Women As Buddhists - Essay Example

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Women As Buddhists

Legends around Shakamuni Buddha abound; one of them tells of the death of his mother, Maya when Shakamuni was an infant. His aunt, Prajapati, took over the raising of him and later asked to join his sangha. She was refused. It was only after Shakamuni’s cousin Ananda has requested three times that Prajapati amd her 500 followers were allowed to practice Buddhism outside of the home, as nuns. Legends around Shakamuni Buddha abound; one of them tells of the death of his mother, Maya when Shakamuni was an infant. His aunt, Prajapati, took over the raising of him and later asked to join his sangha. She was refused. It was only after Shakamuni’s cousin Ananda has requested three times that Prajapati amd her 500 followers were allowed to practice Buddhism outside of the home, as nuns.  This story has been denied as even existing by some scholars, who justify their denial by pointing out that it was invented to restore societal norms after the death of the Buddha   Much debate has been engaged over this story, citing Buddhism as sexist from the very beginning. But let us look at the society of the times, for it is society that inspires and also creates rules and mores and acts as the impetus behind changing laws and constitutional amendments in every country. Firstly, Indian society was (and still is, in many places) a khast system which follows strict social mores concerning one’s circumstances of birth, familial status and gender.  ...Show more

Summary

This paper concerns the role of women in Buddhism today, especially in the West, which seems to change with every wind in terms of what is the trend. The writer suggests that we must draw attention to the fact that Buddhism, from its inception, has been a friend to women.

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