Women and Buddhism

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Women and Buddhism
As a religion, Buddhism has a great impact on women, especially Asian women. Theravadan Buddhism, which is the early stage of Buddhism, depreciates women by a theory called “Five Blocks”. However, Buddhism started to affect women in a positive way when Buddha raised several doctrines and explained the theory in a more proper way. The “Five Blocks” theory can be summarized as women can’t achieve enlightenment because women are weak, jealous, annoying, desiring and having more affairs in the world. This theory makes women inferior to men for a long time. “Accordingly women are seen as a weaker sex, cannot make a decision on their own, and they are dependent beings. As commodity, they must be taken care of by their parents when young, by their husbands when married, by their sons when they are old.” (Buddhanet, 2008) Therefore, women had no freedom at all, and they just behaved themselves as households. Less freedom made women lack of education, and finally settled their humble position. Although the Buddhists now claim that this understanding is non-Buddhist; they cannot deny its huge effect already put on women. Nevertheless, this theory can only represent the early view of women in Buddhism, after Buddha raised two doctrines, women’s position changed a lot. One doctrine is” A brotherhood of man”: everything on the world should be equal. Even deity and demon are equal, how about men and women? The other doctrine is “Wheel of life”: everyone takes control of his own life, and bad fate has nothing to do with women. The “Five Blocks” theory was also explained as not only women have these disadvantages to achieve enlightenment, some men also have them, and these are human weakness. Buddhism no longer consider women as being inferior to men, while accepting the biological and physical differences between the two genders, it also consider men and women to be equally useful to society. (Yang, 2009) Buddha permitted the admission of women into the...
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