Dalai Lama: ‘No sexism in Buddhism’

acharya buddha murdockHmmm. I once created an uproar at a gathering of Tibetan Buddhist monks, when one of their young American acolytes asked me if I was a Buddhist. “No,” I replied, “I’m a Buddha.” All hell broke loose at that point, and a woman angrily shouted: “I don’t believe you. No woman can be a Buddha.” My response: “That is why I have taken this form, to dispel your prejudices.” 🙂

“Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said…there is no gender bias in Buddhism and nothing prevents a woman from becoming his successor.”

The Dalai Lama also stated that any possible female successor needs to be a hottie! Who can blame him?

But I wonder if he’d be cool with an ugly man? If so, would the double standard not reek of…sexism?

Dalai Lama says there is no gender bias in Buddhism

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul district on Friday, there is no gender bias in Buddhism and nothing prevents a woman from becoming his successor.

“So the purpose of the incarnation is to serve people about dharma (faith). If the circumstances are such, female form is more useful, then why not,” said Dalai Lama.

He also added that that the female Dalai Lama should be attractive.

“And I also mentioned in case Dalai Lama’s incarnation one female comes then must be very attractive female. So the very reason, you see more influence to others, an ugly female then may not much effective,” added Dalai Lama….


  1. Dear Acharya,
    I think you would be unsuitable for the post for the only reason that you would be always speaking the truth, and ending up making a lot of enemies on behalf of the Tibetan nation in exile.
    The post of the Dalai Lama is a mix of spiritual, political and diplomatic, and the blunt truth about bully nations like China and USA is many times couched in pacifying terms by the Dalai Lama.
    If you could do this then definitely you are the ‘woman on top’ and mostest vi-a-vis academic qualifications and also the school of hard knocks i.e. life itself

  2. Sexism
    I very much liked the first part of his statement, but as you mentioned, the double standard issue was bothersome. I didn’t expect that from him. Any other thoughts about this anyone?

    1. The Dalai Lama clarified his thought on why an attractive female DL: that for the consciousness of the masses, an “attractive DL” will be more able to open people’s minds. And he joked, if she had his looks (he considers himself not that physically attractive), it wouldn’t work so well.

      That was bluntly honest, and so I take DL at face value without any other label on it.

  3. Hottie
    Aaaaannnnnddddd, you ARE, after all a hottie!

  4. Women and Buddhism
    I doubt a woman can be a Buddha, though women can definitely attain enlightenment.

    There are several reasons that women might have been excluded from the original order of monks, and then given additional guidelines in the order.

    Women are pre-disposed to different character traits than men are and the brains of the different sexes are structured differently. There are many instances in Buddhism where women have been more enlightened than the men they associated with including the Buddha’s main patron, who achieved a level of enlightenment before her death.

    However, there was a comment by a Buddha in another instance saying that another woman who had achieved a level of enlightenment had built a ‘man’s’ mind in her head, which might have meant that while women a pre-disposed to certain conditions effort in this direction would bear fruit.

    Some studies have shown that women usually speak 9,000 words a day while a man on average only 1,000. Imagine if men, who are better equipped to pursue a field of study (as can be seen by the success of men in any field they pursue even in the West), are only heard a ninth as often as women. Definitely a quick way for that field to die out, especially since philosophy requires holistic thought, thought that encompasses as many variables as we are aware of to fit into the thinker’s world view.

    It is sad when religious men are given political roles as the way of life required for proper insight (as can be seen to have been followed by the greats of any religion) and holistic thinking cannot be achieved by these men. They end up doing a poor job in both areas.

    The Buddha gave living within the vicinity of the forest where one could meditate and contemplate as a general guideline for his disciples for progression in their path to Nirvana. Giving up one’s lay life is a necessary step when progressing spiritually. Why has the Dalai Lama still not taken this very basic step?

    I see many people being very quick to vocally pronounce their opposition to what the Buddha taught. The same goes for the teachings by Jesus and Prophet Mohummed. Many scripts are old and none of them were written by these great teachers themselves so each statement has to be contemplated on and weighed to see whether it fits your world view, sure. Being so quick to sweep aside insight by these people though seems a little silly.

    1. Wise response. In simple modern context, there could be only one Steve Jobs. No one else can replace his unique business sense, no matter how intelligent. Who knows what the original version was. At the end of the day greatest texts of world were scripted many years post the dissapearance of the leaders. Like you said, its true for prophet and jesus. Anyway Buddha always used analogies to explain, who can gurantee, what meaning each listener derived out of those words. His words are difficult to comprehend at a surface level. Moreso, linguistic and cultural differences can empower the subjective understanding of a concept. Like, its difficult for west to underatand the concept of self. They can barely relate to the context of Non Self. Even if they read it, still its difficult to digest because they dont belong to the belief system where the leader was born. Rules and regulations of any society depens on socio economic political and cultural set up of a nation. It does not mean one is superior over other. Like the sense of humour of an american, indian, chinese, japanese etc naturally differs. What is humour for Britain is rudeness to Indians for example. What is confidence for Americans is conceit and arrogance for Indians and so on. Looking straight into someones eyes is demeaning in India but it does not mean that entire nation is passive just because their actions, language, sentiments do not map to the belief system of west. Interpretations must be contextual. With huamns standardization does not work. If one believes in it, then robots are better.

  5. A woman most assuredly can be a “Buddha” or enlightened being ([url]http://books.google.com/books?id=XjjwjC7rcOYC&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=buddha+enlightenment&source=bl&ots=PVzZlct_Uw&sig=5YeiTf2gG_REcJ0g-LmuyWVOwow&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PbsZUP2oDOb-iwLtmIFg&ved=0CGgQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=buddha%20enlightenment&f=false[/url]). To assert otherwise is sexist nonsense.

    In the meantime, “the Buddha” is a mythical figure ([url]http://www.truthbeknown.com/lifeofbuddha.htm[/url]), so whatever he may or may have said turns out to be irrelevant.

    As they say, be here now.

  6. Two As One
    Only unenlightened ones would proclaim one sex is more deserving than the other.

    In enlightened wisen cultures, the representations of Buddha tend to be ANDROGYNOUS, even feminine.

    When will dogmatic ones admit the tradition of shunning nuns was to prevent monks from being distracted. Male desires are strong, and harder to overcome. As usual, males with libido control issues blame it on the “seducing sex”, even if she has already desexualized her form. Nun wannabes should stop feeling apologetic.

    Today, however, the reason for nun-banning in Buddhist countries is, who is going to do all the jobs if every potential mother, wife, prostitute become nun?

    Attractive Buddhist female leader, why not? But if a woman is so attached to her lipstick and “attractiveness to others”, she is not ready even as a beginner Buddhist, much less playing role model to others.

  7. The true nature of all Beings is BUDDHA
    I am shocked by what people are saying. The basis of Buddhist teachings is that ALL BEINGS HAVE BUDDHA NATURE. Whether the next Dali Lama is a female or not has nothing to do with Enlightment or Buddhist Teachings. Their incarnation system is particular to their lineage, lamaism and tibetan buddhism as a social and economical structure which once operated in Tibet. Buddha was Nath Sadh who was a reformer and never taught Tibetan Buddhism, however Tibetan Buddhism preserved some of his teachings within their own Tantric Shamanic Structure of practices. So , anyone can be a Buddha if they realize their true nature.

    May All Beings Realize they are Buddha

  8. As a resident of the inland northwest, my familiarity with Buddhists is limited almost exclusively to those to live in eastern Washington, in the Spokane and Newport areas. I have never observed even the slightest hint of bias against females among the Buddhists I have encountered at the Spokane temple, either individually or institutionally. It would seem a mistake to view Buddhism as monolithically gynophobic.

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