Should Wives Be Obedient?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby wormhole » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:08 pm

Like Buddha said several times, should we still uphold things like this:

http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_n ... gaha_s.htm
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby SamKR » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:13 pm

I would say yes, unless the husband is dussilo (immoral). Nothing wrong there.
But a husband should also be obedient to a wife who is not dussilo.
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:34 pm

SamKR wrote:I would say yes, unless the husband is dussilo (immoral). Nothing wrong there.
Well, the wife should be a full equal in the relationship. Her job is not to be a servant to the husband.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby SamKR » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:45 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Well, the wife should be a full equal in the relationship.

From the social perspective, yes. Personally, I am for full equality. The husband should also be obedient.
But from the prespective of the individual wife's Dhamma practice, equality is not necessary. And, I assume that the Buddha is more concerned with the Dhamma practice aspect than with social.
Her job is not to be a servant to the husband.

Of course.
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby wormhole » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:46 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote:I would say yes, unless the husband is dussilo (immoral). Nothing wrong there.
Well, the wife should be a full equal in the relationship. Her job is not to be a servant to the husband.


But in "The Seven Types of Wives" it is taught that being a slave for your husband is one of the four good types of wives.
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby SamKR » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:53 pm

wormhole wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote:I would say yes, unless the husband is dussilo (immoral). Nothing wrong there.
Well, the wife should be a full equal in the relationship. Her job is not to be a servant to the husband.


But in "The Seven Types of Wives" it is taught that being a slave for your husband is one of the four good types of wives.


Again, here from the perspective of individual wife's Dhamma practice (development of mind for good destination and liberation) having the qualities as in a "slave-wife" is actually beneficial. I don't think that the Buddha suggests anywhere to be a slave, though. That is just a label for a type of behavior. He is just stating there are these types of wives and being such may lead to such result.
No doubt, treating a wife in any bad way will lead the husband to a bad destination.
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby wormhole » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:01 pm

I understand the qualities and duties a husband is to have, and all of those prevent any abuse or mistreatment, but still the Buddha taught that being a wife who was like a slave led to a path of happiness. Of course, the other three types lead to happiness as well (mother, sister, or friend). But besides the whole serve aspect, Buddha taught elsewhere it was good for wives to be obedient.
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:05 pm

SamKR wrote: And, I assume that the Buddha is more concerned with the Dhamma practice aspect than with social.
The Buddha's injunctions, while probably better than what one might find in general in the time and place he was, these injunctions reflect a time and place. Things have changed since then.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby SarathW » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:13 pm

Please consider this as well:
From Sigalovada Sutta
======================
In five ways, young householder, should a wife as the West be ministered to by a husband:

(i) by being courteous to her,
(ii) by not despising her,
(iii) by being faithful to her,
(iv) by handing over authority to her,
(v) by providing her with adornments.


"The wife thus ministered to as the West by her husband shows her compassion to her husband in five ways:

(i) she performs her duties well,
(ii) she is hospitable to relations and attendants[10]
(iii) she is faithful,
(iv) she protects what he brings,
(v) she is skilled and industrious in discharging her duties.


"In these five ways does the wife show her compassion to her husband who ministers to her as the West. Thus is the West covered by him and made safe and secure.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby SamKR » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:15 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote: And, I assume that the Buddha is more concerned with the Dhamma practice aspect than with social.
The Buddha's injunctions, while probably better than what one might find in general in the time and place he was, these injunctions reflect a time and place. Things have changed since then.

Of course, society and culture at a specific time and place is an important factor, and things have changed a lot in 2500 years. But time and place is not more important than the Dhamma message hidden in what the Buddha said about being an obedient wife. The message is related to Dhamma (path to Nibbana) which is quite counter-intuitive to the view of the world.

One is the quest for worldly gain, and quite another is the path to Nibbana.

Here, worldly gain = social equality, which is not bad in itself but it is not the main purpose. The main purpose is to develop the mind to realize nibbana.
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby wormhole » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:16 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote: And, I assume that the Buddha is more concerned with the Dhamma practice aspect than with social.
The Buddha's injunctions, while probably better than what one might find in general in the time and place he was, these injunctions reflect a time and place. Things have changed since then.


But what happens when we start dismissing the Buddha's teachings in general because "things of changed"?
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby Anagarika » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:17 pm

Is this Sutta pure Buddhavacana? Does it reflect the culture of the times? I think of the anecdote of the Buddha needing to be persuaded to ordain women into the Sangha...his mother-in-law pushed for this and he relented. To me, these suttas depict a very human and very authentic Buddha. He was enlightened, free of the fetters of samsara, but yet he was a man living in a given culture. Even if his true words were an expression of mutuality of the bonds and duties between husband and wife, it may also be true that the monks of the 1st council might have remembered these suttas in a way that reflected their own biases or cultures. We see these teachings through the lenses of our modern culture, and it was the Buddha who advised before his passing that the monks were free to discard lesser Vinaya rules...again a very human sense that what worked while he was alive might not be workable in the future under different circumstances...now, that's wisdom.
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby SamKR » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:28 pm

wormhole wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote: And, I assume that the Buddha is more concerned with the Dhamma practice aspect than with social.
The Buddha's injunctions, while probably better than what one might find in general in the time and place he was, these injunctions reflect a time and place. Things have changed since then.


But what happens when we start dismissing the Buddha's teachings in general because "things of changed"?

Good question.

BuddhaSoup wrote:Even if his true words were an expression of mutuality of the bonds and duties between husband and wife, it may also be true that the monks of the 1st council might have remembered these suttas in a way that reflected their own biases or cultures.

This is quite possible, but again the above question of wormhole remains to be answered.

Even if it is a later distortion, being obedient and nice to others is not bad at all from the perspective of Dhamma. Of course, "being an obedient wife" sounds bad to our "modern" perspective. We may be inclined to try to adjust Dhamma into our modern perspectives rather than adjust our perspectives to that of Dhamma. But let me repeat the Buddha's words:
One is the quest for worldly gain, and quite another is the path to Nibbana.
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:49 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote: And, I assume that the Buddha is more concerned with the Dhamma practice aspect than with social.
The Buddha's injunctions, while probably better than what one might find in general in the time and place he was, these injunctions reflect a time and place. Things have changed since then.


I agree. I think if the Buddha was around today and a teacher in the West, his social teachings would reflect what is harmonious for relationships in our time and place.

I think men and women are not the same. There are a lot of differences beyond the physical when it comes to the genders, however that doesn't mean to say that one is better than the other. I see a good relationship like yin and yang, different - But complimentary. As a gender traditionalist I have sought out dynamics where I am the leader and the provider in my relationships, and thus far that dynamic has worked out just fine. I would never seek to impose that dynamic on someone who wasn't interested though. I just think that from what I've seen, most women I've met tend to enjoy being led by the man, and if they're challenging him it's usually because they want him to be a better leader. There are always exceptions though, and woe onto me if I were ever to suggest that diversity in this area should not be accepted.

with metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:55 pm

wormhole wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote: And, I assume that the Buddha is more concerned with the Dhamma practice aspect than with social.
The Buddha's injunctions, while probably better than what one might find in general in the time and place he was, these injunctions reflect a time and place. Things have changed since then.


But what happens when we start dismissing the Buddha's teachings in general because "things of changed"?
That is the response of the fundamentalist, literalist Christians to not taking the Bible as being true in every word that is written in the Bible.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby wormhole » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:07 am

tiltbillings wrote:That is response of the fundamentalist, literalist Christian to not taking the Bible as being true in every word that is written in the Bible.


Any Christians who don't take all words of the Bible as true are contradicting their own religion. They believe an omniscient supreme deity inspired their word, meaning every word should be correct.
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby Justsit » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:12 am

Well, there is a prohibition in the Biblical Old Testament against touching pigskin on Sunday. I don't know of any Christian denomination that has a problem with football on Sunday.
Really, some common sense is key. Just IMO, obviously.
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:14 am

Look. There are rules in the Vinaya for example that the Buddha formulated that clearly do not apply in today's world - There are rules specific for India such as needing x number of monks within the Ganges Valley and only 5 outside of it, when these days, it would be much much harder to find 10 monks inside the Ganges Valley than it would be in another country such as Sri Lanka for example.

The same is true of some of the social things the Buddha discussed, they clearly have no impact upon the Dhamma as a doctrine, so to say that if we start to question them - where does the buck stop? That's what we call a 'slippery slope fallacy'. If we were talking about an actual doctrinal point of the Dhamma, I would feel differently, but we're just talking about some advice the Buddha gave to a householder on how to make his family harmonious. Clearly that is something that is relevant to the culture and the time in which it was spoken, but culture and time changes.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby wormhole » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:18 am

Justsit wrote:Well, there is a prohibition in the Biblical Old Testament against touching pigskin on Sunday. I don't know of any Christian denomination that has a problem with football on Sunday.
Really, some common sense is key. Just IMO, obviously.


You clearly are unfamiliar with the Bible. Jesus taught that once he resurrected the old law was to be abolished, meaning the Old Testament was no longer law. And besides the point, just because everyone does something doesn't make it any more right (in this Christian situation).
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Re: Should Wives Be Obedient?

Postby wormhole » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:21 am

BlackBird wrote:Look. There are rules in the Vinaya for example that the Buddha formulated that clearly do not apply in today's world - There are rules specific for India such as needing x number of monks within the Ganges Valley and only 5 outside of it, when these days, it would be much much harder to find 10 monks inside the Ganges Valley than it would be in another country such as Sri Lanka for example.

The same is true of some of the social things the Buddha discussed, they clearly have no impact upon the Dhamma as a doctrine, so to say that if we start to question them - where does the buck stop? That's what we call a 'slippery slope fallacy'. If we were talking about an actual doctrinal point of the Dhamma, I would feel differently, but we're just talking about some advice the Buddha gave to a householder on how to make his family harmonious. Clearly that is something that is relevant to the culture and the time in which it was spoken, but culture and time changes.


But in "The Seven Types of Wives" Buddha says that being one of the four good wives leads to happiness in this world and the next. Buddha also said that "...the woman who is obedient to her husband's will is surely pleasing to the gods, wherever she is reborn".
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