‘There was a foolish monk who made a vow never to look at a woman, birth after birth, world after world…
What is the fault of women? What is the virtue of men? There are unwholesome men and there are wholesome women. Hoping to hear dharma and leave the household does not depend on being female or male.
Before becoming free from delusion, men and women are equally not free from delusion. At the time of becoming free from delusion and realizing the truth, there is no difference between men and women.
If you vow for a long time not to look at women, do you leave out women when you vow to save numberless sentient beings? If you do so, you are not a bodhisattva. How can you call it the Buddha’s compassion? This is merely nonsense spoken by a soaking-drunk shravaka. Humans and devas should not believe in such a practice.’ (Shobogenzo Raihai Tokuzui)
I was reminded to read this fascicle again, when I went to hear Shindo, the current City Center shuso, give a talk the other day; she was asked about whether she had encountered difficulties because of her gender. Eight hundred years ago, Dogen told it like it is.