Is the path of development to enlightenment the same for men and women?

Lama Ole’s answer:

If you look at the whole path, women have an easier start because most of the teachers today are men. But it doesn’t necessarily have to stay that way in the future. Today women can fall in love with the teacher, and by being completely focused on him they can absorb a lot and develop very quickly. In contrast, men first have to test each other. There is always a certain amount of rivalry involved. That’s why it is a bit more difficult for men in the beginning. Women also have an advantage because of their gentle and giving nature, while men often show aggression and have to protect others.

But at some point, some very subtle attachments remain more strongly in women—maybe to a man, a child, the family, etc. That’s why the man, who always stays a bit playful like a child, gets through more easily at the end, because he can let go better.

The woman comes to things more with her totality and richness, in a holistic way. And the man bumps up against something and reaches a new dimension, getting through that way. That is why men and women complement each other so well. When there is a good relationship between a man and a woman, the woman can soften the man with her devotion and openness so that he won’t be so stiff and competitive. And in the end, the man can show the woman a few things: “Look! We can do it like this or like that” and so on. And again we see that men and women work better together. Neither is better, but rather together they round each other out and function in a more meaningful way.

There are many ways of learning from each other and developing. When a man meets a woman, she can be his lover, or mother (she shows him the world), or daughter (he protects her), or sister (she helps him progress). When a woman meets a man, it works the other way around. The man is her lover, or father (he takes care of her and protects her), or brother (he shows her how things are), or son (she can do something for him and live out her protective feelings). This range of possible relationships contains a tremendous opportunity to complement each other, a huge field of power and joy that cultivates growth. We just have to find it.

I’m very proud that my male and my female students are developing equally well. Today we also have as many female as male Diamond Way teachers. If they stick with it, we will have many female buddhas.

And actually, it is true that mind in itself has no gender. Only in the moment it connects with a body does it take on certain qualities, a certain type of energy. But as soon as the body is gone, everyone’s mind is clear light—then there is no difference at all.