"Buddhism defines the idealmother as an example ofuniversallove, the middle way,
and bodhisattva path. In patriarchal dominant cultures, this ideal has limited
women to the role ofsey-sacrtjcing mother, especially the mother ofsons. Traditional
China is examined as the model of this oppression. Within Buddhist philosophy,
everyone is innately capable of transformation and awakening. Although there is no
concept ofguilt, there is a concept of regret or remorse. Yet in western cultures most
people are taught that they are guilty of sin fiom birth. For women in Christian
society, this sin has beenpasseddown through thefirst mother, Eve, who daredto seek
knowledge. However, in Buddhist thought, there is no sud taint against women.
Nevertheless, patriarchaldominant cultures also adapted Buddhistphilosophy to suit
their mores. Yet, in spite of these patriarchal constructs of what it is to be a mother,
what we learnfiom our mother, her love and nurturance to us as children, is what
rnakespeacepossible. Thispeace may be achievedthrough the bodhisattva ideal. In the
same way thata mother loves her only child, a bodhisattva loves allbeings. She knows
the suffering that life promises, the pain and sorrow at the loss of loved ones, the
ravages of oldage, disease anddeath. Abodhisattva, whether male orfemale, returns
to reach outfiom hisher rung on the ladder of life and help others."
"Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings
-Metta Sutta, Sutta Nipata 143-151"