Malcolm wrote:However, according to Tibetan Medicine and Ayurveda, gender is not fixed until the third week after conception, and can be changed using various medicines and rites.
That's not actually true though, is it?
No, the gender is determined at conception by the sperm. All women's eggs carry the x chromosome as all women have two x's. The sperm can be either male or female (x or y). That is because men carry both the x and y chromosome. It is impossible to tell the gender until about 15 -16 weeks due to the way the baby develops. It may then be visible on the ultrasound.
The the idea that gender is determined by past karma is linked to the (cultural) notion that birth as a female is an unfortunate event somehow due to negative actions in the past. I asked my teacher about this tendency of connecting the circumstances of one's present life to actions in the past...regarding them (in hindsight) as being positive or negative. I mentioned the cultural bias against women, against people with darker skin, against the physically handicapped, "unattractive" and so son, as well as being born into a poor family. I mentioned that some of these things might seem really terrible to one person, but not so to another. What he said was that these things do not really matter. They are beside the point. merely superficial appearances. They may be karmically linked, but you can't say it was due to positive or negative actions.
rather, what matters is the karmic fruition that happens in the mind --at least that is what matters. So, for example, it is said that if one is greedy in this lifetime, that person will be born poor in the next. This doesn't necessarily mean that the person will be reborn into a poor family. The person may in fact be reborn into a very wealthy family. but because the habit of greed was built up so strongly in the previous life, even if they grow up rich, they will always think they do not have enough. they will never be satisfied, and no matter how much wealth they amass, they will always have the nagging feeling that they are deprived. They may even indulge in harmful activities, if this overriding sense of deprivation is strong enough.
Likewise, consider two people with similar physical disabilities. Their past karma will influence the way they approach dealing with these disabilities. One person may feel sorry for himself or herself, the other decides that a disability will not stop him or her from achieving whatever goals in life they want to aim for. This is because of the behavior patterns and habits that are solidified in the mind.
This is actually the same for every person. You do not need to pick out certain examples. Every person approaches this present moment based on the patterns established in the mind ("karmic imprint").
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