Sunday, March 8, 2020

Role of Women in Buddhism

There is no point claiming that the female form has not been the focus of prejudice and subjugation in a majority of times and places. However this is not the invariable state of affairs in Buddhism. 
Prajapati, Buddha's step-mother/aunt, walked over a hundred miles to request permission even, insist on the right of women to become monastics. 
After she was ordained, she attained the Awakened state and Nirvana along with many of the nuns. 
(Prajapati Gautami)
According to accounts by Chinese pilgrims, Faxuan and Xuan-zang, when crowds of people gathered at Shankashya eagerly awaiting the Buddha's descent from the Trayastrimsha Heaven (where he had gone to see his deceased mother,) a nun called Utpali vowed to be the first one to greet him. 
But what chance had a simple nun to compete with powerful heads-of-state amidst their entourages that were there at the foot of the threefold stairway?
Yet because of her earnest devotion, she was transformed into an emperor (or universal monarch) with his full panoply including the Seven Treasures, and so all made way so that she was able to accomplish her vow. 
First to greet the Buddha, she immediately reverted to her original appearance. In recognition of Utpali's devotion, the Buddha announced her future enlightenment.

Guru Rinpoche, the eighth-century Second Buddha, said, 

"Male, or female there is no great difference. But when the aspiration for enlightenment is developed, the woman is superior." 
All of his consorts achieved the highest attainment, and Tibetan queen Yeshe Tsogyal was his chief disciple and lineage-holder.

Naropa's "sister" Niguma
, and the dakini Sukhasiddhi
, are both founders of the Shangpa Kagyu line. 
Also, without the compassionate intercession of Dagmema, Marpa's wife, who mentored Milarepa, the Kagyu and many other Buddhist lineages might not even exist today. 
And there are several others: 
One famous terton or treasure-revealer was Tibetan stock-woman, Jomo Memmo. 
Machig Labdron was Padampa Sangye's disciple and the founder of her own Chod and longevity lineages. 

The daughter of Terdak Lingpa, founder of Mindroling Monastery near Lhasa and the fifth Dalai Lama's teacher, was the one to transmit the Mindroling lineage. 

A-yu Khandro,
is only one of numerous other "Women of Wisdom." 
In 1953, aged 114 years, she attained the Rainbow Body in her hermitage in East Tibet.
Dzogchen master Chatral Rinpoche claims the Drikung Khandro
as one of his root gurus. 
Jetsun Kushok Chimey Luding is a contemporary Sakya master in Vancouver who gave her first empowerment at the age of 18. 
There are notable women in prominent roles in other denominations, too.
Female deities abound in Tibetan Buddhism. 
The matriarch of the Drigung Kagyu lineage is grandmother, Achi Chokyi Drolma.

One of the fundamental Vajrayana vows is not to denigrate women. In fact, it is the ultimate or final of the 14 vows that acts as a seal for the others. 
Tibetan Buddhists refer to sentient beings "numerous as space" as our "mothers." 
Also, teachers have said that women practitioners have an advantage in that they are less likely to be wholly goal-oriented, to practice with a view to compete, or to force themselves, and this, coupled with an inclination towards openness, enables their progress.

FemaleTertons or Treasure-Finders 

The "revelation," or terton, tradition in Himalayan Buddhism is traced to the close disciples of Guru Rinpoche, who only numbered about about 30. 
Women (a number of them his consorts) comprised a relatively small proportion and tradition says they frequently took rebirth in male form. For example, the terton Longchenpa was acknowledged as Pema Ledreltsal, daughter of King Trisong Deutsen. 

One notable early 20th-century woman terton was the Sera Khandro, who figured in the lives of many notable lamas. 

According to Tulku Thondup (in a short biography of the Chatral Rinpoche, who was a student of hers) she was named Devi Dorje, and became the consort of Pema Dudul Sangngak Lingpa, son of the great terton Dudjom Lingpa, himself a renowned terton. Therefore she was the repository of a number of gTer lineages. Thondup says that she reincarnated as Saraswati, one of his daughters. 
The late Chagdud Tulku, foremost disciple of Dudjom Rinpoche, was also in position to hold the spiritual heritage of the Sera Khandro.

Odzer tells us:
I have a few hairs of hers that Yangthang Tulku gave me, they are very precious. I gave one to a friend who put it in her amulet box, and she swears it grew longer when she looked at it again later. Whenever I mention these sacred hairs to a Lama, they usually ask for one!
Gampopa,
commenting on the generosity of mothers “for all beings are considered to have been our own mother at one time or another, notes that when she could not afford food for her children, a mother might even prostitute herself for their sakes. 
The sky of the five elements, consorts of the five Tathagatas,
Is itself the dimension of Samantabhadri,
The universal ground is Samantabhadri.
Understanding it, one discovers it is inseparable from space.
Bodhicitta is like the sun rising in space:
Understanding the nature of mind is the best meditation!"
Hope you all understood the Guru Rinpoche’s view on man and woman’s equality and respect to each other.

A very happy international Women’s Day.

Cultivate Generous Thought and practice giving gifts to the Sanghas.

The Buddha once explained that it is a meritorious act even to throw away the water after washing one's plate with the generous thought:...