Women Ancestors

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welcome can you hear me has is kicked in okay this is the comfort on were waiting recognizing our women ancestors then it says this conference has been a long time in the making
the has for many years been working on trying to
no of and

here to america have been sensitive to
represent teachers in orchard it
there are parallels and traditions

ah maybe i'll hold it
that's too much

i'm so in some ways this is several years ago linda was cuts before she was added as a to the app is council
elders people in the community been practicing for a long time suggesting that we recognize our women ancestors in the liturgy which hadn't really been done
we started that several years ago or chanting the acharyas and finding other ways to include are women ancestors in the liturgy and then a couple of years ago and i think everyone was relieved and pleased with that step
ah about a year and a half ago i think me away he over here and came you
said that is fine but maybe there's the way we can include people closer into our lineage which we don't know about or then ancestors the acharyas or were before then became the and so to speak
and maybe is a must be we must have been women answer says that we don't know about so much about and we should know about
and so
in previous years we'd had him levering come actually first came we did a a conference on the video compassion in action and you wrote about women in was the taiwan
and then several years ago we brought her here to talk about a chinese women's and ancestors which shelter and today
and then over the years as joan sutherland who has done a lot of work on women who had a parent cons both the traditional collections and the collections which are not so prominent in fact i think it was miriam who said on the front page of the buddhist newspapers there's not that much about women
but on the back pages there's plenty of information and we need to publicize and get that information out so that's part of it will do today
and then paula awry who came several years ago to who has studied in
how to several nunnery is there and as a lot of information about
and women practicing in japan and about the many
ah courageous and creative teachers they are both traditionally and currently
so we have a big day today we have a lot of information to present and when a true so this is the plan for to
i'll stop speaking very soon
and then marianne will talk for about five minutes han chinese women ancestors and ancestors and well will cherish will try to added at that point and have a very short question and answer maybe just ten minutes' worth i know we're probably could spend the whole day with it
but just the most burning question
we'll have plenty of time for questions and discussion tomorrow we'll have a fifteen minute break
then joan will
john will talk about the the cons and women and cohen traditions
and then we'll have another very sprite question answer period another fifteen minute break and then paula
represent on japan both it i'm in currently so there's a lot to cover inches forth
and they will have ten minutes discussion and then pot
her new book women living in kept really a lot of information about nuns in japan
it will ah it would still have some books suffers first for sale they've been selling like i don't know
she'll she'll be willing to stay in sign us so we have
and tomorrow
one thirty
an olive
the three teachers visiting teachers and are to advices
paula has some taper some ceremony that the the nuns do in japan which will discuss will have plenty of time to discuss
come up today and will close will probably spend the last part of the afternoon discussing a kind of ceremony kind of closing ceremony of appreciation for hours than ancestors
and then we'll do the ceremony
so that's the big picture of course anything might happen but that's the starting plan
and i think and waste anymore time is there any


but under here somewhere
okay have something the project
i really appreciate being here today with you all
you are the very people that i most want to communicate with and learn from and share experiences with in the whole world so
so i just as a tremendous honor and privilege to be here with you
i'm asked for years i've been trying to learn something of the women who became teachers and dharma errors in the chinese chan tradition i just sort of started with that because those were the text i was familiar are a little bit familiar with
and as you can imagine for years my male colleagues are regarded this as kind of total waste of time so it has been thrilling to me to find
people here at the san francisco zen center and others an communities and other buddhist communities around the the country and now other places as well that bad in fact
can incorporate some of the information that i have found into their practice and so i'm just thrilled to see that happening
i've actually
i'm gonna start i think with a topic that's that's a little bit
ah different from simply telling you about the chinese women ancestors i'm gonna start with a paper that i wrote as a response to the last time i was here at this center
how about the subject of lineage and chanting the ancestors in the ah
ritual the daily ceremonies
before i start with that they'll let me find out on one or two things about you how many of you
are associated with san francisco zen center or one of its many offspring
right how many of you are
our associate with a a rinzai based tradition lindsay arends ai-based
so let me i think this paper will situate for you something of that at least the way i see
how it came to be that we don't know more about our women ancestors and also something of the suggestion that i would like to make to zen communities about what to do about this
in buddhist women on the edge which i'm sure many of you have ran right
buddhist late teacher and author sally g code tisdale tells of her frustration and pain as other members of our religious community usually males tell her that she should forget about her gender and the gender of others not make an issue of the apparently gendered nature of practices and representation
in ritual because to a buddhist gender doesn't really matter
the reality she wants to say is that here in this practice community gender does matter
male voices respond that the problem lies in her own dualistic attitude
our attachment to conventional categories stop making male stop making female and the problem will go away of it so
here her fellow practitioners say we are not men or women gender is just an illusion in the absolute the vast the one she writes my concern the concern of many women that sexism is deeply harmful and must be addressed is a shimmer female illness and maleness or simply social constructs
to be let go to let go
she tells her own experience and i have let them go sometimes that particular construct falls away entirely and we are truly not many we are truly bound he is not he and i am not she and we sit together and intimate
silence bend my dorm or brother weeps beside me in the zendo and when i breathe in i breathe in his outward flowing breath and when i let my breath go he and i saw together we are unserved by the relative by the moving evanescent world then we stir again
stirring not stirring to not to female nurse and maleness come into the world along with everything else in a cycle of ignorance and movement and change shaping the world and being shaped and return
gender is not illusion gender as karma she concludes
as karma it is both illusion and reality as in the case of racism and poverty it is a reality that needs to be understood and addressed as we live together

skipping a little bit ahead here i want to turn to the subject of lineage
turning to chan and zen buddhism one of the fundamental ideas that are at the heart of what we more may call chance and theology is the idea that one can rely on there having been at transmission of awakened mind down to one's present teacher and to oneself through a
lineage of awakened teachers in early time various authors went to considerable trouble to name the members of the lineage through which awakened mind had been transmitted from shakyamuni buddha in india to way nung or a know as you know him the six chinese patriarch
authors of genealogical history is in the five dynasties and the song dynasty in china continued to work on recording and constructing the transmission lineage the family tree rooted in shock and mooney buddha that authorized the claim to awakened insight in all of the contemporary members in all
the branches
in japan's and teachers and their students continued to emphasize that participation in a true lineage meant that in one's present teacher one faced a mind identical to that of shakyamuni buddha himself
every morning at the san francisco zen center the assembled group of priests and lay people chance and gratitude the lineage of teachers who have transmitted the awakened mind of buddha from shakyamuni to the present students invoking the presence of these ancestors to receive the homage to the groom from
shakyamuni buddha to mark a shopper from a shop over twenty eight generations to bodhidharma all this is very familiar to you the indian patriarch who brought the transmission to china from bodhi dharma to quaker for wake up to seung sahn and so forth to wane on from way nung to you and singh sir
and so forth to the soto ancestor dongsheng liang jia right towson
the okay and then to foreign dal chi from prune got tau chi to ridging or new job from new to dogan from dogan to suzuki issue neurosci profound or of zen center if you look at the chart that i've said before you there
you'll see on that reproduced a small but crucial part of that lineage starting with toes and yokai at the top
and proceeding down to dogan keegan's mg and the extreme left hand corner
why such emphasis on the lineage of teachers guru and disciple good program para in the towns and tradition now here's a subject in which i'm hoping you'll enlightened me of course
we all know that part of the reason for it as a practical problem you could try to learn something that you can't ultimately teach yourself you can't be sure that you have learned yourself that you've mastered yourself when you need
to know that your teacher is a good teacher a master of what you seek to learn
there might be as many people claiming to teach there are websites right with the same degree of
expertise or misinformation
some teachers are able to recognize and enabled the desired realization and some are not how does one know which is which ones a beginner
it's important to know
what one teacher has learned and from whom
the idea of a transmission lineage as a way of assuring the authenticity of teaching and practice and of authorizing the current teacher seems such a simple and practical idea
but in fact in the trends and tradition it's also a theological idea if you'll excuse the way i loosely i'm using theological here right now sort of foundational idea of an article of faith that grounds practices in an important way
this is clear from the way in which resists alteration even in the face of a number of challenges
for example what happens if you know that the lineage of the teacher is fictional
scholars in the twentieth century have pointed out that the claims of authors and early chan and in later periods in china to have trace their lineage back to shakyamuni do not withstands historical scrutiny
at in recent decades it's come to be accepted that the notion of a single unbroken line of transmission from mind to mind from shakyamuni buddha to bodhi dharma
and similarly from bodhi dharma the way knowing or a know are at least to some extent fictions
these fictions were very useful to ears of these lineages in the song dynasty in china the period i study which seems to be the time when these fictions were most greatly elaborated
they authorized members to claim
sam haven't got me
women were allowed to worse by law it became an unnecessary place to go for a divorce and cornelia you were winning we were years and it's a beautiful temple and it has a very sweet theory of the women who are practicing and in
in gotten a i think because of the connection was one of the only temples where we went on tour
and as i went in because my head hair was very sure i was reading rockets and they recognized me as a not and said oh you're on amazon
at no charge her
very much right open locally is the mirror still there
thank you have a lot of that here
there's a lot of literature to kinky
wonderful stories about the the women who left their husbands and the on mammals of law that they went through to get their walked her husband's very careful as is when you get their wife's back into kg was the highest he was protected by the emperor and era very few instances
if these very powerful man in begin
have stayed for about two years transit
thank you for that i'm delighted to hear it still standing i'd heard that it had burned and just the gardens were left so that's that's wonderful
yeah right way one time or another yeah yeah
i think one of the
we'll define a modicum loan facilities and i know that than their current homes and as shifted around them to get around in the literature and now there's a there's a wide range of books on women medicines one can find these to damage as much more difficult time for example the stories that used or what
would you send people are you suggest because i think that there are a lot more human ancestors than most of us know
yeah i'm i'm color i've been collecting these cards for a long time i did give san francisco zen center a coat of collection do you have that data yeah that's available so
just ask dana and that that's a sort of initial thing and and i'm hoping to put a book out at some point with with on the stories
what are the free present literature present not only didn't have to
a woman performed in january the feeling was a good albums earth
an investment number
the grips the collateral for this presentation to the way better that he had some invited the role like
before that is it's a scream for in the cylinder
and the cream
destination of the three
district them
welcome to the spring
the predominant theaters
the restaurant
thank you for your confusion
i'm sure she was as the software stranger about it
anorexia in surprised that seems me
at times and there's something about
tram in a scene in china about
vip by the creek chopping up fingers right it was
so i'm i'm assuming this is a man comes from a similar era when describing
i don't know about the writing and blood i do know that that they were done tai sticks of incense to their fingers and let them burn down and take the finger out you know and that both men and women did that the self-immolation seems to have been particularly done by women
no no this is this is pretty tongue when yeah yeah
so it was a very troubled and and so chaotic time in chinese history
i give you a thank you
the and

like a eleven

how's it
can i can only i can look at the people on the couches is that what you're telling me i can turn this way oh
well like mary levering you to are the audience that i care most about that it's the people to matters for their lot

cutting in and out
the how's this

i have any to do with for to me i are in my pocket
turn it on
i don't think it needs to be turned up adjust the angle

how we're doing now can i
is this is okay
just let me know any time if you keep your head straight forward
okay our keep my shoulders aligned

okay i'll just go straight
yeah being this is mother's day weekend i can let you know all of it in in many ways the whole reason i got into looking at japanese buddhist women is because of my mother and
she was my first clue she's japanese
she is my first clue that japanese women are not just subservient they don't have a sense of themselves being area vis-a-vis men and that
there was
a resilience in facing whatever obstacles were there and responding with creativity not responding with oh pity me i can't do this but finding a way to figure out how to do it anyways even if the external form looked
like it may be subservient it looks like it may be
a reflection of them not being on a par with men that was not their attitude inside it was always understood as a device as a method
and so when i met my first soto's and none in india till june ghosts and say
i was delighted i didn't know that there were any a living so toes and nuns in japan this was in nineteen eighty seven
all the texts that i had read and this should be a clue for and of you who do translations or reading in english bear in mind that when things are translated from japanese into english by and large japanese is not as gender to language as english
so things that are not gendered in japanese get gendered in english so with just a slight stroke of the pen you whitewash out all the women but that was not the effect in the original japanese or away and he inherited the dharma from hacker joe
the story holds two messages first there's the message that a woman may be herself awaken and in formerly be useful and teaching capacity to a man
but second whether because of society whether because of karma as a woman she's not suited to take a position of authority is a formal teacher and in the later stories about this important master
she drops out entirely
at that point male teachers by and large head male students this is down to the time of this text around nine sixty and male students male teachers and for a long time the text show us only one woman more zhang liao ran who also up
years and i took a city that lender who has talked about this morning
only one woman more only and teaching a male student
nonetheless it was also the case that more and more male teachers had women students and their came to be women teachers and dharma heirs connected to this main lineage that men were keeping track go through a male teacher
moshe lauren
is said to have taught the monk your sin and dogan tells this story
duggan's come in
his dharma father was his official teacher rins i
and his dharma mother was the woman teacher more chandelier iran
so dogan said gerson had a dharma father and the dharma mother
duggan's comment might be seen as a slight opening in the direction of a more complex application of the metaphor of family to the chance and situation
if dogan statement had even been construed as a genealogical possibility the lineage chart of jerseyans descendants would be more complex for those descendants would have a grandfather and grandmother
but the song dynasty compilers of the chan family tree stuck to the notion of a single teacher transmitting the dharma in a single petrol line they saw joseon as lin g his dharma heir and attributed no heirs to more sham
scuse me one second
at the beginning of the thirteenth century
a genealogical chan text to sort of compilation of the lineage and the way in which the the awakening was transmitted in that lineage recognize sixteen women as dharma heirs of sung chan teachers as full members of the lineage who received the flame of awakening and or two
trusted to be qualified to transmit it
some of these women had dharma heirs of their own who were recognized by later genealogical histories
this fact has implications for that's how long school
if we look at the chart that you have in front of you hear the ancestral lineage the single patra line from bodhi dharma and waning on to dogan we notice that if one were to chant a bit more the family tree beyond the single line one would become aware of the presence of women
starting from toes and yokai
we go down through quite a number of generations until we reach and a very very important so don't master who was responsible for the revival of really an almost dead school
for yokai
ah his great contribution as as historians and the school of chronicled it is that he had three outstanding men dharma heirs who really put soto zen on the map
but he also han as you can see looking at this chart a woman dharma heir the non dowson
and furthermore perhaps more importantly his excellent men dharma heirs had women dharma heirs of their own
dawson had a to dharma heirs of which one seems to have been a man and another a woman
comodo joe had a very important woman dharma heir the non wigwam or a coney instrument un he had another important woman domeier
a for tongue
now it happens that the line of transmission in which dogan found himself
ah did not have women to my knowledge it while it was in china and japan things course are going to be a different
in any case
let me tell you a little bit about these women who appear on duggan's family tree
wigwam for example
ah she headed a very important nunnery at the capital of the northern song dynasty at the very end of the northern song dynasty
she was honored by the emperor for her eloquence in preaching and teaching she received a purple robe from the emperor that as she was one of those who were invited to preach to the emperor a periodically the emperor would have such ceremonial preaching occasion
ins in which to honor
eminent monks and nuns mostly marks ago
and she was invited to one of these and
i asked to preach to the emperor at court and give and was given a purple robe as a sign of this honor
the second single sheet that i've given you contains
they didn't the history which i mentioned i'm writing
and i think
i'm not look at the moment for some reason
change your i still don't have a i saw a brilliant
it's m grin
whether i am i without the
at u t k diversity in tennessee knoxville and

several workshop

thank you record
good afternoon it's wonderful to be here and i wouldn't want to thank zen center for putting this great event on and i'm really delighted to be hearing miriam and palace work i think it's tremendously important and i said i want to give them grant so they can keep going
a baby sitter
i'm in i'm in it talk a little bit about what the kalank tradition can tell us about women in our lines and traditions and i think that one of the things that looking at it from the cohen way can give us is that we're not just observing our tradition
and but we're actually seeing from inside our tradition and looking at looking out as well as at and i want to suggest three ways of seeing that can happen in the and way and some of you may pick up a correspondence to the tree
yeah the three bodies of the buddha here
the first thing that collins can do is that they can they can dissolve our limitations the limited ways that we think and feel based on our habits and our opinions and our judgments and may present a bigger perspective sometimes quite suddenly so that
all of a sudden the small focus the narrow focus of our everyday minds that is just expand it to something much larger and more mysterious and we find ourselves in the territory where we don't know
sometimes the colon can feel like it pushes us into into eternity and sometimes it's sort of beckons and welcomes us and
an example of a call on that perhaps beckons us into eternity
is this here is the stone drenched with rain that points the way
that's the whole things that beautiful here is the stone drenched with rain that points the way
can you feel the invitation in that that sort of to to let go of that which is small and constricted unusual and see if there's another way to to i'm experienced things
in terms of the ones that pushes i wanna give you a m a contemporary western con they do indeed exist and interviewer asked the great french rider and theater person antonin artaud if your house were on fire what would you try to save and he said i'd save the fire
okay so that's a push it isn't mets of push what does that mean you know what does that mean so that's the bit that's the big perspective that's that's collins ability to get us out of the habitual and and to into bring that that sense of the bigness of things to us
the second way of seeing through collins is to see through the eyes of the ancestors we get to hear the ancestral voices in the collins
and because they're not high canon they're not sutras or commentaries on sutras but initially were rather casual actually they were scribbled anecdotes of of things that actually happened or they were snatches of folk songs bits of poetry popular poetry at the time so some of the popular culture
as well in a way that they don't other places
because of this we get the voices of women more strongly than anywhere else because it's not the high cannon it's not as miriam shows you know the places that we tend to sort of disappear after a couple of generations so so the voices of the ancestors particularly the voices of the women ancestors
also the common everyday voices the songs and poetry
what another con is a verse from a japanese folk song that goes like this in the sea of he say ten thousand feet down lies a single stone i want to pick up that stone without wedding my hands
so that was just a folk song of the time that someone heard and thought you know what would it be to practice with this
so big picture voices of the ancestors and in the third way of seeing that collins invite us to is when it has to do with our own practice and our own story
when we hear a call on what's our first reaction do we love it hate it feel indifferent towards it doesn't make us anxious to we get excited what what happens we just noticed that and we stay with that and are mindful of our reactions
what's really difficult you know the most valuable collins are the ones that you get stuck on forever there's really something there to learn
and in in a different sense of stick worthy stick to it if you hear a cohen at what point do you does it kind of light up for you and that's the place that you attached to it
sometimes that can mean that's what you're doing in your practice sometimes it can mean that something to explore that you haven't yet
and in those cases are doubts and questions can be as important as or our certainties
so here are these three ways of of looking at coins and i want to start with one and then i'll do more of the historical overview but i think it's really it's really important to perhaps to get a sense of them
so this is a kind that comes from the kamakura period in japan this one's from the thirteenth century and this this beginning of the kamakura period was really the time when john was becoming then when then was becoming something within japanese buddhism so it's an extremely important moment
and we have i'm actually a fair amount of information about the about the monastic women of that time the nuns and the convents in the advices
and this is a story of one of them about a nun named motorcoach and muda who had come to the mud to the convent because she was made a widow quite young and she couldn't get over her grief so she came to then with a question you know what what it and she came for refuge
what do i do with my grief how can i get over this so she was looking for refuge maybe escape maybe an answer hard to know
so she came to because the teacher of the nation who was one of the chinese teachers who came over to japan and she asked what is then and i think in that question is all of her longing what is what why is life like this why do we suffer why is there tragedy and is
their refuge is than a refuge what is then make all of that is contained in the question
and bucco responded the heart of the one who asks is then
it is not to be got from the words of someone else
so that the heart of the one who asks just this grief just this question just this wondering and wanting refuge that sin it's nowhere else and it's nothing else
so that's a con in and of itself that we could take up that question the heart of the one who asks is in and look into that deeply in our own lives what is the state of our own heart and how is that son how is that the great stream of the ancestors no other than that no other light than that
no other refuge than that some place else no other perfection but just this just your heart
a later one of the m the great teachers in this particular line of women wrote a poem her her awakening palm was heart clouded heart unclouded rising and falling all the same body
whenever rises in your heart whether your heart is sunny and like an open meadow or cloudy and dark and confused heart crowded heart unclouded rising and falling all the same body
so the story goes on and this is great because that in itself it is is at one kind of car on the very short epigrammatic kind and then there are also the longer story so this story continues
and the none asks than what is the teacher doing that it gives sermons and they are reported he's just that you can't get it from the words of other people so she says well what are you doing talking about it and sort of good question i think
and and
a description of skillful means but i think in a way he say this is the heart of the teacher the heart of the teacher is to show the person on by pointing to show a blind person by knocking this is my height what is your heart
and at that moment the universe intervenes to help and a deer near the hukou condos stream gives a cry and the teacher asks where's that dear readers that dear
there's a wonderful coin where teacher asks that has attended to bring in the rhinoceros fan and the attendant says i can't bring it to you it's broken and he says women bring me the rhinoceros
same thing whereas that dear
the none listened for she's there you know something's happening she's listening service can't quite say anything yet but that's all right and the teacher gives a shout
he's answering his own question i wrote dear right here in the out which i won't do with the microphone her
that would be unkind
and then he asks again who is this listening who knew who i'm listening who are you so we can he brings it in even closer even more intimate there's the cry of the deer and then who's listening and are those different questions
oh and then things shift and at these words the none had a flash of illumination and she went out and i kind of have this image of pursuit of wandering out and that you know when you get into bed from thirty fourth day of so she you know where it wouldn't be a good idea to go and try and to the grocery shopping because you might sort of stand in front of a pile of tomatoes
as for an hour to
so she goes out and at the water pipe from the hukou gonna go she takes up a ragged wooden bucket for flowers as she was holding it full of water she saw the moon's reflection in it and she made a poem which he presented to the teacher the flower bucket took the stream water and held it and the reflection of the moon through
pines lodge their impurity
so it's nice you know but there's a way in which to still holding that bucket at arm's length you know what what is this purity right why doesn't have to hold it in purity what's bad about so the teacher glances at it and says none take the heart sutra and go
and so some interval passes we don't know how long it could have been a couple of hours or could have been years but she keeps going and she keeps getting sent away and then one day she's back at the stream and she's holding that rocker bucket and the bottom falls out of it and the water goes wishing out and as that happens she awakens completely and goes more deeply than that
that first opening and she writes the bottom fell out of geo knows bucket now it holds no water nor does the moon lodge there okay so all that purity stuff wiped away no bucket no water no to oh no no stream not just this
and then her story was taken up as a koran by women in this lineage and a couple of generations later a woman wrote a third verse and are adding to oh or two verses and she wrote the bottom fell out of the bucket of that woman of humble birth the
pale moon of dawn is caught in the rain puddles
so she goes even further after emptiness after everything is wiped away and there's nothing we come back and the pale moon that that right of enlightenment is caught in the rain puddles is everywhere in the world held in the world yeah so that's that's a coming back in
to our lives
let me go back and and give you a little bit of the historical information that we can glean from the cons and please know that that what i'm about to say i'm consists of a linked series of gross generalizations because that's really all we have time for so please take them in that in
there's kind of a way in which in the big arc of things the history of women in san is like that the the famous poem before realization mountains the mountains and rivers rivers with realization mountains or not no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers and after realization mountains or mountains and rumors rivers again
i'm in in early buddhism in the in the period when buddhism had been imported from india and was meeting with the indigenous chinese traditions and something new was being made but hadn't appeared yet before time this was really the time of mountains and mountains and rivers rivers in the sense that many men
men and women are women and women are inferior period that's joshua
and that the the belief was that women were not able to be enlightened in women's bodies that it that the best you could do would be to practice really hard and have a lot of good virtue and you can be reborn as a mat and then you could become enlightened
oh and at that time on the idea of a virtue and purity was an extremely important value for for women that's the primary value for women in the monasteries
i'm the coming of china and said we sort of enter that mountains are no longer mountains rivers are no longer rivers face in the sense that as million was talking about earlier everything's empty there is no gender nothing nothing of that matters
during that time the that the primary value changes from purity or virtue to insight and i'll talk a little bit more about about this later
then in the west is a mountains or mountains again and rivers rivers again in the sense that i think we are saying that things like gender do matter
but they matter because they add richness they mattered because the particular rarities of form are important and valuable and we can learn from them and to exclude the wisdom of women or the wisdom of paper with you know disability or the widow or the wisdom of people of other races all of that
is to lose something so so those those distinctions do matter actually now in a positive sense in that it's good to hear all those voices
oh and we've moved from we've begun to move from a primary value on insight to one in which open heartedness is included into a much greater extent
so in this preach on period and also a among other schools during the time of time when a when she was a the important value for women they could they could work hard they could become great teachers they could influence emperors they could have lineages and all of that so
that what did the idea of good practice at that time was was following strictly the monastic rules that was that was the important thing to do and also certain devotional and scriptural practices like memorizing such as and scriptures and being able to recite them
nuns often went to homes when someone had died and would recite scriptures on behalf of the dead person so the nuns who could speak the fastest were the most popular because it costs the people who waste amount to hire them so you'll get these biographies of known that will talk about all of their wonderful sort of insight attainments and then it was the end she could say
the other tom saga cj and ten days
so this that the emphasis on on the rules of conduct read to some of the same problems than it did in the convents of the west on anorexia was a terrible problem and women were literally starving themselves to death in convents and china and same way that they were in the convincing europe
it was this idea that they would eat less and less to become pure and pure yeah
so pure you're dead
and you know that there was there was one woman who i'm finally was existing only on pine resin and she was wasting away and her teacher said to her eating is not an important part of buddhist practice and she recognized that she developed this kind of fetishistic relationship to eating and that if it weren't a new
potent thing than she could do it you know and it wasn't any longer a problem and so she will get you regained her health and went on to become actually great teacher so i am grateful for that intervention
the other thing that happened in addition to really serious anorexia was self immolation
the women word again cracks anorexia and they would eat only instance powder or or essential oils with the idea of turning themselves into a pure torch and then they would set themselves on fire and recite scriptures as long as they could
i mentioned i mentioned this because i think it's important that we know you know that that to is part of our heritage but also to say that when on and then come in and replace the focus on morality and rules of conduct with an emphasis on insight this is a really
good thing for women because when you if it's but if things are based on pure any women are always going to take the hit because we in patriarchal cultures in a we carry the shadow of the body for the culture so we can never be pure enough we know we're always gonna be one down am and always trying to struggle with that
so as much as we perhaps feel that we've got a little too far and the insight direction and then then can be kind of cherry in that way reps remember that at the time it was at least theoretically tremendously liberating for women because inside is genderless you know
and theoretically again and miriam obviously as the commentary on this theoretically anyway or woman of insight could do anything a man could do
another huge change was in his emphasis on emptiness that i mentioned that that that genders is a meaning within the first neither male nor female in absolute reality
an example of a coin which actually comes from the much later time because it's japanese but it embodies this exactly a woman asked the japanese teacher bronco i've heard it because women bear a heavy comic burden it's impassable for them to realize buddhahood is this true broncos said from what time did you become a warning
so he sang show me your women this show me in your madness you know show me your gender and i will take it away from here i will honor it doesn't matter because you can't do it you know it doesn't exist it's not something you can you can show
ah so that's a kind of advance i think over the women are inferior model of things
and if we if now that seems like the quite distant to us are not important i i'd ask you to consider what it must have been like to come to practice in such a serious way that you can't you enter a convent to come with all of your aspiration all of your longing all of your sincerity and already bodhicitta
and know that you couldn't resolve your questions in this lifetime that the best you could do would be to set up the conditions under which you could resolve your questions next time
so very deep and profound thing i think in something something that it's good that we've we've evolved from
i wanted to give you an example again of the theoretical possibilities that get opened up with china where as opposed to this this idea of inferiority you have sort of been taking our commerce and i'm interested in i mentioned i have so many stories of is wonderful encounters between individual teachers and individual women and
and i see the via the script million between
what individual teachers did in the ducks on room and what the organization and the establishment did
with it with the official version of things are you know we all know i've had such a common for but i think because here's a here's a real example of it
there was a broker who grow up a young girl and when she was ten years old she went to great when a great teachers of the time as soon as they had risen from their bows aggression and the twelve year old bow to each other
i'm sure the upside that the girl went with a nun and grace on asks the nine when you read and said i moved by the side of non tai lake question immediately shouted her out then he asked the girl where does the already behind you rip the girl sauntered up to him clasped her hands and stood there question asked again the girls
said i just show you a question said go
so here you have here's the private moment as opposed to the public moment that miriam's speaking about and here at least is the possibility of even a twelve year old girl an equation when a great teachers of the age taking the time to speak with her and she gets a little bit the better of him
another thing that that happens it's interesting as
a loss of the devotional practice that had been common in earlier times
something that i'm i'm still trying to work with in in my own tradition
guanyin becomes more or less female in china as we know but there isn't that devotional practice in time that there isn't in cork religion are among among the people and so there's a move from worshipping her to embodying her which again is a very profound thing so bad
that the koran questionnaire some what is guanyin do with all those thousand hands and eyes
no she gets up she goes direct she takes care of the kids arm she goes to sleep at night that's what she goes so that that movement for worshipping to embodying i think is a tremendously important and empower and run
and again the loss of the devotion is a little bit leaves a little bit to chewiness
another thing that happens in the move from india to china is a greater valuing of re practice on china being a just a tremendously practical and family oriented culture i think anything that didn't develop a re compile a strong way component wasn't wasn't going to succeed so all of sudden women's life exp
variance becomes a field of practice and everything can be a dharma gate so i'll give you an example of of that kind of story this is cards new the donut maker year was continuing and worked in a town is a donut maker she used to visit zen master long yet she and ask him questions with the others to teach
her the zen master use lindzey saying the true person of no rank on lynching used to say there's a true person of no rank who was constantly coming in and out through your face and who is that true person of no egg so one day you heard a beggar singing the song the rights of lotus flowers if you haven't heard the sound of young yeah
hey how can you find lake taunting hearing this she was greatly enlightened
so here you know a beggar comes along in the street as she's standing at the kitchen window and she here's just a smart of a frog song and bats are turning word on the most ordinary of events has the most extraordinary of effects on her
so she threw her donut pan onto the ground
one of the many stories about women's enlightenment and robbing the destruction of domestic employment
her husband glared at her and said are you crazy she said this is not your realm
she went to see long yoga teacher long as seen her at a distance knew she had attained realization he asked her what is the true person of no rank she immediately said there's someone of no rank with six arms and three heads working furiously smashing for our mountain into to with a single bro
throwing down a donut pan rushing to see wrong ya presenting her understanding how about that god put person working furiously with six hands and
and and then she says returned she quote and quote for ten thousand years the flowing water doesn't know the spring and thereafter she and and
that my assumptions about them were shaped by western feminism that begins that especially asian women have been oppressed throughout history and and that was my first
wrong step but they they corrected it rather quickly
they were not they didn't get and when i did a survey national survey of soto zen nuns this nineteen ninety one of the questions was have you experienced discrimination
this was these were nuns who had lived through a time period when the regulations were very unfair so you know any sociologists looking at the data with there's a whole sort of archetype in our history which is you know the anonymous teashop rady and these are some of the most profound teachers the quicker
rig them into the lineage you know and all the anonymous teashop grady's dai osho a bad guy would pay
that would be the truth about about our heritage
this when this one this winter little zen fix so listen listen to how initially the teashop rate keep swiping everything they say back into emptiness she's just not going to let anything stand there between us between them mago non swine and another monk went to call on the teacher jeong show
on on the way they met a woman who may ask which way as the road to jinx shine the same question she said right straight ahead margaret said the river had his deep can we cross it or not the woman said it doesn't work the feet and case of their emptiness just you know read as this can you cross it or not know
looking across he then asked the rice on the upper bank is so good while the rice on the rower bank is so weak the woman said it's all been eaten by mud crabs thinking the low big small doesn't matter it's all eaten by mud crabs the he then said the rain is quite fragrant the woman said it has
no smell and finally he asked i would imagine with some it's desperation where do you live lady and she replied i'm just right here so when the three monks got to her shot the woman prepared a pot of tea and brought three cups she said to them oh monks were those of you with miraculous powers drink tea
as the three looked at each other you go
the woman said watch this decrepit old woman show her own miraculous power she then picked up the cubs cord the t and went out so after all of this kind of wiping everything into emptiness and not allowing anything to stand at all in the and she brings it right back into the world and says these are the miraculous powers may i point
your cup of tea
so that's our our anonymous tisa made a ancestor
i wanted to talk just a little bit about about japan and i wanted to talk in particular about a temple called two kg which was in kamakura and was a kind of amazing price in it was nicknamed the i'm the divorce temple or the temple of runaways
because by imperial decree if you if a woman a woman could get refuge at two kg she could stay there and after a year or three years she would be divorced or released from whatever her situation was
so it was a at sometimes an extremely popular place and then the rule was that you had to get one sand or across the threshold and then you had refuge at two kg
and it doesn't still exist and we don't know right about it except that it was painted green which was rather unusual and that it had beautiful gardens particularly the azaleas down by the pond it was founded by a woman it was founded by the rife the widow of a regent who became its its first habit
what's wonderful about this is that they're pretty good records for two kg so we have generations and generations of women teachers and the women students and may go on to become teachers we have all the currents they develop their own practices that were different than what anybody else was doing i'll tell you one the second
so they they gave the we have records of the columns their answers to the collins their poems commenting on the koran it's it's just a tremendously rich resource and billy gives us a view into their lives
one of the one of the practices or was it was called on the mirror meditation the their first abbot who founded it actually had had an enlightenment experience while she was meditating in front of a mirror so she had a huge more than six foot high mirror and
stalled in the in the zendo this is what women do when left to the
and part of part of the women's practice was to polish the mirror cleaner and polish it and sit in front of it and work in it
and one of the one of the m one of the the poor my quantity before height clouded heart unclouded rising and falling all the same body was the the koran written by a woman who had an unaware can experience while performing mirrors and
ah one last story about two kg it was across the street from one of the great a male monasteries and kako je and the women were not allowed to go across and listen to the rector's at and kako je are unless they could demonstrate their realization at
the gate so there was a gatekeeper who would ask you a question and you have to answer it and then he would decide whether you could come in or not and can imagine going through this district listen to erection but they did so there was one of the women from two kg
it was is described in literature as extremely strong and extremely agree and she was called demon girl this is a woman i really would have loved to have known so demon girl goes across to the gate at and kako je and the gatekeeper asks her what is it the gate through through which the brutus come into the world
and demon girl got hold of his head and forced to between her legs and look look
the monk said in the middle there is a fragrance of wind and do
a teenage girl said this monk he's not fit to keep the gate he ought to be looking after the garden the gatekeeper ran into the temple and reported this to the masters attendant who said let us go down and test this and see if we can get a twist in there at the gate he tested her with the question what is it the gate through which the buddha come into the world and again
and girl got hold of his head and held it between her legs saying look rook the attendant said the brutus of the three worlds come giving right and she was allowed to come to the lecture
i think this isn't
really moving to me because i'm without her we're not here without her courage and her strength and her to tenacity and her unwillingness to not have take this tradition as her own we we are made possible here today
so let me close with them one of the most poignant cons in the curriculum from my perspective
benji ask a known welcome not welcome think a big question for women and rocker not welcome the none gave a shout the master held up his stick and said speak speak but none again gave a shout and a master header
and when she wasn't singling her out he hit everybody
in this sense of welcome not welcome and she just shouts he or she just says
not even a question here it is our is very moving to me and i do in this in this weekend and everything we do want to honor the courage of those women in the past who do make us possible and honor the courage of women practicing today and which can sometimes be be a difficult
the thing and also honor those women who have fallen away because they couldn't find a home in our tradition
i'm so what i would like to do if you're wearing his to honor our l of those ancestors by shouting with that woman who came to renji
well you know what a caught soundtrack
i can do