Women can't become Buddhas?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:44 am

Hi Cap,

thecap wrote:Dhammanando: I didn't miss it. It just isn't relevant to the question that Jason was raising.

It is relevant to the topic.


But I was confining myself to answering Jason's question. The answer may not have any bearing on the topic as a whole, for as far as I know the commentators don't link the inferiority of feminine rūpadhammas with the inability of a woman to become a Sammāsambuddha.

Dhammanando: The fact that women's bodies are weaker and more easily injured than those of men lends support to the abhidhammikas' claim that the femininity rūpadhammas are generated by past akusala kamma and masculinity rūpadhammas by past kusala kammas.

Does this mean that being a woman is a punishment for past misdeeds?


No. It means that those material dhammas originated by wholesome kamma will be superior to those originated by unwholesome kamma. When talking abhidhammically one must get into the habit of conceiving matters in impersonal terms.


The fact that women have the canniness to make the best of a bad lot doesn't negate this.

What "bad lot", Bhante?


Possession of a body composed in part of non-optimal rūpadhammas.


A one-legged beggar, by eliciting more sympathy from passers-by, might well make a better living than a two-legged beggar; nonetheless, it remains the case that two-leggedness is the more desirable state.

Women aren't cripples.


I was making an analogy.

Other things being equal, a human is better advantaged by being a biped than a uniped; nonetheless, some human unipeds can turn their less-than-optimal state to good use.

Other things being equal, a human is better advantaged by being a man than a woman; nonetheless, some women can turn their less-than-optimal state to good use. As you put it yourself:

"Women can and do well pretend to be weaker than they are in order to attract mates, for this is what usually pleases the male ego."

In practice, of course, other things are rarely equal. Better, for example, to have the feminine rūpadhammas of a Mahāpajāpati or a Khemā than the male ones of a Devadatta or an Ariṭṭha the vulture-trainer.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:50 am

Hi thecap

Pragmatically, I think it is irrelevant if one is born a man or a woman. So long as one has access to the Dhamma, that is all that matters. The Tipitaka and commentarial literature is replete with examples of female arahants. They have achieved the final goal, when the vast majority of samsaric beings, including all but a tiny fraction of human males, have not.
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tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Element » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:56 am

Typically, when the woman finally denies her love and finds more happiness in churches and temples, men become bitter misogynists badmouthing what they have lost control over.

My mother always had control over her husband. Maybe these women need assertiveness training.

E
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:18 am

Greetings Element,

The link between your comments and the topic at hand is becoming increasingly tenuous.

:focus:

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:28 am

thecap wrote:I don't think it's an unfortunate position to have Dhamma at our fingertips.

Really? You think it's better to a] have the entire body of teachings dropped in your lap with no guidance as to what's beneficial for your personal practice and what's not than to b] have a wise teacher give you just what you need to advance in your practice? I find that hard to believe, but maybe I'm missing something.

Please then be so kind as to answer piotr's question, for my benefit as well. What benefit to your practice is this teaching of "no female Buddha's" providing?
- Peter

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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby thecap » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:47 am

Peter wrote:
thecap wrote:I don't think it's an unfortunate position to have Dhamma at our fingertips.

Really? You think it's better to a] have the entire body of teachings dropped in your lap with no guidance as to what's beneficial for your personal practice and what's not than to b] have a wise teacher give you just what you need to advance in your practice? I find that hard to believe, but maybe I'm missing something.


Thanks for asking this question, I wonder how other people here think about it.

My personal answer is, yes, but I understand if this is not the case for everyone. People who are insecure and lack intuition may need personal guidance. Therefore it seems to be good to have both, the entire teachings and a personal guide. However, not all people have the good fortune to have a personal guide where they live. And I don't see reason in locking the blinkers over one's eyes whenever an unpleasant question arises, do you?

Please then be so kind as to answer piotr's question, for my benefit as well. What benefit to your practice is this teaching of "no female Buddha's" providing?


Firstly, this is a General Theravada discussion forum, not a practise forum ;). Secondly, investigation of Dhamma is the second enlightenment factor, according to the Buddha, so at least, it doesn't hurt practise to ask questions, does it? Thirdly, the particular incidence that prompted the question "Women can't be enlightened [in the same way men can be enlightened]?" was someone I met publicly saying that Buddhism is misogynic. I didn't know how to respond in an adequate way and got interested in investigating this question further by starting a thread. Did that answer your questions?
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:03 am

thecap wrote:Thirdly, the particular incidence that prompted the question "Women can't be enlightened [in the same way men can be enlightened]?" was someone I met publicly saying that Buddhism is misogynic. I didn't know how to respond in an adequate way and got interested in investigating this question further by starting a thread. Did that answer your questions?


Hi thecap

I suggest that the person you met was mistaken. Women can achieve the status of an arahant. And according to the Theravada, an arahant's enlightenment is no different to a Sammasambuddha's enlightenment.

You may be interested in this inspiring publication: Buddhist Women at the Time of The Buddha by Hellmuth Hecker, translated from the German by Sister Khema: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el292.html

As you may know, within the canon is a collection of verses uttered by Ariyan bhikkhunis, known as the Therigatha.
There is nothing second rate about a woman, a female Dhamma practitioner or the enlightenment of a woman.
Metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby thecap » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:11 am

Dhammanando wrote:When talking abhidhammically one must get into the habit of conceiving matters in impersonal terms.
.
Possession of a body composed in part of non-optimal rūpadhammas.
.
In practice, of course, other things are rarely equal. Better, for example, to have the feminine rūpadhammas of a Mahāpajāpati or a Khemā than the male ones of a Devadatta or an Ariṭṭha the vulture-trainer.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


Excellent, Bhante. Thanks for your clarification and patience.
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby cooran » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:37 am

Ben wrote:
thecap wrote:Thirdly, the particular incidence that prompted the question "Women can't be enlightened [in the same way men can be enlightened]?" was someone I met publicly saying that Buddhism is misogynic. I didn't know how to respond in an adequate way and got interested in investigating this question further by starting a thread. Did that answer your questions?


Hi thecap

I suggest that the person you met was mistaken. Women can achieve the status of an arahant. And according to the Theravada, an arahant's enlightenment is no different to a Sammasambuddha's enlightenment.

You may be interested in this inspiring publication: Buddhist Women at the Time of The Buddha by Hellmuth Hecker, translated from the German by Sister Khema: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el292.html

As you may know, within the canon is a collection of verses uttered by Ariyan bhikkhunis, known as the Therigatha.
There is nothing second rate about a woman, a female Dhamma practitioner or the enlightenment of a woman.
Metta

Ben

Hello Ben,

Yes, I agree. If there were 700 thousand million billion trillion female beings and 700 thousand million billion trillion male beings in existence ~ only one of the total beings, who happened to be male in that rebirth, could become a Sammasambuddha if the time was ripe.

All of the other beings have the capacity at some time to become fully enlightened Arahants. There is Nothing in this for beings who are currently in male form to feel superior over. There is Nothing in this for beings who are presently in female form to feel despondent over. It isn't going to happen for all except one male being.
metta
Chris

metta
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:31 am

thecap wrote:Did that answer your questions?

You did not answer either question. :shrug:
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Element » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:53 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Element,

The link between your comments and the topic at hand is becoming increasingly tenuous.

:focus:

Metta,
Retro. :)

Thanks Retro

However, you and others should know by now Element is sexist and often tenuous on these matters.

Element is into 'Man's Liberation'. 8-)

E
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:57 pm

Element wrote:
Typically, when the woman finally denies her love and finds more happiness in churches and temples, men become bitter misogynists badmouthing what they have lost control over.

My mother always had control over her husband. Maybe these women need assertiveness training.

E


Thanks, Element.

Could be.

In many cultures women are discouraged from childhood on to be assertive. Actually, men often feel intimidated by selfconfident women.

"Women can and do well pretend to be weaker than they are in order to attract mates, for this is what usually pleases the male ego."


I have also hidden my true strenght at times, but because I knew the man would feel inferior, and that is not a nice feeling for anybody.

I wouldn't really want to call it "pretend" therefore, but harmlessness, by giving up what causes others to suffer. (Winner/looser) Instead, a *win/win* situation is created, consciously, which I find a tactful and selfless achievement, based on respect for the other one's feelings and compassion. :namaste:
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:13 pm

Possession of a body composed in part of non-optimal rūpadhammas.


Hello, Bhante,

I really have difficulty to see that women have non-optimal rupadhammas.

Perhaps I am confusing this with something else, but:

whilst there is more muscular strength available for men in most body parts,( exception belly muscles network, men get hernias a lot more often than women, ) women are superior in handling pain and often have more endurance than men.

I also find that men are usually much more BURDENED with tanha, craving than women, especially for sex and power.

Women are often much more capable of compassion than men.

So any superiority seems wishful thinking of the needy to me, I'm sorry, and perhaps deluded, but that's how many women feel, while 'men' are in love with their little egotrips. .
Last edited by Annapurna on Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby thecap » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:14 pm

Peter wrote:
thecap wrote:Did that answer your questions?

You did not answer either question. :shrug:


Then read again, dear Peter. I answered as best as seemingly possible, considering that your first question is an unrealistic either-or choice, and your second question is irrelevant to a general discussion forum. :namaste:
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby thecap » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:20 pm

Ben wrote:I suggest that the person you met was mistaken.


Indeed.

Women can achieve the status of an arahant. And according to the Theravada, an arahant's enlightenment is no different to a Sammasambuddha's enlightenment.

You may be interested in this inspiring publication: Buddhist Women at the Time of The Buddha by Hellmuth Hecker, translated from the German by Sister Khema: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el292.html

As you may know, within the canon is a collection of verses uttered by Ariyan bhikkhunis, known as the Therigatha.
There is nothing second rate about a woman, a female Dhamma practitioner or the enlightenment of a woman.


Yes, even though it looks like the Abhidhamma's impersonal approach can be easily misunderstood or misinterpreted.
And thanks for the link, Ben. :thumbsup:
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:25 pm

Women get more illnesses, at least according to Tibetan Medicine.

:buddha2:
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Individual » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:47 pm

Dhammanando wrote:If one considers those features of men's and women's bodies that are differentiated by the gender-controlling faculties, it seems that in every case the male features are stronger, less susceptible to injury, and more versatile for nearly every end save that of attracting mates and child-rearing.

Ven. Dhammanando, when it comes the physical body, men clearly have the advantage from an obvious evolutionary standpoint. More children would be produced from a group of 10 women and 1 man than from a group of 10 men and 1 woman. So, women are more valuable to our continued survival than men, thus it's more risky to our survival to put them at risk and so they needed to be protected. As a result, women (in early human history) did not hunt for food or wander outside the safety of the human camp. As time went on, and we specialized, men developed the mental and physical qualities necessary to be a better hunter (aggression, more muscle mass, better peripheral hearing, better night vision, single-minded concentration, etc.). However, to say that women's specialization left them to play the roles of merely "attracting mates and child-rearing," is not based on evidence on the various traits of womens' brains that, in some ways, make them superior to men.

Whereas the men hunted and women did play the role of attracting mates and child-rearing, social activity and tool-making are both activities that can be done at home -- that is, things that could be done by women too. When the men were hunting, it may have been the women crafting or repairing the tools they used to hunt with. When angry, possibly violent disputes arose at home, it may have been the women which acted as negotiators and social arbiters (we still often see both traits among mothers in households today). Because of this, whereas men have the physical advantage, and some mental advantages, women have many of their own unique mental advantages, including greater empathy, social skills, and the ability to multi-task. I wouldn't really be able to go much into detail, but I do know that if you take a look at the evidence on the neurological differences between men and women, you won't find the majority of scientists supporting your claim that women have developed merely for "attracting mates and child-rearing".

With metta :heart:,
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Element » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:57 pm

Annabel wrote:Actually, men often feel intimidated by selfconfident women.

Maybe, adversial view needs to change and gratitude & mutuality developed.
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Individual » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:05 pm

Element wrote:
Annabel wrote:Actually, men often feel intimidated by selfconfident women.

Maybe, adversial view needs to change and gratitude & mutuality developed.

"Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior."
-Socrates

(To understand that in context, look into Socrates' relationship with his wife)
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Re: Women can't be enlightened?

Postby Element » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:14 pm

Individual wrote:"Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior."
-Socrates

(To understand that in context, look into Socrates' relationship with his wife)

Does not mean Socrates was right.

Buddha said: "A woman's quest is a man, her maintstay is sons and her ideal is domination".

But this is worldly life. Spirituality, man leads the spiritual realm.

Even in worldly life, a woman requires male support more than a man requires female support.

From a woman, a man needs to acquire 'grace' or 'softening' but a man does not need 'strength' from a woman.

It is best to remove the delusions of female power, like the view a women are powerful and can 'save' or 'sustain' a man.

As a man, one must be prepared to support a woman. This is the safest & wisest view.

Feminism is mostly a whole lot of hot wind and empty talk.
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