Can paccekabuddhas be female?

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Can paccekabuddhas be female?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:01 am

I asked this question before in another thread, but it got overrun by whether or not women could become Sammasambuddhas and other personal quips about my gender, which wasn't the purpose of my question. My question, to clear ANY ambiguity and perceptions before this discussion begins is can Paccekabuddhas can be female?
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir
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Re: Can paccekabuddhas be female?

Postby Ben » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:14 am

Greetings Wizard

I have not seen any reference in the canonical literature or the commentaries that suggests a paccekabuddha - or any paccekabuddha in the past was - or will be - a female. Its hardly the definitive answer you are seeking. But the answer you are seeking may require substantial research.
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Re: Can paccekabuddhas be female?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:33 am

There's hardly any mention of Paccekabuddhas anywhere, and because the few I have heard about have all been men, I am not sure if only men can become a Paccekabuddha or not. I remember a few stories like the Isigili Sutta and the one where all 500 sons of a man whose name I forgot were all Paccekabuddhas, and the almsmen who met Ayya Uppalavanna also were Paccekabuddhas, but I don't know all that much about Paccekabuddhas. I'm curious to know more.
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Re: Can paccekabuddhas be female?

Postby Hanzze » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:43 am

Maybe that is useful

In Rajagaha, the capital of the kingdom of Magadha, lived a girl of good family named Bhadda. Her parents protected her very carefully, because she had a passionate nature and they were afraid that she would be hurt due to her attraction to men. One day from her window Bhadda saw how a thief was being led to the place of execution. He was the son of a Brahman (priest-caste) but had a strong tendency towards stealing.

She fell in love with him at first sight. She convinced her father that she could not live without him, and so he bribed the guards who let the condemned man escape.

Soon after the wedding the bridegroom became obsessed with the desire to get his wife's jewelry. He told her he had made a vow that he would make an offering to a certain mountain deity if he could escape execution. Through this ruse he managed to get Bhadda away from his home. He wanted to throw her down from a high cliff to gain possession of her valuable ornaments. When they came to the cliff, he brusquely told her about his intention. Bhadda, in her distress, likewise resolved to a ruse that enabled her to give him a push so that it was he who fell to his death.

Burdened by the enormity of her deed, she did not want to return to lay life. Sensual pleasures and possessions were no longer tempting for her. She became a wandering ascetic. First she entered the order of Jains and as a special penance, her hair was torn out by the roots, when she ordained. But it grew again and was very curly. Therefore she was called "Curly-hair" (Kundalakesa).

The teaching of the Jain sect did not satisfy her, so she became a solitary wanderer. For fifty years she traveled through India and visited many spiritual teachers, thereby obtaining an excellent knowledge of religious scriptures and philosophies. She became one of the most famous debaters. When she entered a town, she would make a sand-pile and stick a rose-apple branch into it and would announce that whoever would engage in discussion with her should trample upon the sand-pile....

Buddhist Women at the Time of The Buddha
Just that! *smile*
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BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Can paccekabuddhas be female?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:53 am

Oh, I haven't remembered of Ayya Bhadda Kundalakesa, thanks for that. However she is also an Arahant, but I have no idea and there's nothing mentioned of her being a Paccekabuddha. :?:
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Re: Can paccekabuddhas be female?

Postby nathan » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:05 am

My reply would be that this is properly understood as a somewhat needless and irrelevant question, not that many the same aren't asked by many people before they have become more extensively familiar with the Buddhas teachings and the kinds of questions he would or would not address. In this specific case this is none of our concern because there are no Paccekkabuddhas of any variety while the Noble Path teachings of a known and declared Buddha endure. Whenever they may arise and become self realized whatever varieties there are of them will be the varieties that there are; in that event it doesn't really matter if they are male or female or rainbow sprinkle frosting flavored they will be born having long practiced over many lifetimes to be what they more significantly will become, tathagatas. Gender will largely be irrelevant as these people will clearly be chaste and renunciate recluses. Personally the gender of all arahants anywhere, in any time are irrelevant to me, it would not change my confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha in the slightest if every Buddha was a female. In the case of Noble human and divine beings who have not reached the summit of the path and are reborn the impression from the Theravada texts and literature in general is that these are more frequently typically male but these limited portrayals are not necessarily a representative sampling of all places and times and in many of the more pure and pleasant realms beings are more widely considered relatively genderless. If there is a way to rightly knowing and understanding if gender is of any significant consequence it would be by working towards the fruition of one of the paths regardless of whatever gender one is or may yet become. More important is that these beings typically sustain and develop noble and purified qualities which further minimize the significance of gender within the sphere of their remaining concerns. If I don't care about the gender, age or family history of any arahant why should they, why should anyone?

:anjali:
Last edited by nathan on Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Can paccekabuddhas be female?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:11 am

If I recall correctly, the passage referring to Samma-sam-buddhas being male, did not mention paccekabuddhas being only male.

And according to:

"The bahudhatuka-sutta and its parallels on women's inabilities" the Pali discourses do not exclude the possibility of a female paccekhabuddha. But apparently (somewhat ironically), the Mahayana sutras do:

While the Madhyama-agama parallel to the Bahudhatuka-sutta of the Majjhima-nikaya does not take up the theme of what is impossible for women at all, the other versions of this discourse present the various inabilities of women as a single impossibility, as two or as five impossibilities (see figure 5). As regards content, a difference is that according to some versions a woman cannot be one of the four heavenly kings, while others instead indicate that she cannot be Mara. Another and rather significant difference is that, except for the Pali version, the other versions also indicate that a woman cannot be a Paccekabuddha.


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