Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

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DooDoot
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Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by DooDoot » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:51 am

Dear forum

I have often read the common Buddhist view that "female birth is due past life sexual misconduct" has no basis in the teachings of the Buddha or the Nikayas. However, today I read Thig 15.1, which appears to at least infer being born female is due to sexual misconduct in past lives.

Please discuss. Thanks :smile:
In the fair city of Patna, earth’s fairest city,
Named for its beauty after the Trumpet-flower,
Dwelt two saintly Sisters, born of the Sākiyas,

Isidāsī the one, Bodhi the other.
Precept-observers, lovers of Jhāna-rapture,
Learnèd ladies and cleansed from the taint of all worldliness.

These having made their round, and broken their fasting,
Washed their bowls, and sitting in happy seclusion,
Spake thus one to the other, asking and answering:

‘Thou hast a lovely mien, Isidāsī,
Fresh and unwithered yet thy woman’s prime,
What flaw in the life yonder hast thou seen,
That thou didst choose surrender for thy lot?’

Then in that quiet spot Isidāsī,
Skilled in the exposition of the Norm,
Took up her tale and thus did make reply:
‘Hear, Bodhi, how it was that I came forth.

In Ujjenī, Avantī’s foremost town,
My father dwells, a virtuous citizen,
His only daughter I, his well-beloved,
The fondly cherished treasure of his life.

Now from Sāketa came a citizen
Of the first rank and rich exceedingly
To ask my hand in marriage for his son.
And father gave me him, as daughter-in-law.

My salutation morn and eve I brought
To both the parents of my husband, low
Bowing my head and kneeling at their feet,
According to the training given me.

My husband’s sisters and his brothers too,
And all his kin, scarce were they entered when
I rose in timid zeal and gave them place.

And as to food, or boiled or dried, and drink,
That which was to be stored I set aside,
And served it out and gave to whom ’twas due.

Rising betimes, I went about the house,
Then with my hands and feet well cleansed I went
To bring respectful greeting to my lord,

And taking comb and mirror, unguents, soap,
I dressed and groomed him as a handmaid might.

I boiled the rice, I washed the pots and pans;
And as a mother on her only child,
So did I minister to my good man.

For me, who with toil infinite thus worked,
And rendered service with a humble mind,
Rose early, ever diligent and good,
For me he nothing felt save sore dislike.

Nay, to his mother and his father he
Thus spake:—‘Give ye me leave and I will go,
For not with Isidāsī will I live
Beneath one roof, nor ever dwell with her.’

‘O son, speak not on this wise of thy wife,
For wise is Isidāsī and discreet,
An early riser and a housewife diligent.
Say, doth she find no favour in thine eyes?’

‘In nothing doth she work me harm, and yet
With Isidāsī will I never live.
I cannot suffer her. Let be, let be!
Give ye me leave and I will go away.’

And when they heard, mother and father-in-law
Asked of me: ‘What then hast thou done t’ offend?
Speak to us freely, child, and speak the truth.’

‘Naught have I done that could offend, nor harm,
Nor nagged at evil words. What can I do,
That me my husband should so sore mislike?’

To guard and keep their son, they took me back,
Unwilling guides, to father’s house, distressed,
Distraught: ‘Alas! we’re beaten, pretty Luck!’

Then father gave me for the second time as bride,
Content with half my husband’s sire had paid.

From that house too, when I had dwelt a month,
I was sent back, though I had worked and served,
Blameless and virtuous, as any slave.

And yet a third, a friar begging alms—
One who had self controlled, and could control
Favour in fellow-men—my father met
And spake him thus: ‘Be thou my son-in-law!
Come, throw away that ragged robe and pot!’

He came, and so we dwelt one half moon more
Together. Then to father thus he spake:
‘O give me back my frock, my bowl and cup.
Let me away to seek once more my scraps.’

Then to him father, mother, all the tribe
Of kinsfolk clamouring: ‘What is it then
Here dwelling likes you not? Say quick, what is’t
That we can do to make you better pleased?’

Then he: ‘If for myself I can suffice,
Enough for me. One thing I know:—beneath
One roof with Isidāsī I’ll not live!’

Dismissed he went. I too, alone I thought.
And then I asked my parents’ leave to die,
Or, that they suffer me to leave the world.

Now Lady Jinadattā on her beat
Came by my father’s house for daily alms,
Mindful of every moral precept, she,
Learnèd and expert in the Vinaya.

And seeing her we rose, and I prepared
A seat for her, and as she sat I knelt,
Then gave her food, both boiled and dried,

And water—dishes we had set aside—
And satisfied her hunger. Then I said:
‘Lady, I wish to leave the world.’ ‘Why here,’

My father said, ‘dear child, is scope for thee
To walk according to the Norm. With food
And drink canst gratify the holy folk
And the twice-born. But of my father I,

Weeping and holding out clasped hands, besought:
‘Nay, but the evil karma I have done,
That would I expiate and wear away.’

Then father said: ‘Win thou Enlightenment
And highest Truth, and gain Nibbana.
That Hath He, the Best of Beings, realized.’

Then to my mother and my father dear,
And all my kinsfolk tribe I bade farewell.
And only seven days had I gone forth
Ere I had touched and won the Threefold Lore.

Then did I come to know my former births,
E’en seven thereof, and how e’en now I reap
The harvest, the result, that then I sowed.
That will I now declare to thee, an thou
Wilt listen single-minded to my tale.

In Erakaccha’s town of yore I lived,
A wealthy craftsman in all works of gold.
Incensed by youth’s hot blood, a wanton, I
Assailed the virtue of my neighbours’ wives.

Therefrom deceasing, long I cooked in hell,
Till, fully ripened, I emerged, and then
Found rebirth in the body of an ape.

Scarce seven days I lived before the great
Dog-ape, the monkeys’ chief, castrated me.
Such was the fruit of my lasciviousness.

Therefrom deceasing in the woods of Sindh,
Reborn the offspring of a one-eyed goat

And lame; twelve years a gelding, gnawn by worms,
Unfit, I carried children on my back.
Such was the fruit of my lasciviousness.

Therefrom deceasing, I again found birth,
The offspring of a cattle-dealer’s cow,
A calf of lac-red hue; in the twelfth month

Castrated, yoked, I drew the plough and cart,
Purblind and worried, driven and unfit.
Such was the fruit of my lasciviousness.

Therefrom deceasing, even in the street
I came to birth, child of a household slave,
Neither of woman nor of man my sex.
Such was the fruit of my lasciviousness.

At thirty years of age I died, and was reborn
A girl, the daughter of a carter, poor
And of ill-fortune, and oppressed with debts
Incurred to usurers. To pay the sum

Of interest that ever grew and swelled,
In place of money, woeful little me
The merchant of a caravan dragged off,
Bearing me weeping from my home.

Now in my sixteenth year, when I
Blossomed a maiden, that same merchant’s son,
Giridāsa the name of him, loved me
And made me wife. Another wife he had,

A virtuous dame of parts and of repute,
Enamoured of her mate. And thus I brought
Discord and enmity within that house.

Fruit of my karma was it thus that they,
In this last life, have slighted me, e’en tho’
I waited on them as their humble slave.
Well! of all that now have I made an end!”

https://suttacentral.net/thig15.1/en/caf_rhysdavids

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Sam Vara
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:25 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:51 am
Dear forum

I have often read the common Buddhist view that "female birth is due past life sexual misconduct" has no basis in the teachings of the Buddha or the Nikayas. However, today I read Thig 15.1, which appears to at least infer being born female is due to sexual misconduct in past lives.
In this list of horrible rebirths, being reborn a human female seems the least of it, even in a strongly patriarchal society. And in those two human rebirths themselves, the main point seems to be the slavery and the discord rather than the femaleness.

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DooDoot
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by DooDoot » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:42 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:25 am
In this list of horrible rebirths, being reborn a human female seems the least of it, even in a strongly patriarchal society. And in those two human rebirths themselves, the main point seems to be the slavery and the discord rather than the femaleness.
There is the sutta on the seven types of wife and it appears in the above sutta the term "slave" ("dasi") refers to the 7th kind of wife.

santa100
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by santa100 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:03 pm

DooDoot wrote:However, today I read Thig 15.1, which appears to at least infer being born female is due to sexual misconduct in past lives.
I don't see any inference there. Notice her evil kamma from a previous life was: "Assailed the virtue of my neighbours’ wives", and so kamma will dictate subsequent rebirths that are best conducive to the manifestation of its fruits. It's no different than the case of, say a man committed the evil kamma of mass killing. And so, odds are that in subsequent rebirths, he'd be more likely to be reborn as a male growing up in a violent environment that will typically expect/require men to take up arms, engage in fierce combat and get killed in the most ghastly horrific way. Being born male or female is just incidental. It's whatever form that is most conducive to the manifestation of kamma vipaka that is relevant here.

cookiemonster
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by cookiemonster » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:40 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:51 am
Dear forum

I have often read the common Buddhist view that "female birth is due past life sexual misconduct" has no basis in the teachings of the Buddha or the Nikayas. However, today I read Thig 15.1, which appears to at least infer being born female is due to sexual misconduct in past lives.

Please discuss. Thanks :smile:
What would you like to discuss about it?

What matters is how we act in the here-and-now in whatever situation we might find ourselves in, not our residual vipaka from our past kamma.

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DooDoot
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by DooDoot » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:26 am

cookiemonster wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:40 pm
What matters is how we act in the here-and-now in whatever situation we might
The topic appears related to the present because the present determines the future.
cookiemonster wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:40 pm
What would you like to discuss about it?
My impression is Theravadans often say this reincarnation as a woman belief has no basis in the Pali teachings or is Mahayana. This does not appear to be the case.
santa100 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:03 pm
Being born male or female is just incidental.
Well, general Buddhism appears to not say this. For example:
Attachments
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salayatananirodha
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by salayatananirodha » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:37 am

Female on the whole may be the less fortunate of two genders but I thought the point was that she couldn't keep a husband.
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

santa100
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by santa100 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:30 am

DooDoot wrote:Well, general Buddhism appears to not say this. For example:
Let's be more precise on what general Buddhism is, those general Buddhist authors (even including the world's most renowned monks from ancient to modern time) are entitled to their opinions. But that doesn't prove anything about the position of the the Buddha's words in the Suttas as have been mentioned in my previous post.

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StormBorn
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by StormBorn » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:49 am

AN 2.61 says,
“Mendicants, females die without getting enough of two things. What two? Sexual intercourse and giving birth. Females die without getting enough of these two things.”
One might argue that there's a correlation with this sutta, and the idea of the female rebirth due to sexual misconduct since all these related to an excessive sensual desire. But having no parallel (according to suttacentral) might even suggest that sutta is a later addition bent on a negative biased view towards females.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

TRobinson465
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by TRobinson465 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:17 pm

Interesting. It's possible that this is where the commentators got that conclusion. As it is not really said explicitly in any suttas that being born female is due to sexual misconduct kamma.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

TRobinson465
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by TRobinson465 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:19 pm

StormBorn wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:49 am
AN 2.61 says,
“Mendicants, females die without getting enough of two things. What two? Sexual intercourse and giving birth. Females die without getting enough of these two things.”
One might argue that there's a correlation with this sutta, and the idea of the female rebirth due to sexual misconduct since all these related to an excessive sensual desire. But having no parallel (according to suttacentral) might even suggest that sutta is a later addition bent on a negative biased view towards females.
This could be a later addition. Or, at best, not to be taken literally. As this clearly makes no sense if taken literally. I'm sure we know plenty of females who do not get enuff of these two things and certainly dont die.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

dharmacorps
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:53 pm

My reading of this sutta is about a specific individuals experiences throughout many lifetimes is mediated by many aspects of kamma, which is very, very complex. I don't take away any generalities from this sutta, least of which that sexual misconduct results in birth as a female, nor the idea that being born female is inherently less fortunate.

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cappuccino
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by cappuccino » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:47 am

there are conditions more difficult than others

and I would think a more difficult condition is from karma

although

who doesn't have a difficult condition of some kind?
“Life is anxiety”

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Volovsky
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Re: Born female due to sexual misconduct in past lives

Post by Volovsky » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:47 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:51 am
Dear forum

I have often read the common Buddhist view that "female birth is due past life sexual misconduct" has no basis in the teachings of the Buddha or the Nikayas. However, today I read Thig 15.1, which appears to at least infer being born female is due to sexual misconduct in past lives.

Please discuss. Thanks :smile:
May be I didn't understand properly the lofty poetic English of the verses, but I don't see, where does it say that female birth is a result of sexual misconduct. Could you point to where is it exactly?

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