THE TRAFFIC IN WOMEN
DOI link for THE TRAFFIC IN WOMEN
THE TRAFFIC IN WOMEN book
At the beginning of this book I suggested that some Buddhist practi tioners have remained in the Buddha’s harem, where they continue to focus on his initial rejection of women. This rejection has served as a convenient symbol for the limited roles available to women in Bud dhism, and the more or less strict separation of women from male monastics. Equally, the Buddha’s reconciliation with women and the feminine before he achieved enlightenment symbolizes the necessity of including woman’s auspicious powers in order to achieve enlighten ment, an inclusion paralleled in the Buddha’s past life as Sumati when he initially rejected and then accepted the woman who was to be his wife in all future lives before making his vow to become a Bud dha. We have also seen the inclusion of women richly displayed in sculptures and carvings at the earliest Buddhist archaeological sites spread across South Asia, and centuries later rearticulated in tantric texts and iconography. These are indications that male practitioners must personally, either through visualization or practice with a woman, experience the absence of duality in order to achieve enlight enment. Toward this end, actual women were sometimes involved or utilized in tantric practice and female imagery permeates tantric art.