Previous studies state that a number of Buddhist canonical texts suggest discrimination against women, such as the Buddha's reluctance to allow women to enter the Sangha, the subordinate status of the bhikkhunis under the eight strict conditions (attha garudhamma), the inferior terms used for the women in the canonical texts, the five obstructions of a woman, her incapability to become a Buddha etc. How these discriminatory expressions gradually became hindrances to ordination of womenfolk is discussed in this paper.
In this paper, the possibilities of the misreading of Buddhist texts have been examined. When reading a text, we sometimes consider the subject matter just from its ostensible meaning. This ultimately leads us into a quick mire. The problem does not lie in the scriptures themselves; rather, it is our misleading interpretation that often grows out of nuances in translation. What has come down to us today as the problem of bhikkhuni ordination or gender discrimination is possibly the outcome of misinterpretations that grew out of the socially defined realities of the times and the places where the texts were written and the linguistic demands of the target languages. This has been discussed by a close examination of key passages from Pali, Sanskrit and Chinese texts.