From the book “Mind Unshaken” by John Walters:
“Buddhism has lay sisters who live as nuns but they do not play the important part in religion as the nuns do in Roman Catholicism. The Buddha’s attitude seems strange…At times he regarded them with some humor mixed with light cynicism…I see no form quite as enticing and so desirable,so intoxicating and so distracting, such a hindrance to gaining unsurpassed peace from effort- that is to say, monks as a woman form. When Ananda asked Buddha how he should behave toward women, the advice was ‘Don’t see them’.
The Buddha being no congenial ascetic,knew too well female seductiveness and female power.”
Eventually according to Walters, Buddha’s Aunt and stepmother Prajapati convinced him to allow for the creation of a nun’s order. The Order of Nuns was founded only after a show of resistance from the Buddha, who offered ‘eight strict rules’, and added that if Prajapati accepted them she could be ordained.The rule s were:
‘A nun must first salute a monk, and rise in his presence even if he is newly ordained. A nun shall not spend Retreat in a place where there is no monk.Every fortnight a monk will ‘give admonition’ to a meeting of nuns.A nun must not under any pretext rebuke or abuse a monk. Utterances or pronouncements may not be made by nuns to monks but may be made by monks to nuns.’
Granting that the Buddha’s wisdom was supreme, and that he claimed knowledge of many, many incarnations as a mother, father son, and daughter…as a every possible incarnation available, my question is how could the Buddha contradict his own teaching about the equal value of all humans regardless of social status?
And what is a new Buddhist to make of this egregious sexist discrimination? How could the Buddha not acknowledge the equal value of women in society?