Question: Is Pure Land sexist?
Answer: In his 35th Vow, Dharmakara Bodhisattva stated this — ‘If I attain Buddhahood [as Amituofo (Amitabha Buddha)], in all immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha Lands of the ten directions, there are women who hear my Name [Amituofo], rejoice with faith, give rise to Bodhicitta, and detest the female body, after the end of [their] lives, again have female form, [I shall] not attain right awakening.’ (设我得佛，十方无量不可思议诸佛世界，其有女人闻我名字，欢喜信乐，发菩提心，厌恶女身，寿终之后，复为女像者，不取正觉。)
Unfortunately, this vow is sometimes mistaken as being sexist. Nothing is further from the truth, as all Buddhas are masters of perfect equanimity. This vow empowers all females instead, just as it does all males, to rise above gender limitations, as the forms we attain in Pure Land are functionally non-sexual and pure.
Since ancient times, the average female generally suffers from more societal disadvantages. (If not, there would be no feminist movements till today.) Seeing this, Amituofo made this Vow to enable escape from the female form, by mindfulness of his name, through which he is able to share his blessings, that does not even require birth in his Pure Land if not aspired.
In the karmic scheme of things over time, there is no actual injustice. That there are some treating females unfairly means two things — the abusers are creating negative karma, while the abused born into male chauvinistic societies are experiencing collective negative karma. Yes, we must do what we can to uphold fair rights for all, as part of our practice of compassion. Meanwhile, Amituofo already offers a solution to break free — through this blessings and entry into his Pure Land.
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