Views from the Male Monastic Order
This chapter examines how the monastic order viewed women and the problems surrounding their ordination during the years preceding Eison's decision to create an ordination platform for women at Hokkeji in the 1240s. In his Shōbōgenzō, Zen master Dōgen speaks for his concern about the authenticity of Japanese Buddhism. According to Dōgen, that many Japanese priests are ignorant of true Buddhism is evident from the fact that they are overzealous in their service of high-ranking female patrons, a situation that “true” followers of the Buddha should recognize as humiliating. His writings further reveal two anxieties which can also be found in contemporaneous monastic texts: concerns about the propriety of close relationships between the sangha and rulers of state, and uncertainties regarding the authenticity of Japanese nuns.
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