Author Topic: Homosexuality in Buddhism  (Read 55956 times)


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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #60 on: July 01, 2012, 04:18:46 PM »
Traditional Buddhist teachings make no special mention of homosexuality. The third percept in classical Buddhism forbids sexual miscounduct (which is an extremely broad term). Although the Dalai Lama have stood against the persecution of the gay community, the Buddha may not have been so easy going. The extract below tells us that Buddha forbade the admittance of certain homosexuals – those who took the passive role during the sex act (pandaka) – into his order:

"The Story of the Prohibition of the Ordination of Pandaka" from the Vinaya explains that the ban is a response to the example of a monk with an insatiable desire to be sexually penetrated by men, who requested and received this from some animals handlers, who then in turn related the incident to the wider community and brought disgrace upon the sangha.

Wikipedia  ;D

I think modern Buddhism is generally free of prejudice against homosexuality and treats it just like any other form of sexual expression. For example, San Francisco is home to the Gay Buddhist Fellowship (GBF) for men and the Dharma Sisters for gay women. GBF regards its main mission as healing the internal homophobia with which many gay people are afflicted. Their mission statement: We respect and care for each other in a compassionate way as an expression of the full realization of the Dharma. We cultivate a social environment that is accepting, open, inclusive, and caring.


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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #61 on: July 01, 2012, 05:50:26 PM »
Not much is said about homosexuality in Buddhism.  Teachings on matters of sexuality, especially sexual misconduct are clearly stated.

Society has put up a huge barrier when it comes to homosexuality and is not accepted in many societies. Not having gain acceptance, does not mean that something is wrong.  There is much discrimination against homosexuals.

What is so beautiful about Buddhism is that it does not discriminate. You are responsible for your own actions.

I personally see nothing wrong in homosexuality.  Sexual preference is a very personal matter.  After all it is between two consenting adults and does not harm anybody.  Some homosexual couples are just as loving, just as happy as any other heterosexual couples.


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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #62 on: July 01, 2012, 08:01:07 PM »
Buddhism does not speak out against homosexuality but as you have read and as the examples in this thread has provided, the Buddha has spoken out against homosexuals from joining the sangha as spending the night with other males every night and bathing with them would ignite lust or undesirable cravings in homosexuals and cause them to break their vows. With that said, if a homosexual person is able to rid his desires and reactions to another man and not cause problems for the sangha, I believe there is no problems for ordination for this individual.

However, one must also consider the cultural influences that might affect the Buddhist view of homosexuality. In countries such as Thailand, although the culture there has accepted homosexuality as part of being human and the consequences of adultery, it is more of a toleration than acceptance. It might be okay for laypeople to be gay, but a homosexual ordained as a monk is unheard of at all as they adhere strictly to the vinaya with little or no compromise.

In China however, there is less tolerance towards homosexuality and because even sex itself is viewed as an impure act, and the impression that homosexuals are sex maniacs and are very dirty due to the nature of anal sex, and this view was enforced and intensified by the Jesuit priests that visited China (The Chinese seems to accept homosexuality before that), and also due to lack of understandings of its workings, many Chinese Buddhist masters from the previous generation spoke out against it.

Now in our generation, homosexuality is no longer considered a disease there are measures to ensure a clean sexual experience between two partners without risking any sort of infection, and thus the concerns from the older generation of catching infections and disease from not properly cleaning prior to sexual activity has been somewhat nullified which is why Buddhism no longer has any issues with homosexuality because there is no need to.


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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #63 on: July 07, 2012, 04:25:33 PM »
Here's another milestone in Buddhist gay rights:


Taipei, July 7 (CNA) Two devout Buddhist women will hold the first Buddhist wedding for gay couples next month as part of an effort to push for the legalization of same-sex marriages in Taiwan.

"We are not only doing it for ourselves but also for other gays and lesbians," said Fish Huang in a telephone interview with CNA.

The 30-year-old social worker at a non-governmental organization said that marriage never crossed her mind until she saw a movie last year.

The film portrayed two lesbians whose ill-fated relationship concluded when one died and the other was left heartbroken over the denial of spousal benefits.

"It's so sad," said Huang.

She plans to wed her partner of seven years on August 11 at a Buddhist altar in Taoyuan County in northern Taiwan.

Both brides will wear white wedding gowns and listen to lectures given by Buddhist masters about marriage, accompanied by a series of chanting and blessings from monks and nuns.

Although homosexual marriages are not legally recognized in Taiwan, Huang insisted on tying the knot because she wants to make her relationship complete and raise awareness about the adversities faced by sexual minorities.

Alternative sexual orientation and marriage have yet to receive wide acceptance by the general public in the country, despite years of effort by activists to secure equality.

The first public gay marriage in Taiwan took place in 1996 between a local writer and his foreign partner. The event drew widespread media attention and inspired many gays to follow his footsteps. But Huang's wedding will be the first with a Buddhist theme.

While planning for her wedding, Huang found out, to her surprise, that some of her Buddhist friends were hesitant about attending the ceremony.

"They are not sure if it would break their vows and expressed much anxiety," Huang said.

She messaged a Buddhist master on Facebook, asking her if she could find grounds in Buddhism for condemning the practice of homosexuality.

To Huang's surprise, the master quickly replied that Buddhism shows no bias toward homosexuality. In a demonstration of support, the master is willing to host a ceremony for the couple -- the first public same-sex Buddhist wedding in Taiwan.

"It is meaningful to us that our wedding can give hope to other homosexuals and help heterosexuals understand how Buddhism views sexuality," said Huang.

The Buddhist master Shih Chao-hwei, who is also a professor at Hsuan Chuang University, said Buddhist teachings do not prohibit homosexual behavior.

Compared to western religions, Buddhism on the whole is more tolerant toward homosexuality because there is no concrete rule banning the practice in Buddhist scriptures, Shih said.

"It's difficult enough to maintain a relationship ... how could you be so stingy as to begrudge a couple for wanting to get married, regardless of their sexual orientation," she said in a telephone interview.

But Shih recognized there is disagreement on the issue both within and outside the Buddhist circle. Shih noted that Huang and her partner could face criticism.

"The first step is always the hardest," Shih said.

(By Nancy Liu)


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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #64 on: July 30, 2012, 04:55:40 PM »
Here's an interesting view on transgenderism that is based on theravardan scriptures. Perhaps through this we can understand why Thailand is so tolerant of transsexuals, compared to the rest of the world who view them with scorn. In certain schools in Thailand, there is even a toilet for the 3rd gender! How would we react when we come face to face with a transgender person? What if they work together with us as a colleague? Perhaps by understanding that they were this way due to their karma, we would be able to sympathise them more the way the thai people do.

Thai Ladyboy

In most of societies, homosexuals and transgenders are very much frowned upon but not in Thailand. In Thailand transgenders are known as either "kathoey" or "ladyboy". Transgenders enjoy acceptance and much more respect in Thailand than their counterparts elsewhere. Why is this so ? Studies conducted on this have concluded that tolerance towards transgenders in Thailand could be attributed to Buddhism.

(1) Throughout the Theravada Buddhism 'Tipitaka', from the beginning right to the end, there are many references as to what or who are deemed good or bad but there was no mentioned at all on homosexuals. This could imply that the proper behaviour of heterosexuals and homosexuals are to be judged on the same basis. In other words, both groups are to be treated as "equal". The Tipitika recognizes 4 sexes. In addition to male and female, there are two other genders namely " ubhatobyanjanaka " and "pandaka".

The term "ubhatobyanjanaka" has different interpretations within the Tipitika but generally it refers to hermaphrodite.

The Pali-English dicitionary - describes "ubhatobyanjanaka" as "having the characteristics of both sexes, hermaphrodite"

A reformist Thai writer Phra Ratchaworamuni describes "ubhatobyanjanaka" as "being with the genital organs of both sexes"

Bunmi Methangkun, head of the traditionalist Abhidhamma Foundation in Thailand considers the physchological factors in his intepretations. He describes two types of hermaphrodite namely

" itti-ubhatobyanjanaka" ( physically female but physically attracted to another woman ) and "purisa-ubhatobyanjanaka" ( physically male but physically attracted to another man )

Like "ubhatobyanjanaka", the term "pandaka" also has different interpretations by different writers but the basic concept appears to be that of a deficiency in male sexual capacity. Subsequently, the denotation of the term appears to have expanded to incorporate notions of non-normative male sexuality. Pandaka may be derived from anda, which variously means `egg' or `testicle' in Pali, and probably originally denoted male reproductive deficiency or incapacity. The Pali-English dictionary describes "pandaka" as "a eunuch".

In Thailand both "ubhatobyanjanaka" and "pandaka" have been translated as "kathoey (ladyboy)"

(2) Buddhists believe in Karma. where we are reborn into a type of being that is based on our past deeds. Kathoeys are thought to be predetermined from birth as the direct result of karma. Being born as something as a result of past actions / deeds is not perceived to be due to one's fault. Therefore it is not the fault of Kathoey to be born as Kathoey and they should be treated with compassion.

The above two reasons will probably best explain why transgenders are accepted and respected in Thailand. Though like their counterparts in other countries, many kathoeys in Thailand join the sex industry but there are as many who are successful in other industries such as entertainment, beauty and fashion. A number of movies have been made on the kathoeys in Thailand but interestingly they were potrayed positively in those movies rather than the stereotype roles of prostitutes or undesirable characters. As much as they want to be recognised as women, many are willing to leave their "feminity" to enter the monkhood to make merit for their parents. Once there, they will wear what the rest of the male monks wear.

In a school in Thailand, the Kathoeys even have their own toilets ( separated from the girls and boys toilets )


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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #65 on: July 31, 2012, 04:05:21 AM »
Well sex is a very strong drive for our subtil consciousness and leaves a very strong imprint in the mind,gross and subtle.
Lord Buddha explained many solutions to this problem,(the problem of strong attachment),in the Hinayana path
He talks of morality for monks and lay,in the mahayana again He points out the facts that attachment is an hindrance for the development of concentration and wisdom.
In the Vajrayana quite advanced practice,after you have realized renunciation,bodhicitta and sunyata then you can after having received the proper initiation use desire as a mean to destroy the subtle obscurations to Enlightenment.
So according to Hinayana desire is the enemy you have to control,in the Mahayana again you control it untill you reach renunciation,bodhicitta and Sunyata once you are introduced in the Tantric vehicle you can use it to destroy the subtle obscurations.
Regarding the sexual act in the society of human beings is still a taboo,beside the bla bla of modern thinking,so if you follow the Hinayana you control desire,Mahayana in order to obtain the Wisdom you control the gross aspect of desire,Tantra you can use the sexual act to destroy the most subtle imprint of grasping at desire as concrete.
So you chose at wich level are you.
At least be sincere with yourself,try.
good luck.

Positive Change

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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #66 on: July 31, 2012, 08:20:17 AM »
Homosexuality and Buddhism are not incompatible. Gays, lesbians and even trans-gendered are welcome by the Buddha. It is one of the only religions open to the idea.

Indeed, homosexuality is accepted for the lay person. If one wants to be ordained, all sexual intercourse are banned so it doesn't matter if your a homosexual or not, you will not be active.

Sexuality in the Buddhist texts

In Buddhist texts, especially the Vinaya, four genders are described: Male, female, Ubhatovyanjanaka and Pandaka.

Ubhatovyanjanaka is accepted as meaning anyone who has both male and female sexual characteristics: hermaphrodites. It is specified that hermaphrodites should not be ordained, on account of the possibility that a hermaphrodite would entice a fellow monk or nun into having sex. Many later texts include in the category people who are not physically hermaphrodites but also are mentally of the other sex. For example, a someone in a woman's body who feels like a man inside.

5th century Buddhist writer Buddhaghosa describes Ubhatobyanjanaka as people with the body of one gender but the "power" of the other, often accepted as meaning gays and lesbians.

The Pandaka is a complex category and there are many commentators who tried to define it. In the earliest texts, it meant that the person belonged to a socially stigmatized class of transvestite homosexuals, who were possibly prostitutes.

Pandaka are categorized with others who are also excluded from ordination; either those with physical abnormalities such as deafness or dwarfism, or those who have committed crimes.

This category was expended to include most other sexually deviant or marginal people, voyeurs, sodomite, impotents, eunuchs and other people with 'abnormal' physical or mental sexual characteristics are among them.

The reason for this is usually accepted as being because Buddha wanted the Sangha to be socially recognized as of the upmost respectability.

The Pandaka are often excluded from a variety of Buddhist practices (in addition to ordination):

acting as preceptors in ordination ceremonies
making donations to begging monks
being preached to
meditating and
ability to understand the Dharma.

Homosexuality and Buddhism in the West

Since its introduction in the West, Buddhism has been at the avant-garde of social issues and especially since the 1990s, gender roles and sexual orientation have been widely discussed and generally accepted.

When talking and homosexuality and Buddhism, Western Buddhists often emphasize the importance Buddha placed on tolerance, compassion, and seeking answers within one's self. For them, these values are more important than examining specific passages or texts.

Many people think that homosexual relationships are no better or worse than heterosexual relationships and that only unhealthy relationships in general are to be avoided.

Some associations in the United States perform same-sex marriage. Among them are: SGI announced in 1995 that they would start holding wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples;

A Buddhist temple in Salt Lake City connected with Jodo Shinshu, another Japanese school of Buddhism, also holds religious rites for same-sex couples.

The Dalai Lama's point of view

The Dalai Lama has been asked numerous times his point of view about homosexuality and Buddhism and his answer changed through the years.

In general his point of view is that inappropriate sexual behaviour includes lesbian and gay sex, and indeed any sex other than penis-vagina intercourse with one's own monogamous partner, including oral sex, anal sex, and masturbation.

In 1994, he stated in an interview with OUT magazine that "If someone comes to me and asks whether homosexuality is okay or not, I will ask 'What is your companion's opinion?' If you both agree, then I think I would say 'if two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay'".

In 1996, though, in his book Beyond Dogma: Dialogues and Discourses he stated that "A sexual act is deemed proper when the couples use the organs intended for sexual intercourse and nothing else ... homosexuality, whether it is between men or between women, is not improper in itself. What is improper is the use of organs already defined as inappropriate for sexual contact."

Now, the Dalai Lama has repeatedly "voiced his support for the full recognition of human rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation.' and doesn't not condemn homosexuality. He basically says that the sexual act itself is not approved of by Buddhism but that the person is not condemned.

To this effect, he says that he can't rewrite the texts. He thinks that this is the type of issue that would need to be discussed by a council of Buddhist elders from all Buddhist traditions. Only such a council could amend issues concerning Vinaya and ethics. The Dalai Lama also recommends the issue of the equality of women, particularly in monastic rituals and ceremonies, to be reconsidered and revised.

In conclusion

The homosexual act is considered against the basic Buddhist precepts, as killing a sentient being or lying. The act might prevent you from attaining illumination as long as you are attached to it, like many other attachments but it doesn't prevent you from seeking illumination.

Thus, it doesn't make a homosexual a non-Buddhist. It just makes him or her a suffering being, at the same level as a liar is a suffering being or someone who killed a mosquito, or even the man who likes having heterosexual intercourse with many partners.

The best way to be a Buddhist is to follow, as much as possible, the eightfold noble path.

Finally, if I wasn't clear before: homosexuality and Buddhism are not incompatible. Not perfect, but not forbidden.


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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #67 on: September 06, 2012, 07:04:29 PM »
I found an interesting article on this topic, which I thought would be nice to share with everyone here about homosexuality:

Why Buddha was not anti-gay

While many gays are rejecting religion, others are choosing to walk a different path. GSN meets the Tibetan Buddhists who are living a life beyond dogma, intolerance and the very concept of sexuality

Religion has become a dirty word among many in the gay community.

With preachers from a myriad of faiths around the world still condemning homosexuality as a disease, the root of all evil and even the Pope claiming it will lead to the extinction of the human race, it’s understandable.

But despite extremist fire and brimstone, many lesbian, gay and bisexual people still choose to have a belief, finding inspiration, guidance, hope and happiness in their faith.

With its emphasis on tolerance, compassion, peace and equality, it’s no surprise that Buddhism is drawing more and more interest from gay men and women tired of the dogma and institutional homophobia of other religions.

But is Buddhism really that liberal, progressive and gay friendly? Or are followers merely compromising on their sexuality in the hope of Nirvana or a cushy rebirth?

David Quirke Thornton was a Franciscan Catholic monk before he became disillusioned with the church and left the monastery.

‘I was very happy as a monk but not happy as a Catholic,’ he said.

‘I knew I was gay, not a problem as I was celibate, but obviously I didn't agree with the Church's teaching and so I left the Franciscans and came to London.’

After finding a job in the UK capital, he hit the scene before finding his partner Paul, entering a civil union in 2006.

But his passion for religion and philosophy remained and after years of study, he found himself returning again and again to Buddhism.

He explained: ‘What I was searching for, apart from the meaning of life, was insight without prejudice and I wanted to make that journey among a community of equals.

‘Buddhism's liberal views on being gay certainly made me feel welcome and accepted as an equal.

‘I don't go for tolerance, you tolerate a bad hair day - acceptance, equality and kindness was what I was looking for and I found that in our Buddhist community.’

Buddhism is a spiritual tradition that was founded over 2,500 years ago in India during the time of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni.

The faith quickly spread throughout Asia and was introduced to Tibet in the 7th century, teaching followers to avoid doing harm, encouraging them to perform ‘wholesome’ actions and emphasizing the importance of training the mind through meditation.

‘I've known guys commit suicide because they were gay and Christian,’ Thornton said.

‘I've seen guys and girls rejected by their families because they're gay and their families hold religious views that won't accept this. That unnecessary suffering is heartbreaking.

‘My experience of Buddhism has been so positive and helpful, but challenging in a constructive way, that I've been able to focus on the teachings and the practice, in the company of friends, because ignorance and prejudice don't get in the way.

‘The values at the heart of Buddhism make it, in my experience, a wonderful religion for all. For gay folk who've experienced prejudice and hurt elsewhere, the loving kindness and warmth can also be healing, help you to let go of that pain and to find happiness in your life.’

James, a teacher who asked not to be named because of his job in a London Catholic school, said he became a Buddhist after entering a relationship with a former Tibetan Buddhist monk.

He said sexuality just isn’t an issue in Buddhism.

‘It’s beyond sexuality. In the end, you are a person,’ he said.

James added the onus of responsibility is on the individual. It is self-empowering, rather than dogmatic and judgmental.

‘Buddhism is not a top down religion. It’s bottom up. It’s down to you and the choices you make,’ he explained.

‘There’s a recipe to being Buddhist. Every generation makes their own cake and every cake is slightly different. But the recipe is still the same.’

According to Lama Zangmo, a Tibetan Buddhist nun and teacher who runs the Kagyu Samye Dzong center in London, the Buddha was simply not concerned with sexuality.

‘The Buddha was a monk. So the Buddhist view toward sexuality is maybe unique,’ she revealed.

The 59-year-old added: ‘He didn’t really encourage anybody to get together, whether you are homosexual, heterosexual or whatever sexuality you have. It wasn’t really a question.

‘But it’s not as if the Buddha or Buddhism was against marriage either. The Buddha’s choice was renouncing the world and his message is about renunciation.

‘He taught that through grasping we cause ourselves a lot of suffering and distress. We are being pulled between attachment and aversion constantly.

‘So the Buddha meditated and saw the underlying causes of suffering. That was his whole mission, to transcend suffering.

‘Buddhism goes beyond all these dualities in every aspect, male, female, ultimately beyond good and bad. So the result would be ultimate transcendence. That’s where Buddhism comes from.’

However, a set of guidelines on sexual conduct do exist, but are applied to all, whether in a straight or gay relationship.

‘It’s about trying to live in a way that causes the least suffering,’ Lama Zangmo said.

‘The Buddha’s guidelines were, when you’re in a relationship, for example, be faithful. If you are not, it’s going to cause a lot of upset and hurt, a lot of jealousy and mistrust and basic suffering.’

But she claims she has never seen anything which directly talks about the morality of same-sex relationships.

She added: ‘I don’t think there’s anything in the teachings which tell you that because it’s all about the mind. It’s about the emotions.

‘The key thing is dealing with the mind and recognizing what are the causes of suffering and happiness. For that reason, don’t practice sexual misconduct because it causes suffering.

Lama Zangmo explains that the Buddhist teachings are also about overcoming our strong emotions, such as desire, anger, jealousy and pride.

‘If one is completely ruled by one’s desires and emotions, one is not a free person,’ she said.

‘It’s about having a more balanced perspective and seeing that happiness doesn’t equal fulfilling one’s desires.

‘Desire is desire, whether it is for a man or woman, same-sex or opposite sex.’

Despite reverence towards enigmatic teachers such as the Karmapa and Dalai Lama, she insists their role is not to lay down the law.

‘It’s not that there is someone at the top like the Pope dictating that this is the way it is because everybody is following the Buddha’s teaching,’ Lama Zangmo said.

‘Everybody is free to adopt any part of Buddhism which they feel works for them and leave the rest.

‘You can’t be excommunicated in Buddhism. It’s all about you and your mind. It’s your own personal path.’

Tibetan teacher Akong Tulku Rinpoche admits same-sex relationships are an alien concept to many in the roof of the world.

But then again, the reincarnate lama who fled his homeland after the Chinese invasion in 1959 explains many relationship norms in Tibet might seem outrageous to many Westerners.

He said: ‘Tibetan society is very much based on a family unit. But if you have three brothers, you can have the same wife for three brothers. It’s about the unity of two families together, so a big family can have 20 people in one house.

‘That can be very different from other countries too. Although we don’t have a system of same-sex marriage, I don’t think anybody minds.’

In 1967, Rinpoche helped found Kagyu Samye Ling, the West’s first ever Tibetan Buddhist center in Scotland.

He says Buddhism does not exist in a cultural time capsule and when the world changes, so must your ideas.

‘There aren’t many things which do not change when you come from Tibet to Europe,’ he explained on how he has adapted to living in the West.

‘I suppose we take on whatever the European system says. We don’t say that the Tibetan system is better. When you go to another country, there are different beliefs, different languages and ideas. If you want to stay in that country, you have to accept it.’

The Buddhist path, of course, is not for everyone. Indeed, religion is still a turn off for many, no matter how sweet the honey pot at the end of the rainbow may be.

But flippantly dismissing people’s beliefs, no matter how ludicrous they sound, can lead to the same bigoted, narrow mindedness which has blinded the very homophobes who the gay community are fighting to overcome.

Maybe it’s time we all took a leaf out of Buddha’s book and walked our own paths instead of tearing up others.


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Re: Homosexuality in Buddhism
« Reply #68 on: November 04, 2012, 10:53:25 AM »
Let hear the view point of homosexuality in Buddhsim from Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche. 

From the Buddhist point of view, is engaging in a gay relationship or gay sexual activity a Breaking of the Precepts? … ((Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, Love & Relationship Q & A)

Question: One more question; this is a popular topic. Just adding onto the gay issue – from the Buddhist point of view, is engaging in a gay relationship or gay sexual activity - a breaking of the precepts?

Rinpoche: NO, that’s easy. (Laughter). And this is; I need, I need to build my answer for this one otherwise a partial answer might miss, make you, mislead you.

Every religion has an enemy; looks like. Like Christians and Muslims, they have like Satan and so on and so forth – right, every religion. And Buddhism also has one – that, that devil of Buddhism – and what is that? It’s called DISTRACTION.

Constant distraction – that is the Satan of Buddhism, so this. So understandably the main quintessence of the Buddhist practices – obviously, MINDFULNESS; this is where mindfulness is taught in the Theravada tradition, in the Mahayana tradition, in the Vajrayana tradition. Mindfulness is the thing, okay.

So what I want to say is this. Eh, that, that’s one part; I want you to keep that in your head. - okay. Distraction is the main problem, okay. Now in connection to that, in Buddhism morality is secondary, wisdom is the primary. Shantideva said (Tibetan phrase) – a morality without the wisdom is a pain in the neck. It is, it actually makes you hypocritical, it makes you judgmental; it makes you puritanical, so on and so forth.

This is true, you know. When I was growing up, my tutors – they used to really, you know like “Watch out for this, you know like Western girls. They’re immoral, they’re, you know, they’re like blah, blah, all of this; you know like American girls, you know English girls, they’re immoral. American girls are so immoral, they wear short skirts, all these blah, blah, you understand.”
They used to tell me this. Much years, years later when I went to America, for my surprise, I found out and I realize Americans are much more moralistic. American society, American value is so much into more moral, moralistic; this is why, if you can recall, the whole nation debated where, where Clinton’s cigar went in – remember? Who cares? (Laughter)

As long as he’s doing his job, good as a President, who cares what he, did with his cigar. But Americans care so much about morality; so this is the thing.

Actually in Buddhism, wisdom is much more important. Without the wisdom, everything makes you proud, makes you hypocritical – basically it’s pain. You got that. I want to keep that in your head to answer this question.

So, in Buddhism, generally they; these are general, you know, very, very general sort of rule; such as like, eh, you should not kill, you should be generous, you should not steal, so on and so forth – so-called non-virtuous action and virtuous action. You must have heard this before: ten non-virtuous actions and ten virtuous actions and so on and so forth.

But how do you define what is virtuous and what is not? If an act, if an act brings you closer to the truth, it’s a virtuous action in Buddhism – okay. If an act; okay, so if an act of whatever, for instance, if in order to save like these two; let’s say these two are being chased by a, you know, murderer. In order to save these two; the murderer asks me – have you seen these two? I say no; that’s a blatant lie. There’s an act “lying” but I’m saving them. Such kind of act; see outwardly it’s a non-virtuous but actually it’s bringing you closer to the truth, through the compassion, love and all that.

So therefore, especially in Mahayana Buddhism, action that brings you closer to the truth is virtuous. Action that does not bring closer, that brings you further from the truth, even though it may be seemingly virtuous such as going to Bodhgaya and do hundred thousand prostrations; and making sure anybody looking at you so that you become famous, whether anybody is taking photographs of you, you know, to cherish all of that. This brings you further from the truth.

That is not virtuous. So therefore there are categories - such as non-virtuous and virtuous. In the non-virtuous there is something called, you know, like sexual activities are generally considered non-virtuous. But it’s never specified without what orientation; even on the Mahayana level. I am even talking about the Tantra; that’s, that’s even more beyond our normal thinking; but even on the Mahayana level.

So it doesn’t matter what kind of orientation you belong to. As long as you have this kind of sexual activity that takes you away from the truth – yes, it is non-virtuous action. But that could be anything; it could be shopping too. It could be, I don’t know, anything that takes you. So, bottom line – my answer this is; my answer to you is that, eh, what you call it; Buddhist sutras and shastras would not say, eh, heterosexual is lesser non-virtuous than, you know, homosexual, understand. That, there is no this, you know what you call it, eh, discrimination like that.

Having said that though - Buddhism is influenced by culture a lot; a little bit unfortunate but unavoidable. So when Buddhism travelled to Tibet, Japan, China, of course India, that’s where it originated – the cultural value may have an influence, right. So this is why even in Singapore, I’m sure many of the Mahayana Buddhists; I don’t know whether any are here today; when Tibetan Buddhism come here with these hideous thangkas, you know, like thangkas with the father and mother consort embracing – basically PORNOGRAPHIC, you understand. (Laughter)

So, so the Mahayana people go bananas – oh, what is this? What is, THIS is Buddhism? Can’t be; this is some, you know, Hindu, I don’t know, some cult stuff. So culturally, you know, I cannot wipe out that problem. That is so much into the culture. So, of course, the tantric method of this practice of consort and the deities with the consort is not; eh, it has amazing wisdom, amazing, amazing wisdom.

Eh, if you want to make a fire, what do you need? - Wood. If you want to make, if you want to bring wisdom, what do you need? – Emotion. That is the intuition. And if you have water inside your ear, what do you do? The simple and most economic way is put more water, and it comes out. Likewise if you want to get rid of emotions, what do you? - The best and the simplest way – practice emotion, so on and so forth. But those are, eh, X-rated; the best, exclusive, only exclusive, only for people who can chew it basically, who can digest it.

Yes, we have problems with mm, eh, more orthodox, you know, thinking, of course but you know, like, it’s quite interesting actually, it’s really interesting. When you go to places like Sri Lanka, they have like Avalokiteshvara, they have like Manjushri also, but they are treated as, you know, like, eh, clerk; you know, like go for the boys. You know like - oh, yeah, they’re Buddha’s students, you know, those lay people. They happen to be one of those nice boys, but they didn’t have the guts to renounce the world, so they still wear jewels, they’re still lay people basically - but, so that level.

But now we come to Mahayana, Mahayana places like China, Japan; of course Avalokiteshvara, even the Taoist shrine, you find her, you know like great bodhisattvas; accepted even though they are not a monk, accepted as an object of refuge – right. Even in the Mahayana monastery the monks shave head, all of that – they prostrate to Kuan Yin, who is a woman, with all the jewels and all of that. Mahayana - so the wisdom is much more different. But in the Vajrayana, also it’s much more different than that level; that, that depends on the culture and how much you can; you know different culture, acceptance and stuff like that. Okay one more question and then I think we can end. Two more questions, is it?

Transcribed from YouTube video: Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on Love & Relationships - Q&A section, 8 April 2012, Singapore.