Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

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Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:59 am

It just crossed my mind.

In case we agree, that men in general, -with the exception of those Buddhist males who read this, of course,- tend to be more aggressive, tend to become physically violent more often , abusive, are more forceful, and women tend to be softer, more actively compassionate than men, then isn't a lot of spiritual cultivation about developing a bit more of the 'female' side in ourselves, the softer and more sensitive side?

Are the men who practice Buddhism and so cultivate themselves, basically rediscovering their female aspects and begin to live them out, whilst others deny them, belittle them or are ashamed of sensitivity, caring, being gentle, being kind and compassionate?

Apropos, "gentle".

What is a perfect gentleman?

A Buddhist?

:anjali:

PS; I am aware of the sutta where 'form' is the issue and that you're stuck when you begin to classify...
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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:27 pm

If we are going to go with such stereotypes (which I don't necessary agree with, but know are popular), then one could also do the terribly over-generalized line of how women need to bring out some particular qualities which are often associated with the male of the species.

In short, I think it misses the point. Both males and females have good qualities and need to bring these out, and both also have negative qualities, which need to be overcome.

Conze does have an interesting comment on what you say though, but I'm not going to quote it for you right now! Somewhere in his article "Hate, Love and Perfect Wisdom", pg. 188 in Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies, 1967.
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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Dan74 » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:47 pm

This sounds like the classical Jungian project which has found its way into popular culture. The man reconnect with their Anima and women with the Animus. Jung's formulation (being the first) was pretty simplistic.

In any case I guess in meditation things come up and in facing them we become more balanced and well-rounded as individuals.

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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby chownah » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:18 pm

Men in general wear pants more and women tend to wear skirts more so does this mean that women who wear pants are getting in touch with their masculine sides and the men in Burma who wear skirts are getting in touch with their feminine sides?

Men in general have more facial hair while women generally have a higher percentage of body fat....does this mean that women with facial hair are more in touch with their masculine side and fat men are more in touch with their femine side?

Men in general have A and women in general have B so does this mean that if women have A etc. and if men have B etc.?

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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:22 pm

Dhamma Training isn't about balancing the sexes, both have the same desirable and undesirable qualities which need to be uprooted.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:32 pm

Paññāsikhara wrote:If we are going to go with such stereotypes (which I don't necessary agree with, but know are popular), then one could also do the terribly over-generalized line of how women need to bring out some particular qualities which are often associated with the male of the species.

In short, I think it misses the point. Both males and females have good qualities and need to bring these out, and both also have negative qualities, which need to be overcome.

Conze does have an interesting comment on what you say though, but I'm not going to quote it for you right now! Somewhere in his article "Hate, Love and Perfect Wisdom", pg. 188 in Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies, 1967.


Panna, for me those are not stereotypes, but observations of the majority.

Both males and females have good qualities and need to bring these out, and both also have negative qualities, which need to be overcome.


Ah...lets get away from good and bad, that is not the point.


Conze does have an interesting comment on what you say though, but I'm not going to quote it for you right now!


Why not? :shock:

Somewhere in his article "Hate, Love and Perfect Wisdom", pg. 188 in Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies, 1967.


Aha. :buddha1:
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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:34 pm

chownah wrote:Men in general wear pants more and women tend to wear skirts more so does this mean that women who wear pants are getting in touch with their masculine sides and the men in Burma who wear skirts are getting in touch with their feminine sides?

Men in general have more facial hair while women generally have a higher percentage of body fat....does this mean that women with facial hair are more in touch with their masculine side and fat men are more in touch with their femine side?

Men in general have A and women in general have B so does this mean that if women have A etc. and if men have B etc.?

chownah


Thanks for making fun of the topic.
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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:11 pm

These are all stereotypes of course and there are plenty of exceptions (that prove the rule :tongue: ) , but still an interesting topic.

Women are often associated with compassion, nurturing, mothering, and loving-kindness; two of the brahma viharas: metta and karuna.

Men are often associated with being more stoic, not showing their emotions, not crying, etc; two of the brahma viharas: upekkha and mudita.

So maybe, men are becoming more feminine, but women are also becoming more masculine, with the practice. Or maybe we are all becoming neuter. :tongue:
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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Monkey Mind » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:20 pm

Ajahn Vayama reminded us in a podcast that we have all been men and we have all been women in countless previous lives. It is not so much that we are "male" or "female" in this life, but we have the capacity, and the history/ kammic energy for both.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:38 am

Annabel,

Not more feminine, but definitely more peaceful Speaking for myself, I am much less inclined to anger, much less prone to planning for conflict, and quite possibly, much less ready to deal with conflict should it arise. My wife has noticed the change in me over these past months and, on rare occasion, she says "Don't forget how to be a Marine." (I was in the Marine Corps in my youth and it made a powerful and lasting impression on me.)

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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:10 am

Dan74 wrote:This sounds like the classical Jungian project which has found its way into popular culture. The man reconnect with their Anima and women with the Animus. Jung's formulation (being the first) was pretty simplistic.

In any case I guess in meditation things come up and in facing them we become more balanced and well-rounded as individuals.

_/|\_


Haha! Sounds like you read the Conze article I referred to above!

II. My second observation concerns the feminity of the Prajnaparamita. Feminine by th grammatical form of her name, she is explicitly called a "mother" in the sutras themselves, and, on statues and images, the femininity of her form is rarely in doubt. To be psychologically sound, a religion should take heed of the feminine principle in our psyche, which has at least three functions to fulfil: First of all, as a representation of the mother, it helps to dissolve hindering residues of infantile conflict. J. Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) has dealt superbly with this aspect of the problem, and I must refer my readers to his book. Secondly, incorporation of the feminine force deals with sexual incompleteness in that it completes the male by bringing his own femininity to the fore. Finally, this approach deals with sexual insufficiency in that, on a spiritual level, it satisfies the perpetual hankering after union with the sexual opposite.

Individuals, while generally male or female, are composed of a mixture of masculine and feminine elements, dispositions and attitudes. Both men and women can be more or less "masculine" or "feminine". Persons are incomplete if they try to exclude either. They must aim at a balance between the two. In the words of a psychologist*:

"Either principle pursued exclusively leads to death. Whoever unites them in himself has the best chance of life. This is the ultimate meaning of 'the spiritual marriage'. In this sense God is both Father and Mother, and is therefore androgynous. Love-with-Law and Law-without-Love are both false positions. The true position is Love-creating-Law and Law-revealing-Love. The monistic principle is primary, but insufficient to itself."

Where meditation is carried on by men, they most complete themselves by fostering the feminine element in their personality. They must practise passivity and loose softness. They must learn to open freely the gates of nature, and to let the mysterious and hidden forces of this world penetrate into them, stream in and through them. When they identify themselves with the Perfection of Wisdom, they merge with the principle of Femininity (Jung's anima), without which they would be mutilated men. Like a woman the Perfection of Wisdom deserves to be courted and wooed. Meditation on her as a Goddess has the purpose of getting inside her, identifying oneself with her, becoming her, as a man wishes to merge his body with that of a woman.

* H D Jennings-White, Guide to Mental Health, 1939, p. 258.

Conze, E "Hate, Love and Perfect Wisdom", in Thirty Years of Buddhist Studies, pg. 188, 1967.


And, as Dan says, there would be a complementary side for the animus in women, too.
Interesting to note, that though Conze says all this, he was known as having an almighty virulent evil temper, too. Maybe he was writing it as a memo to himself. :P
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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby catmoon » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:14 am

Annabel wrote:It just crossed my mind.

In case we agree, that men in general, -with the exception of those Buddhist males who read this, of course,- tend to be more aggressive, tend to become physically violent more often , abusive, are more forceful, and women tend to be softer, more actively compassionate than men, then isn't a lot of spiritual cultivation about developing a bit more of the 'female' side in ourselves, the softer and more sensitive side?




This looks to me like an attempt to buttress the idea that females are superior and "own" spirituality. Very unhealthy.


One might just as easily say that that Buddhism leads to the development of virtues such as strength, courage and perserverance, therefore spiritual progress must mean becoming masculine.
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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:54 am

catmoon wrote:
Annabel wrote:... men in general ... tend to be more aggressive, tend to become physically violent more often , abusive, are more forceful, and women tend to be softer, more actively compassionate than men, then isn't a lot of spiritual cultivation about developing a bit more of the 'female' side in ourselves, the softer and more sensitive side?

... One might just as easily say that that Buddhism leads to the development of virtues such as strength, courage and perserverance, therefore spiritual progress must mean becoming masculine.

One could certainly say both of those things - and then throw them away, because it's better and simpler to say that spiritual progress is a matter of redressing our imbalances and shortcomings. Identifying each problem area as 'masculine' or 'feminine' is not very useful, IMO, because it subtly reinforces stereotypical behaviour and expectations.
:juggling:

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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby cooran » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:44 am

Good post Kim. :smile:

Why concentrate on masculine or feminine?

What difference does being a woman make
When the mind is well-composed,
When knowledge is proceeding on,
When one rightly sees into Dhamma?
Indeed for whom the question arises:
"Am I a man or a woman?"
Or, "Am I even something at all?"
To them alone is Mara fit to talk!
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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Dan74 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:57 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Dan74 wrote:This sounds like the classical Jungian project which has found its way into popular culture. The man reconnect with their Anima and women with the Animus. Jung's formulation (being the first) was pretty simplistic.

In any case I guess in meditation things come up and in facing them we become more balanced and well-rounded as individuals.

_/|\_


Haha! Sounds like you read the Conze article I referred to above!


No I haven't read it yet. But I have heard that Conze was pretty keen on Jung's ideas.

I found his writings in e-format sometime ago. If anyone needs - lots are very hard to find in book form - just ask.

_/|\_
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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Dec 31, 2009 5:02 am

Dan74 wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:
Dan74 wrote:This sounds like the classical Jungian project which has found its way into popular culture. The man reconnect with their Anima and women with the Animus. Jung's formulation (being the first) was pretty simplistic.

In any case I guess in meditation things come up and in facing them we become more balanced and well-rounded as individuals.

_/|\_


Haha! Sounds like you read the Conze article I referred to above!


No I haven't read it yet. But I have heard that Conze was pretty keen on Jung's ideas.

I found his writings in e-format sometime ago. If anyone needs - lots are very hard to find in book form - just ask.

_/|\_


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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Annapurna » Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:13 am

David N. Snyder wrote:These are all stereotypes of course and there are plenty of exceptions (that prove the rule :tongue: ) , but still an interesting topic.

Women are often associated with compassion, nurturing, mothering, and loving-kindness; two of the brahma viharas: metta and karuna.

Men are often associated with being more stoic, not showing their emotions, not crying, etc; two of the brahma viharas: upekkha and mudita.

So maybe, men are becoming more feminine, but women are also becoming more masculine, with the practice. Or maybe we are all becoming neuter. :tongue:


Ha ha ha....you crack me up, David! :lol:

Androgyn?

I like what you said. Makes sense.

Even though I think that crying isn't a weakness. It's a deficit if one can't cry.

The Dalai Lama has cried after a nun explained to him about how she felt about some particular discrimination as she perceived it.

And I don't consider the Dalai Lama as a wuss, but as a very strong man, with both masculine and feminine "virtues" in balance.
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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Annapurna » Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:17 am

Monkey Mind wrote:Ajahn Vayama reminded us in a podcast that we have all been men and we have all been women in countless previous lives. It is not so much that we are "male" or "female" in this life, but we have the capacity, and the history/ kammic energy for both.


Hi MM, I had mentioned something similar in my OP, as it is agreed, of course.

PS; I am aware of the sutta where 'form' is the issue and that you're stuck when you begin to classify...


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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:25 am

Greetings,

Chris wrote:Why concentrate on masculine or feminine?


Spot on.

Cultivating the wholesome (generosity, loving-kindness, wisdom) at the expense of the unwholesome (greed, aversion, delusion) would be far more profitable.

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Re: Does Buddhism mean we "become" more 'feminine'?

Postby Annapurna » Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:33 am

AdvaitaJ wrote:Annabel,

Not more feminine, but definitely more peaceful Speaking for myself, I am much less inclined to anger, much less prone to planning for conflict, and quite possibly, much less ready to deal with conflict should it arise. My wife has noticed the change in me over these past months and, on rare occasion, she says "Don't forget how to be a Marine." (I was in the Marine Corps in my youth and it made a powerful and lasting impression on me.)

Regards: AdvaitaJ


Thank you Advaita. I agree with you, it does make people more peaceful.

I was confronted with a person yesterday, who was provoking me, and obviously seeking an argument but she left smiling and satisfied.

I used right speech, and maneuvered her out. Buddhism surely helps pacifying people.

Peacefulness....

I think, since you speak of the Marine, the attempted terror attack in Detroit may have subconsciously influenced me, also a conversation with a Muslim friend who thinks Buddhism is for "children", all soft and nice and sweet, while in Islam you have "real men" who "know how to handle a sword and kill with it, if necessary....

And then look at what Islam holds ready for women...extremes, I think.

So, that said, if you look at those roles for the sexes, man is supposed to be a warrior, an authorititative father and family man, and women are supposed to sweet and receptive and obey and smooth over ruffled feathers.

Those are very specific roles still very much in the minds and cultures in many European nations, don't forget that, guys.

America for instance has a lot more aggressive women, as I can often see, and due to my upbringing, I am often appalled by what I find respectless to a man.

Sorry, is so.
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