Men are better than women in many ways. But when it comes to giving people hell, women win hands down. This is because women come from hell. They bring that female nature along with them. In this post, I will explore how Buddha relates women and hell.
Before going further, I want to point out that my explanation on this topic will include several Buddhist concepts that are not believable to most people. They are reincarnation, karma, heaven and hell. I personally believe them for facts. However, for readers who are not familiar with these concepts, I’d suggest that they read this post as something interesting to spark their curiosity. Buddha never asked anyone to believe in his teaching just because he said it first or his words sound logical.
Women from Hell
According to Buddha, women were once men who had sex with wives of other men. This sinful karma causes these men to reincarnate in hell after their death. In hell, they suffered many forms of cruel and unusual punishments. After their time in hell is over, they eventually reincarnate as women.
In order to understand women and female nature, one must look at their past. Intentional actions from the past influence the present. This is essentially how karma works in the simplest form. However, karma is much more complicated. Not only an action affects the future, it also affects the present as well as very distant future.
And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.
By very distant future, I mean the next reincarnations.
Heaven and Hell
Good karma leads people to reincarnate in heaven. Sinful karma leads people to reincarnate in hell.
With mind rightly directed,
speaking right speech,
doing right deeds with the body:
a person here
of much learning,
a doer of merit
here in this life so short,
at the break-up of the body,
reappears in heaven.
Just like fuel, karma can run out. For example, a person who goes to hell can reincarnate in heaven provided that he has good karma in the past.
How Women came from Hell
In Mahanaradakassapa Jataka, Buddha told a story about past reincarnations of a princess. Here is an excerpt from the princess’s explanation of karma to her father.
I too remember seven births which I have experienced, and when I go from my present life I shall yet pass through seven future ones.
Remembering past lives is a skill of certain people who practice meditation successfully. Buddha remembered all his past lives. This princess remembered seven.
My seventh former birth, O king, was as the son of a smith in the city Rajagaha in Magadha. I had an evil companion and I committed much evil; we went about corrupting other men’s wives as if we had been immortal.
In her seventh former reincarnation, the princess was a man. He had sex with wives of other men because he associated himself with a bad friend.
“As if we had been immortal” means that they were so reckless that they forgot they can die.
Those actions remained laid up like fire covered with ashes.
The sinful karma of her actions did not show its effect immediately. The fire isn’t burning but the fire is there nonetheless.
By the effect of other actions I was born in the land of Vamsa in a merchant’s family in Kosambi, great and prosperous and wealthy: I was an only son, continually fostered and honoured. There I followed a friend who was devoted to good works, wise and full of sacred learning, and he grounded me in what was good. I fasted through many a fourteenth and fifteenth night; and that action remained laid up like a treasure in water.
Upon her death, she reincarnated as a man again in her sixth former reincarnation. As a result of good karma from the past (“By the effect of other actions”), he is born into a wealthy family. This time, he had a good friend and lived virtuously by controlling his desire (“fasted through many a fourteenth and fifteenth night”). The good karma from this life also did not show its effect immediately.
But the fruit of the evil deeds which I had done in Magadha came round to me at last like a noxious poison. I passed from thence for a long time, O king, into the Roruva hell, I endured the effects of my own works; when I remember it grieves me still.
On the fifth former reincarnation, the princess went to hell for having sex with wives of other men. This is the result of the sinful karma from her seventh former reincarnation. Roruva hell (meaning “Hell of Those Screaming Aloud”) is a specific place in hell where adulterers go.
After her time in hell is over, the princess reincarnated as various animals for her fourth, third, and second former reincarnations. On the third, she was a male monkey. In that life, another monkey bit his testicles off violently. On the second, she was a male ox. His owner castrated him. These are also the karmic results from having sex with wives of other men.
When I passed from that birth I was born in a family among the Vajji people but I was neither man nor woman, for it is a very hard thing to attain the being born as a man;—this was the fatal consequence of my going after other men’s wives
For the first former reincarnation, the princess finally lost the male gender at birth (“neither man nor woman”).
Next, O king, I was born in the Nandana wood,—a nymph of a lovely complexion in the heaven of the Thirty-three, dressed in garments and ornaments of various hues and wearing jewelled earrings, skilled in dance and song, an attendant in Sakka’s court. While I stayed there I remembered all these births and also the seven future births which I shall experience when I go from hence. The good which I did in Kosambi has come round in its turn, and when I pass from this birth I shall be born only among gods or men.
On the princess’s immediate previous reincarnation, she was a female angel (nymph) with great beauty in heaven. Her reincarnation in heaven is the result of her good karma done in her sixth former reincarnation.
However, at this point, she was female as opposed to male from her reincarnations before this one. This is due to the same sinful karma in her seventh former reincarnation.
For seven births, O king, I shall be honoured and worshipped, but till the sixth is past I shall not be free from my female sex.
The princess predicted that her karma that caused her to become female will not exhaust its effect until six more reincarnations. On the seventh reincarnation, she will become a being with male gender again.
Men who are willing to have sex with wives of other men are selfish because they pursue their desire at the expenses of others. No man wants his wife to sleep with other men. By committing such sin, these men go to hell and reincarnates as women. This is why female nature is selfish. In women’s past life, they were selfish men.
As a result of women’s past karma, they become inferior in almost every way compared to men. For example, women have periods and hold the burden of pregnancy. Compared to men, they are not as intelligent, age faster, and have less physical strength. Most importantly, women are much greedier than men so they cannot be happy with little. Such flaws in women are the results they brought upon themselves. Women really come from hell because of their karma.
Karma and Sex
Buddha said that karma is the deciding factor in determining a person’s sex.
With the two sexes, the male is the topmost sex. The female is the depraved sex.
Therefore, the male sex disappears when a person’s sinful karma comes into effect.
The female sex appears when a person’s good karma runs out.
But the female sex, when disappears, disappears because a person’s sinful karma runs out.
The male sex appears from good karma coming into effect
Understand that the two sexes disappear by sinful karma and appear by good karma, as explained.
Source (Source is in Thai, I can’t find the English version so I translated it).
Basically, a being who is under the effect of sinful karma will be female. A being who is under the effect of good karma will be male. This is why men have the natural tendency to protect and provide for their family. They were good in the past lives, so they carried on their good nature along into the present lives.
It is important to note that not every women went to hell only because they were once men who had sex with wives of other men. A being becomes female when their sinful karma overwhelms their good karma.
By living in a modern society that treats men as expendables and women as essentials, one may argue that karma is not real. Why does the society keeps rewarding women who have done wrong while punishing men who have done right? The answer is because the karma results from those past actions are not in effect yet. Just like in the story from Mahanaradakassapa Jataka earlier, karma can have delayed effects.
By understanding that women are from hell because of their own actions, men can make wise decisions in regards to women. Men should see women as former convicts who just finished their time in prison. Women have done wrong in the past by exercising their selfish desire for pleasure. They are likely to do something similar again.
Be free. Do what is fun without hurting others. Do not waste this precious time on earth for women from hell. There is a reason why bad men excite women.
Advice for Women
If there is a woman who read this far without getting triggered, here is some advice for her from Mahanaradakassapa Jataka.
A man who desires to keep being male from birth to birth, let him avoid another’s man wife as a man with washed feet the mire.
A woman who desires to become male from birth to birth, let her worship her lord (husband) like he is Indra (the king of heaven).
He who wishes for heavenly enjoyments, a heavenly life, glory, and happiness, let him avoid sins and follow the threefold law.
Watchful and wise in body, word and thought, he follows his own highest good, be he born as a woman or a man.
Whosoever are born glorious in the world and nursed in all pleasures, without doubt in former time they had lived a virtuous life; all beings separately abide by their own deserts.
Note: The translation of the English version is a bit off for the first two sentences, so I changed them a bit by referencing the correct translation from the Thai version.
The princess from Mahanaradakassapa Jataka eventually became a man. His name was Ananda. He was Buddha’s attendant monk. Most of the Buddhist texts today came from his recollection of Buddha’s teaching.