Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

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Modus.Ponens
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Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:56 pm

Hello

I read an article which made a case against the authenticity of the 8 rules for bhikkhunis. It's not very good but it has some food for thought. Here it is:

http://www.leighb.com/aboutan851.htm

However, I don't find anywhere the original story in full lenght in the translations of AN 8.51 and of Cv X.1. They seem to supress what I remember as being the most important evidence against the authenticity of the 8 rules. Don't these texts contain 3 or 4 similes for the role of women in religious orders? There are two reasons I suspect these similes are false:

1- They are particularly violent

2- They are more than one. Does the Buddha ever give more than one simile in the suttas to ilustrate his point?

If anyone could point me to a full translation of the AN8.51 or Cv X.1 I would apreciate it, so I can make my own conclusions.

Metta
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Anicca » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:52 am

Howdy Modus.Ponens!

Cv.X.1 is contained here and reads:

Now at that time, the Awakened One, the Blessed One, was staying near Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Grove. Then Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed to him, stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to him: "It would be good, venerable sir, if women might obtain the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"Enough, Gotamī. Don't advocate women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata (§)."

A second time... A third time she said to him: "It would be good, venerable sir, if women might obtain the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"Enough, Gotamī. Don't advocate women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

So Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī, (thinking,) "The Blessed One does not allow women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata" — sad and unhappy, crying, her face in tears — bowed to the Blessed One, circumambulated him, keeping him to her right, and then went away.

The Blessed One, having stayed as long as he liked in Kapilavatthu, set out for Vesālī. After wandering in stages, he arrived at Vesālī. There he stayed near Vesālī at the Gabled Hall in the Great Wood.

Then Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī, having had her hair cut off, having donned ochre robes, set out for Vesālī together with a large number of Sakyan women. After wandering in stages, she arrived at Vesālī and went to the Gabled Hall in the Great Wood. Then she stood there outside the porch, her feet swollen, her limbs covered with dust, sad and unhappy, crying, her face in tears. Ven. Ānanda saw her standing there ... and so asked her, "Why, Gotamī, why are you standing here ... your face in tears?"

"Because, venerable sir, the Blessed One does not allow women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"In that case, Gotamī, stay right here for a moment (§) while I ask the Blessed One to allow women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

Then Ven. Ānanda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī is standing outside the porch ... her face in tears, because the Blessed One does not allow women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata. It would be good if women might obtain the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"Enough, Ānanda. Don't advocate women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

A second time... A third time, Ven. Ānanda said, "... It would be good, venerable sir, if women might obtain the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"Enough, Ānanda. Don't advocate women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

Then the thought occurred to Ven. Ānanda, "The Blessed One does not allow women's Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata. What if I were to find some other way to ask the Blessed One to allow women's Going-forth ..." So he said to the Blessed One, "Venerable sir, if a woman were to go forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata, would she be able to realize the fruit of stream-entry, once-returning, non-returning, or arahantship?"

"Yes, Ānanda, she would..."

"In that case, venerable sir, Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī has been of great service to the Blessed One. She was the Blessed One's aunt, foster mother, nurse, giver of milk. When the Blessed One's mother passed away, she gave him milk. It would be good if women might obtain the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata."

"Ānanda, if Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī accepts eight rules of respect, that will be her full Acceptance.

1) "A bhikkhunī who has been fully accepted even for more than a century must bow down, rise up from her seat, salute with hands palm-to-palm over her heart, and perform the duties of respect to a bhikkhu even if he has been fully accepted on that very day. This rule is to be honored, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed as long as she lives.

2) "A bhikkhunī must not spend the rains in a residence where there is no bhikkhu (nearby)...

3) "Every half-month a bhikkhunī should expect two things from the Bhikkhu Saṅgha: (permission to) ask for the date of the uposatha and (permission to) approach for an exhortation...

4) "At the end of the Rains-residence, a bhikkhunī should invite (accusations from) both Saṅghas (the Bhikkhu and Bhikkhunī Saṅghas) on any of three grounds: what they have seen, what they have heard, what they have suspected...

5) "A bhikkhunī who has broken any of the rules of respect must undergo penance for half a month under both Saṅghas...

6) "Only after a trainee has trained in the six precepts for two years can she request Acceptance from both Saṅghas...

7) "A bhikkhu must not in any way be insulted or reviled by a bhikkhunī...

8) "From this day forward, the admonition of a bhikkhu by a bhikkhunī is forbidden, but the admonition of a bhikkhunī by a bhikkhu is not forbidden. This rule, too, is to be honored, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed as long as she lives.

"If Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī accepts these eight rules of respect, that will be her full Acceptance."

Then Ven. Ānanda, having learned the eight rules of respect in the Blessed One's presence, went to Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī and, on arrival, said to her, "Gotamī, if you accept these eight rules of respect, that will be your full Acceptance..."

"Ven. Ānanda, just as if a young woman — or man — fond of ornamentation, having been given a garland of lotuses or jasmine or scented creepers, having accepted it in both hands, were to place it on her head, in the same way I accept the eight rules of respect, never to transgress them as long as I live."

Then Ven. Ānanda returned to the Blessed One and, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said, "Venerable sir, Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī has accepted the eight rules of respect. The Blessed One's foster mother is fully accepted."

"But, Ānanda, if women had not obtained the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata, the holy life would have lasted long, the true Dhamma would have lasted 1,000 years. But now that they have gotten to go forth... this holy life will not last long, the true Dhamma will last only 500 years. Just as a clan in which there are many women and few men is easily plundered by robbers and thieves, in the same way, in whatever doctrine and discipline women get to go forth, the holy life does not last long... Just as a man might make an embankment in advance around a great reservoir to keep the waters from overflowing, in the same way I have set forth in advance the eight rules of respect for bhikkhunīs that they are not to transgress as long as they live." — Cv.X.1


Hope this helps

Metta

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:34 am

Anicca wrote:Howdy Modus.Ponens!

Cv.X.1 is contained here and reads:

"But, Ānanda, if women had not obtained the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathāgata, the holy life would have lasted long, the true Dhamma would have lasted 1,000 years. But now that they have gotten to go forth... this holy life will not last long, the true Dhamma will last only 500 years. Just as a clan in which there are many women and few men is easily plundered by robbers and thieves, in the same way, in whatever doctrine and discipline women get to go forth, the holy life does not last long... Just as a man might make an embankment in advance around a great reservoir to keep the waters from overflowing, in the same way I have set forth in advance the eight rules of respect for bhikkhunīs that they are not to transgress as long as they live." — Cv.X.1


Hope this helps

Metta


Hi Anicca

I've seen that text. What I'm worried about is that underlined ellipsis. If I remember correctly, there were a few more similes in the text and that's what I'm trying to find out. If the similes are not here they're elsewere, but I remember seeing them. Maybe a comparison between women and a plague, I'm not sure. I know they were consecutive and pretty harsh on women.

Metta
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:17 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:... AN 8.51 and of Cv X.1. ... Don't these texts contain 3 or 4 similes for the role of women in religious orders? There are two reasons I suspect these similes are false:
1- They are particularly violent
2- They are more than one. Does the Buddha ever give more than one simile in the suttas to ilustrate his point?

Hi, Modus Ponens,
I can't answer your question (1) but can maybe shine some light on it: Santideva's A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life has a whole chapter which is so revoltingly misogynistic that I could hardly read it - and I'm not even female! That's an 8th century monastic text, of course, and I think '8th century' and 'monastic' are both part of the problem - too long after the Buddha to remember how he treated women, and too conflicted over women because enforced celibacy often does that to men. Reflecting on that tends to support the article you linked to.
As for Q.2: Yes, quite often, but I haven't got a good memory for references.

Hope this helps,
Kim

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:14 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Hi, Modus Ponens,
.
.
.
As for Q.2: Yes, quite often, but I haven't got a good memory for references.

Hope this helps,
Kim


Hi Kim

But does he do it consecutively without anyone saying they didn't understand the first simile?

Thanks
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:12 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:Hi Kim
But does he do it consecutively without anyone saying they didn't understand the first simile?
Thanks

Hi, M.P,
I think so - but I think you would have to look for yourself to see how close the parallel with your dubious example is ... and even then you will only have indirect evidence for your belief about authenticity.
Myself, I like to have the support of good authority but I am always willing to disagree with authority when the case seems clear enough to me: I don't like to be wrong but I really really don't like to be intellectually dishonest. YMMV, of course.
:namaste:
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:21 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:Hi Kim
But does he do it consecutively without anyone saying they didn't understand the first simile?
Thanks

Hi, M.P,
I think so - but I think you would have to look for yourself to see how close the parallel with your dubious example is ... and even then you will only have indirect evidence for your belief about authenticity.
Myself, I like to have the support of good authority but I am always willing to disagree with authority when the case seems clear enough to me: I don't like to be wrong but I really really don't like to be intellectually dishonest. YMMV, of course.
:namaste:
Kim


Hi Kim

I'm trying to be intelectualy honest. That's my aproach to dhamma. You can see that that's the case, when I said that the text I linked to made weak evidence to its claim. I haven't made my mind yet. I just have a suspiction. Even if I find the full text I will not be fully convinced of its unauthenticity.

Metta
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:08 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:Hi Kim

I'm trying to be intelectualy honest. That's my aproach to dhamma. You can see that that's the case, when I said that the text I linked to made weak evidence to its claim. I haven't made my mind yet. I just have a suspiction. Even if I find the full text I will not be fully convinced of its unauthenticity.

Metta

I agree completely with your approach, and I didn't mean in any way to criticise it.
It does mean finding the evidence that satisfies you personally, however - second-hand reports are not going to be enough, however much time they might save.
:namaste:
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:16 am

As I often point out here, and elsewhere, a good place to begin on questions of authenticity is a comparison of parallel passages in alternate versions of the canon. Which other canons have such statements? Which other canons omit such statements? What are the differences in the sources of those canons either way? How are the schools to which they belong related to one another? (ie. a kind of doctrinal stemma needs to be drawn up).

Another question is that of external influence: The Sthavira teachings passed through the western Ganges area, strong Brahmanic heartland. And the Brahmins attitude towards women is well known, quite different to that found in the east Ganges area, around Magadha, etc. which was the original area of the Buddha's teaching. Other Buddhist literature, from a slightly later period, is well known to show increasingly misogynistic tendencies a couple of centuries after the parinibbana, reflecting generally cultural attitude changes at that time.

These prove nothing in and of themselves, but take all the information and relevant aspects into consideration before making assessments.
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Kenshou » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:19 am

Paññāsikhara wrote: a good place to begin on questions of authenticity is a comparison of parallel passages in alternate versions of the canon. Which other canons have such statements? Which other canons omit such statements? What are the differences in the sources of those canons either way? How are the schools to which they belong related to one another?


I'm quite interested in this sort of thing, but since it'll be a very long time, if ever, that I'm able to read Pali and Sanskrit and Classical Chinese... would you happen to have any suggested authors or literature or sources to begin from? I frankly barely know where I'd begin. If they happen to primarily be in non-English languages, then dangit, I guess. For now.

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby oxen » Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:51 am

It wouldn't hurt to just compare if there are parallel versions at a site like suttacentral.net. Much of the core Pali canon made it to China for translation, and many texts were translated several times too, and even from more than one source Indian language.
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:35 am

oxen wrote:It wouldn't hurt to just compare if there are parallel versions at a site like suttacentral.net. Much of the core Pali canon made it to China for translation, and many texts were translated several times too, and even from more than one source Indian language.


Thank you. I found what I needed. :smile:
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby fig tree » Thu Aug 26, 2010 4:38 am

The Journal of Buddhist Ethics had a piece on this:

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebsut067.htm

Fig Tree

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:26 pm

Thanks Fig Tree. I only read the 8 rules part and it's very interesting.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby now realm » Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:58 am

Greetings,

My personal view on the garudhamma. For over 2,000 years, no one in the Theravada Buddhism had doubted the authenticity of the 8 garudhammas that were established by the Buddha. It was only recently that some people having this doubt which later lead to the claim by them that the 8 garudhammas were not authentic based on their doubts and line of thinking, and for motive and purpose only known to them.

I hate to say this, but as far as I know, the 8 garudhammas are heavy rules as the word garu implies. I find them authentic, as besides being mentioned in the Vinaya, it also appears as one of the stories in The Dhammapada where all the stories go according to chapters and verses in sequence which make it impossible for one to omit or edit. Another place where the 8 garudhammas were mentioned are in the Sacred Text (pls. check and do correct me).

Anyway, in my personal opinion, I don't think anyone has the right and power to abolish this heavy rules that the Buddha laid down. People can have the choice or opt to either doubt or ignore but not abolish what had been laid down by the Buddha. A Buddha could not have got it wrong. Sorry to say this, but I find that those who doubt the rules have either no confidence in the Buddha or in the Pali text. *namaste*

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby now realm » Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:38 pm

Greetings,

Would like to deliberate on this sutta which I find it to be possible utterances of the Buddha. In AN8.51, Buddha firmly utters a total of 6 times (3 times to Gotami and 3 times to Ananda) the following:

"Gotami/Ananda, it is not suitable, that women gain the leaving home and becoming homeless in the dispensation declared by the Thus Gone One, do not pursue it." It clearly showed that the Buddha discouraged it and it certainly didn't imply any intention of the Buddha, as I understand it. With this, it clearly shows that the Buddha's conversation with Mara in Parinnibanna sutta was the Buddha's Omniscience on this future occurrence.

The Buddha further gives 4 similes after declaring the 8 strong rules as follows:
1. Ananda, just as families which have more women and few men are attacked by robbers and cheaters in the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last long.

2. Ananda, just as in an accomplished rice field, there falls an illness named white seeds and it does not last long. In the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last.

3. Ananda, just as in an accomplished cane field, there comes an illness named turning red and it does not last long. In the same manner in a dispensation in which there is the going forth for women, the holy life does not last.

4. Ananda, just as a man was to build an embankment as a future protection for a huge reservoir, so that water would not reach over the boundary these 8 strong rules are declared to the bhikkhunis not to be thrown out until life lasts, as future protection.

Based on the translation, as I understand and interpret it, firstly, it refers to the Buddha's good (true) Teaching as follows:
"Ananda, if women did not obtain the going forth from the household as homeless, in the dispensation of the Thus Gone One, the dispensation would have lasted longer a thousand years Ananda, as women have obtained the going forth from the household to become homeless, it will not last long, the good Teaching (I think, in other words the true teaching or true dhamma) will last only 500 years."

As I understand it, the above is another of Buddha's Omniscience of future occurrence. As we know it, historically this is true, counterfeit dhammas appeared after 500 years from Buddha's parinibbana with many other later disciples' teachings in the name of the Buddha's Teaching gradually appeared and Buddha statues were concurrently created with people starting idol-worshiping and other rituals and practices not in accordance to the Buddha's Teaching. Counterfeit dhamma is also mentioned in Saddhamma sutta.

Secondly, Buddha went on to give 3 similes to refer to the holy life does not last long. As I understand it, it refers to the holy life of the bhikkhunis. As I understand it, it is another of Buddha's Omniscience. As we know it, historically the original Bhikkhunis lineage has died out, probably due to the 3 causes per the above 3 similes given by the Buddha.

Thirdly, Buddha went on to give the 4th simile with the declaration of the 8 strong rules (Garudhammas) for life to the bhikkhunis, as future protection. This one is tricky. As I understand it, the Buddha foresaw the future of what was going to happen which is what is currently happening now. I think, the similes 'huge reservoir' refers to a huge number of bhikkhunis and 'so that the water would not reach over the boundary' could mean overtaking or overpowering. I think, Buddha foresaw that a huge number bhikkhunis would potentially "reach over the boundary", therefore the Buddha declared the 8 strong rules to bhikkhunis, as a future protection. As I understand it, it means to protect the Bhikkhu Sangha from being overpowered by bhikkhunis. As I understand it, this is another of Buddha's Omniscience. Currently, it seems this is what is going on or going to happen?

From this sutta, it affirms that the Garudhammas (8 strong rules) are the Buddha's declaration to bhikkhunis not to be thrown out until life lasts, as a future protection. My conclusion is that the Garudhammas are authentic and they are DECLARATION BY THE BUDDHA TO BHIKKHUNIS, as a future protection from bhikkhunis crossing over the boundary.

I find the above sutta together with the similes explained in detail what had happened to the true teaching and the bhikkhunis lineage and what is happening now, which are exactly what actually happened. Very interesting. Wish there was a 5th simile. The Buddha's Omniscience was spot on. *in awe*

Anyway, that's my understanding of the sutta. Hope make sense. *namaste*

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Anagarika » Fri Dec 26, 2014 5:24 pm

I'm more in Leigh B's camp on this issue. Looking at a number of factors, there is a question as to the authenticity of the eight rules, and the later development of these discriminatory rules would not be surprising given the possible mysogyny of later transcribers of these texts, and the cultural backdrop of Brahmanic India. So much of the Buddha's teachings that the scholarship yields as Buddhavacana does not bear the marks of mysogyny..I feel that if the Buddha truly had a hard bias against women, we would see these distinctions throughout the early texts. The Buddha seems to take care to not be attentive to distinctions of gender, and certainly other suttas point to the rounds of rebirth as being gender neutral. In other words, in the eyes of the Buddha, distinctions of man and woman were not relevant to his core teachings. Why would he be so wise, so prescient on gender neutrality in his teachings, and yet at a another time have gender as an important factor in the making of rules? To be absolutely neutral on gender in the core teachings, and later to be biased and gender focused, seems illogical to me. If the Buddha was anything, he was logical and consistent.

As for 2015, I feel strongly that to the extent that sanghas place women in subordinate positions, or seek to impose these eight rules, or fashion new ordination platforms like the siladharas, these sanghas perpetuate harm, and relegate Buddhism to a weakened and less just and compassionate state that the Buddha certainly would not have intended or countenanced.

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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby now realm » Wed Dec 31, 2014 7:05 am

Hi Anagarika,

Your above views are noted. I'm not sure what early texts you were referring to, but I find that genders are distinctively mentioned and recognized in the Pali Canon texts or scriptures, for instance, bhikkhu/bhikkhuni, upasaka/upasika, savaka/savika, purisa/itthi, samanera/samaneri, deva/dewi.

It is interesting to note that Mara and Buddha are both male, there's no female Mara or Buddha, as far as I know, including the King of gods i.e. King Sakka in Tavatimsa heaven, the Brahma world i.e. Brahma Sahampati, the 4 Great Kings and other gods in the heavenly realms, are male. It looks like it is what it is in accordance with the facts of reality.

If not mistaken, gender equality means, to fight for equal rights and equal power in the world and in the Holy Order, as one side of the gender feels deprived and intimidated and therefore is unhappy and dissatisfied with one's gender, position, status, circumstances and imperfection, as I perceive it.

In Sigalovada sutta, the Buddha was very practical, pragmatic, systematic and realistic. He gave respective duties, responsibilities and authorities to each gender and each hierarchy for worldly harmony and happiness not only to the household but to the Rulers as well. In household setting, He gave female gender full authority in handling household matters and the King full authority over his subject. Similarly, in the Buddha's Sangha, it seems the Buddha gave male gender full authority in the Holy Order or Sasana, as far as the original Buddha Sangha or Sasana and the Theravada (Elders) hierarchy or tradition are concerned, as I understand it.

By nature, female are all born natural mothers with motherly instinct. In Mahapajapati's case, she was the foster mother who fed milk, showed the world when small and breast fed the Blessed One. It could be out of gratitude that the Blessed One admitted her into the Order, besides her enlightenment potential capability.

Therefore, I find that the 1st rule of the 8 Garudhammas makes sense, based on the fact that all men were fed and raised by women as their mothers. What would happen if the Holy Order was without the 8 Garudhammas and instead goes by Seniority regardless of genders? I believe, those Senior females would behave like mothers or grandmothers to those Junior males, or the Junior males would look upon to them as mothers. Besides, since all men were fed and raised by mothers, the men would naturally tend to behave subordinate to females and eventually be dominated by the females. Therefore, in the Garudhammas, Buddha emphasized on gender distinction instead of seniority as Buddha knew the true nature of each gender and all genders.

Anyway, that's my argument and understanding on genders. You need not agree with me, so please take only that are agreeable to you. Btw, happy blessed 2015 *namaste*

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Anagarika
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby Anagarika » Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:14 pm

Dear Now Realm:

Thank you for your thoughtful reply and I wish you a happy, safe, and healthy 2015.

At the end of the day, my view is just that; a view. I look at teachers like Ayya Khema and appreciate that nuns like her, and those great Bhikkhunis that have come after her, deserve the same place at the table as do the Bhikkhus of equal stature and training, at least as we enter the year 2015. In my vocation, I have practiced law, and one aspect of law practice is the ability to convincingly argue any issue from both sides. Certainly, there are arguments that can be made to subordinate women in the Theravada Sangha. But, echoing what Bhikkhu Bodhi once said on the issue of Bhikkhuni ordinations, when we have a conflict of authority and arguments, it can be best to err on the side of the most compassionate application of the rules.

Besides, if I behave myself really well in this life, I may find myself reborn as a female, and I'd really like to think that I'd have the same ordination opportunities in the Theravada Sangha then, as I do now in this life. :)

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now realm
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Re: Authenticity of the 8 garudhammas

Postby now realm » Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:44 am

Hi again,

Firstly, to avoid any misunderstanding, I wish to clarify here that all my comments on this site were my personal views based on my lay interpretation/understanding to the best of my lay knowledge of those topics according to the scriptures and texts of the Pali Canon, and no way was I in the position or authority to speak for and on behalf of the Theravada tradition.

Secondly, I personally have no objection to bhikkhunis ordinations in the Theravada tradition if there's legitimate ground. So far, in Asia and around the world, I've not head of anyone objecting to bhikkhunis ordination in the Mahayana tradition as their bhikkhuni lineage had not gone extinct.

From my point of view, the issue is not about gender or any discrimination against female gender but it's fundamentally about the difficulty in reviving the Theravada bhikkhunis lineage that is said to have gone extinct in the Theravada tradition. On top of that, the current bhikkhunis are also demanding for gender equality in the Buddha Sangha which is another set of problem, and accusing the 8 Garudhammas as discrimination against female with some claiming them as not authentic or the words of the Buddha. It's a conflict that is not easy to resolve when some others think that the 8 Garudhammas were authentic and the revival of Theravada bhikkhunis lineage is not proper or legitimate by using the Dharmaguptaka bhikkhunis for the dual.ordination. This is the problem and is obviously not about gender discrimination but there are those that use gender equality as the basis for bhikkhuni ordination in the Theravada tradition.

I concluded earlier the authenticity of the 8 Garudhammas based on the fact that they were the Omniscience of the Buddha as they indeed corresponded to what actually occurred in the history of Buddhism and based on the fact that the Garudhammas were declared to bhikkhunis during Buddha's time and were put into writings after the Buddha's parinibbana, prior to the actual occurrences.

I personally believe there is a distinction between male and female in many aspects. Males are masculine gender and females are feminine gender and they are true as male and female have different hormones which make male have more muscles than females. As the 6th sense is one of the six organs therefore for males there is more muscles, as can be proven. So far, we have seen males using their mind power or mind muscle to move physical objects e.g pulling a truck with their teeth alone, lifting a vehicle with their hands etc etc using perhaps their mind power and physical power that obviously proved males have more muscles than females. So far, I've not seen such stunts in females. I may be wrong, but it goes to show males have more muscles not only in the physical body but in their mental organ too. It also cannot be denied that men are emotionally more stable than females.This can be observed and experienced in ourselves and others, not merely a belief or any mental concept. Sorry for the off topic.

Perhaps, in your early text tradition or school of thought, there's no issue on bhikkhunis ordination. I can't comment on this as I'm not familiar with the early text. I'm only familiar with the 5 Nikayas of the Pali Canon. Anyway, if it's legitimate to ordain bhikkhunis in your early text tradition according to the early text, I share the joy of bhikkhunis ordination with you. Anumodana. SADHU *anjali*


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