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Shoka
07-06-2021, 12:52 AM
We are moving on with Zen Women and heading into the topic of nuns and sexuality.

I am really struck by Miaozongís ability to be steadfast and strategic in seeking out and finding a path to study Buddhism. As pointed out, Miaozong was an upper-class lady, so we can believe that she would have been educated and also had more wordly common sense than many women of the day. In this way she was able to skillfully turn teachings on their heads and achieve her means.

Do you think Maiozong was using skillful means in showing up nude to a meeting with someone unhappy with her being in the monastery?
For myself I feel that her actions were two-fold, firstly as the author points out she wanted to get straight to the point. Being an upper-class lady, she would have spent years seeing people say the right thing or hide their intentions, and she didnít want to play that game anymore. The Dharma doesnít work that way, you have to cut right to the chase. But I also think she was prepared to shock Wanan get him outside of his normal responses and then be prepared with an answer that he hadnít heard before. In this way he wouldnít have a stock answer to come back with.

What is your take away from the stories of these ladies who shaped the future of zen?
Please talk amongst yourselves here too, comment on each otherís comments, and allow time for others to comment. This is a book discussion group, so letís make it a conversation.

Gassho,
Shoka
Sat

Stewart
07-07-2021, 02:46 AM
Speaking truth to misogynistic power in a way that dynamites open the doors of resistance - would that be a fair summary?

Stewart
Sat

Shoka
07-07-2021, 02:49 PM
Speaking truth to misogynistic power in a way that dynamites open the doors of resistance - would that be a fair summary?

Stewart
Sat

Stewart,

Yes I think that is a fair assessment.

Gassho,
Shoka
sat

Kokuu
07-08-2021, 01:16 PM
Hi Shoka

This episode demonstrates the power of this kind of Zen story which resonates down through the years and still speaks to us today. For me, the attitude of some of the monks to having Miazhong in their midst expresses the fear of their own male desire in much the same way that female nipples are banned from public spaces (including social media) and the onus is put on women not to distract or sexually stimulate men rather than men being resposible for their own desire and objectification of a part of the body also used to feed infants. In a similar way Miaozhong might have responded to an enquiry around her nipples of "what are these?" as "something that has nourished every Buddha ancestor and monk since beginningless time".

As Stewart says, Miaozong's response blows this notion wide open and makes Wanan come face-to-face (literally!) with his own ideas around female bodies. There is no hiding place and she is clearly confident enough to lay herself bare without fear. They could have discussed this for days but instead she gets right to the heart of the matter with her response. That her story still provokes us after centuries, and even when we can access naked images at the click of a mouse should we so wish. demonstrates the power of her action. I am grateful to her for doing it and addressing the issue head on.

Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday/lah-

Heiso
07-11-2021, 06:52 AM
I agree with Kokuu and Stewart, Miazhong really blew the doors of some hypocrisy there, what a story!

She also demonstrated something that I think we still talk about today, that it's one thing to join a monastery to live in close proximity to a teacher and others who share your practice. But another if the purpose is to shy away from the world and rid yourself of temptation.

Gassho,

Heiso
StLah

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Shoka
07-12-2021, 11:13 PM
that it's one thing to join a monastery to live in close proximity to a teacher and others who share your practice. But another if the purpose is to shy away from the world and rid yourself of temptation.


Heiso,

I agree. I hope you continue reading. I found the stories of the next two ladies to talk about that more.

Gassho,
Shoka
(she/her)
sat/lah