Why not create a progressive Buddhism that recognises the needs of the four-fold assembly and encourages open inquiry. A Buddhism that is fully-responsive to the need for change - socially, culturally and, environmentally?
The Buddha gave us some wise guidelines on what kinds of practices we should make much of and, what practices we should not undertake - or discontinue - if they serve no useful purpose. To ignore this wise advice would be to ignore the Buddha - which cannot be Buddhism? Some forms of practice may have served a useful purpose in a particular set of circumstances - in a bygone era - but we need to mindful of ‘anicca’ (impermanence) in order to wake up. We need liberating insight to realise the Dhamma. We cannot afford to ignore that which is apparent ‘here and now’.
Some practices may have been required to appease the patriarchal requirements at a time when it was the only show in town? Fortunately, the bad-old-days are over and, there is no physical threat to our wellbeing if we act in a way that is more compassionate and fair? If we miss this opportunity it may go-begging because we did not take responsibility and do something ‘meaningful’ about it ‘yesterday’? Never mind, we still have today but tomorrow may be to late? We may end up postponing it indefinitely because of the false-view that human rights are not relevant - or optional - when it comes to waking up.
If anyone would like to share reasons why discriminatory practices - in Buddhism - are ‘beneficial’ then lets hear them? We can pay close attention and notice if there is a problem with these views - do they actually make sense? If anybody would like to list the benefits accrued to monastics, the four-fold assembly or, to humanity as a whole, as a consequence of endlessly delayed change then, feel free to share your insights?
Lets be open-minded and inclusive and share the variety of perspectives found in ‘this’ community. Sharing openly, freely and, respectfully should be encouraged - IMO.
If no one can come up with reasons that demonstrate how these practices are beneficial then we are compelled by the Buddha’s teachings to discontinue them - post-haste? We don’t want to be perpetuating practices that are not beneficial in our lives. We don’t live that long! Furthermore, we don’t want to be foisting them on newcomers who are yet to arrive on the scene - who seek beneficial practices for their liberation.
We don’t want to mislead people and claim that Buddhism is not a belief system that involves conformity to archaic and atavistic forms of behaviour when in fact, it is - that would be breaking the precept about false speech - an essential one in Buddhist teachings?
"The Buddha proceeds to list the criteria by which any sensible person can decide which teachings to accept as true. Do not blindly believe religious teachings, he tells the Kalamas, just because they are claimed to be true, or even through the application of various methods or techniques. Direct knowledge grounded in one’s own experience can be called upon. He advises that the words of the wise should be heeded and taken into account. He proposes not a passive acceptance but, rather, constant questioning and personal testing to identify those truths which verifiably reduce one’s own stress or misery (Pali: dukkha).
The Kalama Sutta states (Pali expression in parentheses):
Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing (anussava),
nor upon tradition (paramparā),
nor upon rumor (itikirā),
nor upon what is in a scripture (piṭaka-sampadāna)
nor upon surmise (takka-hetu),
nor upon an axiom (naya-hetu),
nor upon specious reasoning (ākāra-parivitakka),
nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over (diṭṭhi-nijjhān-akkh-antiyā),
nor upon another’s seeming ability (bhabba-rūpatāya),
nor upon the consideration, The monk is our teacher (samaṇo no garū)
Kalamas, when you yourselves know: “These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,” enter on and abide in them.’" - Wikipedia
If any mitta - who has read the above - can ‘kindly’ point out to me the mistake - the error - in what has been said, I would be very grateful as then I would understand why nobody wants to make a decisive change and get rid of discriminatory rules and practices (major and minor and, forms of etiquette). What are we waiting for? The mainstream orthodoxy already disapproves of our progressive views so - what’s new? Why not go the distance? Why should we be in the habit of appeasing people who find common-sense troubling? Thank them for their gifts - their antiquated views and opinions - and kindly let them know they are welcome to keep them!
Practical and ‘simple’ non-scary steps to do something about this were explored in the meddling-monastics thread. May I ask: are you all waiting for someone else to sort this out - somewhere, somehow (its someone else’s problem) - or, are some of you willing to tinker around the edges in the hope that it will all work out in the end - accidentally or, through divine intervention or, through magic - perhaps?
Is anyone to busy sitting quietly somewhere or, being mindful in the other postures to do anything else? Are you all to busy in the pursuit of nothing-ness, with daily duties and needs or, comforting distractions? Is anyone - reading this - waiting for an ‘authority figure’ to give their approval - so you feel comfortable to move this way or that - according to instructions? Do any of you listen to the still-small-voice within - if so, when?
Perhaps we need a celebrity endorsement? A… B… endorses this message - and, I don’t mean ‘Andrew Bolt’. Just joking! Our A.B. would probably write: Andrew Bolt endorses this message?
Its interesting how Buddhists are interested in speaking truthfully, overcoming delusions and, understanding things clearly as their core-values and aspirations. So, if we have the impression that something is impossible - we believe it is - when in fact it is possible or, we believe that an issue is the concern of a particular in-group when its repercussions are far broader or, nothing substantive should be done to change a discriminatory dynamic or, it should be postponed to an unknown point in time, when in fact, there is no need to postpone meaningful change and, plenty can be done about things that really matter then, what has this got to do with truthfulness, being free from delusional thinking and, seeing things clearly?
Another astonishing belief is that people are powerless and unable to make much of a difference when the opposite is true - if they see what’s involved and act on what they see. Another astonishing belief is the world is some kind of bad-dream that we just need to wake-up from and then all our problems will be solved. Where is the clarity and the commitment to truth with regard to these commonplace Buddhist beliefs?
We better not forget the ‘baby-mind theory’ that we all need to be like children and not be concerned about the world we live in because that would involve some kind of distraction from what really matters. We are the pure-awareness and not the silly thoughts that say things like, you need to have a clear sense of what kind of future you want to contribute to or, you need to be helpful or take some responsibility etc. The Buddha - awakened beings - are like happy-go-lucky kids in the playground of life. We just need to be the one-mind behind it all and go with the flow and everything will fall into place because we are in tune with the void - or such-like. Sweet isn’t it?
I know that I have simplified the views I have encountered on this site - sometimes they are qualified and sometimes not. Have I misunderstood Buddhism - its beliefs and practices - as found here?