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“The basis for realizing enlightenment is a human body. Male or female–there is no great difference. But if she develops the mind bent on enlightenment, to be a woman is better.”
Enlightenment requires both the presence of female and male energies. Women are the luminous mother of perfect wisdom, Prajnaparamita. There have been many strong enlightenment female beings throughout time such as Machig Labdron and Yeshe Tsogyal.
Due to cultures based in patriarchy the display and imagery of buddha often seem to be in masculine form or reference the enlightened female being in relation to her consort instead of in relation to her own realization. This stems from a manifestation of limitation generated by the cultures historically and not from the teachings of the buddha-dharma. Today, many of the teachers are men for this same reason.
The Tibetan Culture has a long history of cultivating highly realized masters through intense training of those who are recognized to have great potential. Unfortunately, all too often the search for potential was focused only on male candidates. Khentrul Rinpoche believes it is very important to cultivate female wisdom holders in our world. Highly realized female role models can help bring greater balance into our world. In honoring the female buddhas, we hope to create an open dialogue around gender perception in buddhism.