Mahayana sutras and woman

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Re: Mahayana sutras and woman

Post by Seishin » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:48 pm

Ram peswani,

I never said that the Lotus Sutra says anything about social pressure. It is not too difficult to realise the society at the time was male misogynistic. The sutra was aimed at society of the time. This is the context of the sutra.

What I said was not guess work but taught to me by my teacher, and his teachers' teacher, and so on. Schools such as SGI & Nichiren also agree with this interpretation.

What technical reasons? This is your first post on this thread...

I am not challenging the Lotus Sutra, I am venerating a Sutra that teaches that all can become enlightened including young girls. It does not say that it is required to be a man to be a Buddha, but to expel the doubts of those in the assembly she turned into a male Buddha, quicker than any of the men in the assembly.
Then the daughter of the nāga king presented to the Buddha a jewel
worth the great manifold cosmos, and the Buddha accepted it. The daughter of the nāga king spoke to Bodhisattva Prajñākūṭa and the noble Śāriputra,
saying: “I offered a jewel and the Bhagavat accepted it. Was that done quickly
or not?”
They answered, saying: “It was done extremely quickly!”
The daughter said: “Through your transcendent powers watch me become
a buddha even more quickly than that!”
Then the assembly there all saw the daughter of the nāga king instantly
transform into a man, perfect the bodhisattva practices, go to the vimalā
world in the south, sit on a jeweled lotus flower, and attain highest, complete
enlightenment, become endowed with the thirty-two marks and eighty excellent characteristics, and expound the True Dharma universally for the sake
of all sentient beings in the ten directions.
Then the bodhisattvas, śrāvakas, eight kinds of devas, nāgas, and so on,
humans and nonhumans of the sahā world, all saw in the distance that the
daughter of the nāga king had become a buddha and was universally teaching the Dharma for the sake of the humans and devas in that assembly. They
rejoiced greatly and honored her from afar. ... a_2007.pdf" onclick=";return false;
There is one bothersome point, however: the dragon king's daughter's transformation into a male before becoming a buddha. Any thoughtful person will probably wonder why she did not become a buddha just as she was. Why the intermediate stage? But we should not make too much of this. We must remember that the Lotus Sutra was preached not for a handful of scholars and bhikshus but for the salvation of countless multitudes. In the India of Shakyamuni's time, as in almost every other country of the world, the concept of male supremacy was deeply embedded. Women themselves took it for granted. The best way to get ordinary people to accept the revolutionary idea that a woman could attain buddhahood was to have her turn into a man first. This expedient made it easier to understand.
If the Lotus Sutra had been a philosophical work intended for scholars and bhikshus, the teaching of the essential equality of the sexes would probably have been developed through logical argument. But since its aim was to enlighten ordinary people to the loftiest truth, it was put together in the form of dramatic episodes. In the circumstances, having the dragon king's daughter turn into a male was a natural device.
The basic message is that human beings are essentially equal, transcending gender differences. But the actual dramatis personae used to illustrate this are perforce either male or female. Had the dragon king's daughter been presented as becoming a buddha while still in female form, it is doubtful that people could have swallowed the idea, given the prevailing social assumptions. It was much more effective to conform to the conventions of the times by having her turn into a male first.
How should we today interpret her change of sex? I myself think that it teaches that women themselves should throw off their sense of inferiority and realize their essential equality to men. Even in societies where men and women are equal under the law, there can be no true gender equality until women stop thinking in terms of dependence on men. Women who quietly examine their own hearts will, I believe, agree. ... 12_14.html" onclick=";return false;


EDIT* having read through some of your previous posts on this forum it is obvious you do not have a Buddhist teacher and your interpretation of the Lotus Sutra is your own. You have also implied that anyone who doesn't agree with your interpretation are wrong, including Buddhist teachers. Based on that I see no reason for me to continue this discussion with you. Gassho.

ram peswani
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Re: Mahayana sutras and woman

Post by ram peswani » Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:49 pm

Seishin wrote:Ram peswani,

EDIT* having read through some of your previous posts on this forum it is obvious you do not have a Buddhist teacher and your interpretation of the Lotus Sutra is your own. You have also implied that anyone who doesn't agree with your interpretation are wrong, including Buddhist teachers. Based on that I see no reason for me to continue this discussion with you. Gassho.

yes, that is a sensible decision on our part

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Re: Mahayana sutras and woman

Post by LastLegend » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:20 pm

It is the misogynistic attitude.

But it is not wrong to say in Pure Land there are no women. Women as possessing female body/appearances such as breasts and reproductive organs. So if you are not gonna give birth or attract men such body is not necessary. So relatively speaking, there is no male body/appearance either if you are not going to mate, why have male physical looks and reproductive organs for? What do they look like then? Well you have to go their to find out for yourself.

Tara and Dragon girl's story is a demonstration that women can become Buddhas just like any other sentient beings. And demonstration that Buddha and Boddhisattva can take any form-man, woman, animals, trees, etc. Because we are attached to forms, Buddha will have to manifest in forms that we are familiar with. If Buddha wants to teach ducks, Buddha has to take a duck form.

Thank everyone for their inputs. That 's what I drew from reading y'all inputs.

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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Re: Mahayana sutras and woman

Post by Leo Rivers » Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:42 pm

Re: Mahayana sutras and woman

I first read this thread and asked two questions:

How can seeing their is no refuge in the way of the World and realizing emptiness in self and phenomena be said to be gendered?

How can dogs and cats discern either or make ethical choices and thus transform their ground of experience as a consequence?

Then I realized I was being "called out" to lose my mindfulness.

I read many of these Sutras and have to think that "getting the idea" as a person putting getting the idea into practice takes precedence over any details in the stories told to communicate those insights.

It's how I behave, not some ideological-political Party-Platform plank about cat-sentience or rock Buddha-Nature that possibly be a factor in my living my life with conscience.

PS: Many women and girls have been inexplicably spontaneously kind to me. Then there have been the other kind. Mutability and impermanence trump gender and rank as factors of experience every time.

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Re: Mahayana sutras and woman

Post by Norwegian » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:02 pm

"The scriptures proclaiming with various words self, being, life-principle, life-sustaining principle, spirit, personality,
human being, man, acting subject, feeling, subject, teaching there is a ruler where there is no ruler are called implicit;
while the scriptures teaching emptiness, absence of distinguishing marks, that there is nothing to long for, the unconditioned,
unborn, unoriginated, inexistent, selfless, beingless, soulless, personless, spiritless, absense of a ruler and the gates of liberation are called explicit.
-- Akshayamati-nirdesha sutra.


"If one asks what are the sutras of definitive meaning and what are the sutras of provisional meaning,
those sutras which are taught in order that one might enter the path are called the provisional meaning,
and those sutras which are taught in order that one might enter the result are called the definitive meaning.

Those sutras which teach of self, sentient beings, life itself, creatures, individuals, personalities, personal selves,
actors, subjects of sensation, explanations according to diverse terms, and of that which is not a possessor as a possessor, are called the provisional meaning.

The sutras which teach of emptiness, of that which is signless, aspirationless, not manifestly conditioned, uncreated, unoriginated, insubstantial, without self,
without sentient beings, without life itself, without individuals, without a possessor, and without any properties even as far as the approach to liberation, are called the definitive meaning.

This text is said to rely on the sutras of definitive meaning, but not to rely on the sutras of provisional meaning.
-- Akshayamati-nirdesha sutra

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