Gender bias

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Gender bias

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:13 pm

It seems about a bunch of threads have this as concern or issue in Buddhism.
Well to my dim recollection the Buddha when asked what he was stated, not a male or female that understood, but that which understood or knew.

Why do peoples take some certain teachings or scripture and say...well this applies not that. One is literal but the other not.
Absurd it seems to me completely absurd and perposterous.

Male or female we enlighten not by any basis of gender, nor do we go any special place based upon gender.
There are qualities which are abscribed in a common or coloquial sense to each gender. But that those are commonly abscribed does not mean for a second that one must be of that gender of common abscription to display those properties.
It is the qualities we must display not the qualities as male or female woman or man.
As a library in spanish is female and a thunderstorm in navajo male.... such are abscriptions not of the nature of us, but found as abscription, or concept, in them.

This overconcern with gender...attachment is its spelling, not dharma.
We may go anywhere we may we may become to any spiritual level depending not a single solitary bit on what gender we are born.
Gender is samsara, not dharma. It displays samsara. Attachment. Enlightenment is based upon understanding not understanding as a male or female.

Geeze are born as you are and are totally equal in this thing of the spiritual. No man is superior nor woman superior or is either inferior.
To think so is taking as literal what is wanted to be taken literal and disregarding what is not wanted to be taken in a literal fashion for self purpose, and only that.

Buddha was born a gender but was not a buddha as a gender. Otherwise his answer to what he was, would have been...a male who knows or understands.....take that literally, not this gender biased nonsense misinterpreted for purpose. Buddha as example or real that is the real....Buddha was not male nor female. qualities of both buddhas do display. To their fullest extent.
Buddha is not a story of male nor of female. It is a story of understanding. Understanding has no gender it cannot be so attached and be understanding.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Gender bias

Postby Quiet Heart » Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:43 am

What I would say...and it's just my personal that when a person is born as a sentient being as a he or a's "Ego mind", the one that creates the concept "I am" and "They are not" begins to create an illusionary idea of the world, so that the Ego mind can control our preception of that world and pass it off as our "reality". This is ,of course, a delusion...but since it is fed into a sentient being from birth, it becomes deeply established in that person's world veiw.
So if that person is a male, he begins to think of and refer to the objects of the world as a he, and if that person is a female she begins to see the objects of this world as a she. That bias is even built into the language we use to explain and interpret the world we think we see.
When we through our study and practice manage to obtain a clear view of the true nature of the world we no longer need the Ego mind and it's he or she characterization of the objects of the world. At that point we can, hopefully, see the falseness of the Ego mind's he and she obsession. In Zen that is part of what is called "attachment to form" and needs to be understood as a dellusion of the Ego mind.
But to overcome that "attachment to form" is a long and difficult thing to attain, if we ever get there at all.
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
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Re: Gender bias

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:30 pm

I think Gender Bias is a very important topic for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it forces us to confront ourselves and think heavily about why we believe what we believe. The topic relates directly to how a person clings to the idea of a self.

We start with a basic buddhist foundation, that what is taught as dharma is essentially correct.
We also hold a variety of beliefs which we have acquired from sources other than dharma,
such those regarding gender equality, or knowledge derived from scientific understanding.
But when we encounter something along the dharma path which seems to contradict those other beliefs (such as a reference to the western corner of the universe) this creates a conflict, because we don't want buddhism to be wrong. We want to be dharma followers, and we also want to be right.

We don't want to say, "I believe in something that is wrong" . So, we think we have to make a choice, or convince ourselves one way or another, or re-word things so that everything comes out nice. But wanting everything to come out nice is really in itself a desperate type of clinging. If something doesn't add up squarely, we can't feel comfortable identifying "me" with it.

It can be suggested with some confidence that for at least the past 2500 years, the social, religious and political traditions of most of human realm reflect an assumption of male superiority, and so it should not come as a great surprise to find gender bias occurring in the teachings of various buddhist traditions in this human realm. We can accept that tiny necks are characteristic of hungry ghosts, because we acknowledge great varieties of samsaric existence. All the realms have their problems and we sort of blame those problems on samsara.

But when we encounter conflicts withiin the human realm, and these conflicts reesult from how we understand and interpret the meaning of the dharma, we rarely blame the shortcomings of samsaric existence. This is where we don't want to acknowledge our own imperfections.

We could say, "Wow, the fact that gender bias (sexism) has become so much a part of Buddhist tradition really shows how insidiously penetrating samsara is!" Instead, there is a tendency to justify things which after all, may be misinterpretations, rather than acknowledge the possibility of misinterpretation. In contrast to this, (so I have heard) when HH Dalai Lama was asked how he would respond if science disproved a teaching of the Buddha, his reply was that what the Buddha taught was perfect...but somehow we must have heard it wrong!

The dharma is not a strict set of dogmas, but an applied practice. What validates the teachings isn't some miracle such as a burning bush or a virgin birth. You don't have to believe that when Prince Siddhartha was born he took seven steps and lotuses suddenly sprang up beneath his feet. What validates the dharma and makes it just as true now as it was 2500 years ago is that you can hold it to the fire, test it out and determine the validity for yourself.

The Buddha didn't say don't eat this or that, or keep your head covered, or burn incense every day and so on. He created practical rules to keep monks of his day out of trouble. But he acknowledged that imperfection is a characteristic of samsara.

I have a friend who is a monk from Thailand (living in the United States), who keeps his vows very strictly and gets very nervous around being near women, because he is not allowed to touch women. He asked me, "What should I do when women want to shake hands?" I asked him about this vow of his. he told me that in The Buddh'a's day, one of his followers followed a man and a woman into a temple, and, standing behind them, gave the woman a squeeze on the butt. This created an uproar, which led to all sorts of scandalous accusations and so on. So, the Buddha simply took a direct approach and said, basically, "okay, from now on monks may not touch women". But in various traditions around the world, the strict application of this vow is interpreted differently.

If we acknowledge the fact that we live in a constantly changing world, then the application of the teachings is going to reflect that, not only in terms of geographic location but also in terms of time periods. What may not have been acceptable 100 years ago is acceptable today, and maybe that's okay. So, I think someone could say "yeah, there is a lot of sexist baggage that has been picked up along the way", be okay with that fact, learn from it, and make adjustments. We don't have to rewrite history. We don't have to be right. But we do have to keep up with the times, otherwise how can we apply the dharma to the present (assuming, of course, that one wishes to live in the present)?
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Re: Gender bias

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:37 pm

Thanks very much for the replies. I can find no point of disagreement in either. The second I find most elaborate and discriptive and certainly true and well written. The first I find absolutely true in content and depiction...we must certainly abandon identification with form as a essential part of practice if we are to go anywhere in the spiritual it seems.

It is a continual concern in Buddhism. I take it as the literal being interpreted in certain specifics as such by the powers that be in their respective traditions to the disregard of other literal interpretations of things which conflict.

The end product in any event is quite tragic. Others may think themselves not suitable for dharma or enlightenment on the basis of form.
Whether one thinks man or woman to be inherantly superior..... the thought of that affirm, in a quite conclusively proven way, a negative.
I see it usually as extended from the point of considered superiority. But unusually it extends as well to a negative.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Gender bias

Postby ground » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:17 am

It is just the body. Who is it that identifies with this foul and deteriorating body?

'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.'
"Or again, as if he were to see a corpse cast away in a charnel ground, picked at by crows, vultures, & hawks, by dogs, hyenas, & various other creatures... a skeleton smeared with flesh & blood, connected with tendons... a fleshless skeleton smeared with blood, connected with tendons... a skeleton without flesh or blood, connected with tendons... bones detached from their tendons, scattered in all directions — here a hand bone, there a foot bone, here a shin bone, there a thigh bone, here a hip bone, there a back bone, here a rib, there a breast bone, here a shoulder bone, there a neck bone, here a jaw bone, there a tooth, here a skull... the bones whitened, somewhat like the color of shells... piled up, more than a year old... decomposed into a powder: He applies it to this very body, 'This body, too: Such is its nature, such is its future, such its unavoidable fate.' ... .than.html

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Re: Gender bias

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:19 pm

Self. Conception of self, not reading the listed text...but that appears so.

Self being empty it then is nothing which so concieves this identification and is thusly found faulted this notion of singular body or singular self.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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