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Showing posts from February, 2018

Dogen Walked Into a Bar

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There's a joke I love that makes the men around me uncomfortable. It goes, "A feminist man walked into a bar it was so low." This is because we expect so little of men, and so when one says anything approximating respecting basic human rights, we fall all over ourselves.

I am currently finishing up my master's degree in East Asian studies, and writing my thesis on women in early Sōtō Zen communities. When I started out to write this paper, I thought I would focus on Dōgen and women. Some of my research I've already posted online, like the last post about Ryōnen.

As we all know, Dōgen had several female disciples and wrote favorably about them. In particular, he praises Ryōnen in the Eihei Koroku (Extended Record). He also argued that women have equal capacity for spiritual development and awakening in the Raihaitokuzui (Bowing at the Attainment of the Marrow) chapter in the Shobogenzo, as well as in Bendōwa (Points to Watch on Practicing the Way). As I wrote abo…