Privileged woman, poor man

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Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Annapurna » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:44 am

We all know the sutra where Buddha explains how rare a human rebirth is, and even harder to be reborn as a man. (Can't find it now)

I've been thinking about this, (needless to say ;) )

It raises the question if it is really a "less fortunate" rebirth to be reborn as a privileged, beautiful, rich and intelligent woman, born into favorable surroundings, or an ugly, unintelligent man, born into, let's say, a ghetto. Or the third world.

Or how about the Butler who serves a rich woman?

Or the underprivileged man who goes to the army, goes to war and gets severe wounds which maim and cripple him for the rest of his life?

I can't help it, but I would rather be a woman then. It seems the 'better' incarnation then, where gender is secondary, doesn't it?

Any thoughts?

-Annabel :anjali:
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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:36 am

Annabel wrote:We all know the sutra where Buddha explains how rare a human rebirth is, and even harder to be reborn as a man. (Can't find it now)

I've been thinking about this, (needless to say ;) )

It raises the question if it is really a "less fortunate" rebirth to be reborn as a privileged, beautiful, rich and intelligent woman, born into favorable surroundings, or an ugly, unintelligent man, born into, let's say, a ghetto. Or the third world.

Or how about the Butler who serves a rich woman?

Or the underprivileged man who goes to the army, goes to war and gets severe wounds which maim and cripple him for the rest of his life?

I can't help it, but I would rather be a woman then. It seems the 'better' incarnation then, where gender is secondary, doesn't it?

Any thoughts?

-Annabel :anjali:


Thoughts?

Well, maybe that often the "rarity" of human rebirth, or as you are emphasizing here, "male" human rebirth, is not listed alone. Often, it is part of a list of eight "rare" circumstances. These include having the time, conditions, and environment, etc. to practice the Dharma.

And, the usual "the Buddha is mainly speaking to a male audience in a society which actually did discriminate against women", etc. which we all already know.

I've said before, don't take the notion of "male" rebirth as somehow better than feminine as an ultimate. Much more complex. Obviously, to be reborn as a woman with resources to practice Dharma in a matriarchal society, then that would be superior to being reborn as a crippled slave boy without resources in the same society.

But, even then, wholesome kamma is reflected in more than this. Many who are wealthy and privileged are very attached and not happy, whereas those who are not may be less attached.

Like anything, it pays to neither over simplify the situation, but also to apply general principles to actual examples, rather than just taking general principles as ultimates in the abstract.
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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby cooran » Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:38 am

Hello Anabel,

Annabel said: We all know the sutra where Buddha explains how rare a human rebirth is, and even harder to be reborn as a man. (Can't find it now)

The Buddha said being born into the human state is rare and difficult - I don't recall him saying that being born as a male was even harder. Please back up your statement with a direct link.

SN 56.48 Chiggala Sutta: The Hole
"Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water, and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole there. A wind from the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east. A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would push it north. And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there. It would come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now what do you think: would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?"
"It would be a sheer coincidence, lord, that the blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole."
"It's likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, arises in the world. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world. Now, this human state has been obtained. A Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.
"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:00 am

Chris wrote:Hello Anabel,

Annabel said: We all know the sutra where Buddha explains how rare a human rebirth is, and even harder to be reborn as a man. (Can't find it now)

The Buddha said being born into the human state is rare and difficult - I don't recall him saying that being born as a male was even harder. Please back up your statement with a direct link.

...
metta
Chris


Maybe it is one of the those translations that likes to use "man" for "manussa", as opposed to "human being", or something like that? Nowadays, it seems that the usage of English "man" to refer to "human kind" in a non-gender specific manner, is becoming less and less common.

As the male / female ration is about 50/50, logically the "difficulty" of either is also about the same.
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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Annapurna » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:12 am

Chris wrote:Hello Anabel,

Annabel said: We all know the sutra where Buddha explains how rare a human rebirth is, and even harder to be reborn as a man. (Can't find it now)

The Buddha said being born into the human state is rare and difficult - I don't recall him saying that being born as a male was even harder. Please back up your statement with a direct link.

SN 56.48 Chiggala Sutta: The Hole
"Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water, and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole there. A wind from the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east. A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would push it north. And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there. It would come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now what do you think: would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?"
"It would be a sheer coincidence, lord, that the blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole."
"It's likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, arises in the world. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world. Now, this human state has been obtained. A Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.
"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

metta
Chris


I would love to, but e sangha is down!

I can't retrieve it from my replies, and I can't spend hours searching for it in access to insight.
I 'm surprised you don't know it!

You usually know everything!

In any case it's also got to do with the turtle.

He goes on like this:

It's hard to become a human being, harder still to become a man.

And then breaks it down from level to level, descending.
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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Annapurna » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:14 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Chris wrote:Hello Anabel,

Annabel said: We all know the sutra where Buddha explains how rare a human rebirth is, and even harder to be reborn as a man. (Can't find it now)

The Buddha said being born into the human state is rare and difficult - I don't recall him saying that being born as a male was even harder. Please back up your statement with a direct link.

...
metta
Chris


Maybe it is one of the those translations that likes to use "man" for "manussa", as opposed to "human being", or something like that? Nowadays, it seems that the usage of English "man" to refer to "human kind" in a non-gender specific manner, is becoming less and less common.

As the male / female ration is about 50/50, logically the "difficulty" of either is also about the same.


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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:31 am

Anabel
Try and think of it like this...
The spectrum of sentient life and dukkha is so vast, so huge.
The difference between a man and a woman, is in the words of my teacher, 'mere vibration'.
You have the incomparable good kamma (or fortune) to be born a human at a time nd place where the Buddha's dispensation is still in existence.
Again, in the words of my teacher:
Make best use of this wonderful opportunity!
Kind regards

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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Dhammabodhi » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:29 pm

Hi Anna,

As far as cessation of suffering is concerned, I think neither of the two rebirths in your scenarios is more or less fortunate than the other, what you do with your rebirth is what matters.

One can find plenty of suffering for people living in both scenarios, as well as enlightened beings with those backgrounds (Dipa ma was a woman with a middle class background).

Just my humble opinion.

Metta, :anjali:
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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Annapurna » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:35 pm

Ben wrote:Anabel
Try and think of it like this...
The spectrum of sentient life and dukkha is so vast, so huge.
The difference between a man and a woman, is in the words of my teacher, 'mere vibration'.
You have the incomparable good kamma (or fortune) to be born a human at a time nd place where the Buddha's dispensation is still in existence.
Again, in the words of my teacher:
Make best use of this wonderful opportunity!
Kind regards

Ben


Of course, Ben. Thanks! I agree with your teacher! (And intend to make good use of it, if possible)

For me this is more a logical issue, not one of my personal life.
You know the feeling, when you think:

I know a man who lives a miserable life, and I know a woman, who is his superior in every aspect I can think of.

She is happy, he is not.

You know?

And then it should have been the harder and greater achievement to have become a miserable man instead of a happy woman?

It's not logical. :smile:

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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby pink_trike » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:22 pm

"Female" has traditionally been associated with dependency, receptivity, vulnerability, and passivity...mistaken as weak and "needy" in male-dominated societies - this perceived neediness became associated with craving/desire...thus women became perceived as needy and desiring - craven and dissatisfied...not suitable for spiritual awakening. "Male" has traditionally been associated with assertiveness and independence - freedom...which was believed to be needed in order to be free from craving...so men were perceived as having an inside track to spiritual awakening. Imo, the belief that is found in many old patriarchal cultures that women are inferior to men spiritually has to do with a blurring of the socially-enforced "passivity/need/dependency" that naturally arises when women are subjugated and forced into dependency on men - with "female" . A classic case of mistaking circumstances and projections of the mind for reality.
Last edited by pink_trike on Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:44 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:As the male / female ration is about 50/50, logically the "difficulty" of either is also about the same.

Of couse.

But logically it twice as "difficult" to be born as a man than to be born as a human.
And twice as "difficult" to be born as a woman than to be born as a human.
So where were we? :thinking:

Mike

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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Annapurna » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:20 pm

:shock:

Goodness. I don't have a clue what you're saying and feel ignorant. :broke:

Help....?
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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:50 am

Hi Anna,
Annabel wrote:Goodness. I don't have a clue what you're saying and feel ignorant. :broke:

I'm sure it's my fault...

What I meant was that if there is, say, one chance in a million of being born human then there is one chance in two million of being born as a human male and one chance in two million of being born as a human female. Thus, there is less chance of being born as a male human than of being born as a human.

Mike

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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Annapurna » Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:14 am

Oh. :thinking:

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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby notself » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:34 am

Annabel:

I agree with Chris. I think you may have misread a sutta. Your version that it is rare or more important to be born male would conflict directly with other suttas. Here is one example from the Samyutta Nikaya, Book V:

5. "What does womanhood matter at all
When the mind is concentrated well,
When knowledge flows on steadily
As one sees correctly into Dhamma.
6. One to whom it might occur,
'I'm a woman' or 'I'm a man'
Or 'I'm anything at all' —
Is fit for Mara to address."
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Annapurna » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:49 am

notself wrote:Annabel:

I agree with Chris. I think you may have misread a sutta. Your version that it is rare or more important to be born male would conflict directly with other suttas. Here is one example from the Samyutta Nikaya, Book V:

5. "What does womanhood matter at all
When the mind is concentrated well,
When knowledge flows on steadily
As one sees correctly into Dhamma.
6. One to whom it might occur,
'I'm a woman' or 'I'm a man'
Or 'I'm anything at all' —
Is fit for Mara to address."


Hi, Notself, thanks for the abone, I am aware of it, agree too.

I'm pretty sure though I haven't misread it. I read it more than once to make sure..

It's just not represented by me in such a way that it is identifiable.

Sorry. :thinking:

Your version that it is rare or more important to be born male would conflict directly with other suttas.


That is not what I said. It's not about rare,- genders are born in a relationship of about 50/50%.

It's not about more important. Both genders are equally important to procreate.

It's about that Buddha said, it is hard to be born as a human being and harder still, as a man.

It is hard to #### and harder still to ######

It goes on like this.

It also makes sense, because the Buddha said that a Supreme Buddha can only be a Man.

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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Zom » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:53 am

It also makes sense, because the Buddha said that a Supreme Buddha can only be a Man.


Not only ... :

It is impossible that a woman should be the perfect rightfully Enlightened One.
It is possible that a man should be the perfect rightfully Enlightened One.

It is impossible that a woman should be the Universal Monarch
It is possible that a man should be the Universal Monarch.

It is impossible that a woman should be the King of Gods.
It is possible that a man should be the King of Gods.

It is impossible that a woman should be the King of Death.
It is possible that a man should be the King of Death.

It is impossible that a woman should be Brahmaa.
It is possible that a man should be Brahmaa.

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ma ... tuka-e.htm

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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:41 pm

The quote I am thinking of from the Dhammapada definitely says "manussa" = human being.

The Good Are Rare

Kiccho manussapaṭilābho, kicchaṃ maccāna jīvitaṃ.
Kicchaṃ saddhammassavanaṃ, kiccho buddhānamuppādo. (Dhp v 182)

Rare is birth as a human being.
Hard is the life of mortals.
Hard is the hearing of the Sublime Truth.
Rare is the appearance of the Buddhas.

Kiccha means rare or difficult. A woman's life is more difficult, but no rarer than a man's life.
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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby gavesako » Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:57 pm

Zom wrote:
It also makes sense, because the Buddha said that a Supreme Buddha can only be a Man.


Not only ... :

It is impossible that a woman should be the perfect rightfully Enlightened One.
It is possible that a man should be the perfect rightfully Enlightened One.

It is impossible that a woman should be the Universal Monarch
It is possible that a man should be the Universal Monarch.

It is impossible that a woman should be the King of Gods.
It is possible that a man should be the King of Gods.

It is impossible that a woman should be the King of Death.
It is possible that a man should be the King of Death.

It is impossible that a woman should be Brahmaa.
It is possible that a man should be Brahmaa.

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ma ... tuka-e.htm



Ven. Analayo has just published an article about this Sutta. The paper translates the MA parallel to the Bahudhaatuka-sutta of the MN in an attempt to show the lateness of the stipulation on the inabilities of women found in nearly all versions of the discourse.

See the attached PDF, the bibliographical information would be: "The Bahudhātuka-sutta and its Parallels on Women’s Inabilities", Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 2009, vol. 16 pp. 137-190.


See endnote 53:
Romberg (164) notes that once “the aim was no longer to become an
Arhat, but to become Buddha ... this shift made, in fact, the situation for
women worse, because a doctrinal foundation was laid for the necessity
of changing the sex before being able to become enlightened.” In fact the
Bodhisattvabhūmi explains that a woman will not realize the awakening of
a Buddha because already an advanced bodhisattva has left behind wo-
manhood for good and will not be reborn again as a female.
Harrison (78) concludes that “women ... are gener-
ally represented in such an unfavourable light as to vitiate any notion of
the Mahāyāna as a movement for sexual equality. Compared with the
situation in the Pāli Canon, in which women are at least as capable as
men of attaining the highest goal, arhatship, the position of women in
Mahāyāna has hardly changed for the better.”

endnote 64
Kajiyama (58) concludes that, regarding the listing of inabilities of
women, “it is most likely that the dictum did not exist when the Budd-
hist Order maintained one and the same tradition, but that it was created
after the Order was divided into many schools and was inserted into
sūtras of various schools.” However, the suggestion by Kajiyama (70) that
“the dictum that a woman is incapable of becoming a Buddha arose
probably in the first century B.C.” may be putting things at too late a
time.
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Bahudhatuka.pdf
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Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Privileged woman, poor man

Postby bodom » Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:23 pm

:goodpost: Thank you for posting that Bhante.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah


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