Women have been present in Buddhism since its beginning, but like other religions they have been treated differently and often inferior to men.
In order for nuns to be allowed to ordain, it took a lot of insistence from Mahaprajapati, Buddha’s foster mother, and the interference of Ananda, Buddha’s cousin and disciple. They also had to observe many more precepts than men. Many of them were about their bodies and the responsibilities that women should have over male desire and behaviour.
At Sangha Therigatha where I practice with Monja Waho Sensei, the name is already a tribute to women practitioners. Therigatha is a text about the first Buddhist nuns. And we have organized a study group on the women’s lineage in which we are translating the book “The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women” This book features traditional stories and koans (Zen stories that help awaken) with women, some named, but many are “the old woman”, “the wise woman”, “the woman in samadhi”, showing how despite the female presence during these centuries of practice, they have often left unnamed. And the comments on these stories are made by contemporary, lay and monastic Dharma teachers, making us connect with these teachings in a actual way.
By a coincidence, SFZC is offering a series of meetings about the book with one of the editors, Rev. Florence Caplow together with Dana Velden, and of course, I was not going to miss the opportunity to participate! Not only that, but I proposed a meeting with Brazilian Sangha and both she and Waho Sensei agreed! And what is most wonderful is that this meeting will take place this Saturday, April 10th and anyone who is interested can register.
Click on the picture below for more information!