Buddhism and sexuality

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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clw_uk
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Buddhism and sexuality

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:03 pm

Tying into another topic, i read somewhere that in thailand their was a request to expel 1000 monks from the sangha because they were homosexual. Is there a rule that one cant be a homosexual and join the sangha?

Ive always thought that the buddha taught one shouldnt identify with sexuality be it hetrosexuality or homosexuality as lust is just lust and dukkha (thats me simplifying) am i right in thinking this?
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Buddhism and sexuality

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:21 pm

clw_uk wrote:Is there a rule that one cant be a homosexual and join the sangha?

No.

There is, however, a rule that one who joins the sangha must abstain from all sexual activity, both hetero- and homo-.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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clw_uk
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Re: Buddhism and sexuality

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:23 pm

That is what i thought, i was just confused because of the article i read about homosexual monks being expelled.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Buddhism and sexuality

Postby Dhammanando » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:24 pm

Hi Craig,

clw_uk wrote:Tying into another topic, i read somewhere that in thailand their was a request to expel 1000 monks from the sangha because they were homosexual. Is there a rule that one cant be a homosexual and join the sangha?


No.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,

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Re: Buddhism and sexuality

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:29 pm

I heard someone ask S. N. Goenka once, "what do you think of homosexuality?" Goenka's response was, "homosexuality, heterosexuality, it doesn't matter, it is all sexuality, all things that need to eventually be transcended."

:jedi:

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Re: Buddhism and sexuality

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:39 pm

clw_uk wrote:Tying into another topic, i read somewhere that in thailand their was a request to expel 1000 monks from the sangha because they were homosexual. Is there a rule that one cant be a homosexual and join the sangha?

Ive always thought that the buddha taught one shouldnt identify with sexuality be it hetrosexuality or homosexuality as lust is just lust and dukkha (thats me simplifying) am i right in thinking this?


Hi Clw
their is a 5 week? short term ordination in thailand (Dhammakaya I think?) which states you can not be homosexual, I thought it odd but I later found out that the Abbot was being charged with some illegal thing and let off the hook for one reason or another which caused a bit of a outcry I believe, but as far as I am aware no there are no rules for or against being attracted to someone of any sex, only rules to abstain from and diminish lust etc. actually their is no mention of sexual relations other than sexual misconduct, which could apply to anything non-consensual or manipulated into doing!
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Re: Buddhism and sexuality

Postby Fede » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:39 pm

Craig, I don't know whether this addresses any unanswered questions you might have (which is a bit presumptuous of me) but in essence, you are right that Lust is just lust, however you dress it up, whatever persuasion.
There is nothing wrong with any form of sexual practice, providing it does not break the third precept, and providing you know it must be eventually abandoned as one of the conditions we cling to.

For an ordained person, it is a pre-requisite.
For a layperson, there is nothing to say that sexual abstention is either necessary or skilful.
But everything in Moderation.
Inncluding Moderation.

Middle way.
Simple.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Buddhism and sexuality

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:46 pm

Fede wrote:Craig, I don't know whether this addresses any unanswered questions you might have (which is a bit presumptuous of me) but in essence, you are right that Lust is just lust, however you dress it up, whatever persuasion.
There is nothing wrong with any form of sexual practice, providing it does not break the third precept, and providing you know it must be eventually abandoned as one of the conditions we cling to.

For an ordained person, it is a pre-requisite.
For a layperson, there is nothing to say that sexual abstention is either necessary or skilful.
But everything in Moderation.
Inncluding Moderation.

Middle way.
Simple.



It seems that we have the same view :smile:

:namaste:
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Buddhism and sexuality

Postby Individual » Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:42 am

Peter wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Is there a rule that one cant be a homosexual and join the sangha?

No.

There is, however, a rule that one who joins the sangha must abstain from all sexual activity, both hetero- and homo-.


Dhammanando wrote:Hi Craig,

clw_uk wrote:Tying into another topic, i read somewhere that in thailand their was a request to expel 1000 monks from the sangha because they were homosexual. Is there a rule that one cant be a homosexual and join the sangha?


No.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

I think the story he's talking about is regarding the Pali term "pandaka".

The PTS dictionary defines this word:

Paṇḍaka [cp late (dial.) Sk. paṇḍa & paṇḍaka; for etym. see Walde, Lat. Wtb. under pello] a eunuch, weakling Vin i.86, 135, 168, 320; iv.20, 269; A iii.128; v.71; Sdhp 79. -- With ref. to the female sex as paṇḍikā at Vin ii.271 (itthi˚).

It seems likely to me that the term can be broken down into: panda+akka. Doing a quick search, this article goes more into the meaning. In the Sanskrit, pandaka is used to refer to homosexuals, hermaphrodites, and eunuchs.

So, what is the story about? The Buddha expelled 100 eunuchs or 100 weaklings from the bhikkhu order? A monk in this article explains the story as being a group of promiscuous homosexuals (thus translating pandaka in a way that includes promiscuous homosexuals) :

...there was a case of a gay monk who was overcome by sexual desire and could no longer restrain himself. He was seducing his friends and novices to have sex with him. They rejected him so he left the monastery and had sex with men who were elephant keepers and horse keepers. When news spread around the entire Buddhist community that he was homosexual, the Buddha was alerted to the problem and he issued a rule for the community not to give any ordination to a homosexual, and those ordained gays are to be expelled.

Regardless of what pandaka means and the view of gays in the early bhikkhu order, it's definitely true that a lot of homophobia unfortunately developed later on in Buddhist history among some monks and laypeople.

In that last article, what the bhikkhu says here is really insulting and homophobic:

According to their explanations, all homosexuals and sexual deviants were once offenders of the Third Precept (prohibiting sexual misconduct) _ at least in their past lives, and they must pay off their past sins in their present life.

Great. And women can't be Buddhas or Maras. Radical orthodoxy can be ridiculous, at times.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Buddhism and sexuality

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:01 am

Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:In that last article, what the bhikkhu says here is really insulting and homophobic:

According to their explanations, all homosexuals and sexual deviants were once offenders of the Third Precept (prohibiting sexual misconduct) _ at least in their past lives, and they must pay off their past sins in their present life.


Surely you mean what the bhikkhu is reporting? He is not expressing his own view here. Here's the paragraph in full:

    Many monasteries and monks advocate their lay followers to see the world through the lens of karma, i.e., every person is born to pay back their sins. According to their explanations, all homosexuals and sexual deviants were once offenders of the Third Precept (prohibiting sexual misconduct) _ at least in their past lives, and they must pay off their past sins in their present life. Therefore, they deserve all that society gives to them. This belief system creates strong conservative values in Theravada Buddhist culture. For these reasons, it is unlikely that Buddhists will easily approve a law to allow gay marriage. Gay and lesbian activists in Thailand will not be as successful as their fellows in European countries or Canada.

So, according to the author it's the view of "many monks and monasteries". I would add that the monks in question are those who neglect pariyatti and merely peddle popular folk beliefs as Dhamma.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,


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