He didn't leave orgs or hierarchies or say women couldn't become enlightened; these were created by men and their cultural perceptions and they kept women out and down and ignorant.
Well, actually, he did leave the Sangha body, as well as a general system of seniority to govern the monastic Sangha. I do agree with you though, that it has become unnecessarily complicated and hierarchical. And unfortunately sometimes those hierarchies developed in patriarchal societies and the structures disempowered women and their spiritual aspirations.
As for saying women couldn't become enlightened, I have honestly never heard this taught by any Tibetan master I have ever listened to
(and I've listened to many!). The story of Tara alone would dispel this myth, and several of my teachers have stated that in some of the tantric systems women would progress more quickly towards enlightenment than men.
So now it's approx 2,000 years later and you're telling me women now can become geshes.
The Geshe system is a Gelug construct and much less than 2,000 years old. It is an academic degree, and yes, it is now accessible to women. Did it take too long? Absolutely. Should we deny this is progress? That would be silly. It wasn't so long ago in Western countries that women weren't allowed to vote. And don't forget that during the crucial years of the feminist movement in the West the Tibetans were fleeing over the mountains as refugees and trying to scrape together enough for basic survival. Not ideal conditions for a social justice movement- this is why I think things are taking longer in Tibetan society than many of us would like, but understanding the circumstances might be helpful.
How many female high lamas or Dalai Lamas have there been?
Indicates the same problems present in Nichiren Buddhism, as you mentioned here:
in the Japanese tradition this is easy, though they won't become the heads of sects, only Japanese men.
Also, check out the present Dalai Lama's statements that the next in his line could be a woman here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on- ... e-a-woman/
If "Priestess" means the head of a temple and teacher, this is also possible within the institutions of the Tibetan tradition, especially the nunneries. Khandro Rinpoche comes to mind as a leading teacher of her tradition, as do Jetsun Kushok la, Khandro-la and others. Many of the eminent scholars and practitioners of the tradition in the West are women- Anne Klein, Ven. Thubten Chodron, Lama Tsultrim Allione, Jetsunma Palmo etc. Are there enough? No, but it isn't as if there aren't any at all.
I've dealt with having a master in studying esoteric buddhism the power plays were nasty.
The power plays in all schools of Buddhism are nasty. Whether we speak about the SGI's involvement in politics in Japan, Tibetan court intrigue, Zen and militarism and colonialism, or the present nationalistic movements associated with Theravada in Burma and Sri Lanka. To single out esoteric Buddhism seems odd, and I wonder whether it is to frame Nichiren as a better alternative (which I can understand, most practitioners are convinced that their own school in the best "brand".)
From the cursory readings of Nichiren's writings that I have done to better understand the perspective you are coming from in this thread, I do see that he championed the possibility of enlightenment for women. But on the organizational, practical level in very traditional Japanese society, I don't see that this has led to widespread empowerment of women or women in leading ecclesiastical roles. (Perhaps in the West it is different, but as I mentioned above, this is also the case in Tibetan Buddhism!).
Do not forget that there is a strong element of feminine divinity in Tibetan Buddhism, and I don't think this can be so easily dismissed. Several of the most cherished practice traditions, such as the Chod or Severance Practice, come through women.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin