Sexism in Buddhism

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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:14 pm

kirtu wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:Here are a few images of female Buddhas/10th Bhumi Bodhisattvas in Tibetan Buddhism. Some are found also in other forms of Buddhism:



Please note however that all these images correspond to patriarchal (Brahmanical in this case) social expectations around female beauty.


The Tara's are of course. However I have a tale for you: one day Naropa was sitting outside the gate at his monastic university reading a parjnaparamita text. An aged hag come up and asked, do you understand what you are reading? Naropa answered, yes, I understand the words. The hag danced for joy. Then Naropa said "I also understand the meaning." Whereupon the hag wept bitterly.....

Kirt



Use of the word "hag" indicates again patriarchal expectations around female beauty, availability and desirability, in this case, Western ones since the word "hag" does not exist in Tibetan.

hag 1 |hag|
noun
1 a witch, esp. one in the form of an ugly old woman (often used as a term of disparagement for a woman): a fat old hag in a dirty apron.

In the original text by Tsang Nyon Heruka, she is simply described as an old women (rgan mo) with thirty seven signs of ugliness.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby justsit » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:00 pm

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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby justsit » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:05 pm

Read Sherab Zangmo's story here. The real deal.

BTW, she lived in the same nunnery as my avatar. :twothumbsup:

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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby kirtu » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:24 pm

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:The Tara's are of course. However I have a tale for you: one day Naropa was sitting outside the gate at his monastic university reading a parjnaparamita text. An aged hag come up and asked, do you understand what you are reading? Naropa answered, yes, I understand the words. The hag danced for joy. Then Naropa said "I also understand the meaning." Whereupon the hag wept bitterly.....

Kirt



Use of the word "hag" indicates again patriarchal expectations around female beauty, availability and desirability, in this case, Western ones since the word "hag" does not exist in Tibetan.

hag 1 |hag|
noun
1 a witch, esp. one in the form of an ugly old woman (often used as a term of disparagement for a woman): a fat old hag in a dirty apron.

In the original text by Tsang Nyon Heruka, she is simply described as an old women (rgan mo) with thirty seven signs of ugliness.


Thank-you. Of course most people recounting the tale do not say "There is no word for 'hag' in Tibetan and Tsang Nyon Heruka, simply described her as an old women (rgan mo) with thirty seven signs of ugliness." This is almost always translated as "hag" and then perhaps it's mentioned that she was ugly as well as old.

The whole use of the term is to counter patriarchal conditioning as the old woman in the story is Vajrayogini appearing to Naropa (for those playing at home). The fully enlightened being appeared in a form counter to Naropa's patriarchial expectations. And this is the lesson to us as well.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:48 pm

kirtu wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:The Tara's are of course. However I have a tale for you: one day Naropa was sitting outside the gate at his monastic university reading a parjnaparamita text. An aged hag come up and asked, do you understand what you are reading? Naropa answered, yes, I understand the words. The hag danced for joy. Then Naropa said "I also understand the meaning." Whereupon the hag wept bitterly.....

Kirt



Use of the word "hag" indicates again patriarchal expectations around female beauty, availability and desirability, in this case, Western ones since the word "hag" does not exist in Tibetan.

hag 1 |hag|
noun
1 a witch, esp. one in the form of an ugly old woman (often used as a term of disparagement for a woman): a fat old hag in a dirty apron.

In the original text by Tsang Nyon Heruka, she is simply described as an old women (rgan mo) with thirty seven signs of ugliness.


Thank-you. Of course most people recounting the tale do not say "There is no word for 'hag' in Tibetan and Tsang Nyon Heruka, simply described her as an old women (rgan mo) with thirty seven signs of ugliness." This is almost always translated as "hag" and then perhaps it's mentioned that she was ugly as well as old.



"rgan mo" is virtually never translated as hag, and the native Tibetan dictionaries simple describes a "rgan mo" as "a women who is "high" in years" [lo na mtho ba'i bud med]. In this case the translator [Guenther] took license with the Tibetan text in an unfortunate way, looking to make the text more "dramatic".

The whole use of the term is to counter patriarchal conditioning as the old woman in the story is Vajrayogini appearing to Naropa (for those playing at home). The fully enlightened being appeared in a form counter to Naropa's patriarchial expectations. And this is the lesson to us as well.


I clarified, had you been reading carefully, that use of the the term "hag" was a result of Western patriarchal expectations, thus undermining the intent of the original Tibetan text.

BTW, if there is a word for "hag" in Tibetan it would be 'bag mo [༏འབག་མོ, literary "mask woman"], as in Sa skya 'bag mo i.e. the witches of Sakya, three very powerful demonesses that are mundane protectors. The term 'bag mo is also used for evil women.
Last edited by Malcolm on Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:50 pm

kirtu wrote:
Minjeay wrote:Actually, as I mentioned before, my body is female. How many Theravadins would bow down before me?
Why do you want people to bow down before you?

Isn't that what all this stuff is for?
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:57 am

justsit wrote:Read Sherab Zangmo's story here. The real deal.

BTW, she lived in the same nunnery as my avatar. :twothumbsup:


Thank you for sharing Sherab Zangmo's story, justsit! It is excellent.

I'm compiling a nonsectarian list of buddhas, mahāsiddhas, non-worldly dharmapālas, high-bhūmi bodhisattvas, arhats, and highly-realized masters (etc.) in female forms, including some that aren't widely known, but I haven't enountered her story and I doubt that I would have run across it, if you hadn't posted it here.
namo bhagavate śākyamunaye tathāgatāyārhate samyaksaṁbuddhāya | namaḥ sarvabuddhabodhisattvebhyaḥ ||

"Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas love all beings in the world equally, as if each were their only child..." Buddhāvataṃsakamahāvaipulya Sūtra
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby kirtu » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:10 am

The great Bengali Buddhist teacher, Dipa Ma.

Dipa_Ma.jpg
Dipa Ma
Dipa_Ma.jpg (20.26 KiB) Viewed 574 times


Soshin Maura O’Halloran, regarded by many as an American-Irish Zen saint

Soshin.jpg
Soshin Maura O'Halloran
Soshin.jpg (33.89 KiB) Viewed 563 times


Ani Orgyan Chokyi, from Dolpo, Hermitess - to be sure, her's was a life of overcoming sexism and discrimination.

Mahasiddha Gelongma Palmo (unfortunately I cannot find a more extensive biography online at the moment) - founder of the Nyungney lineage
Last edited by kirtu on Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:52 am, edited 2 times in total.
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby justsit » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:28 am

sukhamanveti wrote:
justsit wrote:Read Sherab Zangmo's story here. The real deal.

BTW, she lived in the same nunnery as my avatar. :twothumbsup:


Thank you for sharing Sherab Zangmo's story ...


:anjali:

You might also enjoy the story of the Westerners' visit to Nangchen. Video trailer is here. The DVD is called Blessings, available on Pundarika website.
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Dec 22, 2013 5:27 pm

Sutra on The Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala -The Huntington ... huntingtonarchive.osu.edu/.../sutras/.../ ...

Has anyone ever heard of of Bodhisattva Srimala?
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:31 pm

kirtu wrote:The great Bengali Buddhist teacher, Dipa Ma.

Dipa_Ma.jpg


Soshin Maura O’Halloran, regarded by many as an American-Irish Zen saint

Soshin.jpg


Ani Orgyan Chokyi, from Dolpo, Hermitess - to be sure, her's was a life of overcoming sexism and discrimination.

Mahasiddha Gelongma Palmo (unfortunately I cannot find a more extensive biography online at the moment) - founder of the Nyungney lineage


All of this is good information and I've never heard of Soshin Maura O’Halloran or Ani Orgyan Chokyi. The experiences of these women are stories that deserve to be told. Thank you, kirtu! I've never seen so much information about the spiritual attainments of Dipa Ma. She appears to have been a sakṛdāgāmi/(Pāli) sakadāgamī ("once-returner") at the time of the interview: "After Second Path [i.e., the Path to Once-Returning], right action became second nature." I love her (justified in my view) attitude toward the tradition that only men can be buddhas: "I can do anything a man can do!" (The tradition of male-only buddhahood appears to contradict the relatively early Nikāya/Āgama teaching that bodhi and nirvāṇa are neither male nor female and that the female state is no hindrance to attaining them, as the arhat/arahant Somā Therī explained in the Saṃyutta Nikāya for example. As the tradition was connected with the belief that a woman can't be a Wheel-Turning Emperor, arhat Uppalavannā Therī arguably indirectly may have demonstrated it to be false, when she manifested as a Wheel-Turning Emperor to pay homage to the Buddha, as told in the Dhammapada-aṭṭhakathā.)

Ed
namo bhagavate śākyamunaye tathāgatāyārhate samyaksaṁbuddhāya | namaḥ sarvabuddhabodhisattvebhyaḥ ||

"Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas love all beings in the world equally, as if each were their only child..." Buddhāvataṃsakamahāvaipulya Sūtra
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:41 pm

justsit wrote:
sukhamanveti wrote:
justsit wrote:Read Sherab Zangmo's story here. The real deal.

BTW, she lived in the same nunnery as my avatar. :twothumbsup:


Thank you for sharing Sherab Zangmo's story ...


:anjali:

You might also enjoy the story of the Westerners' visit to Nangchen. Video trailer is here. The DVD is called Blessings, available on Pundarika website.


Thank you much, justsit! I loved the trailer. Now I must see the whole film.
namo bhagavate śākyamunaye tathāgatāyārhate samyaksaṁbuddhāya | namaḥ sarvabuddhabodhisattvebhyaḥ ||

"Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas love all beings in the world equally, as if each were their only child..." Buddhāvataṃsakamahāvaipulya Sūtra
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:48 pm

Son of Buddha wrote:Sutra on The Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala -The Huntington ... huntingtonarchive.osu.edu/.../sutras/.../ ...

Has anyone ever heard of of Bodhisattva Srimala?


Yes. She is wonderful. I love her eighth vow: "...when in the future I observe sentient beings who are friendless, trapped and bound, diseased, troubled, poor and miserable, I shall not forsake them for a single moment until they are restored..."
namo bhagavate śākyamunaye tathāgatāyārhate samyaksaṁbuddhāya | namaḥ sarvabuddhabodhisattvebhyaḥ ||

"Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas love all beings in the world equally, as if each were their only child..." Buddhāvataṃsakamahāvaipulya Sūtra
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby conebeckham » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:41 pm

Lindama wrote:Who is Niguma?


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Niguma was one of two most important Gurus of Khyungpo Naljor, who founded the Shangpa Kagyu lineage. Her teachings, known as the Five Golden Dharmas of the Shangpa Kagyu, are the core of the Shangpa lineage.
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby Seishin » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:26 pm

rory wrote: Few, this is why I advocate Buddhist women doing their own thing separately, so we don't waste our time on this....
....For that angry woman the best medicine would not be to 'pray for men' but to be all to forget them altogether in a temple with women, a temple with images of Shakyamuni, Mahaprajapati, Yashodhara all buddhas! More images of the great women like Zen master Mugai Nyodai http://www.medievaljapanesestudies.org/ ... iew/29/40/, Fazang's disciples like Huiyuan, potter and poet nun Rengetsu and much more, Vimala, Sona, Anopama great Theravadins all with verses from the Therigata. There would be no bowing, no hierarchy, instead we would be there to work together for our Enlightenment, encouraging all that they could become Buddhas!....
gassho
Rory


As someone who was bullied from the age of 10-17 I appreciate the sentiment, however I do not believe this is the most skilful action as it would create a "Them vs Us" attitude, essentially reinforcing the dualistic mind separating us further.

Although I don't have the insight enough to know the big answer to the problem, I do think that the change needs to come from the top down, from the bottom up and from all the points in-between. I think it also needs to be actual change, rather than just paying lip-service.

Gassho,
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby Lindama » Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:20 pm

Thanks Kirtu and Conebeckham for info on Niguma. What a miracle google is to get enough of a wiff of Niguma and Shangpa Kagu. In settling in to her, I'm remembering ....

One of the earliest, perhaps the first, books that I read on Buddhism was:

Mother of the Buddhas: Meditations on the Prajnaparamita Sutra by Lex Hixon. It's been many years, but looking back it had a lasting impact.
http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Buddhas-Meditations-Prajnaparamita-Sutra/dp/0835606899

Also remember that I have this on my bookshelf which I plan to read for the first time:

Meeting The Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists, And The Art Of The Self , Anne C. Klein... from goodreads: "Despite the daunting barriers of geography and language that separate them, Buddhism and contemporary feminism have much to say to each other."

and newly discovered, can anyone recommend this:

Niguma, Lady of Illusion, by Sarah Harding ... Amazon: "Niguma's story challenges the view that images of women in Buddhism are merely symbolic representations of the feminine principle.:
http://www.shambhala.com/niguma-lady-of-illusion.html

:namaste:
linda

and, oh my, how can I forget Magdalene, soul sister
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:44 pm

Lindama wrote:Meeting The Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists, And The Art Of The Self , Anne C. Klein...

Actually, Anne Klein is quite a good teacher in her own right:
http://www.dawnmountain.org/content/teachers.html
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby Lindama » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:18 pm

emaho! how small the world is. Anne Klein has a connection to Adzom Rinpoche who I saw at Tara Mandala in 2005... little did I know, I went there to help volunteer cook... it's always how I stumble in... he is some mojo. Thanks for the intro to Anne.
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby conebeckham » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:54 pm

The book on Niguma is wonderful. As is anything written or translated by Sarah Harding, in my opinion. She's one of the Bright Lights of Western practitioner/translators.....Check out "Creation and Completion" by Kongtrul, translated by her, if you haven't. Essential Vajrayana stuff.
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Re: Sexism in Buddhism

Postby shaunc » Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:17 pm

Sorry to jump into this so late, but any ladies out there may be interested in checking out Celtic Buddhism. I can't tell you a lot about it, so observe carefully & box clever but it does seem very open to women.
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