Gyalwang Karmapa's foreword for the book Dakini Power by Michaela Haas
THE 17TH GYALWANG KARMAPA'S SUPPORT FOR BUDDHIST WOMEN
"The path to enlightenment which the Buddha taught was for all sentient beings, for women as well as men.
In the past there were many great women practitioners, such as Mahaprajabati Gautami, who was both Shakyamuni Buddha's adoptive mother and the first woman to be ordained into the sangha he established. Buddhist texts also refer to female Arhats. Equal practice opportunities were given to both men and women, and the four pillars of the house of Buddhism include ordained nuns and lay women.
I am heartened to read the accounts in this book of the achievements of women teachers from different schools of Buddhism. It is a celebration of the contribution which female practitioners have made throughout history, and which they are continuing to make.
Unfortunately, influenced by the views and customs of the time, too many societies have put too much emphasis on the difference between men and women, and this has led to discrimination against and unequal treatment of women in many religions, including Buddhism.
My heartfelt prayer is that women such as these are the trailblazers, their efforts will lead to a fresh recognition of the unique insights and qualities of female spirituality , and wider acknowledgement of women practitioners and teachers."