A Buddhist Women’s Rights March

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Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

November 14, 2018
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
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Ngakpa Training

With Pema Khandro

November 21, 2018
The Ngakpa Training offers in-depth study of Vajrayana Buddhism. The five year curriculum focuses on a study of Vajrayana Buddhist history, philosophy and practice, focusing on the Inner Tantras of the Nyingma Tradition, also known as MahaYoga, AnuYoga and Dzogchen. These studies alternate with one on one dialogues with the Lama in phone classes, private […]
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Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

November 28, 2018
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Vajrayana Training

With Pema Khandro

December 5, 2018
Vajrayana Training is offered in modules with ten classes per year and six classes per module. The courses are non-sequential and can be taken in any order. In web-classes, meeting once a month, students will discover how to understand the pivotal principles of Tibetan Buddhism, make sense of empowerments, and go deep into understanding oneself, one’s […]

Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

December 12, 2018
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
Closed

Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

December 26, 2018
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Important Buddhist Women Who Made Women’s Rights History Part 2

The Story of Mahapajapati Gotami

The story of the first women’s rights march recorded in history is the march led by Buddhist women for inclusion and equality.

During the early years of the Buddha’s teachings, although he had female students, there was not a monastic order for women. In India at this time, women were not allowed to participate as religious leaders in the dominant religious framework of Brahmanism, whose religious specialists were all men. However, five years after his enlightenment, one of the Buddha’s female followers led a group of women requesting that the nuns order would be created.

This brave woman was a student of the Buddha, and also his close relative. The Buddha’s mother had died in childbirth and he was raised by his aunt, Mahapajapati Gotami. With a motivation to develop spiritually to her fullest capacity, she repeatedly requested that the Buddha create a nun’s order and asked that the nuns be equal to monks. She marched with five hundred women to make this request, in an action called by Karma Lekshe Tsomo, the first women’s right march recorded in history.

The nuns were also supported by a monk, the well-respected disciple and attendant of the Buddha, Ananda. Ananda also advocated on their behalf and the order of the first female monastics was born, the bhikkunis.

The Buddha agreed, and the order of nuns was formed. He acknowledged that women were fully capable of fulfilling the path of awakening. This bold act was radical for the time. It was one of many brave actions of the founder of Buddhism. He also had rejected of the caste system, which was the organizing principle of Indian society at the time but prevented anyone who was not born Brahmin from spiritual training. But the Buddha said it was not one’s birth that determined if one was a Brahmin, it was one’s conduct, meaning that what gave one spiritual energy was based entirely on one’s own action. Thus, the Buddha created a stance for social equality and access to religious practice that was unprecedented for many men and women at that time.

Not only did several of those early female monastics achieve the level of the arhat, texts also record accounts of laywomen, non-monastics who achieved the highest states of awakening.

Sources

Tsomo, Karma Lekshe, ed. Eminent Buddhist Women. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2014. Print.

Havnevik, Hanna. Tibetan Buddhist Nuns: History, Cultural Norms and Social Reality. Oslo: Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Print.

Pema Khandro
Pema Khandro is a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, humanitarian, and teacher in the rare lineage of Tibet’s Buddhist Yogis. Raised in the west, ordained in the Nyingma lineage, enthroned as a tulku and trained as an academic, Pema Khandro presents both a traditional perspective and a modern voice. Read more at: https://www.pemakhandro.org/pema-khandro-extended-biography/