20140128

The Sexism of Pure Land Ideology

Vow 35:If, when I attain Buddhahood, women in the immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters who, having heard my Name, rejoice in faith, awaken aspiration for the Enlightenment and wish to renounce womanhood, should after death be reborn again as women, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. — 48 Vows of Amida Buddha


In Pure Land Buddhism, I notice women who get reborn as women cause Bodhisattva Dharmakara not to attain perfect Enlightenment. They have to renounce womanhood, and subsequently be reborn as men.

This makes me wonder where women get reborn, because it is not any of the Buddhist heavens.

It is quite possible that lust may prevent both male and female Buddhists from finding true peace of mind. Yet gender differentiation itself is an impediment to spiritual growth and the eventual enlightenment of Nirvana.

Indeed, gender differentiation may lead to sexual temptation. This explains the need for the Buddhist vow regarding sexual misconduct.

In the Soma Sutta, the bhikkhuni Soma states:
"Anyone who thinks 'I'm a woman'
or 'a man' or 'Am I anything at all?' —
that's who Mara's fit to address".

Thus, gender neutrality is linked to the Buddhist concept of no-self, which is a strategy the Buddha taught to relieve suffering.

Indeed, the Pure Land Buddhist seeks to be reborn in the Pure Land of Bliss, not as a man or woman but as a Bodhisattva.

48 Vows of Amida Buddha: http://venchinkung.com/48-vows-of-amitabha/

Women in Buddhism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Buddhism

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