The of the essence right here within herself.”

The most important reason
for honouring the motherhood in Buddhism is that there are five kinds of suffering
unique to women. Avenika Dukka Sutta describes these as:  Menstruation,
pregnancy, child birth, leaving her own family to live with her husband and to
wait upon a man.The Buddha also explains in the Pasyaha Sutta, Samyutta Nikaya
that a birth of a child would support a mother to get out of the male dominance
in her home and move forward in the society.

 Buddha also laid stress upon importance of
education for females. He saw it as a way to develop character and virtues.

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“A female disciple of the noble ones who grows
in terms of these five types of growth grows in the noble growth. She grasps
hold of what is essential and what is excellent in the body. Which five?

She grows in terms of conviction. She grows in
terms of virtue. She grows in terms of learning. She grows in terms of
generosity. She grows in terms of discernment.

Growing in terms of these five types of growth, the
female disciple of the noble ones grows in the noble growth. She grasps hold of
what is essential and what is excellent in the body.

She grows in conviction & virtue, discernment,
generosity, & learning: A virtuous female lay disciple such as this takes
hold of the essence right here within herself.”  (Vaddha Sutta,
Samyutta Nikaya 37:4)

Nikaya on Women as Wife

When Gautama Buddha talked about husband and
wife relation he thought that there should be mutual understanding between
husband and wife. Both should have love and faith for each other. Husband
should have trust over his wife and he should give respect to her. Wife also
has to behave well and trust her husband. Buddha insisted for a sound, mutual
and happy relation between husband and wife. It is because a happy family life
is the real basis for happy social life.

In Sanwasa Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya, the Buddha
announces four types of marriages and how a husband and wife should keep their
relationships and marriage ties together. The best relationship is when the
husband and the wife live according to the virtues of a ‘god and goddess’. The
Buddha reassures Nakulamata and Nakulapita that if both the husband and the
wife express the longing for each other for being together now and in the
future, both of them would be at the same level in regards to their belief,
their ethical conduct, their generosity and wisdom. Therefore, in these
respects, a woman may be the equal of a man (I.B. Horner in ‘Women’). In Buddha’s words,

 

“A
virtuous wife was considered to be one who led the good life. A good lay woman
endowed with religious devotion, moral virtue and liberality as well as wisdom
and learning, and is given to charity, makes success of her life in this very
existence.”  (Samyutta Nikaya 4:120)

The Sigalovada Sutta, Digha Nikaya describes the
respect that one is expected to give to one’s spouse. In five ways should a
wife as the western direction be respected by a husband- by honouring, not
disrespecting, being faithful, sharing authority, and by giving gifts.
The wife so respected, reciprocates with compassion in five ways- by being
well-organized, being kindly disposed to the in-laws and household workers,
being faithful, looking after the household goods, and being skillful and
diligent in all duties. (Sigalovada Sutta)

 

The Buddha at many places
asks to hand over the household administration or leadership to the wife. The
Uggaha Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya explains more details about the ideal
relationship of the husband and wife in order to keep domestic peace and
harmony.

There were also very high expectations from a wife.
In a list given in the Anguttara Nikaya, the Buddha describes seven wives while
advising the daughter-in-law of the Anatapindika, Sujata. The Buddha asked
which kind of wife she falls into, and it is said that Sujata changed her
attitudes from then on. The wives are described as – the first three types are
destined for unhappiness which are the destructive-wife, thievish-wife and
domineering-wife, while the last four, as they are imbued with long term self-control,
are destined to be happy. The latter four type of wives are characterised as
care takers (motherly-wife as she would be for her son), companions
(friend-wife, companion-wife) and submissive (sister-wife and slave-wife). The
Buddha endorsed a variety of wives within marriage and emphasized the higher
virtues, values and conduct that were expected in order to keep husband and
wife together.