Women in Pure Land

Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby rory » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:19 pm

Hi Nosta;
as a feminist & lesbian I understand your issues with misogyny. What you need to understand is the status of women in India at the time of the Buddha, it was truly horrible. These two links below will put the Buddha's behavior in it's proper context; he lived an died approx: 563 B.C.E - 483 B.C.E. ! In those days women in Ancient Greece didn't participate in civic life, they didn't dine with their husband's friends, they lived & were forced to live in women's quarters, just to give you some Euopean context.

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/his ... sition.htm

http://www.enabling.org/ia/vipassana/Ar ... drews.html

Now as for modern time, because yes, I investigated if Buddhism helps oppressed women: just examine the statistics of Buddhist households in India, where there have been many Dalit (untouchables) conversions to Buddhism
http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 75,0,0,1,0

Buddhism gives these women so much! It really makes me happy and proud to be a Buddhist today.
here is a great link to 3 Wheels Temple in the UK (Jodo Shinshu) I used to write to Rev. Sato when i lived in Ireland. Also Jodo Shinshu has the most female priests in Japan. http://www.threewheels.co.uk/
Jodo Shu European Buddhism center - Paris I have to find their email/web site.
anyway those are good questions you have & I hope I've helped answer them
gassho
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:44 pm

Astus wrote:
Aemilius wrote: People here seem to think that attaining enlightenment is like acquiring a car or a new house or an estate, they themselves remain the same, they only get a new thing added to their identity, a thing that is called "liberation" or "enlightenment".
This is contrary to the actual truth of the matter.
If you become a new being, a higher being, your previous identity as a man or a woman dissolves and dies.


So, are you on the position that beings in the Pure Land are without gender, they have a non-human body?


One obvious thing that is forgotten these days is the tantric visualisation process where you start with lotus & moon seat, then seed syllable and so on... this describes birth through transformation .
Birth through transformation is present in Theravada and the Mahayana, it is described in detail in tantras, and in the sadhanas. There are some variations in birth through transformation as it is visualised in different classes of tantra.
According to a tantric teaching of the 12 links of dependent origination, the process of visualisation transforms the 12 links, it transforms the links of your present life, and your future life; in the the 11th link you attain the birth throúgh transformation and you become a Sambhogakaya.

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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Astus » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:44 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Astus wrote:So, are you on the position that beings in the Pure Land are without gender, they have a non-human body?

One obvious thing that is forgotten these days is the tantric visualisation process where you start with lotus & moon seat, then seed syllable and so on... this describes birth through transformation .
Birth through transformation is present in Theravada and the Mahayana, it is described in detail in tantras, and in the sadhanas. There are some variations in birth through transformation as it is visualised in different classes of tantra.
According to a tantric teaching of the 12 links of dependent origination, the process of visualisation transforms the 12 links, it transforms the links of your present life, and your future life; in the the 11th link you attain the birth throúgh transformation and you become a Sambhogakaya.


What does all that have to do with Pure Land teachings? I see no connection. People who are born in the PL are not sambhogakaya buddhas and they don't do any tantric techniques beforehand.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Aemilius » Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:13 pm

Astus wrote:
Aemilius wrote:
Astus wrote:So, are you on the position that beings in the Pure Land are without gender, they have a non-human body?

One obvious thing that is forgotten these days is the tantric visualisation process where you start with lotus & moon seat, then seed syllable and so on... this describes birth through transformation .
Birth through transformation is present in Theravada and the Mahayana, it is described in detail in tantras, and in the sadhanas. There are some variations in birth through transformation as it is visualised in different classes of tantra.
According to a tantric teaching of the 12 links of dependent origination, the process of visualisation transforms the 12 links, it transforms the links of your present life, and your future life; in the the 11th link you attain the birth throúgh transformation and you become a Sambhogakaya.


What does all that have to do with Pure Land teachings? I see no connection. People who are born in the PL are not sambhogakaya buddhas and they don't do any tantric techniques beforehand.


The teachings of phowa, or ejection of consciousness, aim at a rebirth in a pureland, like Sukhavati. There are different classications of phowa, one such is threefold; Dharmakaya phowa, Sambhogakaya phowa and Nirmanakaya phowa. Thus you can attain rebirth as a Sambhogakaya in Sukhavati. This possiblity of attaining rebirth as Sambhogakaya is mentioned also in Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo, i.e. Tibetan Book of the Dead.
The chinese pureland practitioner Yogi C. M. Chen teaches a Three Kaya phowa of Amitabha.
Do you think that Amitabha has a separate Sambhogakaya realm somewhere else?
My point is that birth through transformation exists both in the tantra and in the pureland school of Mahayana, (and even in the Theravada). Tantric visualisation is not something totally different from Mahayana or Sravakayana. If you imagine yourself as having attained birth in the Sukhavati that is a visualisation.
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:26 pm

Aemilius,

The Pure Land practices as understood in East-Asia does not involve Tibetan phowa, while phowa is not restricted to birth in Amita Buddha's land. The general view of the Pure Land school in East Asia is that it is the optimal path for deluded sentient beings who have little time and capacity to engage in complicated practices. This is the difference made by Shandao about the Path of Sages and the Path of Pure Land. Tantric methods are clearly within the Path of Sages. And all this confusion of different traditions have little to do with the original topic.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby kirtu » Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:56 pm

rory wrote:For reality just look at how Shinran dynamically viewed his sexuality and women: he saw his wife as Kannon.


:applause: :bow:

Shinran was a good guy.

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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:03 am

Aemilius wrote:Thus you can attain rebirth as a Sambhogakaya in Sukhavati. This possiblity of attaining rebirth as Sambhogakaya is mentioned also in Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo, i.e. Tibetan Book of the Dead.

There is no such thing as being "reborn as a Sambhogakaya" and these texts do not talk about being reborn as a sambhogakaya. Sambhogakayas are emanated from the Dharmakaya, not reborn. Nirmanakayas, being flesh bodies, are born.

Aemilius wrote:Tantric visualisation is not something totally different from Mahayana or Sravakayana.


Actually, despite the fact that both involve visualization, there are some very important differences between tantric visualization practices and those of Sutra. If you don't understand what these differences are, then I'm guessing you've never received empowerment and teachings on tantric practice. If that's the case, then you should not be engaging in tantric practice of any kind and you should not suppose that you understand tantra, least of all anuttarayoga tantra. In any case, I'm not sure what this has to do with the question of gender in the pure lands.
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Aemilius » Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:34 pm

Ofcourse I have received intitations, many initiations, more than a 100 initations,... I have also seen how during the past thirty years tibetan religion has gradually become a very dualistic system, now you have an absolute other Dharmakaya and an absolute other Sambhogakaya, but it wasn't always so.
Most certainly there are teachings where you become a Sambhogakaya. In this modern version of Dharma you will always be a small human being and you can only ask for blessings from an absolute other Dharmakaya, an absolute other Sambhogakaya, and so on...
Because you cannot fathom that a real transformation can take place, that you can actually become a real Bodhisattva of the three kayas, you cannot understand that you simultaneously cease to be an ordinary human being, and therefore this issue has a decisive meaning for the original question of this thread.
It is a false idea to think that you are born in the pureland as you ordinary self!
Even as an ordinary deluded human being you go through the process of old age and death, that destroys your object of attachment in this life, you have nothing with you.
As I have said before there is also birth through transformation, not only from a womb, (or from an egg, or from "moisture").
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby rory » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:00 am

If some people wish to argue Tantra, please go to that forum and discuss it all you wish. I have no interest in Tantra teachings. I follow the Pure Land teachings and this is a Pure Land forum.

I follow Honen who indeed said we could go to the Pure Land with our afflictions! And Shinran agrees with this as well. Now let's return to the discussion about Women in the Pure Land, because I will go there in my woman's body and absolutely keep it.
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Jikan » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:01 pm

rory wrote:If some people wish to argue Tantra, please go to that forum and discuss it all you wish. I have no interest in Tantra teachings. I follow the Pure Land teachings and this is a Pure Land forum.


This is an important point. It would be beneficial to discuss an esoteric or tantric understanding of pure land practice in comparison with or contrast to, say, Honen's or Shinran's approach... elsewhere.

I follow Honen who indeed said we could go to the Pure Land with our afflictions! And Shinran agrees with this as well. Now let's return to the discussion about Women in the Pure Land, because I will go there in my woman's body and absolutely keep it.
with gassho
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If you're taking rebirth at all, you're doing so as a consequence of your habitual patterns, and hence, with your afflictions. I'd like to know Honen's understanding of your second claim here, that one can insist on taking a particularly gendered birth in Sukhavati. Speaking for myself, as one who is not eager to celebrate or enforce conventional gender expectations, I see a certain kind of freedom from hangups over gender in descriptions of the Pure Land.
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby rory » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:11 pm

Jikan, a discussion of Pure Land as understood by esoteric schools or, Shingon, Tendai, Ch'an is no problem. I'm familiar with Kakuban's Amida Hishaku. Just don't turn it into a Tantra vs. Pure Land , which is the better philosophy debate. That's all.

As to my keeping a woman's body, why not? Why would there be hang-ups in Sukhavati? Kannon has a female body.
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Astus » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:04 pm

rory wrote:As to my keeping a woman's body, why not? Why would there be hang-ups in Sukhavati? Kannon has a female body.


Also, how does a neither male nor female body look? Like a small child or a very old person?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:30 am

Astus wrote:

Also, how does a neither male nor female body look? Like a small child or a very old person?


Like a Buddha
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby rory » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:37 am

But the Buddha has a penis -with a foreskin; the descriptions are very very clear! Well said Astus:)
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Astus » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:43 am

Besides the Buddha's male genitals he also has half of his chest out of the robe.

A guess it is possible to tell the difference between who's male and who's female:

Image
Image
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Jikan » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:53 pm

rory wrote:As to my keeping a woman's body, why not? Why would there be hang-ups in Sukhavati? Kannon has a female body.
with gassho
Rory


Yes, that's your position, but I was hoping to find out Honen's point of view.

To clarify my earlier point, I don't know if it's productive to make demands on the outcome of practice: i.e., I'll accept birth in Sukhavati only on condition that I do so in a body configured this way instead of that way, &c. (This begs the question: do bodies as we understand them exist in a conventional way in Sukhavati? Do birds?)

Enlightened activity seems to have a way of confounding expectations.
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Astus » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:36 pm

Jikan,

An important point of the Pure Land teaching - as it has developed in East Asia, especially by Honen - is that it is for deluded beings who are profoundly attached to their samsaric existence. The difference between being a PL follower or a non-Buddhist here is that one is very much aware of one's existence as a deluded being and that samsara is the place of suffering. The land of Amita Buddha itself thus is meant to be understood as simply as one can, a wonderful place without any pain where one can eventually attain enlightenment and liberate all beings. In order to conform with common people it is absolutely all right to say that one reappears there in the body one took refuge in Amita Buddha's vow. Whether it actually happens like that or not, how could anyone tell? And that's an important point here. Neither Honen, nor Shinran, nor most of the Pure Land teachers claimed to be enlightened, they had no direct knowledge of the Pure Land itself. They have simply relied on the teachings that say anyone can attain birth through relying on Amita Buddha's vows. It is an inclusive doctrine where sinners and saints can both attain enlightenment.

It is no big problem to come up with different theories about how and why there would or would not be genders. But it's losing the primary goal of the teaching itself, that is, to comply with the karmic inclinations of ordinary humans. This is part of the skill in means of the teaching of Pure Land. Therefore it seems appropriate to say that men and women can be born there in a perfect body, whatever they think a perfect body is. What difference does this faith means? That they have less worries about what is the Pure Land like and if it is really what they want or not.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Jikan » Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:09 pm

Yes, I was posing the question on Honen at least in part socratically: to the best of my knowledge, Honen didn't make many claims on what kind of body one takes if one is so fortunate as born at all in Sukhavati.

Recall the analogy of the man shot through with arrows, and demanding from the physician to know where those arrows came from &c as a prior condition to accepting treatment. Similarly, given that the features of the Pure Land are manifested as upaya by Amitabha for the benefit of beings born there (the birds that aren't really birds for instance), whatever body one may take there has Who Knows what kind of relation to the body one may have had at the time of taking refuge... if one is so fortunate as to have any kind of birth in the Pure Land.
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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby rory » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:00 pm

Of course, no one yet has explained to me why Kannon sama has a woman's body. It's amazing how for thousands of years, monks have been and still tell women that they need a man's body to be born in the Pure Land, but let a woman say she's keeping hers. The arguing! To me as a woman, it's proof of a deep-seated sexism that resists woman or wants them to be neutered to be 'acceptable.' And of course such talk could put off people who want to go to Sukhavati.

Honen achieved the Nembutsu Samadhi in his life and saw Amida and the Pure Land many times during 1198-1206.
http://www.jsri.jp/English/Honen/WRITINGS/sanmai.html and it's just like the Sutras. Surprise.

"In the section, A Record of the Awakening of Samadhi, it states, "During his lifetime, Honen Shonin attained the Recitation Samadhi, always visualized both Amida Buddha and the majestic adornments of His Pure Land, and left a record of this attainment. Seishibo has transmitted this fact."
https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_ ... 7408238537

People think themselves clever, despising form. The Sutra says it is hard to believe!
I'm a woman, a human being filled with afflictions, as everyone is. Honen himself, who was known & famous for observing the precepts, called himself a deluded person full of afflictions. He told women a that they could go to the Pure Land just as they are, as long as they chanted Nembutsu. That's good enough for me.

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Re: Women in Pure Land

Postby Thug4lyfe » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:59 pm

Attachment to the duality of sexes...
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