A Re-examination of Buddhist Teachings on Female Inferiority
by Allison Goodwin
In the Tripitaka and later sutras, the Buddha repeatedly establishes standards for evaluating spiritual teachings and practices—including his own—before one accepts them. He makes clear that his teachings are often misremembered, misrepresented, or misunderstood: This is one of his main reasons for outlining terms for investigating spiritual doctrine. He also warns that false and inaccurate teachings are among the conditions that will lead to the decline and disappearance of the Dharma. Read more
A Conversation with Women Teachers in the Mountains & Rivers Order
Jody Hojin Kimmel and Vanessa Zuisei Goddard, with Danica Shoan Ankele
Shoan: I wanted to speak to you as women teachers within what has historically been a very patriarchal tradition. As you know, some spiritual paths speak about spiritual development in terms of balancing “the masculine” and “the feminine” within us. I’d like to begin with a question I heard recently that has been nagging at me: “Where is the feminine in Zen?” Read more
by Shannon Shinko Hayes, MRO
The Mountains and Rivers Order sangha has recently been formally introduced to our women ancestors. For several years our Sunday morning program has included a service at the Mahapajapati altar during which we chant a short list of names. We now begin a new tradition, chanting a long list of the names of women ancestors, at the Monastery and Temple every other Sunday, alternating with chanting the list of our lineage—all male ancestors—that has been part of the Sunday service for the past 35 years. Read more
Many of these short bios are drawn from the work of Sallie Jiko Tisdale and were included as a postscript in her essay “The Mothers: Discovering a Lineage of Women.”
The Mother of the Buddhas; the Womb of the Buddhas. Wisdom is often presented as a female principle; this goddess represents both the great Wisdom Goddess as a deity and the Prajnaparamita Sutra itself. Read more
by Linda Shinji Hoffman
An apple tree was concerned
about a late frost and losing its gifts
that would help feed a poor family.
Can’t the clouds be generous with what falls from them? Read more
Can’t the sun ration itself with precision?
by Suzanne Taikyo Gilman, Mountain Record Editor
The news on environmental activism rarely makes headlines, despite some prominent demonstrations and the groundswell of change they can lead to. Occasionally there are clashes or even violence against those who continue working, courageously, to protect and defend. Communities are torn apart, resources are depleted, our human greed and destruction takes its toll. I feel anger, a familiar despair. When facing these feelings of discouragement, or simply not knowing what to do, how is it that being on the path and having a spiritual practice can sustain us? Read more
by Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi
Why would Dogen Zenji devote an entire fascicle of the Shobogenzo to praising a flower, a flower that some people say is mythical and does not exist? Others say it does exist, but it only blooms every 3,000 years, to herald the arrival of another Buddha, an enlightened being.
In modern times there are stories and photographs from Asia, of thousands of tiny white blossoms called udumbara flowers, mysteriously appearing on bricks, on buildings, on monuments, on grasses, and under a nun’s laundry tub. Biologists say, no, these are not miraculous apparitions, they are simply the ordinary eggs of lacewing insects. Botanists counter that the udumbara is a ficus, a fig tree, different from ficus religiosa, the tree under which the Buddha was awakened. Read more
Editor’s Note: The following are entries from a journal Daido Roshi kept shortly after attending a photography workshop led by Minor White at the Hotchkiss School, prior to his involvement in Zen. The Images are roughly from this period, too.
The last record was concluded and this one started because of the transitions that took place during the 1971 Minor White Hotchkiss Workshop. I shall attempt to record those things that are remembered from the workshop and identify them as such. Other information or records will be dated at the time they were recorded.
Learning how to turn the conscious thinking mind off and let the inner mind, the feelings, work free and open seems to be one of the major keys to heightened awareness.
—May 28, 1971 Read more