Gender and the Sakyadhita

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MarkoBeocanin
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Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by MarkoBeocanin » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:38 am

Hello everyone :)

My name is Marko Beocanin and I am currently undertaking a course in Society and Culture in school. For a project I am working on, I have been looking at Gender in Buddhism, and I hope to respectfully ask anyone on the forum for their opinion as a Buddhist on two questions I've been working with.

1. Do you think Buddhism has a specific stance on gender and gender roles, especially the roles of women?
2. What are your thoughts on the work of Buddhist groups such as Sakyadhita that actively work in initiatives such as the support of nun-ordination and female education programs?

I also respectfully ask if I may anonymously quote any responses to these questions in a research report I am producing. However, if you prefer to not be quoted, I would still greatly appreciate some discussion. :)

Thank you everyone, have an amazing day!

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Wizard in the Forest
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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:41 pm

1. Yes.

2. I'm in favor of ordinations and female education.

What specifically are you asking about with regard to gender roles as described by the Buddha or by Buddhists?
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by DooDoot » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:19 pm

MarkoBeocanin wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:38 am
1. Do you think Buddhism has a specific stance on gender and gender roles, especially the roles of women?
The most basic Right View in Buddhism is "there is mother & father" therefore obviously there are gender roles in Buddhism. From the Pali suttas:
And what, bhikkhus, is wrong view? ‘There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed; no fruit or result of good and bad actions; no this world, no other world; no mother, no father; no beings who are reborn spontaneously; no good and virtuous recluses and brahmins in the world who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ This is wrong view.

And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is affected by the taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions? ‘There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are beings who are reborn spontaneously; there are in the world good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ This is right view affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions.

https://suttacentral.net/mn117/en/bodhi
Mother and father are called
"Brahma," "early teachers"
And "worthy of veneration,"
Being compassionate towards
Their family of children.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... ml#iti-106
In five ways, young householder, should a wife as the West be ministered to by a husband:

(i) by being courteous to her,
(ii) by not despising her,
(iii) by being faithful to her,
(iv) by handing over authority to her,
(v) by providing her with adornments.

"The wife thus ministered to as the West by her husband shows her compassion to her husband in five ways:

(i) she performs her duties well,
(ii) she is hospitable to relations and attendants
(iii) she is faithful,
(iv) she protects what he brings,
(v) she is skilled and industrious in discharging her duties.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nara.html
Pali sutta teachings specific to women can be found in Section 37 of the Samyutta Nikaya, here: https://suttacentral.net/sn37

Even the Vinaya rules for monks & nuns have some differences, which reflect gender:

* Bhikkhu Pāṭimokkha https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... -pati.html

* Bhikkhunī Pāṭimokkha https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... -pati.html
MarkoBeocanin wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:38 am
2. What are your thoughts on the work of Buddhist groups such as Sakyadhita that actively work in initiatives such as the support of nun-ordination and female education programs?
I have no knowledge of Sakyadhita.

Best wishes :smile:
Never ordained... not an anonymous-online-bhikkhu or ex-bhikkhu...

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DooDoot
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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by DooDoot » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:55 pm

MarkoBeocanin wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:38 am
1. Do you think Buddhism has a specific stance on gender and gender roles, especially the roles of women?

2. What are your thoughts on the work of Buddhist groups such as Sakyadhita that actively work in initiatives such as the support of nun-ordination and female education programs?
Also, to add to or clarify my previous post:

1. Buddhism has different teachings for laypeople and for monks/nuns.

2. Gender roles are more important for laypeople than for monks & nuns; given monks & nuns basically have the same purpose.

3. Therefore, gender roles appear unrelated to Sakyadhita because any obstacles to female ordination in countries such as Thailand or Burma is not related to gender roles but is related to the historical breaking of the bhikkhuni (nun) lineage and the respective institutional views towards this.

4. This said, in a culture such as Thailand, monks are considered role models for laymen where as nuns are generally not considered role models for laywomen. Thai women often do not respect nuns as they respect monks (although it may be difficult to research this as a fact).
Thai men can enter a monastery at any stage in their life. However, doing so before marriage is often seen as a sign that a man will be a devoted and thoughtful husband, able to guide his wife on the right path. Some women may even not consent to marry a man who has not ordained, with those who have spent time as a monk is considered ‘ripe’.

Traditionally, parents in Thailand play a big part in choosing spouses for their children. It is not uncommon for a woman’s family to look unfavourably upon a suitor who has not spent time in a monastery. For them, displaying a willingness to live a simple life and learn more about the Buddhist faith can say much about a man’s character.

https://theculturetrip.com/asia/thailan ... g-married/
"The second rite in the life span of most Thai men is ordination into the monk hood. Traditionally, a young man is not socially accepted until he has become a monk, and many parents insist that after a son reaches the age of twenty he will be ordained before marriage or starting an official career. There are also many other reasons for entering the monk hood, such as to make merit for departed souls of relatives, or for one's parents when they are still living, or to repay a promise to the Buddha after asking him to solve personal or family problems.

Ordination takes place all through the month of July, before the three-month retreat during the rainy season. The man's head is shaved and he wears a white robe for a day before he is officially ordained; there is chanting and celebration and, in rural areas, the whole community joins in and thereby gains merit. On the day of the ceremony, the prospective monk is taken around the temple three times and then into its convention hall, where all the monks await him. Having been previously trained, he undergoes an enquiry by a senior monk in front of the Buddha image, and if he satisfies all the conditions for becoming a monk, the congregation accepts him. He is then instructed on his obligations, dons saffron robes, and is admitted as a monk. For the next three months of the rainy season he is expected to live at the wat, exemplifying the Buddhist ideal in life and undergoing rigorous training in body and mind control, after which he may, if he chooses, return to being a layman."

https://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.c ... of-passage
There was a famous Thai monk named Buddhadasa Bhikkhu who publish a rant against Feminism but his American leftwing translator had it removed. All that I can find of this rant is:
Equal rights for women deprive the world of both fathers and mothers, leaving only sexless neuters.

http://e4thai.com/e4e/images/pdf2/THE%2 ... ELIEVE.pdf
The same old monk says something here:
Now, let us look at the words "female" and "male". In everyday, worldly language, these words mean the two sexesÐthe female sex and the male sex. In Dhamma language, however, they refer to the distinguishing marks and signs of certain duties which Nature has assigned to human beings: duties which must be performed co-operatively, in partnership. Female and male have nothing to do with the exchange and consumption of sexual flavors. Rather, they point to the fact that human beings must exist in the world and that the species must not become extinct. This means that the human race must be preserved through the duty of reproduction for as long a time as is necessary for humanity to realize the highest Dhamma, Nibbana. The duties called for by this necessity must be divided between the female and male. Once the female and male exist, they help each other to lighten their burdens by dividing their everyday responsibilities and work, which, when done correctly, is Dhamma practice.

In Dhamma language, the signs of the duties which Nature has stipulated in this way are known as "female" and "male". This isn't the lowly meaning assumed in everyday language. We shouldn't think of female and male solely in terms of an instinctual animal activity. Rather, we ought to think of them as signs of the division of those duties which can be carried out properly only in co-operation

http://dhammatalks.net/Books5/Bhikkhu_B ... nguage.htm
Articles like this might be helpful:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... riage.html

https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Bhan ... elieve.htm

Best wishes :smile:
Never ordained... not an anonymous-online-bhikkhu or ex-bhikkhu...

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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:59 pm

women can fulfill the highest goal of buddhist practice, which is arahantship. in this way we purport women's competency. womanhood as an identity and a preparation are to be transcended by wisdom. specifically reaching out to women, idk, depends
like, prioritizing one's generosity and compassion based on who's suffering the most isn't a buddhist viewpoint. delighting in open-handedness and boundless compassion are ideal. better to make one's education as broad and accessible and free as possible, even better if the educated go on to become ariyas, noble people. do we need to import nuns into western countries?
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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by MarkoBeocanin » Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:44 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:41 pm

What specifically are you asking about with regard to gender roles as described by the Buddha or by Buddhists?
Thank you for your answers :)

I'm looking at the relationships between the two - as in, how gender roles are fundamentally described by the Buddha, and how these are interpreted and carried out in the present by Buddhists. I'm also asking for your personal interpretation of sacred literature - what do you think of gender roles as a Buddhist?

Thank you very much, have a great day.

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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:49 am

Greetings,
MarkoBeocanin wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:44 am
I'm looking at the relationships between the two - as in, how gender roles are fundamentally described by the Buddha, and how these are interpreted and carried out in the present by Buddhists. I'm also asking for your personal interpretation of sacred literature - what do you think of gender roles as a Buddhist?
Many Western Buddhists seem to compartmentalize these two aspects, and source their "gender" information nowadays from secular Cultural Marxist sources, instead of from the Buddhist scriptures. If they actually took it from the scriptures, it would be more like what DooDoot described.

In traditionally Theravadin countries, I'm sure gender roles are more closely aligned with the suttas, since the Dhamma has permeated the culture more comprehensively, whereas in the West, contemporary culture is dominated by secular "liberal" and "progressive" voices.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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DooDoot
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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by DooDoot » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:37 am

MarkoBeocanin wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:44 am
I'm looking at the relationships between the two - as in, how gender roles are fundamentally described by the Buddha, and how these are interpreted and carried out in the present by Buddhists.
I basically provided you with most of what the Buddha had to say therefore it probably time for you to do your homework and read what i posted. Keep in mind there was no universal birth control in the Buddha's time therefore the vast majority of women had many children and lived in large families or clans. The teachings are also summarised here:

https://www.mahidol.ac.th/budsir/Part2_3.htm#13
https://www.mahidol.ac.th/budsir/Contents.html

Best wishes. :smile:
Never ordained... not an anonymous-online-bhikkhu or ex-bhikkhu...

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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:43 am

MarkoBeocanin wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:44 am
I'm looking at the relationships between the two - as in, how gender roles are fundamentally described by the Buddha, and how these are interpreted and carried out in the present by Buddhists. I'm also asking for your personal interpretation of sacred literature - what do you think of gender roles as a Buddhist?
The gender differences are well described in the resources that have already been linked to and the husband/wife dynamic of that time is described in more detail in the Sigalovada Sutta.
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=31978 the vinaya differences in rules for monastics are outlined in that thread.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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DooDoot
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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by DooDoot » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:44 am

You can also browse the Verses of the Nuns and see if any had anything to say about their former lives as wives, mothers or prostitutes:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... index.html
https://suttacentral.net/thig

:smile:
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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by DNS » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:17 am

So freed! So thoroughly freed am I! from three crooked things set free: from mortar, pestle, & crooked old husband. Having uprooted the craving that leads to becoming, I'm set free from aging & death.
Therigatha 1.11 Mutta
(Therigatha is a compilation of poems from enlightened nuns during the Buddha's time.)

"crooked old husband" :D

There were fully ordained nuns during the time of the Buddha and the Buddha set-up a 4-fold assembly of monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen. Each had different roles, but all had access to the Dhamma, the teachings and the potential to attain full-enlightenment.

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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:34 am

DNS wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:17 am
So freed! So thoroughly freed am I! from three crooked things set free: from mortar, pestle, & crooked old husband. Having uprooted the craving that leads to becoming, I'm set free from aging & death.
Therigatha 1.11 Mutta
Good find!
See: https://suttacentral.net/thig
Specifically: https://suttacentral.net/thig1.11/

:heart:
Mike

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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by JohnK » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:44 pm

MarkoBeocanin wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:38 am
Do you think Buddhism has a specific stance on gender and gender roles, especially the roles of women?
Hello, Marko.
Like Christianity, Buddhism is not monolithic, so the question itself is a bit tricky.
Here on this Theravada forum, as you have seen, many will point you to the Pali Canon for the real word on "Buddhism's stance."
However, especially from a "Society and Culture" perspective, it is important to realize that different forms of Buddhism have evolved as the original teachings and social structures have been influenced by and have influenced the different societies and cultures that have been exposed to them. Actually, a very interesting and complex subject.
Perhaps you are already very aware of this, but I thought I would mention, just in case.
Good luck.
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by paul » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:53 pm

MarkoBeocanin wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:38 am
1. Do you think Buddhism has a specific stance on gender and gender roles, especially the roles of women?
The Buddha's instruction is that gender roles must be overcome:

"And how is there lack of bondage? A woman does not attend inwardly to her feminine faculties... feminine charms. She is not excited by that, not delighted by that... does not attend outwardly to masculine faculties... masculine charms. She is not excited by that, not delighted by that... does not want to be bonded to what is outside her, does not want whatever pleasure & happiness that arise based on that bond. Not delighting, not caught up in her femininity, a woman does not go into bondage with reference to men. This is how a woman transcends her femininity.

"A man does not attend inwardly to his masculine faculties... masculine charms. He is not excited by that, not delighted by that... does not attend outwardly to feminine faculties... feminine charms. He is not excited by that, not delighted by that... does not want to be bonded to what is outside him, does not want whatever pleasure & happiness that arise based on that bond. Not delighting, not caught up in his masculinity, a man does not go into bondage with reference to women. This is how a man transcends his masculinity.

"This is how there is lack of bondage. And this is the Dhamma discourse on bondage & lack of bondage."---Anguttara Nikaya, 7:48

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Re: Gender and the Sakyadhita

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:48 am

Greetings,

:goodpost:

This is a good example of "right view without effluents", conducive to transcendence.
MN 117 wrote:"And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions [of becoming]; there is right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.

"And what is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening, the path factor of right view[1] in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.
Conventional gender-specific teachings fall into the "right view with effluents" category.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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