Guest Post: Buddha and the Women
(On a three-child-induced career sabbatical, Libby spends her time sewing lavish Halloween costumes, reading, and volunteering on the board of her daughter’s cooperative preschool. She lives near Boston.)
When the Buddha came back to his home after his enlightenment, he welcomed followers, even allowing his young son to become a monk. His wife, who loved him deeply, and his aunt, who had raised him like a mother, also wanted to follow him.
“No,” said the Buddha. “I cannot allow it. We will walk for many days. We will be hungry, wet and dirty. It is not the life for a woman.”
They begged him again and again for ordination, but he would not relent.
Over time the Buddha became well-known throughout the land. He and his retinue were so holy, so concerned with the lives of small creatures, that they would not leave a dwelling during the rainy season for fear of crushing the worms that came up out of the mud. They had gained favor with a rich man who housed them on his estate for several months. One day, through the rain, they saw a stream of saffron-robed monks in the distance, traveling toward them. They lit fires to cook and began to prepare for the travelers’ comfort. Imagine their surprise when the people who entered the house were women – hundreds of women, including the Buddha’s wife and aunt. There were so many of them, and they were so devoted to achieving enlightenment, that the Buddha could not refuse them. Weeping, he ordained them at once.
Does this have any relevance to Mormon women? Why or why not?