Dear Dhamma Friends and Scholars,
Almost 2600 years ago, Siddhartha Gautama got enlightenment under the Bodhi-tree (Banyan-tree) and became the Buddha at Buddhagaya. From the day of his enlightenment to the day of his Mahāparinirvāṇa (great demise) the Buddha had travelled major part of Jambudīpa (India) and preached his sermons to one and all without any discrimination of gender, class, caste and vicinity. The very statement of the Buddha: “caratha, bhikkhave, cārikaṃ bahujanahitāya, bahujana¬sukhāya, lokānukampāya, atthāya, hitāya, sukhāya, devamanussānaṃ…” “monks, should go on tours for the welfares of the many folk, for the happiness of the many folk out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the blessing, the happiness of devas and men”, reflects the characteristic of his teachings for all human beings.
The Buddha had established his dhamma on four pillars, such as Bhikkhu Saṅgha, Bhikkhuni Saṅgha, Upāsaka and Upāsika. Dhamma will weaken if any of these columns will be weak. That’s why in his very initial days Buddha has established a Bhikkhuni Order led by his mother, the Great Mahāpajāpati Gotami. Just as arahant-s Sāriputta and Moggallāna were made the two chief disciples in the Order of Bhikkhus, even so the arahant nuns Khemā and Uppalavannā were made the two chief female disciples in the Order of Bhikkhunis and known as “foremost of the Bhikkhunis”. In the Buddha’s time there were distinguished exponents (nuns) of the dhamma like the nuns Dhammadinnā and Bhaddā Kāpilāni etc. All those women followed the Buddha’s path can equally attained what Buddhism considered the highest goal, arahanthood, as men did. Spiritual potential of women is the most basic and also the most distinctive Buddhist attitude regarding the status of women throughout Buddhist literature.
In spite of all the good sayings uttered by the Buddha and other spiritual leaders of the Globe, even today we have seen discrimination to the women and sees unending pain in their part. Surprisingly this is happening in the modern scientific age where women have reached to space but they are not allowed to enter into the temple made by the human being. In all works of life women are giving their contribution- to a new born baby to a great personality. However, they are not getting the equal position in the spiritual path to lead a holy life. Spiritual liberation has anything to do with gender? We could not understand it and if yes, we cannot justify it. Spiritual liberation means peace, happiness, insight wisdom etc. Just as a man can achieve it, so can a woman get it too? When we talk about women liberation, our connotation is not only with worldly liberation but also in the activities of women in everyday life action that takes place in the world and their contribution to it. Our sense of Women's liberation means worldly-liberation, physical-liberation, social-liberation, spiritual-liberation, economic-liberation, and the all types of liberation a man does have. The motive of this seminar is to bring out various aspects of women liberation so that we can reduce the discrimination of men and women to a lesser extent.
Friends, we are happy to carry the sense of responsibility as a global and peaceful organization and to forward the message of the Buddha further in the scientific age of human society. Keeping the social messages of the Buddha and its role for gender equality in mind, the Maha Bodhi Society of India has decided to organize the 2nd Global Conference on BUDDHISM AND WOMEN’S LIBERATION from 30th to 31st January, 2019 at MBSI Buddhagaya Centre to discuss and deliberate upon diverse roles played by Women. Topics pertaining to Women’s Liberation in other religious doctrines and practices are also welcome. This conference will also pay our heartiest tribute to the great Bhikkhuni personalities, who took much pain and hardship to initiate and propagate the Dhamma to this stage.