By – Shyamal Sinha
Women’s position in Buddhism is unique. The Buddha gave women full freedom to participate in a religious life. The Buddha was the first religious Teacher who gave this religious freedom to women
Encouraging more women to assume leadership roles is not only good for the women lot but according to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, this could also benefit the entire world. Women at the helm of power could secure a more peaceful, compassionate future for the 7 billion human beings, says the Tibetan spiritual leader.
Study history, and you will see that throughout every era, men who have been responsible for carnage and destruction have been celebrated as heroes when they should have been criticized as wrongdoers. There may be some exceptions but generally speaking all trouble-makers are male, His Holiness said this morning as he was meeting an all-women delegation from the Young Ficci Ladies Organisation (YFLO).
“Now in 21st century, we should make a special effort to promote human loving-kindness. In that regard, women should take more active role particularly in the education field for the promotion of deeper human values.”
Stating that women are models of humanity, His Holiness said they are more empathic and sensitive to the feelings of others, qualities embodied by mothers. “They have an important role in making the 21st century a century of peace.”
Women who lead in politics and social settings have the zeal to empower other individuals and uplift them from sufferings. However, His Holiness said they should be determined to unravel their potential.
The Buddha has confirmed that man is not always the only wise one; woman is also wise
Attesting his utmost support for women potential, His Holiness reiterated his position on the possibility for a future female Dalai Lama. He said Buddhist tradition offers equal rights for both genders and that there could be a female Dalai Lama in the future.
“In Tibetan history, for over 7 centuries the highest lama institution was led by female. Many Tibetan female practitioners have proved spiritually qualified and eventually becoming highly realised spiritual masters. After all, Buddha himself gave equal rights to Bhikshu and Bhikshuni.”
He cited examples of Samdhing Dorje Phagmo (Tib: བསམ་སྡིང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཕག་མོ), who is the highest female incarnation in Tibet and regarded among the highest-ranking reincarnations at the time of the 5th Dalai Lama. The seat of the Samding Dorje Phagmo is at Samding Monastery, in Tibet.
His Holiness argued that nuns have an equal right to study, which is why 40 years ago he encouraged Tibetan nuns to study Buddhist philosophy.
“In order to implement Buddha’ teaching equally on Bhikshu and Bhikshuni, I have been advocating equal rights for Tibetan nuns. We already have top scholars in Tibetan nuns. In terms of scholarship, monks and nuns are on same level.”
His Holiness suggested that more women should assume leadership in governance and politics. “We should have more female politicians like Indira Gandhi Ji. It’s good,” he exclaimed.
A representative of Young Ficci Ladies Organisation (YFLO) thanked His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the meeting and acknowledged his ardent support for women’s rights.
Launched in 2004, the YFLO promotes entrepreneurship and professional excellence in women through its educational and vocational training programmes, talks, seminars, panel discussions and workshops on a vast range of subjects especially concerning women and business.
According to Buddhism, it is not justifiable to regard women as inferior. The Buddha Himself was born as a woman on several occasions during His previous births in Samsara and even as a women He developed the noble qualities and wisdom until He gained Enlightenment or Buddhahood