‘Sunday Times’ raises issue on the Gender of the Buddha – but not a word about the Gender, race and colour of the Pope.
Posted on December 2nd, 2012

Comment

The following letter published in today’s (December 02, 2012) Sunday Times ( letter to the Editor) raises the question whether Buddhahood is possible for a female.

”  It is therefore puzzling that there is not a single female among the 28 past Buddhas. The Gautama Buddha said the next Buddha would also be a male. Can a woman attain Buddhahood? Is gender an obstacle to becoming a Buddha?

Comment

What is puzzling is why the Sunday Times does not raise similar ethical and moral issues relating to gender, race and colour in respect to practices of other dominant religions.

For example in Roman Catholicism, the head of the Church based in the Vatican, namely the Pope, has never been any one other than a White male and European in its long history of over 2000 years.There is no evidence of either a woman, black or Asian having been appointed (or elected) a Pope.

This is happening to this very day in a culture ( Western European) that never loses an opportunity to preach human rights and gender equality to the rest of the world.

This hypocrisy and double standards has been well exposed but despite such glaring exposure local journalists of missionary school background do not hesitate to slander, bash or question Buddhist beliefs and practices in a manner that is never applied to the beliefs and practices of any other religion in this country.

Buddhism is a tolerant religion and accommodates questioning and criticism (Kalama Sutra).

What is objected to here is the never ending one sided bashing and hostility towards Buddhism ‘ in a seemingly nice way’  in a regular manner through planting of letters in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ column of our mainstream English language newspapers.

No other country would tolerate or allow such abuse of Press Freedom by newspapers or journalists.

It is time that Buddhists of this country through their local Buddhist organisations loudly protest and say ‘ Enough is enough’.

Quotation

“ The Press is an instrument which is primarily meant to serve the real interests of a country. It can also be misused. If we were not satisfied that the newspapers of the Lake House and the Times groups were guilty of anti -national and anti “”…” Buddhist conduct on a large scale, we would not have recommended a drastic change in the ownership of the newspapers belonging to these groups. From the evidence placed before us we are satisfied that the existing newspapers did not hesitate to fabricate, suppress, slant or distort news and views whenever it suited them. They have been further guilty of anti “”‚ national and anti “”…” Buddhist activities, which are more serious than the earlier mentioned lapses on their part. Indeed, the most vehement critics of the present activities of the Press were the Buddhists and some of their organisations, and we are satisfied that their grievances are genuine and should be removed.

Buddhist leaders have been falsely accused of being intolerant. Their hopes and ambitions receive scant consideration, and the rightful place due to their religion has being denied to it by the newspapers. This has been deliberately done in order to help the minorities, in particular, the Christian minorities, to perpetuate the unjust privileges acquired by them during the last four centuries at the expense of the Buddhist Majority. ”

Paragraph 212, Page 90 Final Report of the Press Commission (1964)

…………………………………

Letters to the Editor

Sunday Times (Dec. 02, 2012)

View(s):
http://www.sundaytimes.lk/121202/plus/letters-to-the-editor-21-22749.html

Attaining Buddhahood: Is gender an obstacle?ƒÆ’‚¯¿½

Attending a Katina puja this morning brought to mind an official visit I made to Bangkok a decade ago, during which I took time off to visit a temple 65 kilometres outside the city. It was an Il Poya Day, and I was curious to observe how the Thai people conducted the Katina Puja.

Unlike the city’s showpiece golden temples, which charge visitors an entrance fee, this remote Ashokarama was very similar to temples in Sri Lanka. The only difference was the gender ratio, which was almost 50/50, compared to our very high Upaasika involvement.

According to the Mahavagga Pali, the third book of the Vinaya Pitaka, the Katina originated with 30 forest-dwelling monks, Pindapatika wearing rag-robes who were on their way to visit the Lord Buddha at Sravasti. It was the rainy season, “Vassa”, and bad weather forced the monks to break journey. However, they resumed the journey despite the rain, and reached Jetawana exhausted, their robes soaked with rain. Hearing about the monks’ difficult journey, the Buddha relaxed some of the rules for Bhikkhus, especially during the Vassana.

The meaning of the word “Katina” is disputed. There are two schools of thought, both of Theravada origin. One says “katina” means “hardness”, while the Thais say the word comes from “Katrina”, which means “weaving cloth.”

According to the Vinaya commentary, the ceremony and the robes were called “katina” because the merit achieved from a gift of robes was as hard as a diamond. Sri Lankan scholars say the word implies “firmness”, “stability”, “long-lastingness.” To sojourn during the rainy season is “vas viseema”, and this is performed from the Vap Full Moon to the Il Full Moon. Of related religious activities, the Katina Puja is the most meritorious. The Buddha was very clear when He declared that in this noblest performance, the accumulation of merit is limitless.

In Sri Lanka, the Upaasika, or lay female devotee, plays a leading role in the ceremony. The Buddha did not discriminate against women in any sphere of activity. It is therefore puzzling that there is not a single female among the 28 past Buddhas. The Gautama Buddha said the next Buddha would also be a male.
Can a woman attain Buddhahood? Is gender an obstacle to becoming a Buddha?

Buddhist teachings say that no one is superior to another by birth, caste, race, creed or gender. The “bondage” sutta advises against clinging to gender identity. Thai Theravada scholars such as Ajahn Sujato and Dr. Mettanando Bhikkhu believe the “Garudhammas”, the eight rules that restrict nuns, including the rule that “a bikkhuni, irrespective of her seniority, must bow down to every novice male monk”, were introduced by prejudiced, chauvinistic, anti-women participants at the First Council after the Buddha. That rule is more Jainist than Buddhist.

There are a number of instances where the Buddha praised the mental strength and capacity of the Upaasikas. In the Kundalakesi story, the Buddha compared motherhood to Buddhahood. Consider the famous Buddhist females Maha Prajapathi Gothami, Vishaka and Sujatha. Kisagothami and Patachara entered the Sasana and attained Arahathship. “Atta Deepa Viharata” -Be a lamp unto Thyself “”…” the Buddha

K. K. S. Perera,ƒÆ’‚¯¿½Panadura

Courtesy: Sunday Times

5 Responses to “‘Sunday Times’ raises issue on the Gender of the Buddha – but not a word about the Gender, race and colour of the Pope.”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Making fun of and talking nonsense about an innocent religious leader is totally UNACCEPTABLE.

    Sundat times is owned by RUN-NIL’s family. It has been re-elected as UNP leader for 6 more years!!

  2. Muhandiram Says:

    The Sunday time owner,editer,writer of the article etc. are Christians.no any Wahabis involve in the matter.these Christians are always creating trouble in the Island.and accusing Hindus and Muslims.they are the betrayers of our beloved mother Lanka.

  3. Mohan Says:

    All of you who have started bashing Christianity over this article, go and read the article by Kurunegoda Piyatissa thero of Newyork Buddist Vihare published in Lakbima on 30th April 2007 on the topic “why there are only male Buddhas but not Female Buddhas.

  4. HussainFahmy Says:

    Gender Equality is a Demoncratic Value. Theists will find it difficult to explain it.

  5. mjaya Says:

    ** Gender Equality is a Demoncratic Value. Theists will find it difficult to explain it. **

    I guess that is why schoolgirls are shot by the Taliban.

    In that sense, no wonder a women’s testimony is worth only half that of a man!!!

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