Celebrating Equal opportunities For Women In Buddhism

Celebrating Equal Opportunities for Women in Buddhism

The full moon day of September is of great significance to the female disciples of the great sage, The Buddha Gautama. It is on such a day more than 2500 years ago that Gautama Buddha granted an ardent wish from his female disciples: to practice the Buddhist philosophy in search of liberation (Nirvana or full Enlightenment) as higher ordained nuns. The significance of this event is immense. 

This is perhaps one of the earliest known recorded instances of democracy or equal rights for women.

In a highly patriarchal cultural background, where women had little to no access to higher education or professional careers, lived under the shadows of their fathers, brothers, husbands and/or sons, and were not heard on equal terms with their male counterparts, the Buddha with boundless compassion for humankind opened the doors to a more equitable world: equal opportunity to learn if one so desired, regardless of one’s gender.

 On the full moon day of September, the Buddhist disciples celebrate this extraordinary win for women, recorded 2500+ years ago, and venerate the great Bhikkhunis who reached the bliss of liberation (Nirvana) in the Gautama Buddha’s dispensation.

How to live in the present moment

How can we live in the present moment without worrying about the future?

First of all, we have to realize that living in the present moment and focusing our minds on the present moment is not a simple thing. It is very hard, but also it is an achievable target. Our great teacher, the Supreme Buddha, taught us: “Atitam nānvāgameyya, nappatikankhe anāgatam”; we should not chase after the past and we should not make too many expectations about the future. The Supreme Buddha said: “Yadatitam pahinam tam, appattañca anāgatam”; what is past is left behind, it is gone, it is over now.

We should always focus on the good qualities of people.

We should always focus on the good qualities of people.

When we came to this human world we had to live with this human population. We have to deal with these humans. When we deal with and when we live with these humans, we will see so many good qualities as well as bad qualities. The problem with us is we are programmed and we have practiced always seeing the faults of people, the dark side of people, and the evil qualities of people. The more we see the dark and the bad qualities of people, we get angry. Sometimes we may hold on to resentment, sometimes we may become jealous. These evil thoughts may come into our minds when we deal with humans and when we see the dark and evil qualities of humans.

be courageous

Be Courageous!

Remember, we will fail only if we quit, if we give up. If we do not give up one day we will achieve success in our life.

criticism Do not fear criticism

Do not fear criticism!

Have you ever been criticized by someone in your life? We all have been in that situation in all of our lives. No one can stop other people from criticizing us. That is something that is out of our control.

You have to keep it in your mind- criticism, blaming, scolding and other people’s opinions in our life is something that we cannot control by ourselves. That is called the things that are out of our control. We cannot stop other people from judging us. Normally, the nature of people is always judging us. They keep on judging, they keep on criticizing and we cannot stop them.

Once our great teacher, Supreme Buddha, explained this to a Brahmin called Atula. Supreme, Buddha said:

Porāṇametaṁ atula, netaṁ ajjatanāmiva” 

Atual, it came from the ancient time

Nindanti tuṇhimāsīnaṁ”

 people will criticize when one is silent.

“Nindanti bahubhāṇinaṁ”.

People will criticize when a person talks too much. 

Mitabhāṇimpi nindanti”.

And when a person speaks moderately.

“Natthi loke anindito.”

There is no person, not a single person who has not been criticized by someone in this world. 

These words show us we all have been criticized in this life. We all have been in that situation in our life. It is a common phenomena or common incidents that we have to face in our life.

How to face these criticisms? There are two types of criticisms in our life. One is the criticism that helps us to develop our good qualities. People who always wish the best for us, our parents, our teachers, and our elders may advise us like they may criticize our faults. When we are in such situations, always listen to those criticisms. Always listen to those pieces of advice. Do not consider it as a bad thing. Do not consider it as a negative criticism. It is a positive criticism. You can develop good qualities and you can correct your faults when you listen to those pieces of advice. This is why they are called positive criticism.

 There is another criticism and that is the negative criticizing people may criticize out of jealousy, people may criticize us out of anger. They always keep on criticizing and we cannot stop it. When we face such situations, the nature of this mind is to become sad and depressed. The anxiety will start to develop inside our mind. And what we do when we face and when we hear those criticisms, we stop the good things, good practices that we are practicing in our life. You should not do that. You should not give up practicing the merits.

You should not give up doing good deeds because of others’ words. Face that, listen to that. But never stop the good of your life! The more we face criticism in our life, the more we will have the opportunity to build up good qualities within ourselves. Don’t think of criticism as a bad thing. They help you to develop good qualities in your life.

When you face negative criticism, always be patient, always be kind towards people. Because they have judged us, they have come to a conclusion about us which is wrong. What we have to do, we should not argue with them. We should not try to talk back. We should not try to prove them that they are wrong. What do we have to do? Just be silent, just be patient and always keep on practicing and never stop doing the good deeds and good practices in your life. If you keep on practicing the good things in your life, your life will be successful.

It is the nature that when we start doing something good, something wholesome or when we start doing a service to this world, something good to this world, it is the nature we all face criticism. All the people who had done a great service to this world, even our great Teacher Supreme Buddha faced criticism. Nothing to talk about us! What we have to do, we have to face those criticisms. The more we face criticism in our life, the more beautiful our lives will be. 

Don’t just go through your life. Always grow through your life. When you face those hard times and the difficulties in your life, you will always grow through your life.

How to be kind

How to be kind without being weak

Now in society, we have heard some people may say: “being kind is a weakness”. “The people who become kind to others are weak.” We are going to find out how to be kind without being weak.

First of all, we need to know that kindness itself is not a weakness. Kindness is a virtue. It is a great quality that you can have in your mind. But people consider those who become kind to others, who are very compassionate, weak. But that is not the reality. How can you be kind without being weak? In a wonderful discourse of the Supreme Buddha’s teachings, it says if you can maintain your patience when you are more powerful than the other person if you can maintain your inner peace, when someone complains you or someone hurts you, even though you are more powerful than that person. That is the greatest patience that you can have in your life. Being patient, being silent doesn’t define you as weak.

You should not go to the side of negativity. It means you should not be patient out of fear. Also, you should not go to the side of aggressiveness. That means you should not be aggressive to others. Instead, you can be assertive. What does it mean in practice? Assertiveness means being kind and maintaining your inner peace without being aggressive. And still you can be confident. If you can be confident as well as kind, that is what you call assertiveness. When you are kind to other people, that does not mean that you are weak. What you have to do when you become kind, you have to be wise. Kindness mixed with wisdom is the best kindness.

What if those evil people or toxic people come to you and start hurting you again and again? You have to take yourself back. Stay away from those people. You should not fall into the same trap again and again. Instead, you can be away from them and that is what is called assertiveness. When you become kind and wise, you become assertive. That is what real kindness is.

What is important is not to let anyone control your inner peace. Don’t let anyone change your emotions and make you sad. Instead, choose to be assertive. You should maintain your inner peace and be confident and be patient and be kind to others. But never, ever be angry and hurt others.