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View Full Version : Zen Women: Chapter 4, pages 55-63



Geika
08-30-2020, 07:54 PM
Hello everyone,

Moving on, this week we will be finishing chapter four, Founders and Supporters. This section will cover the first ordained Buddhist founders in Japan and Korea and royal supporters of Buddhism. It is interesting to discover that the first ordained Buddhists in Japan were female-identifying people taught by Koreans.

Let us remain gentle to each other as we discuss:

Are you surprised to discover that the first ordained Buddhist in Japan was an eleven year-old female-identifying person named Shima, later named Zenshin? Without she and others' dedication to the practice, the Zen Buddhism we practice today might not have come about.

What kind of world do you feel we might have had today if there had been equality in the education of female-identifying people throughout the centuries, not only concerning Buddhism, but in all cultures? Schireson writes that male-identifying clergy gained more favor in Japan over time by being the only ones educated enough to read and teach Chinese language, and thus the scriptures.

Do you think that female-identifying people have only ever broken the norms and moved ahead by breaking the rules of their time? Queen Sondok was only able to save the life of a young female-identifying person by breaking the hard Confucian rules that dictated her culture, and was only able to do so because of her royal status.

Please feel free to bring up any other questions or thoughts you discover as you read.

Gassho
Sat today, lah

gaurdianaq
09-05-2020, 03:13 PM
Would I be able to join this late if I catch up to where we are in the book and read the previous posts?

gassho1
Evan,
Sat today

KristaB
09-05-2020, 06:52 PM
I have been mulling over these questions all week. I am surprised the first ordained Japanese Buddhist was eleven years old. I should not be based upon how young children were when they began to work through most of history. It’s difficult to drop a modern perspective of what childhood should be.

Likewise, in imagining more equal education and opportunities for female-identifying people I must keep checking if I’m indulging my own biases and wishful thinking (no war! Ha). I’m tempted to go down a bunch of rabbit holes to explore why so many cultures developed with a gender imbalance (you would think some would land on equality. There are a couple surviving matriarchal tribes ...). Anyway, at the very least I like to image that we’d have a much richer and diverse body of teachings handed down to us. Would Buddhism have developed more of a lay focus, oriented toward families? Would monastics live and practice under the same roof?

I’d say, yes, female identifying people usually had to break rules to move ahead and have the protection of status and allies. I found a fascinating article about Empress Wu, including how later historians tried to erase her. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-demonization-of-empress-wu-20743091/

I also found a book about the convent founded by Empress Komyo: “Hokkeji and the Reemergence of Female Monastic Orders in Premodern Japan” by Lori Meeks. Don’t know if I’ll have time to read it during Ango.

Sorry for the long post again. I’m really into this topic.

Gassho,
Krista
st

Geika
09-05-2020, 08:35 PM
Would I be able to join this late if I catch up to where we are in the book and read the previous posts?

gassho1
Evan,
Sat today

No problem! You have plenty of time as we will be putting the book on hold until after ango.

Gassho
Sat today, lah

Heiso
09-06-2020, 06:30 AM
I was surprised to learn that it was female identifying people who brought zen to Japan although I'm not surprised to learn that it was the male identifying clergy who took credit and then raised the bar of entry in the same way they have in almost all religions and areas of life - great gatekeeping, guys!

I guess it's the same in many senses; that to develop we often have to break the rules and we owe so much to the brave women who had the courage, persistence and dedication to keep on practising and in doing so breaking the rules of their time.

Gassho

Heiso
StLah

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Onka
09-06-2020, 07:16 AM
I was surprised to learn that it was female identifying people who brought zen to Japan although I'm not surprised to learn that it was the male identifying clergy who took credit and then raised the bar of entry in the same way they have in almost all religions and areas of life - great gatekeeping, guys!

I guess it's the same in many senses; that to develop we often have to break the rules and we owe so much to the brave women who had the courage, persistence and dedication to keep on practising and in doing so breaking the rules of their time.

Gassho

Heiso
StLah

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Gassho
Onka
Sat

Jakuden
09-06-2020, 04:19 PM
I have been mulling over these questions all week. I am surprised the first ordained Japanese Buddhist was eleven years old. I should not be based upon how young children were when they began to work through most of history. Itís difficult to drop a modern perspective of what childhood should be.

Likewise, in imagining more equal education and opportunities for female-identifying people I must keep checking if Iím indulging my own biases and wishful thinking (no war! Ha). Iím tempted to go down a bunch of rabbit holes to explore why so many cultures developed with a gender imbalance (you would think some would land on equality. There are a couple surviving matriarchal tribes ...). Anyway, at the very least I like to image that weíd have a much richer and diverse body of teachings handed down to us. Would Buddhism have developed more of a lay focus, oriented toward families? Would monastics live and practice under the same roof?

Iíd say, yes, female identifying people usually had to break rules to move ahead and have the protection of status and allies. I found a fascinating article about Empress Wu, including how later historians tried to erase her. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-demonization-of-empress-wu-20743091/

I also found a book about the convent founded by Empress Komyo: ďHokkeji and the Reemergence of Female Monastic Orders in Premodern JapanĒ by Lori Meeks. Donít know if Iíll have time to read it during Ango.

Sorry for the long post again. Iím really into this topic.

Gassho,
Krista
st

Thank you so much for the resources, Krista! You all are really creating a treasure of a discussion around this!

Gassho
Jakuden
SatToday


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nknibbs
09-06-2020, 06:09 PM
I was surprised to learn that it was female identifying people who brought zen to Japan although I'm not surprised to learn that it was the male identifying clergy who took credit and then raised the bar of entry in the same way they have in almost all religions and areas of life - great gatekeeping, guys!

I guess it's the same in many senses; that to develop we often have to break the rules and we owe so much to the brave women who had the courage, persistence and dedication to keep on practising and in doing so breaking the rules of their time.

Gassho

Heiso
StLah

Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

Well said!
gassho2
Nick
SatLah