The politics of the Buddha’s genitals

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BD.5.356 “If, Ānanda, women had not obtained the going forth from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder, the Brahma-faring, Ānanda, would have lasted long , true dhamma would have endured for a thousand years. But since, Ānanda, women have gone forth … in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder, now, Ānanda, the Brahma-faring will not last long, true dhamma will endure only for five hundred years.

what is interesting is seeing how nobody ask if the fault of that time decrement because the admission of women it was in men instead in women. Note the Buddha never said the fault of that decrement was in the women.

It can leave an uncomfortable land to ask for some unconsciouss or implicit misogyny when managing that episode, even to defend sex equality. Which is funny

Do you know some essay arguing if perhaps were the lacks in men what caused the time decrement after accepting women?. I have never found one.

Sorry my ignorance, I’m aware about the tons of papers with this issue. Although I believe this passage don’t have some high special interest because it says something of common sense. In a community of people who are under celibacy, etc… and with many integrants still to be purified, the inclussion of both sex can cause difficulties for the goal. This is nothing strange, I believe. Anyone can study the arising problems after including roosters and hens in a corral, although I wonder where is the special mistery to clarify or discover. What the Buddha said is fully logical.

The strange thing would be reading in a text of 2.500 years ago: “Ananda, after including women there will be no difference”. It isn’t something of common sense?. :no_mouth:


Hermaphrodite refers to specifically to a being (human or otherwise) that has both male and female genitals. Intersex is a more general term that encompasses a range of non-standard presentations.

There is no suggestion that the Buddha had female genitalia, and, as you say, he had a son. So in terms of reproductive sexuality he was male. Clearly, however, his genitals were emphatically said to appear unusual, and the wording used to describe this is elsewhere used of female genitals. Perhaps intersex is not the best term for this, I am open to suggestions.


There is such a thing in some human males as genital retraction & hyperinvolution, and even buried penis. It can develop as an adult, or earlier.


Thanks for the reply Bhante.


Thanks. These might also be appropriate terms, although at a first glance, they appear to be treated as medical problems, rather than as a simple variation in anatomy.


I find this Western obsession with sex somewhat weird. I think the only ‘sexual organ’ we need to be concerned with is his head; or specifically the mind and I would argue that it’s the only sexual organ there is! It’s like saying if someone had a mole on their bum, it undermines who they are! It’s actually discrimination!


True, all those terms are from a perspective of “problem”.
There is also the saying “a grower not a show -er”. On a taboo topic, that might be all that is said.


If not mistaken , Cakkavatti The Wheel Turning King appears to bear the 32 great man marks . The birth of a Cakkavatti is attended by the same miracles as that of the birth of a Buddha. A Cakkavatti is as worthy of a thūpa as a Buddha. Another thing is it appears that no woman can become a Cakka-vatti / Sakka / Brahma / Mara and Buddha .

Is it something random ?


Bhante, but haven’t other 30 “marks of the great man” raised any questions or suspicions? :joy: Like, really? If we consider all of them as “real thing”, we will draw a picture of an alien from Star Wars. :slight_smile: Why don’t we then suppose Buddha was a Jedi knight stranded on Earth, and George Lucas is the new Messiah, Maitreya, perhaps? :slight_smile:


Just a little moderator comment :slight_smile:

Humour and irony doesn’t translate well across the internet, especially with many participants who do not have english as a first language.

Extra care needs to be taken when addressing people so that posts aren’t perceived as sarcastic etc.

:dharmawheel: :anjal:


They have. There are many essays and discussions of this point.


How do you know the 32 marks are brahmanical ideals or Brahmanic belief? Could you give some concreate details to support the view?

It could be just simply created by the early Buddhists in order to show their teacher or Buddha is very special one.


Yes, I also agree with that.

But it is likely that the Buddha in the beginning did not welcome women into his sangha, according to both the Pali and Chinese Vinayas on the attha garudhamma.


In the suttas it is always brahmins who are said to look out for the 32 marks, see DN 3, MN 91, and MN 92. Apart from this, the 32 marks are only mentioned in two other suttas in the four main Nikāyas, that is, DN 14 and DN 30, without any indication of the origin of the idea.

It’s not clear to me how these marks would have made the Buddha special unless they were already so considered by the broader Indian culture. Many of the marks are strange and idiosyncratic. The Buddhists would have needed some rationale to come up with these particular marks. That the idea was inherited from the broader culture, or segments of that culture, seems to me to be the most plausible one.


I guess we didn’t get each others’ ironies then :slight_smile: