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Is the Glass Half-empty or Half-full? A Feminist Assessment of Buddhism at the Beginning of the Twenty-first Century=望空興歎或滿懷希望? -- 在新世紀初評估佛教女性主義之發展前景
著者 Gross, Rita M. (著)=Gross, Rita (au.)
掲載誌 玄奘佛學研究=Hsuan Chuang Journal of Buddhism
巻号n.9
出版年月日2008.03.01
ページ1 - 30
出版者玄奘大學宗教學研究所
出版サイト http://ird.hcu.edu.tw/front/bin/home.phtml
出版地新竹市, 臺灣 [Hsinchu shih, Taiwan]
資料の種類期刊論文=Journal Article
言語英文=English
ノートThe author is Professor Emerita, Comparative Studies in Religion, University of Wisconsin- Eau=美國威斯康辛大學 Eau Claire 分校比較宗教研究所榮譽退休教授
抄録This paper discusses the disconnect between Buddhism’s gender neutral ideology and its highly gendered and male-dominant institutions. The traditional solution to this disconnect was to promise “deserving women” future rebirth as a man, a solution that most feminists would find unacceptable. My analysis ses the famous Tibetan story of Tara’s vow always to be reborn as a woman as the framework for analyzing how Buddhists could have been so inconsistent and how Buddhist thought could justify a different social order. The high points of that analysis is found in the following paragraphs. The primary purpose of Buddhist discipline and practice is to eliminate suffering, so if it is determined that something causes suffering, Buddhists should try to overcome that obstacle. That is why Buddhists held out the promise of rebirth as men to women suffering under male dominance. Traditional Buddhists could not imagine what contemporary feminists do-a society and Buddhist institutions that are not male dominated. To them, it seemed easier and more possible to turn women into men, which indicates that many of the things that made female rebirth seem woeful were, at that time, deemed intractable. But if things changed, so that women’s lives were no longer governed by those same factors, there would be no Buddhist grounds for continuing male dominance. According to Buddhism, male dominance is grounded in karma, cause and effect, or historical circumstances, not women’s inherent nature, the will of God, or cosmic necessity. If the karma, the historical conditions change, the situation of
women not only can change; it will. So the question becomes: have conditions changed sufficiently to undo male dominance, both in society and in Buddhist institutions? In my analyses, I have always attributed historical male dominance less to the inherent nastiness of men and more to the material circumstances, technology, and medical knowledge of the times. I would agree with the assessment that women’s live were woeful in the circumstances that prevailed when Buddhists offered rebirth as a man as the only solution to male dominance. I certainly would not want to be a woman subject to the conditions most (Buddhist) women have endured throughout most of history. In fact, I spent much of my youth dreading growing up to be a woman. I would also suggest that two fragile, but real contemporary circumstances that can change women’s lives drastically and dramatically. They are reproductive freedom and the ability to make personal, individual choices about one’s life. These onditions are far from securely or widely available. But they are definitely possible and offer a far more adequate way to undo the disconnect between Buddhism’s gender-neutral and gender-free vision and its male dominant institutions than offering “deserving women” future rebirth as a male. The paper then moves into some description of what has happened in the Buddhist world in the last thirty years to give women (and men) better prospects than future rebirth as a male.

佛教教義主張性別平等,但在佛門之中,卻強調男尊女卑,由男性主導一切,本文即在討論此二者間的不一致。傳統上,佛教徒總是以「善女人」來世一定可以轉為男身的許諾,來解釋這種矛盾現象,但大多數女性主義者無法接受這樣的說辭。本文使用藏傳佛教中一個家喻戶曉的故事——「綠度母(Tara)誓願生生世世為女身」為分析架構,藉此說明佛教徒何以能如此不一致,以及佛教思想如何為一個與眾不同的社會秩序(a different social order)作辯護,本文的分析重點簡述如下:「滅苦」是佛教訓練與修行的主要目的,因此,佛教徒一旦確認了「致苦」的因素,之後就應該努力加以克服。正因如此,所以對於那些在男性統治之下飽受痛苦的女性們,佛教徒便作出了「來世轉為男身」的許諾。當代女性主義者力於建構一個非男性為主導的社會和佛教體制,而這些舉措卻是傳統佛教徒所無法想像的,因為對他們來說,「來世轉為男身」似乎比改變現狀來得容易和可行。在佛陀時代,由於許多主、客觀因素的限制,才使得「轉生為女性」成為悲慘之事,而傳統佛教徒的保守觀念即在表明,當初這些因素是很頑強難化的。然而,如果形勢轉變了,使女人的生活不再受制於這些因素,那麼佛教也就沒有立場繼續維持男尊女卑的傳統。根據佛教的說法,男尊女卑源於業因果報,也就是歷史的因緣條件,而非女性本有的質素、神的旨意,或宇宙的必然性,因此,一旦業因或歷史的條件發生改變,女性的處境不僅是「可能」改變,而且是「必然」改變。果真如此,隨之而來的問題是:因緣條件的變化動能,是否已經強到足以鬆動社會與佛教體制中男尊女卑的態勢?在我的分析裡,我比較傾向將歷史上的男性優勢,歸因於當時的物質環境、科技及醫療知識,而非男性天生的敗德因子。面對男尊女卑的佛教傳統,假使佛教徒總是以「來世轉為男身」做為解決問題的唯一方式,此時,我就會同意「轉生為女性,處境甚悲慘」這種評價。翻開大部份的人類歷史,多數(佛教)女性都是一直在忍受許多不利的因緣條件,目睹此情此景,我當然不會想要成為一個受制於這些條件的女人,事實上,在我的年少歲月裡,我常常害怕自己長大成為一個女人。另外,我也要在此指出兩個現代形勢,它們看似脆弱,卻很真實,可以為女性的生活帶來急遽和戲劇性的改變。這兩個形勢
ISSN18133649 (P); 18133649 (E)
ヒット数345
作成日2010.08.09
更新日期2020.11.18



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