In this talk I read most of the opening chapter for Susan Murcott’s wonderful book First Buddhist Women on Mahapajapati. We discussed a bit the possible attitudes on motivations of the Buddha in reluctantly saying “yes” to a Buddhist nun’s order.
And then I read a section of Dogen’s essay Raihai Tokuzui from the Tanahashi / Levitt translation (they title it “Bowing to Receive the Marrow”) where Dogen says quite firmly that women teachers are just as good as men and should never been seen as inferior in any way. Dogen thus refuting the first of the Buddha’s Eight Special Rules for women which do place women in an inferior position.
And we talked a little about bringing this home. How do we few gender and the messages we’ve received about it? How do we view the self? Can we be really aware of all of these attitudes and tendencies.