is often said that "women are enemy to the life of purity."
How do you explain this saying?
This is the Buddha's instruction to the monks as found in the
Tripitaka. The Buddha warned them to be careful of women. As
a result, in Thailand, it is a custom when a woman wants to
make offering to a monk, the monk always has to lay a piece
of cloth to receive it. Women tend to feel themselves lowly
and not worthy, some would even see themselves as obstacles
to the purity of monks.
to take this teaching in a new light. This is one of the examples
showing how the teaching is androcentric by nature, giving the
teaching from the standpoint and interest of monks.
monks with little mental training might easily be led by defilements
through contact with women. It is not the fault of women, but
rather the weakness of the monks, so they have to be mindful
when they come in contact with the opposite sex. Even without
women in front of them, some monks still face problems from
"Women" in their own imagination and thoughts. Women
cannot be held responsible for any failure on the monks' side.
The monks themselves have to train and uplift themselves from
sexual desire. Those who are already enlightened have transcended
gender differences. The Buddha never had to avoid women, as
they no more appeared to him as sex objects. He was well balanced
and master of all desires.
In the conversation
with Ananda, the Buddha instructed him not to look at women,
and not to linger while talking to them. "There is no stronger
bonding for men than women". At the same time he also warned
women "there is no stronger bonding for women than men,"
and "men are also enemy to the purity of women." But
the latter teaching is not applicable to monks, and as we have
only monks giving teaching in Thailand we hear only a one sided
teaching for men. As a result society tends to blame women as
if women are the only source of impurity.