by the ordination of women (in itself a questionable comment, as the Buddha wrote nothing down during his lifetime) it is possible - if he actually said it - that he intended it as an indication of the lack of will-power exercised by men when it came to lustful thoughts and sexual urges. The temptation for monks to stray from the path and not adhere to their vow of celibacy is what concerned him.

Whwether he originated the comment or not, there may be some truth in it, for two reasons:
More often than not, discussions on desire, lust, masturbation and sexual urges are started by men. Women contribute, it must be said. But mainly, it involves male posters.

And any and all newsworthy issues regarding sex-scandals surrounding Buddhist Rinpoches, Lamas and gurus, have all related to male teachers.
No nuns or female eminent Buddhist teachers have as yet succumbed to, or been subjected to the same problem.

But I hasten to add, this is all hypothetical discussion, and all a matter for speculation rather than definitive conclusion.

As things stand, most traditions and schools are sufficiently aware of how important it is to permit the Dhamma to evolve and be transmitted, and the viewpoint of many has broadened sufficiently to eliminate any overt sexual prejudice or deliberately suppressive bias.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Individual » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:56 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:51 pm

- Peter


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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Fede » Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:28 pm

Yes Peter, but the wonderful things about the Buddha's teachings is that they are testable and corroborated.
verifiable.
This comment, showing the bias it does, cannot be said to fall into the same category, which is why I added what i did.

:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Individual » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:56 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:23 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Placid-pool » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:41 pm

I think it is very important to judge systems that exclude women, including certain sects of Christianity, Freemasonry and Lords' Cricket Club by the times in which they were formed.

At the time, the possibility of including women as equals would have been unthinkable. The fact that we have become so much more enlightened and decided that 50% of the human race should be considered as just as valuable as the other 50% should only make us feel pity for the unfortunate individuals born then. Segregation in schools is now viewed as distasteful if not horrific but I am old enough to remember when some brave souls decided to challenge the accepted "norms" and suggest that black and white pupils could study together. At the time, it caused riots. Now, we look back on it and smile wryly.

It would be like suggesting that domestic animals should be given the same spiritual standing as humans ... unthinkable today, possibly acceptable tomorrow.

Element

Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Element » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:18 pm


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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:34 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

Element

Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Element » Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:50 am

100 years or so ago in the USA, women could not even own property I have heard.

However, in Islam, women could always own property.

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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Individual » Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:38 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Jason » Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:45 am

"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" ().

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(non-Buddhist related blog)

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Cittasanto
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:24 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Placid-pool
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Postby Placid-pool » Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:52 am



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