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.

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.

Young girl gets jealous at her boyfriend

Discard Jealousy

Question: Do you know about the green-eyed monster? The green-eyed monster is nothing but the jealousy that arises within our hearts. So today we’re going to talk about how to deal with jealousy that arises within our minds.

Jealousy is one of the most hardest experiences and emotions that we have to go through in our life. It is very hard to admit. And also it is very hard to remove from our hearts. So how can we deal with this jealousy? First of all, let us see why we feel jealousy. We often feel jealousy when we hear or when we see that someone is better than us.

Someone is more capable than us. Someone is more smarter and genuine than us. Then we start to compare ourselves with that person, and we start to feel jealousy. So what is the reason for this jealousy? When we explore the emotion of jealousy, we can find the selfishness or self-centeredness is deeply rooted within this closeness.

That is why we feel jealous all the time. So selfishness means that if someone is thinking only about that person, and if he is thinking that he is the greatest person of all, so chances are very high for that person to feel jealousy on people who are better than that person. So how can we deal with this and how can we stop this zealousness?

There are a few things that you can do, right? The first thing that you should do is to admit that you are in jealous of that person. And most of the time when we feel jealous, we refuse to admit that we are jealous of that person. We hide our emotions and we make excuses for our own evil emotions. So what you have to do is be humble and admit that I am jealous of that person.

Okay. Then only you can identify the real emotion and a real state of your mind. So the first thing that you have to do is to admit that you are jealous of that person. The second thing that you have to do is to realize that we all are different from one to another. For an example, there are four elements in this world the water element. The Earth element. Air element. And the fire element. These are the four elements that prevail in this world. So if I asked you, which one is the best element out of these four? What is the answer of yours? You may say that we cannot compare these four elements because these elements are unique from one to another. They serve differently to this world.

So we cannot compare. We cannot say which one is the better, better one. The same goes for our human lives. We are different from one to another. They are no same and identical people in this world. Even the identical twins are different from emotions and feelings. So that is why we should not compare ourselves with others. Right? We all are different.And also you have to realize there is a person always in this world who is better than you, right?

You can be the best in the world sometimes. But remember, there will be always a person who has the potential to beat you instead of competing with others in the society. Let’s try to compete with ourselves, right? Let’s try to battle with ourselves and let’s try to improve ourselves and bring the better version of ourselves daily. Right?

So that is what we have to do. Your competition should not be with the people who are around you, but your competition should be with the person who is inside yourself. Right. Try to bring the better version of yourself every single day when you are competing with yourself. There is no competition with others in the society and you will never feel jealous of them. Right?

And also, this is a special practice that our great teacher Supreme taught us to do when whenever you feel jealous. What is that? It is one of the most coolest practices in Buddhism. It is called MUDITHA. It means appreciating with joyfulness or in another word, the sympathetic joyfulness. When you practice moody to you will have the ability to wish the well-being of the people around you.

Whether he or she is better than you or lower than you. You can have the ability to wish the well-being and the development and the success of the people. Right. That these are the thoughts of Muditha. So how can we practice these thoughts of Muditha? There are a few simple things that you can do, right? Try these out every single day, whenever you get up from bed in the morning.

Right. Just don’t rush into distractions quickly. Just sit on the bed, close your eyes, and wish the well-being and development, and success of all the beings in this world equally. Right. You can close your eyes and think, May all beings in this world be well and happy. May they be successful in their life. May they be developed with the successes.

When you think and when you mean these emotions from your heart, you can do all of them all the time within you. And when you are going to this society and when you see the people who are better than you, who are more capable than you, then automatically the thoughts of Muditha will come to you and it will take control of your emotions.

Right? So never let that green-eyed monster of jealousy to take control over your mind instead of that. Let’s practice the Muditha and let’s wish the well-being of the people right. So be a big fan of watching people and being happy by seeing they are growing up day in their life and by seeing they are becoming successful in their life. Because at the end of our life, we all have to leave this world and we take nothing from this world, Right?

So that is why we need to collect more good deeds and practice more good emotions within our hearts. Okay, So never be jealous at people because there is nothing good that we can gain from by mere being jealous on other people. Right. So practice Muditha to appreciate it and be happy by seeing the people growing up in their life. Then you become happy by seeing the success of others. You can be happy about yourself.