Dharma Times - Women in Buddhism
With the fragrance of carnation still lingering in the air, we look into the role of women in Buddhism.
Women have long enjoyed a special place and played an important role in Buddhism. Buddhism does not consider women as being inferior to men, while accepting the biological and physical differences between the two sexes, does consider men and women to be equally useful to society.
The Buddha emphasizes the fruitful role women can play and should play as in being a wife and a good mother in making the family life a success.
In a family, both the husband and the wife are expected to share equal responsibilities and to discharge their duties with equal dedication. The husband is admonished to consider the wife a friend, a companion, and a partner.
In Buddhism, women who embodied compassionate, gentle, loving kindness have often been associated with Bodhisattvas such as Chenrenzig, ( popularly known as the Goddess of Mercy, or Kuan Yin or Avalokiteshvara ) and various Taras in Tibetan Buddhism.
According to the sutras, Buddha Shakyamuni used to refer to Chenrenzig as a man. In history, Chenrenzig was regarded as a male before the Tang Dynasty. During the Tang Dynasty, it was said that Chenrenzig was a princess called Miau Shan. As Chenrenzig in a feminine form is more intimate, more and more people affirmed this Bodhisattva to be female.
Moreover, in our world, women are always suppressed or even tortured, and therefore there is a strong desire to have a female Bodhisattva who is compassionate and able to salvage them from their sufferings.
"Here there is no man, there is no woman,
No self, no person, and no consciousness.
Labelling 'male' or 'female' has no essence,
But deceives the evil-minded world."
And she made the following vow:
"There are many who desire Enlightenment
in a man's body, but none who work for the
benefit of sentient beings in the body of a
woman. Therefore, until samsara is empty, I
shall work for the benefit of sentient beings
in a woman's body!"
Reciting the powerful mantra of Chenrenzig daily (108 times) and dedicating the merits to all sentient beings, especially your loved ones, will calm your fears, soothe your worries and have your prayers answered:
OM MANI PADME HUM (the most famous Mantra in the world)