Friday, August 29, 2008

Making Female history: from Sangha to Superpower leadership

  • 9/28/08 UPDATE: The Real Palin Revealed VIDEO (3:11)

In this Dec. 13, 2007 file photo, Alaska Republican Governor, Sarah Palin, poses in her office in the Capitol, in Juneau, Alaska. John McCain tapped little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate, two senior campaign officials told The Associated Press on Friday. A formal announcement was expected within a few hours at a campaign rally in swing-state Ohio (AP Photo/Chris Miller, File).

McCain, on his 72nd birthday, has chosen a female running mate, conservative Republican governor of Alaska Sarah Palin. A female caller on NPR's Airtalk called this a "transparent act of desperation" on McCain's part, countering Republican hype that this V.P. candidate leveled the playing field with Barack Obama.

In 1940 Khertek Anchimaa-Toka of Tuva became the first female head of state. Benazir Bhutto was the first woman to be elected leader of a Muslim state; she was recently assassinated by exiting Pakistan president Musharraf.

The first female head of state of a Buddhist country (Sri Lanka) was Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1994. US Democrats have done a great deal to shatter this glass ceiling in America in 1984 by running Geraldine Ferraro and, more prominently, with the recent efforts of Hillary Rodham-Clinton.

The Real "Juno"
McCain's veep choice is historic and hardly known
Steve Quinn and Calvin Woodward (AP)

JUNEAU, Alaska - In two short years, Sarah Palin moved from small-town mayor with a taste for mooseburgers to the governor's office and now — making history — to John McCain's side as the first female running mate on a Republican presidential ticket. More >>


The choice of a female candidate is excellent news because it ensures that with either side winning, the inherent sexism and racism in the US, the world's only superpower, will be challenged -- just as it was challenged by the Buddha when he brought the Sangha and his Dispensation to fulfillment by ordaining nuns. (See history and critique of Theravada bhikkhuni Sangha).
Although criticized for subordinating them to monks, the Buddha's paramount interest was preserving the Dharma while making this radical social move, which was far more radical 25 centuries ago. Buddhism was the first world-religion to fully include women. Prehistoric buddhas had also had fully ordained female disciples (bhikkhunis, bhikshunis), taking an enlightened view of sexual equality.

(NOTE: In India, Mahavira is said to have preceded the Buddha by ordaining women, and even today Jainism has more female monastics than male).

An American ordination:

"Why I became a Buddhist nun"


The Awakening Forest Hermitage said...

Would you share your reference for the bhikkhuni/bhiksuni disciples of prehistoric buddhas please?

Anonymous said...