Women in Tibet
Although Buddhism embraces compassion as the means to end suffering, the Chinese occupation of 1949 used force and torture to manipulate the Tibetan people, despite the country’s strong pacifist beliefs. Chinese troops aimed to imprison anyone who demonstrates support for the Dalai Lama and often looked for excuses to make public mockeries of these people. In order to implement this idea of genocide in Tibetan culture, China used the practice of ethnic cleansing, or eliminating the Tibetan race; therefore, women were highly stigmatized because of their role in bearing children. Treating the victims as insects, the Chinese forced sterilizations and abortions upon the Tibetan women to ensure their extermination. Continuing to ignore all regulations to treat women as equal to men and to practice safe methods of birth control, China still sterilizes Tibetan women today, leaving them not only with the scar of their surgery, but also a lifetime imprint of the pain and suffering that the Tibetan people have endured for over fifty years. Although so much time has passed since Chinese troops first occupied Tibet, people around the world are starting to realize the horror of this situation as organizations have begun to take action against this dehumanization of Tibetans so that the suffering of these people can finally be eased.
Throughout history, women have been viewed as inferior to their male counterparts; however, although Tibet claims to issue women equal rights, the gender gap vastly surpasses the differences seen in America. Even today, Western and Tibetan women are not officially recognized by the Tibetan government in exile, even though the Dalai Lama recently advocated the full ordination of women (Young, 2000). In myth, even the Buddha had to be convinced by his aunt, the queen, to accept women into the Buddhist religion. A possible reason for the Buddhist rejection of women lies in the Buddhist Tantric texts, where the womb symbolizes the field of emptiness in which all things arise and fall (Pinto, 1999). Even though the former description has no negative connotation, it is widely believed in Asia that childbirth and menstruation are intrinsically dirty and impure to the effect that women used to give birth in a location outside of the daily home. A barn or cowshed was typical of harboring birthing events, and the mother and baby had to perform certain rituals including the purification ceremony before they could re-enter the household. In order to purify the new born baby, the dirt and pollution of the womb had to be cleaned away and even blessed so that the baby was not contaminated by these fluids. Therefore, the Asian woman is spontaneously separated and embraced by society when she gave birth (Pinto).
Spawning off of these instilled Asian beliefs, women are continued to be seen as dirty and unsophisticated creatures, which may be a possible explanation for the cruelty and inhumane treatment of feminine...