Fourteen century Japanese story: The monk said that his member was three feet long. The nun said that her vagina was infinite, the container of all, and from where all Buddhas were born.
I think about Freud’s penis envy. Certainly the nun ended it once and for all. There is no doubt that every situation is a teachable moment. Did she act as a bodhisattva (one who saves all beings rather than crossing the stream to Nirvana)?
When I’ve been reading about Buddhist tolerance I read that sometimes it is best to be intolerant as the nun was. Perpetuating the monk’s delusion that his worth could be measured by a ruler would not have been kind. If delusions cause suffering, his suffering would just continue.
We talked last week about why these Zen stories about women aren’t more known. Would Freud have changed his view upon learning of the inadequacy of a man’s member compared to a woman’s vagina?
My wife has taken on quite a different role lately. When I was ill she did things that I always do, like run errands for me. Now she is with our kids, guiding them in their mourning of their grandma. It has been liberating for me to see how I don’t need to be the one “doing things.” Sometimes when we can’t function well we see how others are so able to do so. Both my wife and the nun reframed my views.
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