Francis Quotes

10 of Pope Francis’s Most Provocative Quotes
-adopted from National Geographic Magazine

In more than two years as head of the Roman Catholic Church, Francis has not shied from expressing his views on a great variety of issues.

“Hatred is not to be carried in the name of God! War is not to be waged in the name of God!”

“Women in the church are more important than bishops and priests.”

“Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits — but no.”

“I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful … I see the church as a field hospital after battle.”

“I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation.”

“Men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the ‘culture of waste.’ If a computer breaks it is a tragedy, but poverty, the needs and dramas of so many people end up being considered normal.”

“Perhaps you were mad, perhaps plates flew, but please remember this: never let the sun go down without making peace! Never, never, never!”

“Do you open your hearts to the memories that your grandparents pass on? Grandparents are like the wisdom of the family, they are the wisdom of a people.”

“True love is both loving and letting oneself be loved. It is harder to let ourselves be loved than it is to love.”

“Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads … to those who have quit or are indifferent.”

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150717-pope-francis-provocative-quotes-photo-essay/

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Francis Quotes

ISIS: Wake-up Call to Muslim Women?

Amina Wadud
Amina Wadud

Why is Isis a wake-up call to Muslim women?
by Homa Khaleeli
April 13, 2015

With her warm manner, academic language and grey-tinged dreadlocks partially covered by a headscarf, Amina Wadud makes an unlikely rebel. But the 62-year-old African-American professor, the daughter of a Methodist minister, is one of Islam’s leading feminists. Ten years ago, she faced down a bomb threat in New York when she led Friday prayers to a mixed congregation of men and women – something many religious scholars argued was forbidden in Islam. Three years later, she defied protests from local groups to do the same in London. Not content with taking on the mosques, now she has her sights set on revolutionising sharia councils and the laws that underpin them.

Sharia, she points out, is a world view, “the divine order of the universe”. What she is interrogating is fiqh, the Muslim legal tradition of man-made rules based on almost exclusively male interpretations of sacred texts. “When we are talking about laws, we are into talking about who is interpreting the laws, and what judicial methods they use,” she tells me. “The prophet made radical reforms but [Muslims] didn’t keep pace with that. If you start with that and no one else on the planet has it, you should be ahead of anyone else on the planet with regards to gender. But instead we let patriarchy to take over.”

Wadud is working with Musawah, an organisation campaigning for gender equality, and has contributed a chapter to its new book, Men in Charge? Rethinking Authority in Muslim Legal Tradition, which focuses on just one verse in the Qur’an – (4:34) that the authors have called “the DNA of patriarchy”. It is this verse that scholars have used to insist that God has given men authority over women – leading to wildly discriminatory laws of which Saudi Arabia’s infamous guardianship system (which prevents women from having medical procedures, taking a job or getting an education without the permission of a male guardian) is just one example.

While much of the Qur’an speaks of justice and spiritual equality, the prominence given to the interpretation of this verse has led to discriminatory laws and, as Wadud points out, “completely patriarchal” sharia councils. In the UK, hold power to dissolve marriages and have been criticised for discriminating against women.

“I have more optimism than I thought I would ever have before I died,” she says, pointing out that, even in countries such as Saudi Arabia, women have successfully campaigned to be able to stand for certain offices, vote in certain elections and increase the number of jobs they can do. “You have no place on the planet Earth where women are not on the move,” she says, firmly.

Even the terrifying rise of Isis doesn’t quell her hope. “The worst manifestation of Islam in our time is the so-called Islamic State,” she says, “but it might be our salvation. This is a powerful wake-up call: just because people say they are doing something in the name of Islam does not mean you have to agree with them. And as soon as you have the freedom not to agree with an interpretation of Islam, then the question of interpretation comes up and that’s my life right there – talking about how Islam has always been filtered through the interpretation of people who have the power.”

Indeed… might we also say that just because Christians or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists say “they are doing something in the name of [their religion or their God] does not mean that you have to agree with them.”

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/apr/13/why-is-isis-a-wake-up-call-to-muslim-women?CMP=share_btn_tw

ISIS: Wake-up Call to Muslim Women?

Putting End to Buddhist Patriarchy

It is interesting to note that it’s not just Roman Catholics and Muslims struggling these days with embracing the Divine Feminine.

Growing women’s influence within theology, philosophy, religion, the arts and particularly STEM careers is transforming our human capacity for compassion and cooperation. I honor this evolutionary shift as more women respond to the Sacred call to lead, to guide and to heal.

Good reading. Blessings from your Compassionate Gardener!

This article from Tricycle can be found here: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/putting-end-buddhist-patriarchy

January 30, 2015
Putting an End to Buddhist Patriarchy
In order to become a force for social change, Buddhism needs to rid itself of enduring ills—the barring of female ordination first among them. Ajahn Brahm

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, an African-American woman refused to obey a bus driver’s order to give up her seat to a white passenger. This simple act of defiance became one of the most important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

Before she passed away in 2005, Rosa Parks became a Buddhist—at age 92. One can speculate that this female icon—and fierce opponent of discrimination—chose Buddhism because it lends itself to the advancement of social justice causes.

She was right.

Buddhism should advance the particular social justice issues described in United Nations Millenium Development Goal Number Three (MDG 3): Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. For Buddhism to grow in our modern world, we need to do more than teach meditation, preach inspiring sermons, and make the sutras available online. We are good at studying, publishing, and spreading the word of Buddhism. Where we have not been very successful is showcasing the compassion and selflessness of the dharma by our actions. We have written many more words in our books than what few kind words we have spoken to the poor, lonely, and desperate. We have built so many more temples than orphanages.

Theravada Buddhism’s current male leadership, in particular, needs to clearly demonstrate its commitment to MDG 3 through the acceptance of bhikkhuni [nun] ordination. Only then can the Theravada sangha use its considerable influence to make a fairer world—one where people are judged by their character, not by their gender.

Theravada Buddhist monks, generally speaking, are very conservative. Claiming to be the guardians of “original Buddhism,” they consider one of their most important duties the preservation of these precious early teachings. However, monks of all traditions in all countries—and Buddhist lay scholars as well—accept that there were fully ordained women, called bhikkhuni, in the lifetime of the Buddha. Moreover, in these early teachings, the Buddha clearly states that he seeks to give full ordination to women:

Ananda, once I was staying at Uruvela on the bank of the river Neranjara [present day Bodh Gaya] under the Goatherd’s Banyan tree, when I had just attained supreme enlightenment. And Mara the Evil One came to me, stood to one side, and said, ‘May the Blessed One now attain final Nibbana; may the Sugata [Buddha] now attain final Nibbana. Now is the time for the Blessed Lord’s final Nibbana.’

At this, I said to Mara: ‘Evil One, I will not take final Nibbana until I have bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, lay men, and lay women followers who are accomplished, trained, skilled, learned, knowers of the dhamma, trained in conformity with the dhamma, correctly trained and walking in the path of the dhamma, who will pass on what they have gained from their teacher, teach it, declare it, establish it, expound it, analyse it, make it clear, until they shall be able, by means of the dhamma, to refute false teachings that have arisen and teach the dhamma of wondrous effect.

Theravada Buddhists should have an advantage over other major world religions because their tradition explicitly gives equity to women. Christianity has no tradition of gender equality in its priesthood—nor does Islam, Judaism, or the various schools of Hinduism. Buddhism stood ahead of its time in granting such status to women from “when [the Buddha] had just attained supreme enlightenment” at Bodh Gaya.

Nevertheless, there remain two significant obstacles to the acceptance of bhikkhuni ordination in Theravada Buddhism: (1) Ignorance about who makes the decisions that govern the sangha, and (2) Ignorance of the Vinaya, the rules established by the Buddha that restrict what decisions may be made.

As to that first point, for instance, many monks in Thailand argue that a 1928 ruling from the Sangharaja [head Buddhist monk] of Thailand, Phra Bancha Somdet Phra Sangharacha Jiao Gromluang Jinawarn Siriwad, banned the ordination of female monks:

It is unallowable for any bhikkhu to give the going-forth [ordination] to women. Any woman who wishes to ordain as a samaneri [novice nun] in accordance with the Buddha’s allowances, has to be ordained by a fully ordained bhikkhuni. The Buddha laid down the rule that only a bhikkhuni over 12 vassas [an annual three-month retreat] is eligible to be a preceptor [ceremonial guide who delivers vows]. Since there are no more fully fledged bhikkhunis to pass on the lineage, there are thus no samaneris who have obtained a proper ordination from a fully fledged bhikkhuni.

Besides the antiquity of the ruling, one could also point out that the Sangharaja of Thailand, together with the Thai Council of Elders [senior monks], is only permitted to rule on matters directly concerning the monks and novices of the two main Thai Buddhist sects, Mahanikaya and Dhammayuttanikaya. They are not legally empowered to rule over the affairs of other monastic groups, such as Mahayana monks or nuns. The wait will never end for those well-meaning monks holding out hope that the Thai Council of Elders will sanction the legitimacy of Theravada bhikkhunis. The Thai Council of Elders, after all, is not legally entitled to rule on matters beyond its remit.

As for the Vinaya, the second obstacle that I listed, each monastic community is bound to act within its rules.

Renowned Theravada scholar monk Bhikkhu Analayo argues that the Thai Sangharaja’s 1928 ruling—and thus, the Vinaya in its current form—has no bearing because it directly contradicts the Buddha’s original teachings. In a recent publication, “The Revival of the Bhikkuni Order and the Decline of the Sasana,” Analayo argues persuasively that the Buddha gave authority for bhikkhunis to receive ordination in a dual ceremony—both in a sangha of bhikkhunis and then in a sangha of bhikkhus.

By restoring equity to women in the Theravada sangha through reinstating bhikkhuni ordination, we will address the inferior status of women in many Theravada countries, promote gender equity in education, and thereby make a strong statement in support of the third UN Millennium Development Goal: gender equality and the empowerment of women.

In a recent paper, scholars Emma Tomalin and Caroline Starkey explore the role that Buddhism in Thailand and Cambodia plays in maintaining gender disparity in education. Ultimately they ask, “What is the relationship between the reassertion of women’s traditional ordination rights and female empowerment through education?” Since, as they note, “several scholars, both Thai and Western, have implicated Buddhism as one explanatory factor for the historical inequality between genders, particularly in the poorest areas,” many advocates of bhikkhuni ordination see “a direct relationship between the low status of women in many Buddhist traditions and the inferior status of women within Buddhist societies.”

By fixing our own house first, we have the considerable opportunity and moral authority—through our books and sermons—to inspire our Buddhist followers to work toward gender equality in spheres other than religion. Such action would lead to a world with less violence, better health, and more prosperity.

Ajahn Brahm is a British Theravada monk and abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery in Serpentine, Australia.

Putting End to Buddhist Patriarchy