Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Nuns Please, We're Buddhist!

Participants in the controversial ordinations 
Recently, the well known western monk Ajahn Brahmavamso sanctioned the full ordination of four Buddhist nuns at Bodhinyana Monastery in Western Australia. Nothing out of the ordinary there, you might think. Think again! According to traditional elements in Theravada Buddhism, fully ordained nuns (or bhikkhunis) cannot be ordained because there have to be several senior nuns present at the procedure, and as the Theravada Buddhist order of nuns died out centuries ago, no such nuns can be found. Hence, no fully-ordained Theravada nuns in such countries as Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand…until recently, that is.
Both in Sri Lanka and Thailand, movements have begun pushing for the ordination of Buddhist nuns and the re-establishment of the bhikkhuni-sangha, or order of Buddhist nuns. This has involved the presence of Mahayana nuns from China to conduct the ordination procedures, something that traditionalists in the Buddhist establishment of Thailand reject as being either illegal or inconsistant with the teachings of the Buddha in the Theravada Buddhist scriptures. Their opponents have countered that as the Chinese nuns involved follow a vinaya (monastic code) that predates Mahayana Buddhism and is essentially the same as the original code for Theravada nuns, it’s perfectly fine to ordain nuns in this way.
Four fully-ordained Buddhist nuns...or not?

These ordinations has led to Ajahn Brahm being removed from the list of senior monks in the lineage of his teacher Ajahn Chah, as well as the expulsion of Bodhinyana Monastery from the association of related monasteries. Many western Buddhists are upset at this move by the senior Thai abbots in the Ajahn Chah limeage, and it has caused something of a split in the usually calm & comradely relations between the senior western monks. Many people seem to be taking sides as though this were a kind of battle, either backing the ‘renegade’ monk Ajahn Brahm, or the more conservative Thai monastic leaders. The thing about battles, however, is that they can swiftly descend into full-blown wars, and decades (or centuries) of acrimony & animosity. Religious schisms have caused many rifts that last to the present day.

One voice of wisdom in all this is that of Ajahn Sumedho, the most senior western monk in the Ajahn Chah lineage. In a recent talk at Amaravati Monastery in England, he taught that rather than taking sides and identifying with our thoughts, we can associate with the naturally neutral awareness that is simply conscious of the issues and all the fuss arising around them. This emphasis on experiencing life from a viewpoint of mindfulness rather than via the ego has long been the heart of Ajahn Sumedho’s message – it’s a pity that some other senior monks in the Ajahn Chah lineage don’t seem to share this attitude right now…

Ajahn Brahm(avamso) oversees events

Ajahn Brahm is sticking to his guns on this issue, and his opponents in both the Thai & Western sections of the lineage appear completely attached to their opinions on the matter. Perhaps in the long run, this will be a good move for Western Buddhism, allowing women the same opportunities within the Sangha as the men. On the other hand, maybe it will alienate traditionalists from the reformers, much like the conflicts that have arisen with the worldwide Anglican Church regarding female ordination. One thing is for sure, however, and that’s that being mindful of our emotional & intellectual responses to a situation like this can only assist in a more peaceful resolution to present circumstances, even a kind of ‘friendly schism’ between traditionalists and modernizers, if it’s needed.
What do you think on this thorny issue, dear reader? Do you believe that Theravada Buddhism should modernize at all costs, or do you feel that traditional perspectives must be adhered to? Does every woman have an innate right to live the ennobling life of a fully-ordained nun, just as men can be fully-ordained monks? Perhaps you think it’s more complicated than that? Or do you take Ajahn Sumedho’s advice and view the whole situation from the detached perspective of awareness? Please leave your thoughts in the comments facility below. A further reflection, published over three years after this one & with a somewhat different conclusion can be read here:
More Nuns Please, We're Buddhist! Here are a few relevant links to the controversy:

The Buddhist Channel

Ajahn Chandako on the Ordinations

Buddhist Society of Western Australia Response

Forest Sangha Website Response
*The above includes an mp3 talk by Ajahn Sumedho worth listening to

Ajahn Sujato: Where Do We Go From Here?

Special thanks go to Gladstone, a regular commentator on this blog, who brought my attention to this issue.


Anonymous said...

Buddha has instructed to let the Dhamma and Vinaya to be the teacher after his Nibbana.

Unless either texts have been deliberately mis-interpret, aint we lay people to support them? From the response, it seems that there are no (public) objections to their interpretation.

G said...

Yes, 'Anonymous', the Dharma & Vinaya are central to the lives of those following the Buddha Way - but what exactly are they? When the Buddha was alive, there were no "texts" - they were written down centuries later. The idea that there is one orthodox set of teachings - whether Theravada or Mahayana - is contentious. Then, there is the natural Dharma of life that the Buddhadharma derives from; which is 'greater'?

Your comment is unclear as to whether your viewpoint is for, against, or neutral towards the ordination of Theravada Buddhist nuns, although it appears that it probably isn't the latter. So, which is it, Anonymous - thumbs up, or thumbs down? No pressure, now...

Anonymous said...

Why is neutrality in the face of injustice to be held in high regard?

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Bishop Desmond Tutu quote

Do you think it would have been 'better' if Rosa Parks had maintained Sumedho's 'neutrality' when white men expected her to accept her inferiority conferred to her by her skin color and give her seat to the (superior) white males?

Perhaps that would haven been more laudable, more 'worthy' in Sumedho's interpretation?

Perhaps Smedho would think it was 'better' if detainees in guantanamo remained 'neutral' about the torture and sexual humiliation?
Perhaps the press should be neutral too.
And us.
Of course! Silly me. What was I thinking! The world would be a much better place if every time someone is persecuted because they are black, or a woman, or because they are detained illegally by anti-terror laws, I will remain 'neutral' from now on an resist taking 'sides'..
Thanks Sumedho for that marvellous piece of advice..

Given that it is the 18th Nov and we are still ! waiting for the explanation is Sumedho said he would offer on 5 November, do you not think it is slightly odd? that he seems to be so fond of the "neutrality" interpretation of events.. ?
Why for instance doesn't his teaching resonate with Desmond Tutu? Or TNH? in response to monks and nuns in his Vietnamese monastery being bundled into police vans and having their temple vandalised?
The reasons Sumedho’s interpretation of how to respond to injustice varies from TNH and Desmond Tutu, is the same reason he has remained silent since 5 November. And the same reasons the elders remained silent about the five-point agreement since its inception. And the reason the information decided by the elders was kept from the community. All these very clear red flags should tell you that Sumedho prefers secrecy and silence. That is all you need to know.
And I hope the next time you see some injustice taking place, that you do your very best to avoid 'neutrality' at all costs. ..For the sake of the person who is suffering due to the injustice.

G said...

Thanks for the comments, 'Anonymous'.

Extending neutrality to every situation whatever the circumstances would surely be dogmatic, and not in tune with the Dharma. We're in agreement on this, aren't we?

As to the current situation involving Ajahn Brahm & the ordination of nuns, reacting as though it were a kind of battle that has to be fought right now would seem rash, however. We can either take the time to observe our own opinions on the subject as they arise, or simply spew them out like mental vomit all everybody! The former will give us the opportunity to respond with at least a modicum of wisdom. The latter will surely exasperate the situation, which, in the long run, may not prove to be as serious as some people are making out.

Buddhism has existed for over two-and-a-half millennia, and has slowly evolved to suit the various cultures that it has taken root in. No doubt, it will evolve in similar ways in the West, and also in the modern, scientifically-minded communities that transcend national divides.

Let's hope that we find (& share) some peace in our battles against perceived injustices, 'Anonymous'.

Be well,

Unknown said...

Looking around at the various letters and blog posts it seems that bhikkhuni ordination is not really the issue, most Buddhists acknowledge that such ordination is a basic women's right, including bhikkhus of the Thai Sangha.

The main issue appears to be that Achahn Brahm was involved in the ordination on behalf of the Thai Sangha without consulting the Thai Sangha and lacking in respect for Thai culture.

As for him basically stating that he had no obligations to Thailand, I would think that if you become a Thai monk then you do have obligations to the culture and the people who support you and feed you everyday, and of course those who give you a Royal title and an official Thai passport (oops!).

Unfortunately, I cannot help think that while he may be following the vinaya to the letter his excuses and explanations appear somewhat lame.

I feel sympathy for the bhikkhunis concerned, as their ordination should be a memorable occasion. Instead, it has been turned into a soap opera because of the involvement of people who had no need to be involved, perhaps, as was suggested, because they would go down in history.

Theravada bhikkhuni ordination already exists, as do others around the world, so there was no need for such drama and secrecy.

Let the bhikkhunis run their own affairs, they don't need someone telling them what to do, running around quoting rules that make them look subordinate and inferior. The vinaya is iffy at best, and should be regarded as a guide rather than rules carved in stone.

G said...

Overall, I'm in agreement with you, Gladstone. It seems inevitable that the bhikkhuni-sangha will be reestablished in the major Theravada Buddhist groups around the world in time. Rushing it within a traditionalist society like Thailand won't work, as previous efforts as shown, the nuns not being recognized by the Thai Buddhist Sangha & government as legitimate. But, as we all know, all conditioned states are impermanent, so things will change.

It seems that Ajahn Brahm has taken as stand on behalf of western/international Buddhism, promoting the opportunity for women to fully-ordain within Theravada Buddhism in Australia. Accusing him of being egotistic, which seems to be the thrust of much of the argument against his actions in this affair, does seem somewhat egotistic on the part of the people producing the accusations! (What of the senior Thai monks whose own supporters have said that they were upset & offended by Ajahn Brahm - are they being egoistic as well?)

Responding with calm openness to the situation and seeing what develops would seem to be the most 'Buddhist' thing to do, as Ajahn Sumedho has demonstrated. Being impatient for things to come to head may simply exasperate all those egotistic feelings - both within ourselves & in others! I read somewhere that this was all a bit of 'a storm in a teacup' - let's hope (and act so) that it is.

Was Once said...

The Nuns are here, now! San Francisco. It is a smart idea to include them in the evolvement of Theravada in the west.
As it says..."In the tradition of" rather than sanctioned by.

G said...

Took a look at the website, 'Was Once'.
It appears to be an eminently worthwhile project, involving some well established teachers in the Ajahn Chah/Sumedho lineage. They are, of course, ten-precept siladhara nuns, and not fully-ordained nuns (bhikkhunis). Hence, there's no controversy with them over there in California. I hope that they thrive in their practice & bring the light of the Buddhadharma to the people of America!

Unknown said...

What also needs to be pointed out is that these bhikkhuni ordinations were not controversial.

The ordinations were carried out correctly by a bhikkhuni preceptor (not Ajarn Brahm) and they are genuine bhikkhunis; no doubt about that.

What was controversial was Ajarn Brahm's involvement in confirming their ordination into the Thai Sangha, which came after the ordinations and was subsequently rejected by the rest of the Thai Sangha as there are no bhikkhunis in the Thai Sangha and never have been.

Thus, even though the Thai Sangha does not recognize them as bhikkhunis of the Thai Sangha they are perfectly legit in their own neck of the woods.

G said...

Yes, Gladstone, the ordinations may not be considered controversial in Western Australia (nor in our western minds), but they are most definitely controversial here in Thailand, and amongst other traditionally-minded Asian Buddhists, as well as anyone that is attached to a conservative interpretation of the Pali Vinaya. In such circles, the bhikkhuni-sangha is considered dead & cannot be reinstated. Hence, controversy would have arisen in much of the Theravada Buddhist world irrespective of Ajahn Brahm's involvement or not.

All this seems to be nit-picking, however, in the grander scheme of things. People do appear to be getting caught up in issues surrounding the personalities involved, whether it be criticisms of Ajahn Brahm, Ajahn Sumedho, the senior Thai monks involved, or others. Surely the really important issues are to do with the ordinations themselves, and their potential, along with other similar events, to transform the future of worldwide Theravada Buddhism?

Which is more important: traditionalism or modernization? Which is to be emphasized: the rights of women to be fully-ordained nuns, or the rights of a male religious hierarchy? And, how should each Buddhist respond to this situation: with emotionally-charged opinions & biases, or quiet reflections arising from compassion & wisdom? (Bit of a loaded question, that last one!)

jackson said...

Thanks for writing this article, G. I had no idea this was going on.

I think that many Westerners (myself in included) are taken aback when we here of such strict dogamtism within the Buddhism tradition. Buddhism came to the West during modern times, and was presented in a modern way to a modern audience. So many Westerners simply assume that Buddhism as a whole is more highly evolved than their stuffy Monotheistic religions back home (of course, I am merely stereotyping here).

The fact is that all religions have a dogmatic expression of some kind. I've actually found Ken Wilber's work on this topic quite interesting, as he makes a strong case that one's worldview is largely dependent on the type of society in which they live. In agrarian, pre-industrialized societies, dogmatism still reigns supreme. We see this not only in areas of Thailand and Burma, but also in America's heartland, where fundamentalist Christianity is the norm. But I digress…

I'm in favor Ajahn Brahm's decision because these are matters of the heart. Religious leaders and refuse to "recognize" these women as legitimate fully ordained nuns, but that doesn't change their commitment to the practice and to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. I don't think that change is good for the sake of change alone. But in this case, where it seems that Ajahn Brahm and the newly ordained nuns have the purest of intentions, I think it would be best for the institution to become more flexible.

I could very well be speaking from a part of me that is deeply influenced by the message of Jesus of Nazareth, as I did grow up a Christian. He broke all of the socio-religious rules when it came to the official religion of his day. If he can bring lowly fisherman up to be his disciples, and speak with women (and even let them touch him), I think these wonderful, devoted women should be allowed the chance to be recognized by their religion of choice as fully ordained Bhikkunis.

G said...

Unfortunately, stagnation & dogmatism do accompany institutionalized religions; it seems that when spiritual movements become powerful, they become dogmatic & intolerant to diverse views. Those in positions of power cling to their privileges, causing the slow death of whichever set of teachings they attach to.

I agree that introducing an order of fully-ordained nuns is a well-intentioned and, in the long run, the wisest & most compassionate course of action.

I appreciate your analysis of why you (& other Westerners) may approach the Buddhist teachings from a certain perspective, conditioned by our upbringing. It's a useful practice to reflect on the causes of our views, whether those views seem in line with the principles of the Buddhadharma or not.

Thanks for set of well-thought out reflections, Jackson.

Unknown said...

Dear Jackson, just a few points for clarification.

From the various posts and blogs it is quite evident that most Thai monks do in fact recognize the recently ordained bhikkhunis. Furthermore, there are more fully ordained bhikkhunis in Thailand than in Australia and many other countries.

As for these bhikkhunis becoming accepted into the Thai Sangha, it should also be noted that no approaches have been made regarding this, so the Sangha as a whole cannot be accused of 'refusing' when nothing has been presented to them.

The recent ordinations were followed by a short ceremony by Achahn Brahm accepting the bhikkhunis into the Thai Sangha, and in particular, the Wat's of Achahn Chah (a dozen or so Wats, mostly outside of Thailand, compared to the 20,000 or so Wats in Thailand of the Thai Sangha as a whole).

This was certainly a nice gesture, but as it turned out not a very wise one, as it put Achahn Chah's Wats in a position where they would be ignoring the rules of the Thai Sangha as a whole.

As has already been pointed out elsewhere it would be more appropriate for the bikkhunis to organize themselves and form their own Sanghas, as trying to fit into the long established Thai Sangha would not be the best solution for them even if it were possible.

As there are quite a few bhikkhunis here and there, with no one making any obvious effort to disallow or criticize their existence, it should be fairly evident that most people accept and welcome them.

Dip said...

This has no relevancy to the topic, but I happened stumble upon your blogs a while back and remember you posting a blog about meeting some of the teachers I've learned from through the internet. If my memory serves me correctly, I think you said you have met Ajahn Jayasaro and Ajahn Sumedho before. If it's not too much trouble, I'd like to know what it was like for you meeting those teachers. Also, have you ever thought of putting on the robes?

G said...

Hello, Dip. Yes, Ive had the pleasure of meeting several of the senior ajahns in the Western Forest Sangha, and have studied their teachings since the mid Nineties. Ajahn Sumedho exudes compassion & kindness, as well as wisdom. He also is full of good humor, & has an infectious smile. Ajahn Jayasaro has a very intimate & focused feel about him, and gave some useful advice to my wife & I at the beginning of our married life, despite being a celibate monk for many years at the time - back in 2000.

Upon reflection, meeting such inspirational people can be really beneficial to one's practice. For, if one doubts that living the Way brings tangible results, it's not in reading about it in scripture that evidence is found, but in living human beings like the forest ajahns. However, turning these people into icons to be worshiped can have its own pitfalls that prevent progression upon the Path. Keeping them in perspective as role models but nothing more seems the wisest attitude to have towards them. (And, if any of them fall from grace as such figures often do, the affect on one's own practice won't be so dramatic.)

Yes, during the Nineties I considered becoming a monk, and was told by ordained members of the forest community in the UK that I'd make a good bhikkhu, but I decided that the Buddhist lay life was more appropriate for me. Being married to a Thai Buddhist has proven this to be the correct choice, as our marriage is itself an opportunity to reflect on the inherent suffering in this life! ;-)

Please keep in touch, Dip.

Unknown said...

Having just heard this news, conflicting emotions arise. On one hand I greatly appreciate & respect Aj Brahm & Sr Vayama's inspiring dhamma talks & their very engaging website. On the other hand, as a regular visitor to Wat Pah Nanachat, I value the importance of minimising yourself there, so as to keep the peace of the sangha & its environment. To be a sangha member there amongst many international monks from varied backgrounds, requires one to be open, tolerant, and mindful of other cultures.

While this ordination of nuns is nothing new, it is quite against the general thai view/tradition, of which Aj Brahm was from. So as a senior monk of Thai Theravada tradtition, his action will cause much distress and confusion to those supporters (myself included, although I'm Singaporean). Similarly, it causes distress to his fellow senior Thai monks who would want to keep the harmony amongst the Thai's, and yet have great respect for Aj Brahm himself. One might say this happened in Australia, but the roots of Aj Brahm & Bodhinyana Monastery run much deeper than geographical distance.

Although the Buddha himself created an order of nuns, he did so reluctantly and at a time when society accepted it(more or less) and of course there were many enlightened nuns at that time. In our time, it is not widely accepted in some cultures (esp Thai) so it seems insensitive to impose our views on said culture. The culture should evolve gradually, not by suddeness.

Finally comes the question of does it make much difference? Other than the color of robes (& the status that goes with it) and the number of precepts kept(which can be kept voluntarily also), does it really make much difference? (Unfortunately I don't know since I'm not in their shoes) It may seem significant, but probably only to the general lay person. To the serious monk/nun, I think the color of robes don't matter; the no. of precepts don't matter; the years of seniority don't matter; Only your mindful practice matters.

Obviously I disagree with Aj Brahm's decision, but only because I feel it brought no real benefit to Thai Theravada Buddhism in general. I say Thai Theravada, because he is a widely known and respected monk in this circle primarily, and it is his roots.

But having said all that, what's done is done. If anyone deserved a full ordination, I have no doubt it should be Sr Vayama. Her talks can arouse wisdom, clarity, and mindfulness to those who listen with their heart. This can only come from someone with great wisdom, clarity & mindfulness. Similarly for Aj Brahm. Likely Aj Brahm had his reasons, which I don't know of. So it would be best to be Buddhist and just let this go, and get back to our practice.

Thanks, this helped get it off my chest...

G said...

It seems that from his actions on this matter, Ajahn Brahm has the interests of Australian Buddhists in mind, which would appear appropriate as he primarily resides in their country. It could be argued that if he wishes to promote female ordination, he should formerly renounce links with Thai Buddhism and start afresh in Australia, but this might also appear a somewhat extreme action. In the long run it will surely be a positive move for womenfolk's opportunities in the Western Forest Buddhist movement, and in this context, Ajahns Brahm & Vayama will no doubt be considered important innovators.

As you wrote, Yangkeat, it's best to be Buddhist, and let go of our attachments to certain viewpoints on this issue, and wish everyone well, whichever side of the argument they have taken. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt views on this matter.

Was Once said...

G, I stand corrected now, and having followed the hoopla, but who said life was ever easy? Its politics really. If they carry a pure intent, and just let go...it will happen in its own time. It has rocked them a bit, but there are also people who need and support them regardless of their ordination.

G said...

So much of life is hoopla, really, isn't it? To "carry a pure intent ,& just let go"...now you're talking, Was Once!

Unknown said...

Thank you all for this training in awareness, not getting what you want is suffering, getting what you want is suffering. Feels like there are a lot of people suffering. I hope this situation will soon be resolved and that we can all get back to practicing what the Buddha taught. May both Monks and Nuns continue to receive the four requisites. Apparently that is all that is required.

G said...

A nice comment, Gushales. Hopefully things are moving forward (along the Path) since this post was originally written.

Anonymous said...

Do you believe that Theravada Buddhism should modernize at all costs, or do you feel that traditional perspectives must be adhered to?

It never occurred to me that this was a question of modernisation versus traditionalism.

The legal prohibition against ordaining nuns in Thailand only dates from the 1920s. Historical evidence points to the existence of fully ordained nuns in Thailand as late as the 1800s. (Despite the official Thai textbook version being that the last nun was Sanghamitta.)

To me, it seems, the prohibition against ordaining nuns is a modern innovation, the existence of nuns within the Buddhist sangha is the traditional way, the way from the time of Lord Buddha. The movement to ordain nuns doesn't come in the general context of 'modernising Buddhism': it comes in the wider context of reform movements aiming to 'restore' Buddhism to its roots.

If people can't see the reason for needing nuns, surely by that type of thinking, we shouldn't need monks either? If you have nuns as well as monks, surely, that's twice the chance of getting some living arahants?

G said...

Interesting points, Anonymous.

Perhaps the fact that what you point out is really going back to the original teachings of the Buddha (as we believe them to be from certain texts) as well as what others see as the modernization of Buddhism, shows the timeless nature of the Buddha Dharma.

Yes, the Pali Canon contains many accounts of fully enlightened nuns as well as fully enlightened monks (and the odd enlightened layman), so nuns should be valued as highly as monks...and encouraged in their endeavours.

Thanks for the stimulating thoughts,

Anonymous said...

I am a Nane living at a Theravada Buddhist Temple.....looking at the situation using what i have learned from my time ordained is that there is a middle...you are asking of two extremes either do not change at all or modernize at any cost...i think neither...as i see it in some circumstances there should be change and others not.... as far as the Bhikkuni ordination goes my opinion would have to go with Brams simply because women should be able to ordain....weather male or female we are all human and all have the same aggregates, hindrances, the capability to meditate and the possibility for change...in saying that the Buddha taught that anyone can reach Nibbana through the middle path and if starting the ordination of Bhikkunis again help women attain that then there should be know argument.....

G said...

You're right, "Nane," that there isn't necessarily one answer to this issue for every Buddhist community or society, and, yet, at the same time you seem to be more 'pro' than 'anti' in your analysis. Complicated indeed! Thank you for your comment, and may your time in the Sangha be a fruitful one.

Anonymous said...

Would you say that Arahantship is the next step in positive Human Evolution? Then Women have an equal right as Men to ordain as Nuns.

G said...

Can men ordain as nuns?! (Only kidding - I get your point.) Mmm, not sure about arahantship & human evolution, Anonymous. That would be nice for sure, but looking at human nature, it seems somewhat unlikely. But who knows...

Anonymous said...

The Western monks feel the imperative to ordain nuns. That desire is obviously conditioned by the values of the late 20th century societies they come from. They wouldn't have felt so compelled if this was an earlier time when women weren't considered equal to men even in the West. The Thais' perspectives come from their societies. All things are conditioned and these controversies show that no one has attained what the Buddha taught.

Unknown said...

Take the advise of Ajahn Chah. Just change the word "religions" to "Traditions"
Quote: All religions are like different cars all moving in the same direction.
People who don't see it have no light in their hearts.

If we have a disagreement with a brother or sister over one issue, is it just and mindful to lock them out of the house?
Steve Jarrett.

G said...

Good point, Steve. Buddha taught us to be open to each other despite any disagreements. It seems neither just nor mindful. Thanks for the comment.

Linda C. said...

I am a practicing lay Buddhist.

If you are practicing the art of detachment than detaching yourself from the physical designation of gender is part of that detachment. A person seeking enlightenment is a person seeking enlightenment regardless of the gender of that person.

It is simply illogical to maintain that only persons of male gender are capable of seeking enlightenment and restricting women from monastic orders is a form of attachment to ego.

I am not going to get into modernization BS because if you practice the art of detachment than you know it is attachment to ego that keeps women from being ordained.

If you could as the Buddha if a woman could attain enlightenment, what do you think he would say?