Author Topic: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women  (Read 2118 times)

Offline Dharmakara

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Buddhist women are celebrating a landmark victory: In April, the renowned Institute for Buddhist Dialectical Studies (IBD) in Dharamsala, India, conferred the degree of "Geshe" -- the Tibetan equivalent of Ph.D. -- to Venerable Kelsang Wangmo, a German nun. This is a historical first in so many ways: Traditionally, Geshe degrees are conferred on monks after 12 or more years of rigorous study in Buddhist philosophy. For the first time in history, a nun has now received this degree, and even more surprising, a Western woman. Venerable Kelsang Wangmo is finally rewarded for mastering the strenuous study course in highest Buddhist philosophy. She has already been teaching philosophy at the Institute for more than five years.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michaela-haas/buddhism-women_b_862798.html

Offline Sunya

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2011, 11:16:35 am »
This marks the crossing of important threshold, but certainly is not an absolute solution to the underlying problem of gender inequality. Buddhism as an institution is rife with contradictory statements about women. Hopefully in the years to come, these will continue to be addressed constructively by the larger community.

Offline J. McKenna

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2011, 12:40:56 pm »
If Tibetan Buddhists (men) didn't acknowledge women before now, then where did all the little Tibetans come from?  :wacky:
...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Offline Gesar

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2011, 01:57:22 pm »
This marks the crossing of important threshold, but certainly is not an absolute solution to the underlying problem of gender inequality. Buddhism as an institution is rife with contradictory statements about women. Hopefully in the years to come, these will continue to be addressed constructively by the larger community.
Hi, Sunya. I think some of the forums have been very good in at least allowing discussion of this and related topics. Some letters and quotes from Joan Halifax, Roshi, that came up elsewhere really opened my eyes as to the seriousness of the problem.  I'd like to ask: what kind of concrete measures can "the larger community" (of which we all are a part) take to address what Halifax refers to as "deep misogyny" that results, according to her, not only in a lack of respect for women, but in violence against women, and other problems?  "The larger community" is us! What can we do?

 One thing is to go to our sanghas and ask the administrators to enact strict codes of ethical behavior for all teachers, including those who may join the sangha for a temporary residency. These ethics codes should take the form of a contract that teachers are required to sign before they begin to teach.  Breach of contract may trigger some sort of disciplinary action for the first offense. A second offense should require expulsion.  This is the only way that sanghas are going to be made safer for women.  Any additional ideas for practical application are welcome.

Offline Thao

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2011, 04:43:25 pm »
Thanks for the great information incognito.

Offline Sunya

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2011, 08:55:08 am »
I find it odd how some groups claim to advocate gender equality but maintain faithful allegiance to a scriptural authority that suggests women are in some way inferior to men. Invested people conveniently overlook the proclamations made by their own canonical tradition regarding the five obstructions, the filthiness of the female body (not only as a mean of deterring monks from beaking their vows of celibacy, but rather taught to the general population), special doctrines of salvation for women, etc. I think these textual foundations need to be critically questioned, or they will continue to be used to advocate patriarchal practices while masquerading as treatises for gender equality.

Of course, the people interpreting scripture in favor of upholding a misogynistic agenda require critical questioning as well. Still, I see a need to uproot the problem at its literary source, like the oft-quoted palmyra stump. Otherwise, many will continue to feel justified in their discrimination.

Offline ChangYuan

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2011, 12:20:38 pm »
I find it odd how some groups claim to advocate gender equality but maintain faithful allegiance to a scriptural authority that suggests women are in some way inferior to men. Invested people conveniently overlook the proclamations made by their own canonical tradition regarding the five obstructions, the filthiness of the female body (not only as a mean of deterring monks from beaking their vows of celibacy, but rather taught to the general population), special doctrines of salvation for women, etc. I think these textual foundations need to be critically questioned, or they will continue to be used to advocate patriarchal practices while masquerading as treatises for gender equality.

Of course, the people interpreting scripture in favor of upholding a misogynistic agenda require critical questioning as well. Still, I see a need to uproot the problem at its literary source, like the oft-quoted palmyra stump. Otherwise, many will continue to feel justified in their discrimination.

Now, while I willingly profess ignorance of the specifics of which you speak, the generalities you have said, do somewhat make sense to me. Many cultures have referred to the "filthiness" as you put it, of women, in reference to menstruation. And, I don't think it would be untoward to suggest that men and women might have different paths to tread en route to enlightenment; they are different in many core ways, so why would practice not be? I think people need to try and keep in mind that gender equality can never completely happen in the way many people want it. Equality doesn't mean exactly the same. I think this is a fabulous step forward none the less.
地藏菩萨灭定业真言
OM BA LA MO LING TO NING SVAHA

Offline Lobster

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2012, 07:20:13 pm »
I am always surprised to hear that the Buddha was a man.
As far as I remember he has webbed feet (one of the signs of Buddhahood).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_characteristics_of_the_Buddha

Sounds like some sort of rogue mutant to me.  :teehee:

Now about these mythical 'women' . . .
Do they really exist or are they some dharmic fantasy of a monk
key turned the wrong way?

May all Beings benefit - even men and mermaids, if they Exist.  :)

Offline Steveyboy

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2012, 09:57:12 am »
I find it odd how some groups claim to advocate gender equality but maintain faithful allegiance to a scriptural authority that suggests women are in some way inferior to men. Invested people conveniently overlook the proclamations made by their own canonical tradition regarding the five obstructions, the filthiness of the female body (not only as a mean of deterring monks from beaking their vows of celibacy, but rather taught to the general population), special doctrines of salvation for women, etc. I think these textual foundations need to be critically questioned, or they will continue to be used to advocate patriarchal practices while masquerading as treatises for gender equality.

Of course, the people interpreting scripture in favor of upholding a misogynistic agenda require critical questioning as well. Still, I see a need to uproot the problem at its literary source, like the oft-quoted palmyra stump. Otherwise, many will continue to feel justified in their discrimination.

Now, while I willingly profess ignorance of the specifics of which you speak, the generalities you have said, do somewhat make sense to me. Many cultures have referred to the "filthiness" as you put it, of women, in reference to menstruation. And, I don't think it would be untoward to suggest that men and women might have different paths to tread en route to enlightenment; they are different in many core ways, so why would practice not be? I think people need to try and keep in mind that gender equality can never completely happen in the way many people want it. Equality doesn't mean exactly the same. I think this is a fabulous step forward none the less.

Well, I think that we have to take into consideration the social norms of ancient India from where these references were taken from. Ancient India was rife with gender bias that it was institutionalized by the religiosity of the times. Buddha lived during such a time and he had to conform to societal norms in order to further the Buddhadharma for a specific group. And for a spiritual elite and perhaps in preparation for the liberal views of the future, Lord Buddha turned the wheel of Tantra. He proclaimed that women are to be revered and that female energy is symbolic of wisdom.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2012, 10:15:12 am »
Lobster, why do you feel the need to belittle gender inequality with your off-color humor? Women can't even receive full ordination in the majority of Buddhist communties that exist today.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 10:17:26 am by incognito »

Offline InfernoMunky

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2012, 11:43:03 am »
in my heart there have always been bhikkus and bhikkhunis... their paths are always intertwined
...
i was raised from a  catholic tradition, and i know both are important for spiritual development of the community and all have there roles, one person cannot give you every facet ...
...

can anyone find me the source for the saying about buddhism "being destroyed from within"... i cannot seem to track it down.... i would like to have a translation of these words i heard...

...


 :dharma: :dharma: :dharma:
...

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2012, 12:38:50 pm »
InfernoMunky, it sounds like you might be referring to the Sutra on the Total Extinction of the Dharma:

http://buddhasutra.com/files/scripture_preached_by_the_buddha.htm

Offline Lobster

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2012, 09:55:32 pm »
Quote
Women can't even receive full ordination in the majority of Buddhist communties that exist today.

Maybe we can all vow to come back as women until such time as this issue is resolved.  A solution may be the ordination of dogs. In the contemporary Jain religion, women and dogs do not have souls. So Jain nuns have to work towards being reborn as men. The shame of it.

Personally I would like to see the ordination of Buddhist Dolphins, so that respect and dharma is extended, rather than available only to the non entertaining, who jump through different hoops  . . .  :hug:

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2012, 11:57:48 pm »
My friend, you really need to find a tree and sit  :smack:

Offline Steveyboy

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Re: 2,500 Years After the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2012, 08:29:40 am »
Quote
Women can't even receive full ordination in the majority of Buddhist communties that exist today.

Maybe we can all vow to come back as women until such time as this issue is resolved.  A solution may be the ordination of dogs. In the contemporary Jain religion, women and dogs do not have souls. So Jain nuns have to work towards being reborn as men. The shame of it.

Personally I would like to see the ordination of Buddhist Dolphins, so that respect and dharma is extended, rather than available only to the non entertaining, who jump through different hoops  . . .  :hug:

That's a very neat idea and it's similar to Tara's story. If I remember correctly, Tara before she became a Buddha was a female disciple on another world system and she was very diligent with her practice and devotion to the Buddha of her world. However, other jealous male disciples told her that it is too bad that she practices so hard because she would still have to take rebirth as a man in a future life in order to achieve enlightenment. This made Tara greatly disheartened but her feelings never stopped her practice, learning and contemplation. Soon, when the Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma, she gained realization and she realized emptiness and meaningless nature of being male or female. Because females were often denigrated and thought to be inferior by her society, she vowed to be enlightened in the female form as an inspiration for practitioners who are struggling with labels, projections and all manner of self-imposed limitations. That's how I heard the story of Tara and I was mesmerized and some of my female friends loved the story as it has a feminist twist to it.   

 


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