Those not listening and contemplating are not able to cultivate, not able to have personal cultivation to make amends. Those knowing their wrongs are then able to make amends, while those not knowing their wrongs are not able to make amends.
[Note: While not all women have all of these manners and their tendencies, even some men might have them. Thus, all should ensure that they are free of them.]
At that time Ananda, hearing this, asked the Buddha, “How can Bhikkhunis reach Nirvana? In what way should they practice the path to Nirvana?”
The Buddha told Ananda, “People in the world are saturated with lust. Anyone who can get rid of the lust would be enlightened. Women’s bodies are like jewelry. They are very appealing but cannot last long. Instead, they make people corrupted by spoiling their morality and thus causing them to lose their human bodies. Why is that? It is because jewelry is tempting to people and makes them intent on going deep into the sea to look for it without feeling contented. Soon, they would lose their lives. Though some women desire to practice the holy life, they are saturated with the 84 sentiments and postures which make them trapped and corrupted. Those who become corrupted by the 84 sentiments and postures as if sinking down into the deep sea, they would be drowned. Anyone who can get rid of those 84 sentiments and postures are Arhats.
Ananda joined his hands and knelt down again, saying, “What are the 84 sentiments and postures that prevent women from being enlightened? I wish the Buddha would elaborate on them with your great supernatural powers so that people can comprehend and take delight in their meanings, and be inspired to learn how to get rid of the sins [i.e. transgressions] caused by them. As a result, all Buddhas would be delighted and future practitioners would also be inspired.”
The Buddha told Ananda, “Listen carefully! Contemplate the sermon I’m going to make! Keep it inside your heart and I will make a detailed sermon on it.” Therefore, Ananda listened with great care and cherished it, so as to instruct future, past, and present Bhikkhunis in its core meaning and have them honor it. To practice such Dharma enables the practitioner to be enlightened soon.
The Buddha said, “The feminine 84 sentiments and postures delude people and prevent them from practicing the path to Nirvana. What are the 84 sentiments and postures?
 Women are fond of beautifying themselves by using a cosmetic pencil to darken her eyebrows and eyelids.
 Women are fond of combing their hair and touching the bangs on her forehead.
 Women are fond of putting make-up over their faces to seduce men.
 Women are fond of looking at people with their eyes half closed.
 Women are fond of putting rouge over their lips.
 Women are fond of wearing earrings.
 Women are fond of wearing necklaces with jewelry.
 Women are fond of costumes extravagantly embroidered with jewelry.
 Women are fond of wearing stockings.
 Women are fond of walking with two arms swinging.
 Women are fond of looking aside.
 Women are fond of peeping into others’ privacy.
 Women desire to see men but pretend that they do not care about them.
 Women try to look at men behind their backs after they depart.
 Women desire to see men but pretend to remain silent with her head down.
 Women are fond of shaking their heads and bodies when they are walking.
 Women are fond of shaking their heads and bodies when they are sitting.
 Women are fond of sitting rubbing their hands with their eyes looking down.
 Women are fond of sitting talking with laughter.
 Women are fond of pretending to talk softly.
 Women are fond of darkening their eyebrows in public.
 Women are fond of sitting and yelling to the dog.
 Women are fond of pretending to be mad at the men approaching them but in fact their hearts are full of joy.
 Women tend to be arrogant and think highly of themselves and easily become jealous of others.
 Women desire to get a husband but like to pretend that they are mad at the men who they encounter.
 When women pretend to be mad at the men they see; once the men departs, they feel regret and depressed.
 When seeing men approaching, women are overjoyed when talking to them but pretend to be mad at them.
 Feeling embarrassed after the men are gone, women become very sad but they pretend to slander them.
 Women are very loose with their mouths, ready to speak ill of others, and to gossip about others’ privacy.
 Women are fond of getting power, taking delight in being domineering and manifesting their own strengths by criticizing others.
 Women are fond of bullying the weak or the marginalized with their power.
 Women are fond of oppressing others with their power and ready to beat others verbally.
 Women tend to avoid paying their debts.
 Women like to wrong others to single out their own righteousness; they are ready to attribute all bad things to others, while attributing the good things to themselves.
 Women are very changeable in their temper and like to fool others with that.
 Women are fond of attributing the good things to themselves and bad things to others.
 Women are fond of manifesting their own merits, stealing merits from others and pretending that those merits are theirs.
 Women tend to complain about their laboring, but take delight in seeing others labor.
 Women are fond of distorting reality, and readily speak ill of others.
 Women are fond of showing off their wealth and power and thus oppressing others with them.
 When poor, women tend to be jealous of others; when underprivileged, they like to attack powerful people.
 Women are fond of flattering people superior to them and pretending to be virtuous.
 Women are fond of destroying others’ success and morality.
 Women are fond of deluding others with their evil sentiments.
 Women are fond of envying others secretly, slandering others harshly.
 Women are fond of criticizing others and attributing all the wrongs to others.
 Women are fond of slandering righteous people who practice the holy life, intending to delude them into going astray.
 Women are fond of gossiping about others’ faults and deluding Dharma practitioners.
 Women are fond of inviting others to taking an oath with them and they desire others to return the favors they bestow.
 Women are fond of making donations but they easily feel regret and then put all the blame on others. Women are also fond of slandering talented people.
 Women are fond of complaining about their misfortune, of scolding animals to vent their anger or satirizing others.
 Women are fond of showing coquettish manners to delude Dharma practitioners.
 Women hate to see others outdo themselves and thus curse those who are superior to them and wish they would die soon.
 Women are fond of poisoning others because they lack peace of mind.
 Women are fond of recalling the past wrongs against themselves, and hatred always haunts them.
 Women are fond of thinking highly of themselves, refusing to accept others’ advice. They like to flatter others with vain speech but they don’t trust others. Their hearts are violent and unstable.
 Women are fond of being cold to the people close to them, but show familiarity to distant people. They are also fond of spreading family scandals in the neighborhood without feeling shameful.
 Women are fond of showing haughty manners and bad temper, refusing to listen to the advice of Dharma practitioners.
 Women enjoy being arrogant, making a scene by beating things around violently, losing their temper or becoming overjoyed in caprice, and thus confusing others.
 Women indulge themselves in greed and pursuing things in caprice. They are fond of intimidating others with their domineering postures, distorting the Dharma and thus challenging Dharma practitioners.
 Women indulge themselves in lust, easily becoming jealous and suspicious of others. They are thus gradually occupied by their complaints and hatred.
 Women tend to lose their temper and be arrogant, thinking that they know the truth.
 Women are fond of attacking others with vicious speech, including their family members and relatives.
 Women are fond of showing arrogance to others, disregarding the ethics of respecting seniors.
 Women are fond of thinking highly of themselves, treating others with a vicious attitude and mentality. They talk unreasonably.
 Women are fond of laughing foolishly without restraint and doing things in caprice.
 Women are fond of controlling their husbands, preventing them from talking or joking with others.
 Women are fond of attacking their husbands with vicious language in caprice according to their moods.
 Women take great delight in leading others astray into dangerous situations in exchange of their own safety.
 Women are fond of slandering sages with curses and lies and flattering others so as to ruin their morality.
 Women are fond of deluding others with confusing talk and flattery, thinking that others can never detect their schemes or motives.
 Women are fond of taking things and they hate losing things. When they get what they want, they would be glad. When they lose something, they would be worried, complaining badly and cursing violently.
 Women are fond of cursing natural phenomena and the stoves in the kitchen. They also like to kill without compassion.
 Women are fond of advising others to get abortions, and are unhappy to see others give birth to new life.
 Women are fond of inquiring into others’ privacy, including their financial conditions.
 Women are fond of teasing others and deluding them to go astray.
 Women are fond of accumulating goods and their greed is never satisfied.
 Women are fond of annoying their husbands and other men, intending to make them lose control.
 Women are fond of digging out others’ dark secrets and trying to make those secrets be revealed in public.
 Women are fond of teasing the disabled, and they take great delight in seeing others’ misfortune.
 Women are fond of advising men to divorce their wives, and are delighted to see the men become poor because of losing their spouses.
 Women are fond of arousing conflicts among people and making them fight against each other, taking great delight in seeing people suffer disasters caused by such conflicts.
 Women are fond of making others sue each other and suffer imprisonment.
 Women are fond of making trouble among people and causing disasters. Then they laugh wildly when they witness the trouble they have caused. Women also like to seduce people to desire them, so that they could be proud of themselves and take advantage of the people who try to pursue them. All the wise people would exclaim, ‘Women are so horrible!’
These are the 84 sentiments and postures. You should know them clearly. If women could get rid of these, they would definitely become enlightened, reach Nirvana and Buddhahood.”
Ananda the sage said to the Buddha, “Could the 84 feminine sentiments and postures be destroyed?”
The Buddha replied, “These are caused by women themselves, and thus only they can have them destroyed. The women who can destroy these would become Arhats.”
Mahaprajapati Bhikkhuni Sutra (from p.78)
Translated By Yang Cheming