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Was Buddha a Man or Woman?
Was he/she sometimes know as a man and sometimes as a woman?
Why was he/she sometimes know as a man and sometimes as a woman?
What was his/her real gender? Give proof please.

11 Answers 11

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The answer to this question has a lot of things that change the answer, depending on whom you ask. It would depend on which Buddha we're talking about, which lineage, which region, which culture, and which set of histories we're willing to accept as historical fact. As such, there is no singular answer which could possibly suffice.

The Buddha, historically, was male: his name was Siddhartha Gautama and his title was Shakyamuni because he was a prince and later king of his tribe in Nepal. He called himself "Buddha" because it connotes being awakened by light. As such, anyone who has reached this level of personal and spiritual evolution is considered to be "a Buddha".

In some lineages, female Buddhas exist; in most, all Buddhas are required to be male.

In some cultures, the mere idea of a female Buddha is offensive; in others, the idea is acceptable; and in still others, the idea that anyone has a problem with that at all is offensive.

In some histories, there is acceptance of the story of Guanyin (also called Kwan Yin), who is sometimes called the "Medicine Buddha". But she is also considered a goddess of healing and a Taoist immortal, among a few other highly-regarded titles.

One of the teachings of the Buddha is to overcome preconceptions. If we're bound to the idea that only men can become Buddha, it would make sense that the Buddha might reincarnate as a female to try to teach this idea, perhaps after being a male who seeds the idea.

Again, there are so many, many ideas out there about this that there is no singular correct answer. And so to answer, I would just write: "it's not outside of the realm of possibilities, either way".

  • Well, of course, we are talking about the old Buddhism. – ʇolɐǝz ǝɥʇ qoq Oct 28 '14 at 1:22
  • "Old Buddhism" meaning the original Buddha? Actually, there was no "Buddhism" until more than a century after the Buddha's death... it was merely a branch of Hindu philosophy, and the Buddha was a highly-regarded swami and a guru. There was never an intent for separation on the part of Gautama. – Vishwa Jay Oct 28 '14 at 3:52
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Sounds like a koan. Are you a hidden Zen master? ;) "Is Buddha a man or woman?" -- "Buddha is awesome!" :)

Seriously, Buddha is your own true nature, how can it be limited to gender?

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    A vote that this be the accepted answer :) – Devindra Jun 26 '15 at 11:10
  • I like it better than my own answer, as well. Mine explained a lot of intellectual garbage, but this one is far more to the point. – Vishwa Jay Nov 27 '16 at 18:34
  • Guys, it's really ok to make your own religion. However, while the original teachings of a person is still available, isn't it rather peculiar to modify it in weird ways and call it his teachings? This is similar to gossip which change from mouth to mouth. Good luck with that kind of following! – Ravindranath Akila Apr 7 '17 at 16:12
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Buddha is not a man or a woman. Those are aggregates. Buddha is beyond words or descriptions. https://www.facebook.com/suzukiroshi

Just to sit is much better than to see all the buddha in the world [laughs].

The only proof is experience. There is no convincing anyone. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/shunryu_suzuki.html

If you cannot bow to Buddha, you cannot be a Buddha. It is arrogance. Shunryu Suzuki

  • When you preach something, it is better to call it your own and give it your own name if it deviates from what the original source says, especially when there is written evidence. Falling short, one might appear to lack any originality or understanding. – Ravindranath Akila Apr 7 '17 at 16:16
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Buddha is a title for any being who after much compassionate work as a bodhisattva, achieves Buddahood. (This begs the important, approachable question what is a bodhisattva? Not meant to be asked, but researched.)

A Buddha does not enter Nirvana until all beings are saved.

The original Buddha of our little planet Earth was Shakyamuni Buddha, male inheritor of the Shakya kingdom. He was also known as Gautama, especially by the Hindus.

  • Why is this answer up-voted if the question is down-voted? I think if the answer is as logical as this, then the question is logical too, and therefore a good one and doesn't deserve to be so harshly received. – sss4r Jun 24 '15 at 17:39
  • Because it is just a definition question – Ahmed Jun 24 '15 at 20:03
  • And there are many times where a question is ill formed but the answerer fills the need. There is also the opposite, a brilliant question which is far more beautiful than any answer.. – Ahmed Jun 24 '15 at 20:05
  • I think I understand. – sss4r Jun 24 '15 at 21:17
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One has to understand this: "Buddha" because it connotes being awakened by light. The word Buddha doesn't even makes mention of male or female. Both may become enlightened and both can be awakened by Light. Such is the writings and mantras and such are as if like alien from the higher consciousness we must reach and to go through all those prayers, rituals, etc to reach that higher consciousness or just accept of which there is a lot within the writings of such the word 'acceptance'. Remember, just like many beings throughout history had many encounters and raised up a religion or as they say, enlightened. taught by Beings from the days of Egypt and so on. The Encounter brought about a great deal of information and if you notice, they speak about the goddess not a male. The male, the Buddha reach a higher consciousness by the contact with this female or so if it was, from another world/your alien is and has always been here. saved many documentations of the past and shared it with beings on this earth or to whom they considered they like to share. Namaste. "Know Thyself"

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I would like to answer your question with a quote on the Buddha. The quote is from the book "What Buddhists Believe" by Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda, p. 32-33:

"... So special was He and so electrifying His message, that many people asked Him ‘What (not so much Who) He was’. The question of ‘Who He was’ would be with respect to His name, origin, ancestry, etc., while ‘What He was’ referred to the order of beings to which He belonged. So ‘godly’ and inspiring was He that even during His time, there were numerous attempts by others to turn Him into a god or a reincarnation of a god. He never agreed to be regarded as such. In the Anguttara Nikaya, He said: ‘I am indeed not a deva nor any other form of divine being; neither am I an ordinary human being. Know ye that I am the Buddha, the Awakened One.’ After Enlightenment, the Buddha could no longer be classified even as a ‘manusya’ or an ordinary human being. He belonged to the Buddha wangsa, a special class of enlightened beings, all of whom are Buddhas.

Buddhas appear in this world from time to time. But some people have the mistaken idea that it is the same Buddha who is reincarnated or appears in the world over and over again. Actually, they are not the same person, because then there would be no scope for others to attain to Buddhahood. Buddhists believe that anyone can become a Buddha if he develops his qualities to perfection and is able to remove his ignorance completely through his own efforts. After Enlightenment, however, all Buddhas become identical in their attainment and experience of Nirvana."

So you see that "Man or Woman" do not really apply here. They are just a variation of the 1st aggregate of material form. They belong to conventional reality which deals with concepts.

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i think buddha is peace and harmony. something all men and women in the world should strive to be

  • Hello David and welcome to Buddhism.SE. Answers with more detail will generally be more helpful. We've put together some tips on how to get started here – Robin111 Jul 11 '15 at 3:03
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Though is modern times this might seem controversial Bahu Dhātuka Sutta mentions certain things a woman cannot achieve:

He understands that it is impossible, there is no chance, that a woman would become a worthy fully self awakened one—this is not possible.

And he understands that it is possible, there is the chance, that a man would become a worthy fully self-awakened—this is possible.

He understands that it is impossible, there is no chance, that a woman would become a universal monarch—this is not possible.

And he understands that it is possible, there is the chance, that only a man would become a universal monarch —this is possible.

He understands that it is impossible, there is no chance, that a woman would attain the state of Sakra—this is not possible

...

For more comparative discussion on this matter see: On Women’s Inabilities by Piya Tan and The Bahudhātuka-sutta and its Parallels On Women’s Inabilities by Ven. Anālayo

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This is just an opinion. I believe a that a Buddha does not have a gender and I say this because of what I have learnt from the Agganna Sutta where the brahmas did not have a gender and their mental deterioration caused humans to come to being. A Buddha is someone who is beyond the brahmas in terms of intelligence and so on. So I think a Buddha does not have a gender

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The Buddha was a man. I have no idea why everyone is trying to dodge obvious conceptual truth. I don't need an argument for this just like I don't need an argument for the fact that the Earth is round.

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Only a male person can become a Lord Buddha. Even when fulfilling Paramitha in Bodhisattva state, Lord Buddhas give Niyatha wiwarana to the Bodhisattva. To give the Niyatha Viwarana also, Bodhisattva must be a male. If female wish to become Buddha, first she has to wish to be a male and start completing Paramitha. (Any female can become male in next life with pathi Bakthi(do not break 3rd precept) and with the wish to become a male).

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    Why even go there? – Lowbrow Oct 25 '14 at 15:05
  • Given that the Dhamma lacks Absolute distinction, where can a definitive line between 'woman' and 'man' be drawn, in such a way as to forbid one from the attainments of the other? – Ilya Grushevskiy Jan 29 '17 at 23:11
  • This is what is an example of eastern absurdity. You just heard about it never gave it a thought before writing it. Male attributes are required to be a Buddha because a Buddha is a preacher. A woman cannot preach because of introversion. Modern woman is an extrovert therefore has male attributes to be a Buddha. – Shashank Khare Jan 31 '17 at 0:27
  • @Shashank Khare. I don't write anything just because I have seen it. I write things what Load Buddha has said. I think you are in angry with Eastern Philosophy. Before blame on someones teachings first learn it. otherwise you show your foolishness to the world. – Gurusinghe Feb 2 '17 at 3:41
  • I was born and brought up with Eastern ethos and absurdity. One such absurdity is the authority by which Eastern people speak. Word "Buddha" does not represent a person. It represents a path to know the ultimate. "Lord Buddha" means nothing if you are using it as a noun to put a stamp on your words. Only fanatics go by words not by essence. You are a prime example of what is wrong with all religions of the world. Religious people debate not discuss because they memorize words not actualize them. – Shashank Khare Feb 4 '17 at 5:33

protected by Crab Bucket Jul 10 '15 at 21:47

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