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According to Buddhism & Science there is no gender to the mind but to the body.The difference between the male and female ideology is a difference between practicing two different ways of life.

Birth of gender according to Buddhism

When one era of a universe comes to an end almost all the beings get their birth in Brahma realm (Aabhassara).Once the universe is set to its default (Universe as we know it) beings are born in Human realm as illuminating gender less creatures.As they become fond of touch they begin to form recognizable genders. But the reaction from others who are not in favor of this new sensation is negative (quite like what gay people experienced over the years), But just like society accepting LGBT groups in our time they learn to accept this gender+sex situation. So as of this point sex is not even considered normal and gender is an anomaly.

If we drop the biological point of view and take only the teachings of Lord Buddha a new pattern start to appear beneath our acceptance of reality.


so my question is....

If we take Sutta+Abhidhamma point of view and focus on a human being,what we see is the same kind of species with two different Bone,Muscle,Brain,etc structures. As to Buddhism Humans do not have an essential need of sex for births to happen (spontaneous birth - Ambapali). So sex is an alternative for a human birth.

Human body,culture,way of life are all based on what gender that person belongs to (This may not be the reality where you live but travel the world enough and you will see the sad truth). But once you use something like Vipassana meditation to see a human being you see that there is no such thing called gender in this bag of flesh and bones.After all Lord Buddha said that if someone can come above Temptation he/she is free.


  • So is it right to think that one illusion of the mind defined all that we are as beings?
  • Is gender really an illusion or is there more to this?

Please note that this question does not ask for personal opinions,Please add sources to your answers so we can expand our knowledge.I have seen the question (Is gender a result of Kamma?) and this is not a duplicate of it.this address a whole different point of view.Please leave a comment before voting negative

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    Two comments: a) The first part ("Birth of gender according to Buddhism") would be better as a reference than your paraphrase (though perhaps you're quoting what you heard and don't have a reference, which is OK too). b) The question in the title doesn't exactly match the question in the body: the title asks whether gender is (present tense) an illusion; the body asks whether illusion defined (past tense) all that we are (not just gender). They're a close match but it's better to be as clear as possible about what the question is. – ChrisW Dec 3 '15 at 18:24
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    Sometimes too it can help people to answer if they understand why you're asking, as well as what you're asking. – ChrisW Dec 3 '15 at 18:26
  • @ChrisW , can you please suggest a title in the comments? and as for why i am asking, it just occurred in my head while i was reading a book for vipassana. – Theravada Dec 3 '15 at 22:50
  • @ChrisW , updated the question with sources. – Theravada Dec 3 '15 at 22:58
  • I don't understand your question: I don't understand why or what you are asking about illusion and/or gender. If I were asking I might ask something like, "What should I understand from the Aggañña Sutta? Do Buddhists interpret it literally, or is it an allegory or satire? It contains the repeated phrase, "Dhamma is the best thing for people" -- how is the story (e.g. of evolution as told in the sutta) connected with that phrase?" My interpretation of that sutta is that it's about castes: simply that the old/contemporary social stratification into castes is not the Buddha's Dhamma or Sangha. – ChrisW Dec 3 '15 at 23:29
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Male & Female - Is gender an illusion?

Yes, gender is like an illusion.

A man, a woman, an arm, a human body, an animal, a car, a planet etc. all these conditioned phenomena are are concepts. They exist in conventional reality (sammuti-sacca) but not in ultimate reality (paramattha-sacca).

In ultimate reality, there is just experience.

  • You said: In ultimate reality, there is just experience. This is what my nondual teachers said. (Well, there is the Void also.) – user2341 Dec 7 '15 at 23:37
  • @user2341 - To quibble - I would rather say there is the cessation of experience since experience requires the experience, the experiencer and the experienced and three things is definitely not what Reality is. The Void seems a better image, a place beyond images. The experience-experiencer duality is not fundamental for the nondual or Mahayana.view. Not sure about Theravada and I might ask about this. , . . . – PeterJ Oct 18 at 11:56
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If we are going to go that far then everything but the present moment mental and physical phenomena of our individual experience is an illusion.

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    This is what my nondual teachers said. – user2341 Dec 7 '15 at 23:37
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I would recommend reading it fully and answering the part that is not complicated to you.

Alright, I'll try to.

Birth of gender according to Buddhism

I think the Aggañña Sutta is a story about caste. It's saying "brahmins aren't born of God, they're born of parents like other people are." It has nothing to do with gender, nor the origin of the species. Statements in the dharmadarer PDF you linked to seem to agree with or support this assessment:

However, it is clear that the Agganna narrative is Buddhist mythology, and mythology was a common didactic tool in ancient societies.

The humorous language and imagery of such suttas is understandable as they deal with well-established ideas and norms, taken seriously especially by those who used them to legitimize their affluence and position in society.

Richard Gombrich, in his Theravada Buddhism: A social history from Benares to Colombo, remarks that the Aggañña Sutta is “an extended satire on brahminical ideas, full of parody and puns... As a debunking job I think the sermon is serious: its main aim is to show that the class system is nothing but a human invention”; however, "I cannot go here into all the reasons why I think that the positive statements in the myth are satirical and not meant to be taken literally." (1988:85). In his book, "The Buddha’s Book of Genesis" (1992a), Gombrich goes on to elaborate on the significance of the Buddha’s humour in presenting a parody and pastiche of brahmanical claims, teachings and practices.

I think it's similar to the Assalayana Sutta, and/or to verse 396 of the Dhammapada,

I do not call him a brahmana just because he is born from the womb of a brahmana mother. He is just a bhovadi brahmin if he is not free from moral defilements. Him I call a brahmana, who is free from moral defilements and from attachment.

two different Bone,Muscle,Brain,etc structures

Saying "two" is arbitrary (maybe conventional and maybe wrong). You could easily say "one" (i.e. men and women are similar), or "more than two" (i.e. different men are different from each other).

spontaneous birth - Ambapali

Wikipedia says,

Amrapali or Ambapali was born around 600-500 BC to an unknown parentage, and was given her name because at her birth she was found at the foot of a mango tree in one of the royal gardens in Vaishali.

You're saying she had no parents.

Human body,culture,way of life are all based on what gender that person belongs to.

That might be "sexism" -- i.e. "basing" the social structure on gender.

But once you use something like Vipassana meditation to see a human being you see that there is no such thing called gender in this bag of flesh and bones.

That reminds me of a couple of Saivite poems,

If they see
breasts and long hair coming
they call it woman,

"if beard and whiskers
they call it man

"but, look, the self that hovers
in between
is neither man
nor woman

"O Ramanatha"

And

"Suppose you cut a tall bamboo
in two;
make the bottom piece a woman
the headpiece a man;
rub them together
till they kindle:
tell me now
the fire that's born,
is it male or female,

"O Ramanatha?

  • Very good answer chris, May i explain few point that's lost in translation? – Theravada Dec 5 '15 at 17:32
  • About Ambapali, She is one of the very rare occurrences that has been used as an example in Buddhism to explain the Spontaneous birth. As the story goes she has done some good karma in a previous life and wished to have no parents. This gave a birth to her in the same manner that Devas get their birth.You should refer a Buddhist source on this Wikipedia might not give you the full story. – Theravada Dec 5 '15 at 17:35
  • I am sorry for the wrong reference on suttas, My mistake. I erased it. – Theravada Dec 5 '15 at 17:37
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    I love your poem by the way : -) – Theravada Dec 5 '15 at 17:48
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    They're from a Penguin Classic called Speaking of Shiva ... devotional poetry. – ChrisW Dec 5 '15 at 18:40
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Male & Female - Is gender an illusion?

Gender is temporal and decaying. (A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma > Occurrence of Material Phenomena, p255 onwards)

According to Buddhism & Science there is no gender to the mind but to the body.

Gender is heart base. Heart is generally used for mind born phenomena.

When one era of a universe comes to an end almost all the beings get their birth in Brahma realm ...

In non / fine material planes there is no gender, i.e., asexual.

Gender would be an anomaly in the perspective of a being in non / fine material planes but normal in other planes. Being asexual will be an anomaly in the material planes. This is all relative.

But just like society accepting LGBT groups in our time they learn to accept this gender+sex situation.

Sexual orientation and desire is a mental construct, hence an illusion as these concepts breakdown at the level of Kalapas, but gender is an part of matter constructing the corporeal body (Rupa), which is considered and absolute truth (something that does not breakdown due to meditative scrutiny into the finer constituents).

But once you use something like Vipassana meditation to see a human being you see that there is no such thing called gender in this bag of flesh and bones

When you are Anāgāmi you lose the sexual desires. This does not mean you lose your sex. Though Vipassana you experience revulsion to the 5 aggregates. I presume not every partitioner will get the deep insights as to see the arising and passing or gender.

Is gender really an illusion or is there more to this?

This depends on what meaning you give to the word illusion. It is temporal and not always present.

So is it right to think that one illusion of the mind defined all that we are as beings?

Gender is temporary and not always present but when it is it is a fact not a mental construction, hence not and illusion, as per my thinking and understanding.

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