Author Topic: Homosexuality in Buddhism  (Read 49932 times)

Big Uncle

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2011, 02:50:06 PM »
Quote
“Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories... The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.
While emphasizing the continuity of the gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual histories, it has seemed desirable to develop some sort of classification which could be based on the relative amounts of heterosexual and homosexual experience or response in each history [...] An individual may be assigned a position on this scale, for each period in his life. [...] A seven-point scale comes nearer to showing the many gradations that actually exist.”

—Kinsey, et al. (1948). pp. 639, 656)


The above talks about the Kinsey scale and in the scale the following are rated

Rating   Description
0           Exclusively heterosexual
1           Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2           Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3           Equally heterosexual and homosexual.
4           Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5           Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6           Exclusively homosexual
X           Asexual, Non-Sexual

I found this interesting because this shows that we as the human race have many different facets and some of these facets happen to be of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as a characteristic of the individual, like biological sex, gender identity, or age. It is all part of the make up of our species hence why should there be any distinction at all?


I find this most interesting. I too have not heard of the Kinsey scale but I think it is already inadequate as it does no cover all manner of gender and sexual identities. However, I do find males who are effeminate or identify themselves more as women were probably women in many of their previous lives and vice versa so the gender identity remains very strong in them although in this life they have taken rebirth a biological man. I think this would not answer all questions regarding the origin of gender identity issues but it does give a better answer than anything else i have read. The premise of a previous life and karma does answer many of the questions about the way we operate and develop predispositions. But I don't fully understand in the karmic sense of how homosexuality came about. Perhaps it is a genetic development to limit overpopulation as some sociologists have suggested.

Lam Chung

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2011, 10:41:02 AM »
This is a very interesting topic. First of all, I am pretty sure that Buddha did say that homosexuality was part of sexual misconduct, I cannot quote the source, but I seem to remember it was part of a sutra detailing the establishment of the vows of an ordained person. 2 Anagarika monks were engaging in sexual activity (they wre both attendant to one monk and therefore spent a lot of time together), other monks approached Buddha for his comment, and Buddha's response was to say "No monk will have more than one attendant".

My own teacher produced a translation of The Bodhisattvas Way of Life, and I was quite crestfallen to see the list of activities that were deemed to be sexual misconduct, to name a few: use of the hand; use of the mouth;use of the anus; in front of an image of Buddha; during hours of daylight; whilst menstruating etc. The next edition of the book omitted most of these (in front of an image of Buddha is still included).

I had the good fortune to be able to meet my teacher in a relatively small group for an open question and answer session. I was surprised that of an hour, 40 minutes were taken to discuss homosexuality. At the end of this session a resident in a Buddhist Centre asked directly, "I am in a same-sex relationship. Is this wrong? Do I have to leave?". The response was "No, no, no. You do not have to leave, I am not saying you are wrong. If you do anything to bring disrepute to the Centre, then you will be asked to leave in the same way as anyone else, but you do not have to leave. But you should think about it". I think this last point was also aimed at all of us present - to think about how our actions affected our practice. Excessive sexual activity is one of the 10 causes of untimely death (7 are to do with eating).
The same teacher explained that sexual misconduct basically includes anything that causes harm or offence to others or oneself. I think also included was anything that broke the law.

I don't think Buddha would ever discriminate against any person in any way: but he did sugegst that we discriminate against unskilful actions. I don't believe in this day and age this would include homosexuality, but it is interesting to note that ordained people take a vow of celibacy.

kris

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2011, 07:46:40 PM »
Well in buddhism the labels don't exist so I doubt very much that homosexuality has much to do with whether or not you can become a buddha. And for myself also, sexual preference doesn't bother me at all.

I like "lables don't exist". May be in other planets, man is supposed to marry man, and it is normal :)

thor

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2011, 07:56:20 PM »
Then how would you explain homosexuals? and transvestite?  What were they attracted to when they saw the copulation happening and what were they thinking???
Especially transvestite/queens... what kind of karma did they collect to be trap in a body they do not wish to be in?

I have asked this question before, but did not get a satisfactory answer. What I have heard is that, if in a previous life one is intensely attracted to people of a particular gender, then in the next life, this attraction continues, regardless of their gender. Which would explain homosexuality a little better.... but it doesnt explain why transgender and transexual people are born that way. I would love to get a proper explanation about this.

dorjedakini

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2011, 11:59:56 AM »
All of us (all sentient being) are still controlled by our desire, attachment, hatred as we are so ignorant until we achieve enlightenment or at least we realized emptiness.

Some attached to food, some have desire for sex, some like women, some like man, some prefer attach to themselves, so there is no answer whether Homosexuality is good or bad. It depends on the time periods, situation and the mind set of people.

I think due to the people during Buddha's time cannot accept homosexuality, hence there are rules or statement been made just to avoid them to have negative thoughts or misunderstanding toward Buddhism.

Klein

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #35 on: September 16, 2011, 08:41:40 PM »
I know in Christianity, majority of churches condemn homosexuality and calling it a bane for going against God's creation or something.

What about in Buddhism? There is surprisingly little information in the Sutras that mention homosexuality specifically. Perhaps, it is considered a branch of sexuality and so it increases desire. So, that is not good for us either. What do you guys think?

In Buddhism, my guru tells me that desire is desire. Just like our attachment to food, our choice of food varies from one individual to another. As long as our actions are not against another person's wishes and hurting them as a result, then it's fine.  Whether it's man with woman, woman with woman or man with man, it's not important. What's more important is understanding that it's only a form of attachment. And, attachments are the cause for us to stay in Samsara.

Tammy

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2011, 03:22:57 PM »
Also, as Buddhism does not traditionally place great value on procreation, hence sexual act that is not meant for procreation is not considered a “sin”.

Dear Vajraprotector,
It is interesting how you think whether homosexuality is a 'sin' basing on the fact that it does not lead to creation of lives. Personally I do not agree with your view, I think whether a sexual act is misconducted depends very much on the motivation and the situation of the person conducting the act.

For example, sexual activity between two married men - misconduct
However, if both of them are not married/in a serious relationship - not misconduct

Comment, anyone?

~ Tammy
Down with the BAN!!!

Positive Change

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2011, 04:20:21 PM »
Also, as Buddhism does not traditionally place great value on procreation, hence sexual act that is not meant for procreation is not considered a “sin”.

Dear Vajraprotector,
It is interesting how you think whether homosexuality is a 'sin' basing on the fact that it does not lead to creation of lives. Personally I do not agree with your view, I think whether a sexual act is misconducted depends very much on the motivation and the situation of the person conducting the act.

For example, sexual activity between two married men - misconduct
However, if both of them are not married/in a serious relationship - not misconduct

Comment, anyone?

~ Tammy

For me, sexual misconduct is sexual misconduct regardless of the gender you are or the gender you are attracted to. Sexual misconduct is the motivation/situation of the sexual act itself that potentially could cause hurt to either party or both or to others associated with both parties regardless of sexual preference.

If based on the argument/debate that a sexual act has to culminate in procreation in order for it not to be a sexual misconduct then, I think the whole planet is actually guilty of sexual misconduct. How many of us actually have sex to make babies? Come on!!!

I do not mean to be rude or disrespectful, but for those of you who are sexually active and honestly ask yourself if you are having sex to procreate or for "pleasure", you will know exactly what I mean...

Hence I would suggest we look within ourselves before we make an assumption on whether a person/persons are "wrong" in their actions based solely on his or her sexual preferences. :)

Ensapa

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #38 on: December 28, 2011, 02:19:52 AM »
Then how would you explain homosexuals? and transvestite?  What were they attracted to when they saw the copulation happening and what were they thinking???
Especially transvestite/queens... what kind of karma did they collect to be trap in a body they do not wish to be in?

I have read somewhere that homosexuality and transversite/transsexuals are all the results of disrespecting women in their past life, as in disrespecting their feelings, using their bodies and being a playboy etc. Does make sense because most gay friends i know tend to make more snide comments against women in general. Its the same mind continuing.

Positive Change

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #39 on: December 28, 2011, 07:19:55 AM »
Then how would you explain homosexuals? and transvestite?  What were they attracted to when they saw the copulation happening and what were they thinking???
Especially transvestite/queens... what kind of karma did they collect to be trap in a body they do not wish to be in?

I have read somewhere that homosexuality and transversite/transsexuals are all the results of disrespecting women in their past life, as in disrespecting their feelings, using their bodies and being a playboy etc. Does make sense because most gay friends i know tend to make more snide comments against women in general. Its the same mind continuing.

Hmmm.... I disagree that disrespecting women (disrespecting their feelings, using their bodies, being playboy... etc) in one's past lives creates the causes for the person to have homosexual tendencies or become a transvestite/transexual... Why? Because by the logic of Karma, if we cause harm to someone, that very harm will return to us (in a nutshell!). So, how can we "return" and cause the same harm again. Surely the person would be born in less opportune conditions and suffer the "same fate" as what they caused in their previous life?

I would be more inclined to think the person in question would come back as a bitter spinster that has no love and will still be disrespecting (same mindstream) to other women because they are jealous.

Perhaps I am wrong but it makes more sense to me...

hope rainbow

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #40 on: December 28, 2011, 01:50:55 PM »
I think we should re-instate here that the refuge vows are not based on "NOT HURTING OTHERS" exclusively, the bias conclusion from that posit is that, as long as we do not hurt others, it is fine, and we can bend or brake the vows. No, I don't think it is like that.

Refuge vows are based on "REFRAINING FROM SELF-DESTRUCTIVE ACTIONS."

And indeed, hurting others is definitely a self-destructive action, but self-destructive actions are not limited to that aspect only.

This becomes a hot topic when we approach sexual mis-conduct, and instead of bending the vow with a bias logic over it, I think one needs to humble down a bit and seek knowledge and advise.
If one's Guru's advise is that it is permissible to engage in homosexual relationships, I think one should still contemplate this and not take this as a "waver from above," indulge and tell everyone else that it's "ok" to have this or this sexual behavior (for this may be misunderstood also). Maybe the advise was not meant for everyone, and certainly it was not meant to contradict any of the refuge vows in any of its nuances.

Sexual activity, heterosexual or homosexual works with EXACTLY the same dynamics.
Never mind which hole we use (excuse my language), the attachment is just as dangerous.
Those of us that are attractive and often face situations where it is just easy to engage in sexual activities without anyone knowing about it will know how hard it is to remind ourselves of Dharma and vows there and then... And this works the same M/F - F/F or M/M.
That is a discussion topic that I would find more interesting actually, or at least more constructive.

What is at stake here is our enlightenment, not the acceptance or rejection of social behaviors or sexual preferences, that would be irrelevant.

And I do not think that the Buddha ever said "homosexuality is bad and evil", yet I am certain that the Tatagatha said that attachment to sexual behaviors or compulsions are self-destructive.
There is a reason why monks are not to engage in ANY sexual activity.

My 2 cents of thoughts.

negra orquida

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #41 on: December 28, 2011, 05:47:04 PM »
Wow, very active topic! After reading all the posts on this, I still am not clear whether Buddhism has a particular stand on homosexuality per se. I would be inclined to believe that Buddhism is more concerned with sexual misconduct and the black karma that is created therefrom, which is dependent on the fulfilment of four components (basis, intention, deed, and final step). According to the Lamrim, sexual misconduct is:

For lay people the basis is: any wrong orifice, in other words, all orifices except the vagina; any wrong time, such as when the woman is pregnant or during one-day vows; at any improper place, such as before one's guru or a stupa; any wrong partner, such as one's own mother, and so on.

For ordained people, all sexual activity becomes sexual misconduct.

The recognition is: one must be in no doubt that the act is sexual misconduct; but when you break a major monk's vow of celibacy, they say it does not matter if you are mistaken or not.

The delusion is one of the three poisons.

The motive is wanting to engage in perversion.

The deed is the tow organs coming into contact, and so forth.

The final step is completed when one experiences orgasm.


Hmm...

yontenjamyang

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #42 on: December 28, 2011, 06:08:31 PM »
I think that as long as the sexual preference; as it any act; does not hurt others, then it is acceptable in Buddhism in general. However, we must consider since most society frown on homosexuality, most parents are hurt if their children in a homosexual. So in this case, we are in a catch 22 situation. What is natural for that person is not acceptable to society.

bambi

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #43 on: May 12, 2012, 05:53:41 AM »
I found this when I googled...

In 1999,an interview with Alice Thompson,he stated: "They want me to condone homosexuality. But I am a Buddhist and, for a Buddhist, a relationship between two men is wrong. Some sexual conduct in marriage is also wrong" speaking regarding masturbation and oral sex. Also sayng that "If an individual has no faith, that is a different matter"..."If two men really love each other and are not religious, then that is OK by me."

In an interview with Wikinews, Tashi Wangdi, Representative to the Dalai Lama, further elaborated his perspective on these views. If a person was to engage in homosexuality, "a person would not be considered as following all the precepts of Buddhist principles. People don’t follow all the principles. Very few people can claim they follow all the principles. For instance, telling a lie. In any religion, if you ask if telling a lie is a sin—say Christian—they will say yes. But you find very few people who don’t at some point tell a lie. Homosexuality is one act, but you can’t say [a person who is homosexual is] not a Buddhist. Or someone who tells a lie is not a Buddhist. Or someone who kills an insect is not a Buddhist, because there’s a strong injunction against that."

It is very interesting to read more about it here. There are quotes from Dalai Lama as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_and_sexual_orientation

Q

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #44 on: May 13, 2012, 05:19:47 PM »
Well... to answer the original question...lol...

There's two separate things we need to consider... one is ordained, the other lay people.

Ordained people which is monks... any type of sexual encounter is prohibited, which means they are to be celibate. However, I once heard a friend of mine mentioning that homosexuals cannot be ordained... I don't know how true his claims are and I need to do further research regarding this matter... I'll update this post if I get the answer (Or even better, someone with the knowledge please enlighten us on this matter!)

For Lay people, Buddhist lay people are not expected to celibate (except on some occasions like doing retreats etc.). However, we are governed by sexual misconduct. What is considered as sexual misconduct?
Sexual activities that are motivated by these are considered as sexual misconduct:

1) What is the consequences of such action? If it brings harm to the other person or even ourselves.
2) If the action will harm our spiritual attainment/goal
3) The universalibility of of the action... doing an action that we would not want others to do to us.
4) If the motivation of the act is wrong - ie lust, feeling of possession, to degrade, anything negative

In the event when any sexual relationships does not contain any of the above, then it is considered within the context of Buddhism regardless of it being a heterosexual or homosexual relationship.