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I thought it was about demonizing the old religion, in which the serpent maybe symbolized tantric knowledge and humankind's potential to become quasi-Divine. The wrathful, jealous god of the Old Testament couldn't have any of that going on, could he? So he banished his subjects, when he found out they'd begun to acquire esoteric Knowledge.
...but what do I know?
I've read up through Chapter 2 so far, which is the most interesting so far, IMO. That's enough for now. Such a small book to generate so much excitement!
This issue of not recognizing ordinations for women seems to pertain mainly to Thailand or to Theravada Buddhism? Except there was an example of a nun who was ordained in Sri Lanka, and attained a leadership role there, with public support. So maybe it's a Thai or SE Asian problem?
The film omits the work that Taiwan's ordained nuns have had in ordaining nuns throughout the Buddhist world. They've ordained the few Tibetan nuns who have been able to travel to Taiwan, and I don't know if the Taiwanese ordained nuns have travelled to the Himalayan region or India to ordain nuns, but if that's happened, it was on a very small scale. Perhaps Thailand's Buddhist officials don't recognize ordinations granted by Mahayana authorities? I'd like to see a film focusing on Taiwan's efforts in this regard, which have been going on for 20-30 years, at this point.
In Ladakh, there is a proverb: "In Enlightened thought, there is no male or female. In Enlightened thought, there is no near and far." Although this speaks to the heart of the Buddha's teachings about no-self and the illusory nature of reality, nuns are still treated prejudicially in Ladakhi society. Nunneries don't receive as much support in donations of food and money as monasteries, so women have to work to earn their keep; they hire themselves out to farmers, or work in their parents' fields in exchange for food. And while it's considered prestigious to go into the monkhood, and to have a son in the monkhood, girls and young women are told they're being foolish and selfish to aspire to be a nun.
There's a good book that discusses all aspects of nuns' status and life in Ladakh; Being a Buddhist Nun, by Kim Gutschow, if anyone's interested.
OP, I got rid of my TV years ago. I found that even being very selective about programs, I didn't seem to have the discipline to turn off the TV when my one preferred program for the day was over. I'd sit dumbly in front of the thing, staring passively, as other programs came and went.
Life is definitely more peaceful, now. I do miss the occasional good documentary, and I enjoy the sweet talent shows, where kids sometimes blow the audience away with a booming and expressive singing voice, or whatever talent, but I can get those on youtube. The best thing about it is that I read a lot more, which means I learn a lot more! I always have some fascinating research project going on, either on the internet, or reading a stack of books, and I love it! For example, one line of inquiry eventually lead into the role of "Westerners" (Tocharians, Indo-Aryans like the Buddha, and their descendants in NW India and Afghanistan, not to mention the Greeks) in propagating Buddhism, and creating Buddhist civilizations. What a gold mine of information! Who knew that Westerners were key to Buddhism's founding and development?
You never know what hidden worlds you might open up for yourself when you turn off the TV, and allow your intellectual curiosity to lead you. And without TV, you have more time for visiting friends, actually being in their presence and sharing that human connection, instead of emailing or texting. The quality of life improves almost exponentially, in some ways.
According to Fronsdal, there is a huge difference between what we Buddha said himself, and what was probably added later on by his followers, @Kerome.
And yes, @David, the Buddha was agnostic
Oh, this sounds very interesting. Fronsdal's comments will be very stimulating and enjoyable, I expect.