Author Topic: Footprints on the Journey: On Women - Khenpo Sodargye  (Read 1346 times)

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Footprints on the Journey: On Women - Khenpo Sodargye
« on: April 17, 2016, 09:06:52 am »

On Women

Today is March 8, International Women’s Day. All around the world women are celebrating this annual festival in their own unique ways; throngs of cheery people are seen on the streets or TV news. In some areas, women take this occasion to hold rallies to demonstrate against the unfair treatment usually imposed on them.

A question from a female lay practitioner came to my mind: In Buddhist scriptures, women have always been described as low and degraded. Why is that? For example, in Satipatthana Sutra, it says: “Women are sources of disasters, they ruin this and future lives. Should you want to save yourself, stay away from all women.”

In The Moon Lamp Sutra it says: “This is not the way to attain enlightenment, therefore, never place any reliance on women. Like poisonous snakes with extreme venom, they should be avoided by all wise people.”

While promoting people to do good deeds and accumulate merits, it is also stated: “I pay homage to the protector Buddha of Infinite Light; by hearing the holy name of Buddha Amitabha, until I reach enlightenment, may I always be reborn in noble bodies rather than in female forms.”

In many sutras, the description of all Buddha’s Pure Land include the following: “There are no women per se, or the names of women,” or: “Any woman, having aroused pure faith and bodhichitta upon hearing my name and feeling disgusted with the female body and wishing to be reborn to my Land, will arrive in my Land in a male body when she dies.”

Longchenpa has also repeatedly advised future generations: “One should avoid women; they are the sources of decadence.” It sounds like women have become the sources of all evils as well as the roots of deterioration. Isn’t this statement a little unfair?

In fact, these are misunderstandings due to insufficient knowledge of the Buddhist scriptures. Some statements in the sutras are taught specifically for women with a strong propensity for jealousy only.

The teachings on staying away from women are given specifically to men who are unable to eradicate their covetous minds.

Similarly, for a woman incapable of eliminating her lust, she should also stay away from men who are the roots of deterioration.

In A Great Treatise on Jewel Garland of the Middle Way, there is a long list of uncleanliness of the female body followed by: “If you loathe the excrement and filth from yourself or others, why wouldn’t you be repulsed with the grimy body of yours or others? Your own body is just as unclean as the female body so described.”

It is obvious, therefore, that the male and female bodies are equal in having the same flaws and shortcomings.

As long as a woman has strong faith and possesses wisdom and compassion, she is much superior to any man who knows not how to act in accordance with the principle of cause and effect.

In the land of Tibet, there have arisen many great female Buddhist practitioners, such as Dakini Machig Labdron, Dakini Yeshe Sogyal, and others. They have left inconceivable legacies for future generations; how could any ordinary male in the world be on par with them?

In Ballad of Mulan, it also says: “The he-hare’s feet go hop and skip, the she-hare’s eyes are muddled and fuddled. Two hares running side by side close to the ground, who can tell if I am a he or a she?”

When a rabbit runs, no one can tell if it’s a he or a she.

Any woman who has cultivated genuine bodhichitta and practices the Dharma diligently will attain exactly the same level of quality as a male practitioner does.

25th of January, Year of RenWu


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