The Imaginariums of the Nuns: Days That Are Past and Futures That May Yet Be

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16989
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

The Imaginariums of the Nuns: Days That Are Past and Futures That May Yet Be

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:19 am

The Imaginariums of the Nuns: Days That Are Past and Futures That May Yet Be

Sujato's Blog August 10, 2015.
https://sujato.wordpress.com/2015/08/10 ... ay-yet-be/

A thoughtful analysis of Bhikknuis'/Womens' issues...
Sujato wrote: ... if we are to have a future, it will be a future with nuns, and specifically with bhikkhunīs. The alternative is to let Buddhism be owned by the patriarchs, who coopted the Dhamma, used it to accumulate power, prestige, and real estate, and who hang on to these things even as they fade away into irrelevance. But this is no future at all. There is tremendous vitality and energy within the Buddhist world, we can see it in so many ways everywhere we look. And none of it, none of the spark, the renewal, the creation of possible futures, is happening within the halls of the patriarchs.

I became interested in the bhikkhunī issue when I noticed, as many people do, that most of the people who come to learn and practice Dhamma are women. Why is this so? One patriarch in Thailand, so I heard, said it was because all the dedicated men have ordained as monks. Ridiculous; the same phenomenon is seen everywhere, in places where there are few monastics of any sort; and anyway, it’s the same in other religions as well.

I asked a man at my former monastery in Thailand, and he said, “It’s because the men are working hard and have no time to come to the monastery.” “Funny,” I thought, “I always seem to see women working hard in the villages and men lounging around all day.”

So I did something very few monks ever seem to think of: I asked a woman for her opinion. She said, “It’s because the men prefer to go gambling, drinking, and whoring while their wives are at the temple.”

Tempting as it is, I don’t think that’s really the answer either. These are just imaginariums: worlds we live in that we build from our own thoughts and ideas. These worlds have some relation to the facts, but they are flexible and uncertain.

In my own imaginarium, the real reason why most spiritual seekers are women is because they are disempowered. It is because the opportunities for them in other spheres of life have been successively blocked or restricted. In addition to the absolute barriers of overtly sexist cultural constructs, there is the more subtle, pervasive, and ultimately more damaging “soft sexism,” which does not actually stop women from doing anything, but adds a grit to whatever women do, slowing them down, and making everything more work than it needs be. Everything is harder for women than it is for men.

So, they end up turning inwards. Let go of the external: you’ll never change it anyway, right? Change yourself, that’s the real Dhamma anyway.
...
[My emphasis.]

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
imagemarie
Posts: 420
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: The Imaginariums of the Nuns: Days That Are Past and Futures That May Yet Be

Post by imagemarie » Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:45 am

Thank-you for posting this.

:anjali:

User avatar
Pasada
Posts: 81
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:20 am

Re: The Imaginariums of the Nuns: Days That Are Past and Futures That May Yet Be

Post by Pasada » Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:24 am

Wow...this is excellent. I thought this passage was especially powerful:
This is an area where women are the experts. Women are used to being judged and judging on appearances. Femininity is a performance, to be beholden and to be criticized, by men and women. If you are a human being who happens to be female, becoming a monastic is a decision to stop the performance of femininity. For monks, whose monasticism is also a performance, this is not easy to accept.
:anjali:

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23045
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: The Imaginariums of the Nuns: Days That Are Past and Futures That May Yet Be

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:26 am

Pasada wrote:Wow...this is excellent. I thought this passage was especially powerful:
This is an area where women are the experts. Women are used to being judged and judging on appearances. Femininity is a performance, to be beholden and to be criticized, by men and women. If you are a human being who happens to be female, becoming a monastic is a decision to stop the performance of femininity. For monks, whose monasticism is also a performance, this is not easy to accept.
:anjali:
That quote certainly is a bunch of stereotypical sppech.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
Sea Turtle
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:47 pm

Re: The Imaginariums of the Nuns: Days That Are Past and Futures That May Yet Be

Post by Sea Turtle » Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:15 pm

mikenz66 wrote:The Imaginariums of the Nuns: Days That Are Past and Futures That May Yet Be

Sujato's Blog August 10, 2015.
https://sujato.wordpress.com/2015/08/10 ... ay-yet-be/
Thank you for posting the link to this paper. As a female and a lay practitioner, some of it resonated with me and some of it did not. However, I very much value the conversation.

With respect,
Helena

:anjali:

User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 1049
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Imaginariums of the Nuns: Days That Are Past and Futures That May Yet Be

Post by JamesTheGiant » Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:58 pm

Sujato is so great. A couple of my fellow monks have agreed that if Sujato ever becomes an abbot or director of his own monastery again, we will go live there.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend quite a lot of time with him in the past few years... Talking with him is like a bucket of refreshing cold clear water over the head.

User avatar
Pasada
Posts: 81
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:20 am

Re: The Imaginariums of the Nuns: Days That Are Past and Futures That May Yet Be

Post by Pasada » Thu Nov 12, 2015 3:43 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Pasada wrote:Wow...this is excellent. I thought this passage was especially powerful:
This is an area where women are the experts. Women are used to being judged and judging on appearances. Femininity is a performance, to be beholden and to be criticized, by men and women. If you are a human being who happens to be female, becoming a monastic is a decision to stop the performance of femininity. For monks, whose monasticism is also a performance, this is not easy to accept.
:anjali:
That quote certainly is a bunch of stereotypical sppech.
How so? I don't find it to be stereotypical at all.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: auto, Bing [Bot], Keith, retrofuturist, Sam Vara, thepea and 256 guests