Friday, November 4, 2011

That Time Of The Month

Menstruation (utusamaya) is a woman’s monthly cycle of fertility and infertility. It is a natural process essential for reproduction. Many religions and cultures associate menstruation with impurity, bad luck or inauspiciousness. According to the Bible a woman is ritually impure during her menstruation and anyone or anything that touches her during that time likewise becomes unclean (Leviticus 15,19-23). Most Christians ignore these teachings nowadays although devote Jews still adhere to them. In Islam a menstruating woman is forbidden to do certain otherwise obligatory religious practices and sexual intercourse is strictly forbidden. The Manusmrti, Hinduisms most authoritative law book, says that a man must not have sex with his wife if she is menstruating, accept food from her or even talk to her.
The Buddha rejected the idea of ritual purity and impurity and placed no restrictions on menstruating women. He was only concerned with what he called the ‘inner washing’ (M.I,39), i.e. developing a mind full of love, kindness and honesty, and free from greed, hatred and delusion. Some Buddhist cultures have forgotten the Buddha’s teaching on inner purity as opposed to ritual purity and continue to adhere to various menstruation superstitions. In some parts of Thailand women in this condition are not allowed to enter temples orcircumambulate stupas. In Burma they are not allowed to approach certain holy Buddha images or enter simas.


Chakma said...

Thank you Venerable Bhante.

Dennis M. said...

Sâdhu for this short, yet informative entry. The Buddha's outstanding attitude once again makes me wonder what kind of research someone like Christopher Hitchens and his devout followers have done on Buddhism to dismiss it with their weak arguments, half-truths and outright lies.

Matt Basil said...

interesting conversation!!may b i am going to subscribe to your posts!again thanks for sharing!i found some of the facts really interesting

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