Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Follow Up

Zagria was kind enough to send me a comment on my post concerning the former beauty contest winner of the Miss Tiffany Universe 2009 contest, Sorrawee "Jazz" Nattee who recently entered the monkhood on Sunday at a temple in the southern province of Songkhl.

Zagria said she had seen Buddhist Nuns when she went to Thailand.

Of course by then, I had to do a little research on the subject since it had occurred to me what would happen if "Jazz" surfaced in the future attempting to be a transgender Buddhist Monk.

Without spending hours searching for information, here is a quick look at what I found: (Highly Edited)

"Buddhist women, including nuns, have faced harsh discrimination by Buddhist institutions in Asia for centuries. at the beginning, with the historical Buddha. As told in "The First Buddhist Women," the Buddha originally refused to ordain women as nuns. He said that allowing women into the sangha would cause his teachings to survive only half as long –- 500 years instead of a 1,000. The Buddha's cousin Ananda asked if there was any reason women could not realize enlightenment and enter Nirvana as well as men. The Buddha admitted there was no reason a woman could not be enlightened.

 Women, Ananda, having gone forth are able to realize the fruit of stream-attainment or the fruit of once-returning or the fruit of non-returning or arahantship," he said" Some scholars point to discrepancies between the Pali Bhikkuni Vinaya (the section of the Pali Canon dealing with the rules for nuns) and other versions of the texts, and suggest the more odious rules were added after the Buddha's death. Wherever they came from, over the centuries the rules were used in many parts of Asia to discourage women from being ordained.

 When the orders of nuns died out in India and Sri Lanka centuries ago, conservatives used the rules that called for monks and nuns to be present at nuns’ ordination to prevent the institution of new orders. Only recently has the ordination problem been solved by allowing properly ordained nuns from other parts of Asia to travel to ordination ceremonies. However, the establishment of nuns' orders in Tibet, where there had been no nuns before, for some time met with resistance. Even today, in some parts of Asia nuns receive less education and financial support than monks."

As with any religion of course- "Buddhist doctrines on the enlightenment of women are contradictory. There is no one institutional authority that speaks for all Buddhism. The myriad schools and sects do not follow the same scriptures; texts that are central to some schools are not recognized as authentic by others. And the scriptures disagree." Sound familiar to all of us Christians?

Finally :"On the other hand, the Vimilakirti Sutra teaches that maleness and femaleness, like other phenomenal distinctions, are essentially unreal. "With this in mind, the Buddha said, ’In all things, there is neither male nor female.’" The Vimilakirti is an essential text in several Mahayana schools, including Tibetan and Zen Buddhism."

So there you go. If you would to follow the link I did go here and to jump over to Zagria's great blog go here.


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A Life in Gender Flux