Do the commentaries ever elaborate why allowing females to ordain would shorten the lifespan of the true Dhamma?
The first explanation the Buddha provides in the suttas involving bandits targeting female households certainly makes sense and doesnt need much explanation as this concept can even be understood in the modern western world where society (mostly) treats the genders with equality. Even with the massive progress in equal rights women have made in the past 100 years, its still pretty much understood in today’s society that women are much more likely to get attacked and robbers would certainly prefer to attack a household of women than a household of men or of a mixture, thus making it harder for such households to exist.
However the other two analogies seem to be ancient agricultural analogies few people in the modern world would understand. I certainly beleive if i that if i lived in a society as sexist as ancient india and actually understood how those agricultural diseases operated it’d make more sense. Do the commentaries ever elaborate on this, or even explain what “red rot” and “white bones” was?
“Ānanda, if females had not gained the going forth from the lay life to homelessness in the teaching and training proclaimed by the Realized One, the spiritual life would have lasted long. The true teaching would have remained for a thousand years. But since they have gained the going forth, now the spiritual life will not last long. The true teaching will remain only five hundred years.
It’s like those families with many women and few men. They’re easy prey for bandits and thieves. In the same way, the spiritual life does not last long in a teaching and training where females gain the going forth.
It’s like a field full of rice. Once the disease called ‘white bones’ attacks, it doesn’t last long. In the same way, the spiritual life does not last long in a teaching and training where females gain the going forth.
It’s like a field full of sugar cane. Once the disease called ‘red rot’ attacks, it doesn’t last long. In the same way, the spiritual life does not last long in a teaching and training where females gain the going forth.
As a man might build a dyke around a large lake as a precaution against the water overflowing, in the same way as a precaution I’ve prescribed the eight principles of respect as not to be transgressed so long as life lasts.”
I’m pretty sure classical Theravada considers the female state to be the result of kamma, it’s even pretty heavily implied in some jatakas. It’s only modern EBT and Buddhist feminists who deny this. I think this makes perfect sense given that women have unique things about them that cause them suffering. Such as child birth, menstruation, and societial patriarchy (which for most of human history was significantly worse than it is now). To deny that the female state is the result of kamma is to live in a fantasy world where patriarchy doesn’t exist and to pretend that women don’t menstruate or suffer from it, or to assume that being born a woman is the result of some kind of coincidence that just happens to inflict suffering on a group.
I’m all for equal rights but this is simply the classical understanding. Being poor is the result of kamma. That does not mean we should treat poor people badly. The female state is the result of karma. This does not mean we should treat women badly. I have various innate health issues, which is likely the result of kamma I did in the past. I am not inferior to people who do not have these health issues. Everyone has been a woman, a man, an animal, a deva, and a hell being.
I wrote an extensive article on the third precept, but consolidated it to a pdf because the internet cannot handle large docs, especially on this issue. In one section I talk about how the recent development of the pill changed everything for women and women’s rights. It is true.
You can read the doc here
There is an Italian Sayalay, who requested to be my friend, she is young and has the looks of most young women and therefore has 50,000 followers, but I decided to accept her request because she might help spread some of my writings. I’m not sure if she is a lay person or a Sayalay because she has a mix of pictures. After I accepted, she posted about how being a woman is not bad kamma and she disagrees with that belief. When I mentioned that Birth Control, specifically the Pill was a recent invention that allows for the woman to block many of issues that comes with being a woman, I got blocked.
And that is the modern way to deal with things.
What’s ironic is most women who deny this believe in male privilege (which does exist as patriarchy, although not as much so nowadays, but also in biological advantages like not having to suffer from periods, childbirth, and being physically stronger generally) Yet for some reason it doesn’t occur to them that most advantages ppl have in life are due to kamma. So they believe they are at a disadvantage compared to men for being women, but don’t believe it’s due to kamma even tho kamma causes almost all disadvantages.
So either you don’t believe men are at an advantage and therefore male privelage doesn’t exist, or you don’t believe in kamma…
And like I said. I think the movement towards women’s rights in the past 100 years has been a fantastic development for humanity. A poor person is not “inferior” to a rich person nor should they be treated badly, they just have disadvantages due to their lack of dana merit. In the same way a woman is by no means inferior to a man nor should they be treated badly, they just have disadvantages and have unique sufferings due to their past kamma.
There is also truth to the saying
“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”
It might be something the Buddha saw.
Pa-auk is short of teachers. They surely have tried women teachers, but it didn’t work out. There were many problems which I cannot get into. They now have an unwritten policy that female monastics cannot teach at pa-auk. Sayalay Dipankara has been successful and maybe the only popular female monastic teacher. She was a teacher before this policy, but she is also on her own and fully independent. However, she often publicly talks about her attainments which are prohibited to speak of by bhikkhus. It is true that sayalays not have such rules, but the Buddha explained that a bhikkhu doing this is like a prostitute showing her private parts. Nevertheless there is no rule for this in the sayalay world.
Nevertheless, Shaila Catherine has been successful and is often recommended as “The Teacher” for Westerners who want to find a teacher in the USA.
The Buddha has also made extra requirements for teaching bhikkhunis. The teacher is called an Ovadaācariya. We also have many rules for bhikkhus teaching and interacting with bhikkhunis.
It would.be good women’s monastic rights activists actually read original texts instead of EBT vinaya books. Some sayalays are actually vocally against. I recently read a translated article by a sayalay called “Why I don’t wear red”. Sayalay Dipankara was invited to be a bhikkhuni when there was a “seniority rush” but she refused. What is “seniority rush?” The newly ordained bhikkhuni’s seniority would trump the other nuns immediately (if it were accepted). Therefore when the big ordination came, all of them were ordained in the order according to their previous to monastic years. That was why there was a “seniority rush” and many nuns ordained all at once. It was not the main reason, but if you were thinking about trying out the shift, that was the big moment to do it.
The rules for bhikkhunis are quite restrictive. They cannot sleep alone or travel alone. If they do it is a heavy offense that requires 2 weeks of losing status and rehab-living.