The Issue On Women Enlightenment In Buddhism Essays Example
This essay is going to refute the Buddhist thought that women are incapable of achieving enlightenment without being reborn as a man. As we know, Buddhism has a very long past; from India it slowly moved east through the eastern countries like China, Japan and Korea (Andrews 1). As a religion that discusses peace and kindness, it has begun to awaken significant interest in the Western Countries. The thing that made it difficult for Buddhism to spread its teachings in the west is the dismissive attitude in those countries. Throughout its spread to many countries, it has changed and adapted the native cultures of the people. Although the teaching of the Buddha has changed, there is one thought in Buddhism that always remains. According to Bhikkhu Cintita (1), many Buddhist thought that women don’t have the capability to achieve enlightenment without fist being reborn as men. This has posed a lot of issue in many people and gave them doubts to learn the teachings of the Buddha. In my opinion, the thought that women are incapable of doing something or achieving it, like enlightenment, is totally wrong.
In the notes of Le Ngoc Bich Ly (1), enlightenment or nirvana means the disappearance of hatred, desire and illusion in one’s self. It is achieved when people acquire purity, instinctive insight and total peace of the mind. The Buddha’s view of women for enlightenment has both positive and negative sides. The positive side was the Buddha admitted that there is equality in men and women in the Buddhist teachings. But when the time for action came, when women are asking to enter the monastery to achieve enlightenment, Buddha has a lot of hesitation. There are three major points that I would like to discuss regarding this issue on women enlightenment.
First is the bias that has become part of the culture in the Buddhist religion. There is a lot of evidence in the gender inequality in Buddhism. From the studies of Emily Mcrae (13), in enlightenment there should be equal balance to compassion and wisdom; compassion symbolizing masculine features and wisdom to feminine. Although there is balance between the two, we can see that the feminine principles are less important that the masculine’s. It is also noted that an old Buddhist nun should always salute Buddhist monk. This bias has a lot of loopholes, even though they say there is equality, teachings still show the bias.
Second is the way Buddhist religion neglect the hardships of the nuns who want to achieve enlightenment. The nuns follow the teaching of the Buddha because they expect to achieve enlightenment in that life. We can see that if the Buddhist religion follows the thought that women need to be reborn as a man to achieve enlightenment, then nuns are just wasting their time and effort in following the teachings of the Buddha.
My third point is that, in the first place there is a clear statement that women have the same potential to men when it comes to enlightenment. There is a clear text that say, when there is peace in the mind and the person achieve all of the core principles of enlightenment, then whether it is a men or a women, they can achieve nirvana (Cintita 3). It is clear that gender is irrelevant to enlightenment, but a lot of Buddhist teachings often ignore it.
In summary, the Buddhist thought of women in enlightenment has a lot of problems which in my opinion is totally wrong. As we can see, the Buddhist teachings have not followed their core principles, specially the gender irrelevance, this only proves that women following the Buddhist teachings have the right to achieve enlightenment without being reborn as men.
Andrews, Karen. Women In Theravada Buddhism. Berkeley: Khao Suan Luang Dhamma Community, 2007.
Cintita, Bhikkhu. "What Did the Buddha Think of Women?" 2012.
Ly, Le Ngoc Bich. "Women and Enlightenment in Theravada Buddhism." 25 December 2013. Academia.edu. 20 January 2015 <http://www.academia.edu/4777081/Women_and_Enlightenment_in_Theravada_Buddhism>.
Mcrae, Emily. Gender, Self and Enlightenment: A Feminist Analysis of Buddhism. Analysis Report. New York: Union College, 2002.
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