Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

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2ndchance
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Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by 2ndchance » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:54 am

May I humbly ask all here .. do you think that men in general are more interested in Enlightenment, more interested in Buddhism than women?

I have researched a lot of books a lot of masters throughout the world and I have made some observations.

1) There are many more monks in the far east and south east regions than there are number of nuns.

2) The number of male spiritual teachers, not only in Buddhism but in Daoism and Hinduism as well, far surpass the number of female spiritual teachers.

3) On the internet, there seems to be more male practitioners of Buddhism, more male practitioners of Daoism than females.

Why is there such an interesting disparity in numbers?

In my heart, I just can't understand or even accept the fact that women are not as interested in Enlightenment as men.

Maybe I am wrong so please teach me and correct me in my understanding of the gender differences.

:thanks:

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Queequeg
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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:01 am

Some people might think this is controversial. Others will think its controversial that its controversial. Others will be appalled that some think its controversial that its controversial. Some will think... too much.

I don't know if its nature or nurture, but seems to me, men and women are different. That's a big, broad statement, with full awareness of all the exceptions known and unknown.

I don't think its a stretch to say that men and women approach matters of the spirit differently. My observations confirm this, but maybe I'm just projecting. :shrug:

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Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:08 am

The Therigatha (Therīgāthā), often translated as Verses of the Elder Nuns (Pāli: therī elder (feminine) + gāthā verses), is a Buddhist text, a collection of short poems of early women who were elder nuns (having experienced 10 Vassa or monsoon periods). The poems date from a three hundred year period, with some dated as early as the late 6th century BCE.[1] In the Pāli Canon, the Therigatha is classified as part of the Khuddaka Nikaya, the collection of short books in the Sutta Pitaka. It consists of 73 poems organized into 16 chapters. It is the companion text to the Theragatha, verses attributed to senior monks.

It is the earliest known collection of women's literature composed in India.
~ Wikipedia.
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如傑優婆塞
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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by 如傑優婆塞 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:20 am

What does womanhood matter at all
When the mind is concentrated well,
When knowledge flows on steadily
As one sees correctly into Dhamma.

One to whom it might occur,
'I'm a woman' or 'I'm a man'
Or 'I'm anything at all' —
Is fit for Mara to address.

This

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Vasana
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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Vasana » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:43 am

These questions can't be approached without addressing the role of things like patriarchy, cultural values and norms and the opportunities and expectations placed on women. If women have traditionally lacked the same opportunities as men in many places of the world then of course this will also include religious opportunity.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Ayu » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:55 am

2nd chance, your observations have nothing to do with women's interest in Dharma. Women's minds are similar to man's. They are persons, human beings, with a similar mind as everybody else.

Your observation is caused by the general neglecting of women. They are simply forgotten, nobody looks at them in this man's world. It is that simple.
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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Sādhaka » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:28 am

Ayu wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:55 am
It is that simple.

No it’s not.

“Karen Straughan” wrote:What does it mean to be a man? Not what it once did. The burdens and demands placed on men remain the same as they always were: Be a provider. Be a protector. Be competent. Be a leader. Be useful and self-sufficient. Be of service. Do that, and you used to be considered a good man.

But these days, when men do not comply with these expectations, they’re vilified as man-babies, deadbeats and losers. And when they do comply, they’re castigated as chauvinists, troglodytes and tyrants. How are men supposed to construct a positive self-identity when they can’t win for losing?

Whether this is a man’s world or not is off topic though. I just wanted to point out that it is not that simple.
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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Ayu » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:43 am

Sadhaka, I never doubted that... And it's off topic, yes.

I forgot to add: in my sangha there are 90% women as students. There are as many female translators as male. We have eight German nuns and three Tibetan monks. German monks are seldom and they quit more easily.

On the German wikipedia startpage I often read the list of recently passed famous persons. I like to know who is gone. If you study that list, you could believe only men die. This gives me the impression that women are a forgotten group in our society.
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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Sādhaka » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:08 am

Ayu wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:43 am
Sadhaka, I never doubted that... And it's off topic, yes.

I forgot to add: in my sangha there are 90% women as students. There are as many female translators as male. We have eight German nuns and three Tibetan monks. German monks are seldom and they quit more easily.

On the German wikipedia startpage I often read the list of recently passed famous persons. I like to know who is gone. If you study that list, you could believe only men die. This gives me the impression that women are a forgotten group in our society.

Well looking here:

Quick Search on Popular Search Engine

It looks pretty close to me. Maybe 60/40 male/female respectively. Perhaps that women generally have slightly longer lifespans has something to do with it? IMO famous people in this contemporary world aren’t a good measure for much of anything really anyway. Most of them are not worth looking up to. They’re simply charismatic, so often what they say about serious issues or political issues seems more touching, poignant, or important than it really is.

Anyhow, when I go to Dharma events, it’s mostly older people, and about equal numbers female & male. Usually a few more females than males actually. Sometimes a small number of younger women. There was a teaching I went to where all of the ordained Sangha were monks. No nuns, and about eight monks.

As a late thirties male, I’m usually the youngest or one of the youngest men there at any given Dharma event; with occasional exceptions.

But I don’t think that any of this necessarily indicates a concrete answer to the OP’s question.
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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by muni » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:08 pm

May I humbly ask all here .. do you think that men in general are more interested in Enlightenment, more interested in Buddhism than women?
I do not think so. :namaste:
Which human beings are “fortunate and connected?” They are the ones who generate love, compassion, and devotion, as well as the commitment to remain steadfast on the path until all beings are liberated. Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches.

Examining the faults of others will not benefit anyone and only leads to more disturbing emotions, blocking our path to liberation. Penor Rinpoche

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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by seeker242 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:45 pm

2ndchance wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:54 am
do you think that men in general are more interested in Enlightenment, more interested in Buddhism than women?
No. Those points mentioned are a reflection of a woman's status in the culture, not a reflection of their interest.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:46 pm

Vasana wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:43 am
These questions can't be approached without addressing the role of things like patriarchy, cultural values and norms and the opportunities and expectations placed on women. If women have traditionally lacked the same opportunities as men in many places of the world then of course this will also include religious opportunity.
^^^This^^^
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Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:39 pm

I realize I left out the main point of my response above.

Those three metrics by which the OP comes to their question I think are going to be unreliable.

In my observation, I've seen more women involved in practicing religion - maybe they don't have the ostentatious symbols like shaved heads and robes, don't have the status of teachers, or spend (waste) their time online with hair splitting debates, but women make up a healthy proportion of most of the actual living religious communities I've observed up close.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Nemo » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:08 pm

Who is taller men or women? But Asian men are tiny and my daughter dwarfs them. Since there are always many women pregnant the average number skeletons in a human body is greater than 1. Playing with numbers can be silly.

It sounds like someone with an axe to grind wanting to make a sweeping judgement on half the world's population to me. Is taking each human individually too difficult? Deciding who is better is the back road to exclusion and prejudice.

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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:16 pm

Every meatspace sangha I've been involved with has been like 70% women. Demographically though, we are talking mostly baby boomers, and i'm in the US so...
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:23 am

It has been my experience that in both Taiwan and in the United States,
as far as non-monastics, there tends to be a lot of, if not more, women in mahayana and vajrayana dharma centers.
In Theravadin tradition, I think the lineage of female monastics (nuns) died out long ago but there is an interest in reviving it.
So, all the monastics in theravadin countries are men.
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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Matt J » Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:29 am

Gender discrimination has a long history. If anyone is interested about a strong willed modern woman practitioner overcoming this, I would recommend Tenzin Palmo's Cave in the Snow. She was taken in by a group of Tibetans probably because she was a Westerner, but due to her gender was initially only taught Buddhist morality tales.

I was so taken by her story that I learned on could sponsor nuns at her monastery--- where they are taught the entirety of the dharma. If anyone feels so inclined to take a step against sexism, it is a good start: https://shop.tenzinpalmo.com/collection ... nsor-a-nun

Her book:
https://www.amazon.com/Cave-Snow-Wester ... 0747543895
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by Daizan » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:44 am

2ndchance wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:54 am
3) On the internet, there seems to be more male practitioners of Buddhism, more male practitioners of Daoism than females.
It is interesting that the male to female ratio on this forum is severely skewed to the male, in this supposedly modern egalitarian age.

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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by shaunc » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:45 am

My observation at a thai Buddhist temple in my city is that it's predominantly women who are turning up regularly to prepare the lunchtime meal for the monks, put flowers on the altar and doing some general cleaning.

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Re: Are men or women more interested in Enlightenment?

Post by rory » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:04 pm

There is modern scholarship that illuminates the subject. A great deal in Japanese. This is an interesting book about monastic revival,
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wr0s2 Hokkeji and the Reemergence of Female Monastic Orders in Premodern Japan
Lori Meeks

This one is also very fine: Engendering faith : women and Buddhism in premodern Japan
general editor, Barbara Ruch.

Published: Ann Arbor, Mich. : Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2002.
Published: Ann Arbor, Mich. : Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2002.[/url]
To put it briefly in early Japan there were powerful and rich convents, the decline came when esoteric rituals were brought back from China and women were forbidden from entering Mt. Hiei or Mt. Koya. So no access to important state rituals meant nuns couldn't perform them. And convents declined. It's always about power.

As for today; women gestate babies in their bodies, then nourish them, then take care of them. They don't have the time nor are they socialized to be selfish. If women resolved never to marry or have children you'd see tons devoting themselves to Buddhist practice to become enlightened.
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Rory
Last edited by rory on Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
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