Please re-read my last comment as some of the points you have made were addressed while you were commenting. It has relevance to what you have just written. We were both busy with the discussion at the same time in our different lines of reflection.
When you wrote:
[quote=“Vstakan, post:8, topic:8511”]
“it is the Western progressive secular ideology and its values who get to decide what parts of the Buddhist sacred texts and tradition is proper or improper.”
This is an example of the ‘cultural imperialism’ argument, that I claim is patently false - for reasons given in the opening piece and, my last comment.
I do see clearly how western culture and values can, and are imposed on other cultures and traditions.
I believe the valid notion of ‘cultural imperialism’ is used and abused by sexists, racists, homophobes, religious fundamentalists and others.
It is ‘misused’ to justify discrimination and prejudice and deflect fair, decent and, reasonable objections to the cultural practices and traditions they support.
It involves accusing those who take issue with sexism, religious repression and violence etc. of being motivated by a desire to change discriminatory behaviour for ‘ideological’ reasons.
As stated in the OP, many of us oppose sexist attitudes and practices simply because they ‘hurt’ many caring and sensitive human beings. Those who have to live with the consequences of sexist behaviour and who don’t appreciate it.
Similarly, many heterosexuals are saddened by discrimination that causes pain and suffering to those with different sexual preferences. They just don’t like seeing human beings treated in a way that is unfair and improper.
For many of us, these kinds of issues are not about ‘ideology’ but about emotional intelligence and, it’s absence.
‘Treat others the way you would like to be treated.’ It’s simple not complicated!
If the ‘rights’ of others - who are not male - or, have a different skin-colour or racial appearance are respected and defended, sexists or racists can and, at times do, ‘protest and complain’ that their rights are being ignored.
There are some who say: “in our way of life it’s perfectly OK to treat women as ‘inferiors’ or, not afford them the same basic rights and privileges we enjoy as men. Stop denying us our right to treat women in the way we are accustomed to!”
There are some who say: “our holy-books and the practices prescribed within them, oblige us to practice sexual discrimination against women. Don’t practice cultural imperialism - impose your foreign values - and suggest our mothers, wives, daughters etc. would benefit from enjoying the same rights we have. Our religious practices forbid it and, our holy-books threaten ‘terrible consequences’ for contemplating change of this nature! We would be punished by God or, accrue bad kamma, if we stopped practicing sexual discrimination.”
There is something else that needs clarifying - as well. I have never suggested in any way, shape or form, that, any monastic (traditional or otherwise) - or anyone - should do anything that they feel is inappropriate. This is a most unfortunate and recurrent insinuation or accusation that is made with reference to what I have written.
It happens frequently and, I can only find two explanations for why it happens when, nothing of the sort has been said or implied in any way whatsoever - by me - and only by my respondents.
One explanation may be: it is simply assumed that this must be a ‘motivation’ that lies behind my concern for the rights of women in Buddhism.
Is that what you assume?
Another may be that it has the effect of portraying my best and honest attempts to explore this important issue in a way that ‘implies’ an unwholesome intention. An intention to push people into doing things they don’t want to do.
Do you believe this has been my intention all along?
There is nothing hidden - no hidden intention - in anything I have written. If, I insisted that people stop practicing sexual discrimination then I would say as much - clearly and unequivocally.
Instead, I simply point out the clear and obvious problems that arise when people are discriminated against - and don’t like it - and how it would be in their interest if we did something to stop this happening.
If, on hearing this someone responds by saying: @laurence is wanting to impose “Western secular progressive ideology and its values” on traditional Buddhism or, he wants to force traditionalists to give up sexist practices - whether they like it or not - I have to be ‘honest’ and make it clear.
These are false and misleading claims!
I would hope that the mistreatment, sadness and, disappointment of women in our practice communities would provide traditionalists with sufficient motivation to reconsider their commitment to sexist behaviour embedded in Buddhist codes of practice and forms of etiquette.
This seems like a reasonable starting point for addressing the issue?
Only after we arrive at this point in the discussion, can we begin to address the actual discriminatory practices and what, if anything, can be done about it.
There are some who derive pleasure from what others find painful but this is not the issue.
We are talking about unwelcome sexist behaviour that some - not all - Buddhists care enough about to respond to with kindness and direct action. In order to right the wrong!
Sexism is not an ideology that we have simply heard about and, that we may believe in or disbelieve. It would make no sense to say: ‘I have heard about sexism but I’m not sure if I believe it actually exists. Maybe, its just an ideological invention with no ‘correlate’ in the real world. It may be the product of fertile imaginations, a fantasy like: the moon is made of cheese etc.’
This raises the question: why would someone practice Buddhism if they were capable of coming to this conclusion as the validity of Buddhism could be questioned or dismissed on similar grounds? It may seem strange to have to point this out but comments along these lines have been made in earlier threads.
Even what we say is not a conclusive indication that we are sexist as we could speak in a way that is sexist, by way of illustration or, through forgetfulness or inattention and, not engage in sexist behaviour with regard to our personal conduct in daily life.
Conversely, we could say things that suggest that we have non-sexist values but act in a way that contradicts what we say. Sexist language can be offensive and distressing but sexist conduct, the emotional, mental and, physical mistreatment of females is worse. Sexism is something we do or, don’t do - its a practice.
If, sexism is embedded in your ‘code of practice’ and you are against sexism, then, what should you do? There are only 3 realistic options - observe another existing code that has no sexist practices, delete/modify the sexist elements in the existing code or, create a new one?
It makes no sense to say we are opposed to sexist practices but remain committed to preserving sexism in our code of practice - does it? Oddly enough, this does seem to be the consensus-view on this site?
Has anyone heard about impermanence - somewhere - change is possible?