The Role Of Women In Tibetan Buddhism

4847 words - 19 pages

The Role of Women in Tibetan Buddhism

“In Tantric Buddhism, we are dealing with a misogynist, destructive, masculine philosophy and religion which is hostile to life – i.e. the precise opposite of that for which it is trustingly and magnanimously welcomed in the figure of the Dalai Lama.”[1] Within Tibetan Buddhism, there is an inherent contradiction regarding the status of women. Although in many aspects women are seen and treated as inferior to men, several of the ancient and fundamental values of Tibetan Buddhism, and more specifically Tantric Buddhism, emphasize equality of the sexes, universal compassion, and most importantly the significant and essential role of the woman. Tibetan Buddhist nuns have been trying to correct this contradiction for years to remove the inferior and degrading stereotype that defines them and to be seen as equal to men. Beginning with the emergence of Tibetan Buddhism from India until today, the status of women, both physically and symbolically has declined due to the patriarchal system adopted by Tibet. “The mystery of Tantric Buddhism consists in the sacrifice of the feminine principle and the manipulation of erotic love in order to attain universal androcentric power.”[2] In their patriarchal society, the symbol of the woman is used by men now as an instrument; manipulated by men in order to acquire control and power.

Many of the influences of Tibetan Buddhism came from India thousands of years ago. There were four phases leading up to the Tantric practice that is known today. 560 B.C.E. to 480 B.C.E. marked the first stage, the life of Siddharta Gautama, who Tibetans believe to be the original Buddha. The legend of the Buddha is that he was conceived in a dream by his mother, Maya, and was born from her hip, a rather unconventional and unusual form of childbirth. This portrays an early form of sexism, and a highly negative attitude toward the woman, showing that fundamental female qualities such as pregnancy and childbirth are irrelevant and not things to be highly valued. In the Buddha legend and during his life in general, the Buddha showed several contradictions concerning the status of women. He was said to be “torn between the culture and social system, and the conviction that women are as capable as men.”[3] Firstly, Maya, the name of his mother, means illusion in Sanskrit. However, in ancient Indian beliefs from which Tibetan Buddhism emerged, Maya was the name of the most powerful goddess who represented all material things in the universe. The Buddha also believed that the woman’s body was something impure and dirty, which then manifested itself into impure and evil personality characteristics. “The female’s defects – greed, hate, delusion, and other defilements – are greater than the male’s…Because I wish to be freed from the impurities of the woman’s body, I will acquire the beautiful and fresh body of a man.”[4] Women were believed to have...

Find Another Essay On The Role of Women in Tibetan Buddhism

The Role of Women in the Church

1916 words - 8 pages With the advent of the feminist movement, the role of women in all parts of society has come under increasing scrutiny. One area of recent controversy is the role of women in the Christian Church. Some churches whose traditions and practices are less rigidly tied toBiblical doctrines have begun placing women in leadership positions such as pastor or teacher. Other churches which interpret the Bible more literally have been slow to adopt such

The Role of Women in the Church

1850 words - 7 pages The Role of Women in the ChurchWith the advent of the feminist movement, the role of women in all parts of society has come under increasing scrutiny. Onearea of recent controversy is the role of women in the Christian Church. Some churches whose traditions and practices are lessrigidly tied to Biblical doctrines have begun placing women in leadership positions such as pastor or teacher. Other churcheswhich interpret the Bible more literally

The role of women in the odyss

1246 words - 5 pages Homer wrote the classic epic The Odyssey more than 2,500 years ago. At that time in ancient Greek society, as well as in the whole of the ancient world, the dominant role was played by men. Society was organized, directed, and controlled by men, and it was accepted that women occupied a subservient and inferior position. Women, of course, were valued, but were expected to possess certain traits and perform certain tasks that men demanded of them

The role of women in the odyss

1246 words - 5 pages Homer wrote the classic epic The Odyssey more than 2,500 years ago. At that time in ancient Greek society, as well as in the whole of the ancient world, the dominant role was played by men. Society was organized, directed, and controlled by men, and it was accepted that women occupied a subservient and inferior position. Women, of course, were valued, but were expected to possess certain traits and perform certain tasks that men demanded of them

The Role Of Women in the Renaissance

1718 words - 7 pages civilization as it is known today. The era saw the birth of new attitudes concerning the role of man in his relationship to the world and to God. Unfortunately, for the most part, the expansion of the 'role of man' did not include the role of women. "Renaissance (from the French for "rebirth") is a term coined in the nineteenth century originally to denote the revival of art and letters under the influence of ancient Roman and Greek models

The Role of Women in Ancient Egypt

896 words - 4 pages the average women in this society. Achieving A reversal of this unawareness is done by explaining the role of the average Egyptian woman in the family, the legal rights of women, and the role of women in the temples.In Ancient Egypt the main purpose for women was to marry and to reproduce. 'To marry and beget children may have been the duty of every right-thinking Egyptian, but it was a duty which was very much welcome.' (Tyldesley 1994). There

The Role of Roman Women in Society

1111 words - 5 pages The role of Roman women in society From the founding of Ancient Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century the role of women changed immensely. The Romans preserved its foundation myth of Rome providing insight about its attitudes towards women, such as the Sabine women, who were said to have formed the ideals of the city with intelligence and courage intervening to save both families and keep peace.Then, as time passed, women

The Emerging Role of Women in Technology

1653 words - 7 pages In households throughout the world, it is not uncommon to see a woman taking on the role of homemaker solely. However, more and more often, the idea of women working outside of the home is becoming a reality. Particularly, women are filling a vital role in the emerging technology fields. The duties of female workers are aiding in the progress of technology, right along with their male counterparts, because the once invisible intellectual ability

The Role of Women in Ancient Societies

810 words - 4 pages The role of women in ancient societies Throughout ancient history the role of women in their respective societies has been varied from culture to culture. Some cultures viewed women as equals. Others viewed women as inferior. I will explore the roles these women played in ancient society. Some of our earliest know ancestors were people know as hunter/gatherers. These individuals were constantly on the move in search of food and supplies. Because

The Role of Women in Japan

1768 words - 7 pages , the factors that cause these women to remain within the boundaries set by society and gender roles is harder to understand. Some believe that these women don’t feel oppressed at all. While others feel there is no room for women in Japan to breathe. Those outside of Japan might gain a better understanding of the situation in which these women live by examining the historical role of woman as mother. The role of women in historical Japan has

Role of Women in the Odyssey

729 words - 3 pages Role of Women in the OdysseyBy looking at Homer's Odyssey, we can begin to get an idea as to how the ancient Greeks regarded their women. Men treated them almost as though they were possessions and not people, and many times women had to resort to deception to accomplish their own goals and desires. By interpreting Homer's view of women, one can draw a bigger picture of the role of women in ancient Greek culture. In the Odyssey, we learn that

Similar Essays

The Role And Status Of Women In Buddhism And Confucianism

1292 words - 5 pages The role and status of women in any religion in the word is known to be controversial. In Buddhism and Confucianism, women are seen as unequal and some of their belief promotes gender inequality. As outsiders of both main Chinese religions, we wonder how women put up with the gender inequalities. Women go through with the inequalities because they respect their faith and believe deeply in the teachings of Buddha for Buddhism, and

Are The Tibetan Women The Backbone Of Their Family's Prosperity?

2789 words - 11 pages fertility prevent her to perceive things the same as a man. Sexuality of a Tibetan woman is also powerful amongst the society. The sexuality of women can be used to dominate and Tibetan man’s decision of certain things, but it can also be used to the man’s advantaged in return of getting what they want either from her or from someone else. In the Tibetan Buddhism realm, a woman was considered a seductress and dangerous especially if they are

The Role Of Women In The Church

1767 words - 7 pages With the advent of the feminist movement, the role of women inall parts of society has come under increasing scrutiny. One area ofrecent controversy is the role of women in the Christian Church. Somechurches whose traditions and practices are less rigidly tied toBiblical doctrines have begun placing women in leadership positionssuch as pastor or teacher. Other churches which interpret the Biblemore literally have been slow to adopt such changes

The Role Of Women In The Church 1945 Words

1945 words - 8 pages Did a ton of reading and a lot of background stuff for thisThe Role of Women in the ChurchWith the advent of the feminist movement, the role of women in all parts of society has come under increasing scrutiny. One area of recent controversy is the role of women in the Christian Church. Some churches whose traditions and practices are less rigidly tied to Biblical doctrines have begun placing women in leadership positions such as pastor or