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Barbara O'Brien

Dogen on Women and Buddhism

By March 12, 2008

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March is Women's History Month, and here's a dazzling jewel of a find to go along with it.

In the "Raihai Tokuzui" fascicle of Shobogenzo -- I'm serious! Check this out! -- Eihei Dogen made it abundantly plain that women can realize enlightenment as well as men, and that Buddhist men who discriminate against women in spiritual matters are "ignoramuses." That's the English translation, anyway.

Dogen (1200-1253) brought Soto Zen from China to Japan and is the author of the beloved Genjokoan, which is another fascicle of his great work, Shobogenzo, "Treasury of the Eye of True Dharma." In Raihai Tokuzui, Dogen paid homage to two of the great women Buddhist teachers, Moshan and Miaoxin, and said,

"In acquiring the dharma, all acquire the dharma equally. All should pay homage to and hold in esteem one who has acquired the dharma. Do not make an issue of whether it is a man or a woman. This is the most wondrous law of the buddha dharma."

Photo Caption: Tibetan nun.

Photo Credit: © Ling Cui | Dreamstime.com

March 16, 2008 at 7:43 pm
(1) the_fire_dog says:

How True.

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