With form being emptiness and emptiness being form, whether or not we are in male or female bodies is of little consequence. However, when most of the Buddhist statues we sit with are male, there is a subtle message that one must be born in a man’s body to become enlightened. It has been said that the Buddha asked for no images to be made of him and that when images began to be created they were supposed to have 32 major characteristics (and 80 minor ones) unique to the Buddha, including that the images be somewhat androgynous.
That said, to represent Buddhist women and support the knowing that enlightenment is for women also, I still believe it is important to have more feminine images available for us.
Years ago I committed myself to creating more images of women in Buddhism and recently I am grateful to Tanya Wiser, Guy Armstrong and Andrea Fella for requesting that I have an image of a Buddhist woman carved for. They told me the story of Patacara and asked if I could oversee the carving of her. It has taken 9 months, there are earlier photos of her as she evolved and she now sits in Santa Cruz, California. And she has now also resides in a Monastery for Nuns in Kent, England and hopefully soon Australia.
Patacara's story is she was an Indian woman who lived during the 6th century BCE in what is now Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Her story is long, beginning with a rich family, running away to be with her lower cast love, then the death of him and her children and her parents making her insane with grief. When she encountered the Buddha, telling him her story, he used it to guide her to an immediately understood the nature of impermanence. She became the foremost keeper of the Vinaya, the Rules of Conduct, amongst the nuns.
We can do a custom carving of her for you or you can order the one in the photo here from our web site to buy on line.