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  • Writer's pictureSweet Orange

#44 女性のお話 The story of woman

Bishop:Yuju Matsumoto 松本優樹

Title: The story of woman


From Joyo-Jikai (常用字解) (Heibonsha), the character for "woman" is "the form of a kneeling woman. The hands are folded in front of her as if she is reverently worshipping a sacred place.”. This book was written by Shizuka Shirakawa, a leading kanji scholar and professor emeritus at Ritsumeikan University, and is a very enjoyable read.

The character for "person" is based on the shape of a human being with knees slightly bent, as seen from the side. The character "man" is written side by side with the character "Ashi-hen," which expresses the posture of a person walking, and the character "Gyo-ninben," which means "road," to form the character "從”(follow). Furthermore, when "Man" and "Man" are added in opposite directions, the character "背" was created, meaning "person to person back to back. Kanji characters are very interesting.

In her book, poet Motoko Michiura says, "The character for ‘woman' drawn by Shizuka Shirakawa, with three gentle lines beautifully intersecting, looks like a woman's prayer itself. I have never had a liking for characters with a feminine bias, such as "mother-in-law (姑)" and "woman (婦)," but his story inspired me to think about the moment when the character for "woman(女)" was created, and I felt like I wanted to lay my hands on it and imitate the figure of a woman praying.“

In light of this, it can be said that women have a figure more suitable for praying than men. The posture of prayer is inevitably pious. In other words, they are pious. On the other hand, men cultivate rice paddies, so it is quite natural for them to be practical and conceptual.

It is often said that "women are practical," but women are more religious. At the very least, they are able to express their feelings of prayer and reverence for the gods and Buddha more honestly than men. I think it is wonderful that this reverence is directly expressed in the character for "woman.

In Buddhism, women are said to have five obstacles, and there was a belief that even if a woman practiced Buddhism, she could not become ① a Brahma, ② a Taishakuten, ③ a Maoh, ④ a Tenrinohjo, or ⑤ a Buddha. The idea was that in order to become a Buddha, one must be reborn as a man and then attain Buddhahood. It is undeniable that this idea has promoted discrimination against women.

However, there are in fact many examples of women who have been outstanding religious figures, and it is also true that the maternal nature of women is directly explained as "the compassion of the Buddha.

Many women are among the leaders of the modern world. Former British Prime Minister Thatcher, former German Chancellor Merkel, former Taiwanese Prime Minister Tsai Ing-wen, Mother Teresa of India, and many other women are active as leaders in all fields and are leading people. Such people are called Bodhisattvas in Buddhism.


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