Zen Women - Chapter 9, page 184-98

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  • Shoka
    Member
    • May 2014
    • 2370

    Zen Women - Chapter 9, page 184-98

    We are moving on with Zen Women and heading into the topic of nuns and sexuality.

    I am really struck by Miaozong’s ability to be steadfast and strategic in seeking out and finding a path to study Buddhism. As pointed out, Miaozong was an upper-class lady, so we can believe that she would have been educated and also had more wordly common sense than many women of the day. In this way she was able to skillfully turn teachings on their heads and achieve her means.

    Do you think Maiozong was using skillful means in showing up nude to a meeting with someone unhappy with her being in the monastery?
    For myself I feel that her actions were two-fold, firstly as the author points out she wanted to get straight to the point. Being an upper-class lady, she would have spent years seeing people say the right thing or hide their intentions, and she didn’t want to play that game anymore. The Dharma doesn’t work that way, you have to cut right to the chase. But I also think she was prepared to shock Wanan get him outside of his normal responses and then be prepared with an answer that he hadn’t heard before. In this way he wouldn’t have a stock answer to come back with.

    What is your take away from the stories of these ladies who shaped the future of zen?
    Please talk amongst yourselves here too, comment on each other’s comments, and allow time for others to comment. This is a book discussion group, so let’s make it a conversation.

    Gassho,
    Shoka
    Sat
  • Stewart
    Member
    • May 2017
    • 152

    #2
    Speaking truth to misogynistic power in a way that dynamites open the doors of resistance - would that be a fair summary?

    Stewart
    Sat

    Comment

    • Shoka
      Member
      • May 2014
      • 2370

      #3
      Originally posted by Stewart
      Speaking truth to misogynistic power in a way that dynamites open the doors of resistance - would that be a fair summary?

      Stewart
      Sat
      Stewart,

      Yes I think that is a fair assessment.

      Gassho,
      Shoka
      sat

      Comment

      • Kokuu
        Treeleaf Priest
        • Nov 2012
        • 6755

        #4
        Hi Shoka

        This episode demonstrates the power of this kind of Zen story which resonates down through the years and still speaks to us today. For me, the attitude of some of the monks to having Miazhong in their midst expresses the fear of their own male desire in much the same way that female nipples are banned from public spaces (including social media) and the onus is put on women not to distract or sexually stimulate men rather than men being resposible for their own desire and objectification of a part of the body also used to feed infants. In a similar way Miaozhong might have responded to an enquiry around her nipples of "what are these?" as "something that has nourished every Buddha ancestor and monk since beginningless time".

        As Stewart says, Miaozong's response blows this notion wide open and makes Wanan come face-to-face (literally!) with his own ideas around female bodies. There is no hiding place and she is clearly confident enough to lay herself bare without fear. They could have discussed this for days but instead she gets right to the heart of the matter with her response. That her story still provokes us after centuries, and even when we can access naked images at the click of a mouse should we so wish. demonstrates the power of her action. I am grateful to her for doing it and addressing the issue head on.

        Gassho
        Kokuu
        -sattoday/lah-

        Comment

        • Heiso
          Member
          • Jan 2019
          • 824

          #5
          I agree with Kokuu and Stewart, Miazhong really blew the doors of some hypocrisy there, what a story!

          She also demonstrated something that I think we still talk about today, that it's one thing to join a monastery to live in close proximity to a teacher and others who share your practice. But another if the purpose is to shy away from the world and rid yourself of temptation.

          Gassho,

          Heiso
          StLah

          Sent from my RMX2001 using Tapatalk

          Comment

          • Shoka
            Member
            • May 2014
            • 2370

            #6
            Originally posted by Heiso
            that it's one thing to join a monastery to live in close proximity to a teacher and others who share your practice. But another if the purpose is to shy away from the world and rid yourself of temptation.
            Heiso,

            I agree. I hope you continue reading. I found the stories of the next two ladies to talk about that more.

            Gassho,
            Shoka
            (she/her)
            sat/lah

            Comment

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