Gay and Buddhism

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by Ceisiwr »

In that link I gave Peter Jackson touches upon this:
It might be contended that what the Buddha's ban on the ordination of pandaka reflects is concern about the disruptive effect of effeminate transvestite homosexuals in an order of celibate, predominantly heterosexual monks. However, the above piece emphasises homosexuality, indeed passive homosexual sex, as the violation and source of disruption. What the above-quoted section of the Vinaya suggests is a conflation of passive homosexual sex with demasculinisation, i.e. being a pandaka. Leaving aside the ethical misconduct of the individual pandaka monk, what the Buddha's subsequent comprehensive ban on the ordination of pandaka indicates is a concern to exclude non-masculine men from the sangha. The ban also shows that a characteristic regarded as defining a man as non-masculine or a pandaka is a preference for certain types of homosexual sex. These same attitudes remain prevalent in Thailand today. A man who is known to be the receptive partner in anal sex may be labelled a kathoey. i.e. non-masculine, even if he is not effeminate or a transvestite, but the inserter in anal sex rarely suffers such stigmatisation. The above-cited scriptural references to penetrative homosexual sex (i.e. methunadhamma defined in "masculine" or penetrative terms), while proscriptive, do not imply that the men who engaged in such sexual behaviour with the pandaka monk jeopardised their masculinity. In other words, the canon appears to inscribe attitudes to male-male sex and masculinity that parallel views widely held in contemporary Thailand.
http://buddhism.lib.ntu.edu.tw/museum/T ... d08-52.htm

I believe Zwilling took a similar view.
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
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justindesilva
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by justindesilva »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 5:32 pm dylanj
I'm not convinced that paṇḍaka doesn't simply refer to homosexual.
The problem with that is that “homosexual” is a modern term with a modern understanding. Even assuming that people back then had a concept of “homosexual” like we do, only the monk who was receiving during anal sex is labelled as a pandaka. Those who had sex with him were not. The text treats them as two different classes of being. Instead of saying a pandaka was defiled by some pandakas it states that a pandaka was defiled by some laymen. This tells us something about their understanding of “pandaka”and who it applies to. If pandaka means a certain type of homosexual then it parallels the views of gender roles and gay sex in other ancient societies. I think this makes for a compelling argument for pandaka meaning a type of homosexual instead of homosexual in general.
I do think that whether gay, lesbian, hermophrodite in sex all enjoy sensual desires. Among a population at large one may not exhibit the style of sexuality. Yet in Buddhism Lord Buddha emphasized as allowable heterosexuality , as I feel it has meaning socio wise. This is where one can limit sex as expressed in parabhava sutta. ( And another sutta I forget).
In parabhava sutta Lord Budda sdvises how lay people can get in to marriage, ( in proper age, but no old man with young woman etc). A proper family with a controlled family status has always refined people.
The need of Lord Budda was to get people out of sensual desires only. Lord Buddha emphasized on brahmachariya in attaining marga phala, whereas any body of any other sexual habits can achieve it.
Lord Buddha often praised families of caliber of Nakula maths and Nakula pitha as they performed family rites in society, were of riteous nature in virtues.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by Ceisiwr »

Hello justindesilva,

Forgive me if I’ve missed some points. Your post is hard to read.
I do think that whether gay, lesbian, hermophrodite in sex all enjoy sensual desires. Among a population at large one may not exhibit the style of sexuality. Yet in Buddhism Lord Buddha emphasized as allowable heterosexuality , as I feel it has meaning socio wise. This is where one can limit sex as expressed in parabhava sutta. ( And another sutta I forget).
I don’t think it’s surprising that relationship advice was never given to homosexuals in a society that didn’t recognise them as being homosexual and didn’t recognise homosexual relationships as being valid. The audience that the Buddha was addressing,
9/10, were straight males. This is why sexual misconduct is almost always framed in terms of what the man should or shouldn’t do. For example, for women the suttas merely say they should be dutiful towards their husbands and should not cheat. Does this mean that single women are then allowed to sleep with holy men or boys under the protection of their parents? I wouldn’t say so. The reason why we don’t have the same level of detail for what counts as sexual misconduct for women as we do for men is because in that society marriages were arranged and women were rarely single after puberty. Women also tended to stay at home, looking after the family and rarely were they wandering ascetics. The Buddha was giving advice that was specific to his main audience. I wouldn’t take that as a blueprint for how society should always be. It seems to me the Buddha was more concerned with how to best live within existing social structures so as to minimise unwholesome conduct and conflict, as opposed to recommending these structures for all time. The Dhamma is timeless. Indian social norms are not.

In parabhava sutta Lord Budda sdvises how lay people can get in to marriage, ( in proper age, but no old man with young woman etc). A proper family with a controlled family status has always refined people.
Indeed but does that mean the social norms of Iron Age India must be copied, or should the Dhamma teach us how to best work with the social systems we find ourselves with? For example, in the west does that mean abolishing gay marriage or does it mean using the Dhamma so as to have a wholesome gay marriage? Does it mean re-introducing arranged marriages, which we haven’t had here for centuries, or using the Dhamma to find good partners to have good marriages with?

Metta

:)
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Thu May 14, 2020 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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Ceisiwr
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by Ceisiwr »

Interestingly I’ve found this on the potential meaning of pandaka in the Atharva Veda, although I’m still searching through the Veda to verify it.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=aK0 ... aka&f=true
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"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
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the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 5:49 pm In that link I gave Peter Jackson touches upon this:
It might be contended that what the Buddha's ban on the ordination of pandaka reflects is concern about the disruptive effect of effeminate transvestite homosexuals in an order of celibate, predominantly heterosexual monks. However, the above piece emphasises homosexuality, indeed passive homosexual sex, as the violation and source of disruption. What the above-quoted section of the Vinaya suggests is a conflation of passive homosexual sex with demasculinisation, i.e. being a pandaka. Leaving aside the ethical misconduct of the individual pandaka monk, what the Buddha's subsequent comprehensive ban on the ordination of pandaka indicates is a concern to exclude non-masculine men from the sangha. The ban also shows that a characteristic regarded as defining a man as non-masculine or a pandaka is a preference for certain types of homosexual sex. These same attitudes remain prevalent in Thailand today. A man who is known to be the receptive partner in anal sex may be labelled a kathoey. i.e. non-masculine, even if he is not effeminate or a transvestite, but the inserter in anal sex rarely suffers such stigmatisation. The above-cited scriptural references to penetrative homosexual sex (i.e. methunadhamma defined in "masculine" or penetrative terms), while proscriptive, do not imply that the men who engaged in such sexual behaviour with the pandaka monk jeopardised their masculinity. In other words, the canon appears to inscribe attitudes to male-male sex and masculinity that parallel views widely held in contemporary Thailand.
http://buddhism.lib.ntu.edu.tw/museum/T ... d08-52.htm

I believe Zwilling took a similar view.
If this interpretation is correct, then the ban makes as much sense as not mixing women and men in the same monastic order. An androgynous appearance is as appealing as a woman's for a heterosexual man. Especially for a monk, who doesn't engage in masturbation or sex. With restraint of senses, sexual desire subsides but the continuous contact with a man of feminine appearance may be a great drawback.


I found appropriate to share this quote. It's about Ajahn Chah's early days as a monk:
A quality of boldness in his practice. He didn't shrink from whatever troubled him. Afraid of ghosts (extremely common in Thailand), he went to spend the night in a charnel ground, where he had such terrifying experiences that the next morning he passed blood in his urine, but the following night he stayed there again.

He was frank about his weaknesses. Sexual desire was a great problem for him when he was a young monk. When I practiced alone in the forest, sometimes I'd see monkeys in the trees and I'd feel desire. I'd sit there and look and think, and I'd have lust:
"It wouldn't be bad to go and be a monkey with them! This is what sexual desire can do even a monkey could get me aroused."

Tormented by lust, Ajahn Chah did walking meditation with his robe hitched up above his waist. He had visions of female genitalia everywhere, but he didn't succumb...

A practical solution would be a monastic order for androgynous men. Would it work? I wonder. :tongue:
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by Ceisiwr »

Hi rhinoceroshorn

If this interpretation is correct, then the ban makes as much sense as not mixing women and men in the same monastic order. An androgynous appearance is as appealing as a woman's for a heterosexual man. Especially for a monk, who doesn't engage in masturbation or sex. With restraint of senses, sexual desire subsides but the continuous contact with a man of feminine appearance may be a great drawback.
Whilst there could have been a practical element to it, judging from the text and subsequent analysis it seems the Buddha was concerned more with the image of the sangha than any potential sexual misadventures that might have arisen.
At that time a certain pandaka was ordained among the monks. He approached a number of young monks and said: 'Come, Venerable Ones, defile me' (etha, mam ayasmanto dusetha). The monks reproached him: 'Begone pandaka, away with you! What have we to do with that?'

"Reproached by the monks he approached a number of large, stout novices. 'Come, Venerable Ones, defile me.' The novices reproached him: 'Begone pandaka, away with you! What have we to do with that?'

"Reproached by the novices he approached the elephant keepers and the grooms and said: 'Come, Sirs, defile me.' The elephant keepers and grooms defiled him.

"They grumbled, became angry and irritated: 'These recluses, these followers of the Buddha are pandakas and those who are not pandakas defile pandakas. Thus do they all lack discipline.'

"Monks heard those elephant keepers and grooms who grumbled, were angry, and irritated and those monks told this matter to the Blessed One who said: 'Monks, if a pandaka is not ordained, let him not be ordained. If he is already ordained let him be expelled.'"
My reading here is that the Buddha expelled pandakas and then brought in a ban in order to maintain the image of the sangha in the eyes of the laity. Also, as i mentioned earlier, only the receptive monk is classed as a pandaka here. The laymen who were the dominant partner suffer no such label.

Metta

:)
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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Ceisiwr
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by Ceisiwr »

I think its quite possible that "pandaka" is similar to, or possibly the same as, modern day Hijras.
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 8:03 pm Hi rhinoceroshorn

If this interpretation is correct, then the ban makes as much sense as not mixing women and men in the same monastic order. An androgynous appearance is as appealing as a woman's for a heterosexual man. Especially for a monk, who doesn't engage in masturbation or sex. With restraint of senses, sexual desire subsides but the continuous contact with a man of feminine appearance may be a great drawback.
Whilst there could have been a practical element to it, judging from the text and subsequent analysis it seems the Buddha was concerned more with the image of the sangha than any potential sexual misadventures that might have arisen.
At that time a certain pandaka was ordained among the monks. He approached a number of young monks and said: 'Come, Venerable Ones, defile me' (etha, mam ayasmanto dusetha). The monks reproached him: 'Begone pandaka, away with you! What have we to do with that?'

"Reproached by the monks he approached a number of large, stout novices. 'Come, Venerable Ones, defile me.' The novices reproached him: 'Begone pandaka, away with you! What have we to do with that?'

"Reproached by the novices he approached the elephant keepers and the grooms and said: 'Come, Sirs, defile me.' The elephant keepers and grooms defiled him.

"They grumbled, became angry and irritated: 'These recluses, these followers of the Buddha are pandakas and those who are not pandakas defile pandakas. Thus do they all lack discipline.'

"Monks heard those elephant keepers and grooms who grumbled, were angry, and irritated and those monks told this matter to the Blessed One who said: 'Monks, if a pandaka is not ordained, let him not be ordained. If he is already ordained let him be expelled.'"
My reading here is that the Buddha expelled pandakas and then brought in a ban in order to maintain the image of the sangha in the eyes of the laity. Also, as i mentioned earlier, only the receptive monk is classed as a pandaka here. The laymen who were the dominant partner suffer no such label.

Metta

:)
It could be so, too.
But if you consider that Buddha denied atman and broke with a lot of traditions at the time disregarding laity view, then pandaka is really irrelevante. :lol: But since this a Vinaya thing, it makes sense.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by Ceisiwr »

rhinoceroshorn

It could be so, too.
But if you consider that Buddha denied atman and broke with a lot of traditions at the time disregarding laity view, then pandaka is really irrelevante. :lol: But since this a Vinaya thing, it makes sense.
He did and he took a risk with allowing women to ordain. Still, i think he was aware that he couldn't rock the boat too far. He had to make sure the sangha remained respectable in the eyes of the laity, else it would simply die. I guess today we would call it public relations.

Metta

:)
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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Re: Gay and Buddhism

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D1W1 wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 3:21 pmLastly, does anyone know if there was Arahat gay in Buddha's time?
The above would be impossible because an Arahant would not identify with any sex preference or orientation.
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by Coëmgenu »

DooDoot wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 9:12 pm
D1W1 wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 3:21 pmLastly, does anyone know if there was Arahat gay in Buddha's time?
The above would be impossible because an Arahant would not identify with any sex preference or orientation.
I think he means "Does anyone know if there was an arhat who was formerly gay as a sexual being before ordaining?" and the answer is no, because we don't have that amount of detail of the personal lives of ancient arhats before they ordained.
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by justindesilva »

Coëmgenu wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 11:29 pm
DooDoot wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 9:12 pm
D1W1 wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 3:21 pmLastly, does anyone know if there was Arahat gay in Buddha's time?
The above would be impossible because an Arahant would not identify with any sex preference or orientation.
I think he means "Does anyone know if there was an arhat who was formerly gay as a sexual being before ordaining?" and the answer is no, because we don't have that amount of detail of the personal lives of ancient arhats before they ordained.
The only two suttas that Lord budda has mentioned about togetherness of man and woman or husband and wife are
1. Sigalovada sutta and 2. Parabhava sutta. At no other place except for pandaka being ordained Budda has detailed sexual lives of people. In both suttas mentioned here as 1&2, Lord Budda emphasises on regulation or limiting of sexual habits to have peace of society taken family as a unit.
But with observing sila , budda has laid the precept of celibacy or brahmacari observation from uposatha upwards in improving sila as a method of curtailing sensual desires.
Lord Budda other than that seems to be vigilant on either limiting or totally extinguishing sensual desires.
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by justindesilva »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 6:39 pm Hello justindesilva,

Forgive me if I’ve missed some points. Your post is hard to read.
I do think that whether gay, lesbian, hermophrodite in sex all enjoy sensual desires. Among a population at large one may not exhibit the style of sexuality. Yet in Buddhism Lord Buddha emphasized as allowable heterosexuality , as I feel it has meaning socio wise. This is where one can limit sex as expressed in parabhava sutta. ( And another sutta I forget).
I don’t think it’s surprising that relationship advice was never given to homosexuals in a society that didn’t recognise them as being homosexual and didn’t recognise homosexual relationships as being valid. The audience that the Buddha was addressing,
9/10, were straight males. This is why sexual misconduct is almost always framed in terms of what the man should or shouldn’t do. For example, for women the suttas merely say they should be dutiful towards their husbands and should not cheat. Does this mean that single women are then allowed to sleep with holy men or boys under the protection of their parents? I wouldn’t say so. The reason why we don’t have the same level of detail for what counts as sexual misconduct for women as we do for men is because in that society marriages were arranged and women were rarely single after puberty. Women also tended to stay at home, looking after the family and rarely were they wandering ascetics. The Buddha was giving advice that was specific to his main audience. I wouldn’t take that as a blueprint for how society should always be. It seems to me the Buddha was more concerned with how to best live within existing social structures so as to minimise unwholesome conduct and conflict, as opposed to recommending these structures for all time. The Dhamma is timeless. Indian social norms are not.

In parabhava sutta Lord Budda sdvises how lay people can get in to marriage, ( in proper age, but no old man with young woman etc). A proper family with a controlled family status has always refined people.
Indeed but does that mean the social norms of Iron Age India must be copied, or should the Dhamma teach us how to best work with the social systems we find ourselves with? For example, in the west does that mean abolishing gay marriage or does it mean using the Dhamma so as to have a wholesome gay marriage? Does it mean re-introducing arranged marriages, which we haven’t had here for centuries, or using the Dhamma to find good partners to have good marriages with?

Metta

:)
At the time of Lord Buddha the style of marriages were based on the Hindu society. At that time the women of young age even before puberty had been given in marriage for various brahmanic requirements. One of these were keeping to family of same caste and the other were woman slavery . Lord budda managed to get the liberation of women through Buddhism.
I surely understand from yr. observation that their are some socialistic values of the iron age still observed through rituals, which we have to change. But it is my view that the best platform or bench mark for sex is sensual desire to be understood through Panca upadanaskanda.
With metta.
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by Mahabrahma »

Real Buddhist Ordination rules on gender and sexuality only have to do with celibacy, morality, and honour. If one can maintain celibacy, Buddha would let them join, and celibacy can only be maintained through perfect sense control and compassion for oneself and others, not bigotry such as homophobia or putting those down who have abnormal or mutilated genitals, or any other bodily misunderstandings or hurts that have happened to the body. And do you think Buddha never had a gay thought? Have you been clear of such thoughts all your life? Buddhism is about taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, and once you take refuge no one should ever take you away from your home, for you which is such peace. Anyone barring someone from ordaining as a Buddhist based on anything except for Spiritual qualification is ignorant and non-Buddhist, pushing a non-Buddhist doctorine that you should steer clear of. It is difficult to attain Perfection, but such a thing can only be done by following the True Teachings of the Buddha, which come from and are only Metta and compassion.
Last edited by Mahabrahma on Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Gay and Buddhism

Post by Dan74 »

Mahabrahma wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:38 am Real Buddhist Ordination rules on gender and sexuality only have to do with celibacy, morality, and honour. If one can maintain celibacy, Buddha would let them join, and celibacy can only be maintained through perfect sense control and compassion for oneself and others, not bigotry such as homophobia or putting those down who have abnormal or mutilated genitals, or any other bodily misunderstandings or hurts that have happened to the body. And do you think Buddha never had a gay thought? Have you been clear of such thoughts all your life? Buddhism is about taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, and once you take refuge no one should ever take you away from your home, for you which is such peace. Anyone barring someone from ordaining as a Buddhist based on anything except for Spiritual qualification is ignorant and non-Buddhist, pushing a non-Buddhist doctorine that you should steer clear of. It is difficult to attain Perfection, but such a thing can only be done by following the True Teachings of the Buddha, which come from and are only Metta and compassion.
I 99% agree. I think the Buddha had to consider other things too. For example, how the monks and the monastic order appeared to the lay community, avoiding a bad reputation and rumours, etc. He had to consider not only fairness to individual monastics but the big picture too that inevitably involves contemporary social mores. Of course, we don't know for certain which rules really do come from the Buddha, which were perhaps applied to a specific situation and then became a general rule, without such intention from the Buddha and which actually came later.
_/|\_
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