apologies I couldn't find my long post about FGS. First let me say the positive things:
Thanks, Rory. Maybe it disappeared into that black hole where lost internet posts go!
Thanks for taking the time to restate the situation, it is appreciated.
1. The center is very inclusive of non-Chinese and big on outreach in English. There are Buddhism courses;non-Asians are warmly welcomed, dharma talks are translated, the laypeople are friendly, welcome newcomers & help in learning temple etiquette.
2. Two nuns run the center.
3. The quality of the Dharma teachings; the materials for services was really first class. If I were a Ch'an practitioner as opposed to Pure Land I would have made the effort and stayed.
Thanks for the positive feedback. Glad to know that this is the situation there.
why I left; Confucian culture. I was constantly asked by the friendly 1 generation Chinese members are you married; do you have children & they looked shocked when I said, no. I would have like to have said I have a girlfriend but I just couldn't cope having to deal with coming out to an entire temple. It was just easier to return to my old Japanese-American sect Jodo Shu which happily marries same sex couples. And the more I thought about FGS the worse I felt as really you, I, the nuns know that Buddhism has no issues with same sex preference. So why is it an issue? Because centuries ago Buddhism incorporated Confucianism, where family, reproduction & having a son is everything.
So, in the end, they didn't actually know that you are gay, right? And you think that the nuns there at least wouldn't have had a problem with that, right?
So, I'm wondering, as you say - Why is it an issue? But of course, I'm asking why you are making an issue of it, not why is it an issue for them - because you seem to admit that it isn't an issue for them.
In general, it seems fairly common to ask somebody if they are married, and have kids. It's not an insult, just trying to get to know you.
And obviously, being a center run by buddhist monastics - two nuns as you say - "family, reproduction & having a son is everything" is simply not the case at all.
It's pretty grim as a woman to think Buddhism sold out on radical non-discrimination , the radical view of Gautama, to co-exist with the status quo & the low position of women. The demand for equality for women in Buddhism came from the West. It's Greek philosophy and Roman law that led to women having so many rights as early as 200 C.E. and then again in the late 19th cent when Christian ideas were discarded.
So in all conscience as a feminist how can I promote Buddhism when it has done zero for women? I turned East as I found a philosophy that explained the world to me in a rational way. But years later I've read Greek philosophy: Heraclitus everything is flux Democritus, Pythagoras, Epicurus etc & I've found everything in Buddhism there. It's better for women, I don't have to deal with male hierarchical institutions or the hypocrisy.
I've got over 1000 Dharma sisters that may disagree with you on the "Buddhism... done zero for women" point.
And none of the Greeks, etc. teach dependent origination, or the path to liberation from cyclic existence. Which is the whole point of Buddhism, isn't it?
I just want to back track a second. Originally you said (emphasis
But this brings up a good point, that is a definite problem for me; the sexist character of Buddhism that is unhappily reinforced by cultural influences such as Confucianism etc... Sometimes as a woman I've think I've had enough of men being in charge, disparaging women & that it's hopeless. I really couldn't take FGS locally because of that & additionally I'm gay.... I belong to a Japanese Pure Land sect that's been in America for at least 3 gens, so that helps enormously.
Here, you basically said that you "couldn't take FGS locally" because you'd "had enough of men being in charge, disparaging women" - but you admit that the place is run by a couple of nuns. And also you "couldn't take FGS locally" because "additionally [you're] gay" - even when the temple didn't even know that you are gay - you didn't tell them, and you think that they wouldn't have had a problem with it anyway. And also the notions of "the sexist character of Buddhism that is unhappily reinforced by cultural influences such as Confucianism" - but apparently without giving any actual examples. Asking if one is married and has children is, in my experience, a rather common human issue which I've encountered in very non-Confucian New Zealand and very much so in non-Confucian Africa, too. And the Indians also seem to ask such questions, too.
Yes, maybe I am making a big deal out of what you said. But earlier in this thread several people decided to launch into a rather unfounded criticism of Fo Guang Shan, based on some one sided events at a single temple. And now it seems to me that you are willing to sort of argue that somehow FGS is discriminatory against women and gays, but seemingly without any evidence for that.
Criticism I don't mind. Actually, I go actively looking for it - anyone who knows me fairly well can vouch for that. But criticism without basis, that I don't have much time for.