Buddhism and Women

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Element

Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by Element »

100 years or so ago in the USA, women could not even own property I have heard.

However, in Islam, women could always own property.
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by Individual »

Manapa wrote:
Individual wrote:
Fede wrote:Yes Peter, but the wonderful things about the Buddha's teachings is that they are testable and corroborated.
verifiable.
This comment, showing the bias it does, cannot be said to fall into the same category, which is why I added what i did.

:namaste:
No, I agree with Peter. What you said could be applied to any teaching.

I would instead argue that noble right view is discernment, that the Buddha did not have a dogmatic regard for Vinaya, that Vinaya was changed for practical reasons on a variety of occasions (something that evolved over time in reaction to specific circumstances -- not arbitrary rules handed down from God), and that the Buddha even said, leading up to his death, that some of the minor rules could be abolished. The additional rules applied to women could fall under this category.
What Fede has written could be applied to any text but that doesn't mean he is wrong! maybe not expanded enough to cover the difference between the verifiable and speculative!
there is a difference between something verifiable and something speculative! saying something is one way or should be one way doesn't make it so, neither does limiting what something is to one aspect!
I am not claiming that Fede's conclusion is wrong, but I am agreeing with Peter that the argument is not a coherent one, even if it is born of compassion.

Verification is born of and leads to faith. Speculation is born of and leads to doubt. Whether Fede meant verification or speculation, either way, it does not directly address the issue of what the different rules mean, in context. :smile:
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Jason
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by Jason »

clw_uk,
clw_uk wrote:Why was it that the buddha was reluctant to admit women into the sangha and why did he give them more rules to follow than the bhikkhus?
That is a good question. Nowhere in the Pali Canon does the Buddha ever say that women are less capable when it comes to achieving awakening. As the story goes, Ananda, the Buddha's cousin and personal attendant, asks, "Venerable sir, if a woman were to go forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathagata, would she be able to realize the fruit of stream-entry, once-returning, non-returning, or arahantship?" To this, the Buddha answers, "Yes, Ananda, she would she be able to realize the fruit of stream-entry, once-returning, non-returning, or arahantship" (Cv.X.1). As Thanissaro Bhikkhu explains:
  • As the story makes clear, gender is not an issue in determining a person's ability to practice the Dhamma and attain release. But from the Buddha's point of view it was an issue in his design of the Saṅgha as an institution. His concerns were pragmatic and strategic, aimed at the long-term survival of two things: the true Dhamma and the holy life. As SN.XVI.13 explains, the survival of the true Dhamma meant not simply the brute survival of the teachings but the survival of the teaching unadulterated with "synthetic Dhamma" (saddhamma-patirupa), later improvements that would call the authenticity of the true Dhamma into question. Why the existence of a women's Community would speed up the appearance of synthetic Dhamma, the Buddha didn't say, but he was willing to make the sacrifice so that women would have a chance to gain the noble attainments. The survival of the holy life, however, is a matter of the simple survival of the practice, even after the true Dhamma no longer has total monopoly in the Community. The analogy of the clan predominantly female shows that, in the Buddha's eyes, the survival of the holy life required a Community predominantly male. That was why he delayed granting Acceptance to his aunt, so that she would be willing to accept the eight rules of respect; that was why the requirements for Acceptance in the Bhikkhuni Sangha were more difficult and complicated than the requirements for Acceptance in the Bhikkhu Sangha; and that was why many of the rules governing relationships between the two Communities favored the bhikkhus over the bhikkhunis. (Buddhist Monastic Code II, Chapter 23)
In essence, we can see that whatever the Buddha's reason for his initial refusal to accept his aunt into the monastic Sangha, it was not because she, or women in general, were less capable when it comes to achieving awakening. In fact, when Mahapajapati Gotami initially asked the Buddha for acceptance into the monastic order, she was said to have already been a sotapanna, i.e., a stream-enterer. Therefore, while it is true that the Buddha was initially hesitant to admit women into the Sangha, it was more likely due to social reasons, and not because women are in any way spiritually inferior to men. Please see: Women in Buddhism: Questions & Answers.

Jason
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by Cittasanto »

Individual wrote: I am not claiming that Fede's conclusion is wrong, but I am agreeing with Peter that the argument is not a coherent one, even if it is born of compassion.

Verification is born of and leads to faith. Speculation is born of and leads to doubt. Whether Fede meant verification or speculation, either way, it does not directly address the issue of what the different rules mean, in context. :smile:
just because something is born from somewhere doesn't mean it is leading back to there and knowledge is something gained from both when used properly
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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Placid-pool
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by Placid-pool »

Element wrote:
Placid-pool wrote:At the time, the possibility of including women as equals would have been unthinkable. The fact that we have become so much more enlightened and decided that 50% of the human race should be considered as just as valuable as the other 50% should only make us feel pity for the unfortunate individuals born then. Segregation in schools is now viewed as distasteful if not horrific but I am old enough to remember when some brave souls decided to challenge the accepted "norms" and suggest that black and white pupils could study together. At the time, it caused riots. Now, we look back on it and smile wryly.
First, it had nothing to do with inequality.When the women ordained, many attained full enlightenment.

Second, not all smile wryly regarding the things you mentioned. For example, many choose to send their children to a single sex school. Personally, I see no disadvantage in this given I attended both co-ed and single sex schools and consider single sex schools to be superior for education due to the lack of distraction. At the single sex school, we were 12 and 13 year olds obsessed with sex.

To me, your reasoning Placid Pool is coming from the experience of Western culture. For example, in many Buddhist countries such as Thailand, the traditional culture is quite matriarchal. In the elite and educated classes, it was traditional to encourage women to enter into business and men politics. I assume these elements would have existed in the Buddha's time also, namely, matriarchy.

Today, when one is a monk in Thailand, many women, especially the wealthy, wish to sponsor monks regarding requisites. I have heard for myself, an elder female benefactor of a monk physically bite him due to anger over something he did. I knew both of these people personally. A young monk is always warned about wealthy female beneficators and the potential they will wish to 'control' the monk.
The "wry smile" comment, if you read my post more carefully, was specifically referring to racial segregation .... I assume you don't approve of that?
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by jcsuperstar »

TheDhamma wrote:It probably was a result of the status of women at the time in northern India. I believe some of the commentaries state that the extra rules were to allow for the Dispensation to last longer. It may have been to please the male dominated society. Or it could have been a test of the resolve and determination of Maha Pajapati Gotami and the other future nuns (bhikkhunis).

An alternative, perhaps more controversial explanation is that the written account is wrong or added later: Bhikkhu Dr. Analayo, a scholar monk has been a strong advocate for bhikkhuni ordination and in his research feels that the Buddha was misrepresented in the texts about being reluctant to ordain women. Ven. Dr. Analayo pointed out an obvious timeline discrepancy that amazingly has gone undetected until now. It involves the deeply held belief that Ananda played an instrumental role in the founding of the bhikkhuni sangha. He was credited, and later chastised by the First Council, for advocating for the ordination of the Buddha's maternal aunt and stepmother, Mahapajapati. In a paper presented at the University of Marburg, Germany, Ven. Dr. Analayo writes, "There are many problems chronologically, however, in the traditional account of Mahaprajapati (from the Commentaries). She first requested ordination five years after Buddha's enlightenment; but Ananda, who requested Buddha on her behalf, first ordained only twenty years after Buddha's enlightenment. Considering that Mahaprajapati, as Buddha's maternal aunt, raised him after his mother's death, she would have been about eighty years old when Ananda was senior enough to make the request."

I added in "from the Commentaries" because I learned from another monk that that is where Ven. Analayo acquired the information.
have you read ajahn sujato? he talks about how Pajapati was not the first nun, and the extra rules were only given to her, that they were never meant for all nuns
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by DNS »

jcsuperstar wrote: have you read ajahn sujato? he talks about how Pajapati was not the first nun, and the extra rules were only given to her, that they were never meant for all nuns
:thumbsup:

That is a good possibility too, but the Classical Mahavihara considered it to be for all nuns.
Element

Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by Element »

Elohim wrote:That is a good question. Nowhere in the Pali Canon does the Buddha ever say that women are less capable when it comes to achieving awakening....etc...
:goodpost:
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by Fede »

Individual wrote:Verification is born of and leads to faith. Speculation is born of and leads to doubt.

Don't know where you got this flim-flam from....

Another way of looking at it would be to say -
Verification is born of curiosity and leads to confidence and conviction.
Speculation is born of curiosity and leads to discovery.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

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Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by Individual »

Manapa wrote:
Individual wrote: I am not claiming that Fede's conclusion is wrong, but I am agreeing with Peter that the argument is not a coherent one, even if it is born of compassion.

Verification is born of and leads to faith. Speculation is born of and leads to doubt. Whether Fede meant verification or speculation, either way, it does not directly address the issue of what the different rules mean, in context. :smile:
just because something is born from somewhere doesn't mean it is leading back to there and knowledge is something gained from both when used properly
You're right that something born from somewhere doesn't necessarily mean it will lead back there. But ignorance, if left unattended to, will still remain. And virtues, such as faith, if developed, also remain.
Fede wrote:
Individual wrote:Verification is born of and leads to faith. Speculation is born of and leads to doubt.

Don't know where you got this flim-flam from....

Another way of looking at it would be to say -
Verification is born of curiosity and leads to confidence and conviction.
Speculation is born of curiosity and leads to discovery.
You could say that, yes. But you could also say, "Curiousity killed the cat."

Dhamma vicaya must be carefully distinguished from vicikiccha. And both of these must also be distinguished from panna and bodhi.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by jcsuperstar »

Element wrote:
Elohim wrote:That is a good question. Nowhere in the Pali Canon does the Buddha ever say that women are less capable when it comes to achieving awakening....etc...
:goodpost:
i know and this is made explicitly clear, yet i hear time and time again how the theravada limits women, because they cant be buddhas just poor old arahants (well they say arhat)
i always liken it to a woman cant be a king, theres no way a woman can be a king, sorry. theres nothing sexist about that, a woman can be a queen, can rule a country with just as much authority and power, be in everyway equal to a king, but can never be a king. yet some people are just hung up on the word king....

:buddha1: :buddha2:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by Cittasanto »

Individual wrote:
Manapa wrote:just because something is born from somewhere doesn't mean it is leading back to there and knowledge is something gained from both when used properly
You're right that something born from somewhere doesn't necessarily mean it will lead back there. But ignorance, if left unattended to, will still remain. And virtues, such as faith, if developed, also remain.
I rarely see faith mentioned in the Suttas, even in different translations of the same ones.
it isnt something that I worry about.But Broken legs by faith alone don't heal straight.
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill
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Re: Buddhism and Women

Post by mikenz66 »

Greetings Manapa,

Some translators use the translation "confidence" instead. It's one of the spiritual faculties/powers...

See http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... addh%C4%81" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Saddhā: faith, confidence. A Buddhist is said to have faith if;he believes in the Perfect One's the Buddha's Enlightenment; M 53; A.V, 2, or in the Three Jewels see: ti-ratana by taking his refuge in them see: ti-sarana His faith, however, should be;reasoned and rooted in understanding; ākāravatā saddhā dassanamūlika a href=dic2-abbrev.htm#M. M. 47, and he is asked to investigate and test the object of his faith M. 47, 95. A Buddhist's faith is not in conflict with the spirit of inquiry, and;doubt about dubitable things; A. II, 65; S. XLII, 13 is admitted and inquiry into them is encouraged. The 'ability of faith' saddhindriya should be balanced with that of understanding paññindriya see: indriya-samatta It is said:;A Bhikkhu who has understanding, establishes his faith in accordance with that understanding; S. XLVIII, 45. Through understanding and understanding, faith becomes an inner certainty and firm conviction based on one's own experience.

Faith is called the seed Sn. v. 77 of all advantageous states because, according to commentarial explanations, it inspires the mind with confidence okappana pasāda and determination adhimokkha for 'launching out' pakhandhana see: M. 122 to cross the flood of samsāra

Unshakable faith is attained on reaching the first stage of Nobility, 'stream-entry' sotāpatti, see: ariya-puggala when the fetter of sceptical doubt vicikicchā see: samyojana is eliminated. Unshakable confidence avecca-pasāda in the Three Jewels is one of the characteristic qualities of the Stream-winner sotāpannassa angāni.

Faith is a mental concomitant, present in all kammically advantageous, and its corresponding neutral, consciousness see: Tab. II.. It is one of the 4 streams of merit puññadhārā,, one of the 5 spiritual abilities indriya, spiritual powers bala,, elements of exertion padhāniyanga and one of the 7 treasures dhana,.

See Faith in the Buddha's Teaching, by Soma Thera WHEEL 262.,Does Saddhā mean Faith?'' by Ñānamoli Thera in WHEEL 52/53.
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