Pandaka Interacting with Monks

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Jacey
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Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by Jacey »

I am a transgender woman (that is to say, I was assigned male at birth on the basis of my genitalia, but no longer identify as male and instead identify as a woman and present myself as such). Due to a surgery I had, I no longer have testes. I believe I am generally perceived as a woman by strangers.

I do not want to have a discussion about whether I count as a pandaka, or whether that is a relevant category in modern society. I do not want to have a discussion about the place of transgender people in society or in the Theravada community. I do not want to have a discussion about whether I am acting unskillfully or have acted unskillfully in the pursuit of my transition. My goal is to avoid offense (my own, or causing a monk to offend). For that reason I wish to act on the assumption that I am a pandaka, so that I can find out how to act accordingly.

1. As a pandaka, should I avoid interacting with monks? In person, or all together?
2. If it is allowable for me to interact with monks, do I need to take any special precautions to avoid causing them to offend? Do I need to identify myself as a pandaka so that they can take appropriate precautions, or is appearing as a woman sufficient?
3. Will it cause offense if I give to monks, directly or indirectly?

Thank you for considering my questions.
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by JamesTheGiant »

Just don't shake hands or make physical contact. Monks usually avoid touching women.
Wear something that covers your legs at least past the knees, and don't show any cleavage.

Other than that, there's nothing special that would apply.
There are a lot of transgender people in Thailand and they interact with monks with no problem.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by Ceisiwr »

Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm I am a transgender woman (that is to say, I was assigned male at birth on the basis of my genitalia, but no longer identify as male and instead identify as a woman and present myself as such). Due to a surgery I had, I no longer have testes. I believe I am generally perceived as a woman by strangers.

I do not want to have a discussion about whether I count as a pandaka, or whether that is a relevant category in modern society. I do not want to have a discussion about the place of transgender people in society or in the Theravada community. I do not want to have a discussion about whether I am acting unskillfully or have acted unskillfully in the pursuit of my transition. My goal is to avoid offense (my own, or causing a monk to offend). For that reason I wish to act on the assumption that I am a pandaka, so that I can find out how to act accordingly.

1. As a pandaka, should I avoid interacting with monks? In person, or all together?
2. If it is allowable for me to interact with monks, do I need to take any special precautions to avoid causing them to offend? Do I need to identify myself as a pandaka so that they can take appropriate precautions, or is appearing as a woman sufficient?
3. Will it cause offense if I give to monks, directly or indirectly?

Thank you for considering my questions.
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zamis
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by zamis »

Welcome to the forum. Ditto on above posts.
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mikenz66
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by mikenz66 »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:58 pm There are a lot of transgender people in Thailand and they interact with monks with no problem.
And in New Zealand. Thai society is quite open to gay/trans/etc. I wouldn't be so sure if it were a Sri Lankan monastery, as I have had a lot less interaction with their culture.

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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by BKh »

Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm I do not want to have a discussion about …
Just in case you weren't aware, the SuttaCentral discussion forum is much more trans-friendly than here. Not that it's perfect, but it's far better than here.

As far as I know, any rules monks have regarding pandakas are parallel to the rules about women. So as long as you are presenting as a woman there can be no issues.

I am less familiar with the nuns rules, but in practice they may not care so much. I believe that their rules for interacting with pandakas would match their rules for interacting with men, which don't always parallel the monks rules for interacting with women. So logistically that might present more technical issues. However, the only problem would be physical contact (that they made with lust) or intentionally being alone in a secluded place. It's always a good policy for everyone to avoid physical contact with monastics.

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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by Sam Vara »

BKh wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 8:07 pm
Just in case you weren't aware, the SuttaCentral discussion forum is much more trans-friendly than here. Not that it's perfect, but it's far better than here.
People might want to know that our most outspoken anti-trans member has been invited to take a holiday from posting, and hasn't been seen for a couple of weeks. :anjali:
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by JamesTheGiant »

mikenz66 wrote: I wouldn't be so sure if it were a Sri Lankan monastery, as I have had a lot less interaction with their culture.
Yes I agree on this. A trans person might be treated not so great there. Sri Lankan buddists are quite traditionally conservative.
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BlackBird
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by BlackBird »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 8:18 pm
mikenz66 wrote: I wouldn't be so sure if it were a Sri Lankan monastery, as I have had a lot less interaction with their culture.
Yes I agree on this. A trans person might be treated not so great there. Sri Lankan buddists are quite traditionally conservative.
Burma too from what I understand.
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retrofuturist
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by retrofuturist »

G'day Jacey,
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm 1. As a pandaka, should I avoid interacting with monks? In person, or all together?
Do not let this stop you.
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm 2. If it is allowable for me to interact with monks, do I need to take any special precautions to avoid causing them to offend? Do I need to identify myself as a pandaka so that they can take appropriate precautions, or is appearing as a woman sufficient?
Their Vinaya restrictions will be more prohibitive in relation to females than males, so I see no reason why "appearing as a woman" would not be sufficient.
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm 3. Will it cause offense if I give to monks, directly or indirectly?
I would not see "pandaka" issues as being a factor here.
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm Thank you for considering my questions.
No problem, and all the best. You might want to investigate how Thai "ladyboys" deal with such issues - as Thailand is known both for its Theravada Buddhism and those "appearing as a woman". In light of this, I'm sure your situation is less unique than you may imagine it to be.

Metta,
Paul. :)
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robertk
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by robertk »

retrofuturist wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:54 pm G'day Jacey,
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm 1. As a pandaka, should I avoid interacting with monks? In person, or all together?
Do not let this stop you.
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm 2. If it is allowable for me to interact with monks, do I need to take any special precautions to avoid causing them to offend? Do I need to identify myself as a pandaka so that they can take appropriate precautions, or is appearing as a woman sufficient?
Their Vinaya restrictions will be more prohibitive in relation to females than males, so I see no reason why "appearing as a woman" would not be sufficient.
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm 3. Will it cause offense if I give to monks, directly or indirectly?
I would not see "pandaka" issues as being a factor here.
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm Thank you for considering my questions.
No problem, and all the best. You might want to investigate how Thai "ladyboys" deal with such issues - as Thailand is known both for its Theravada Buddhism and those "appearing as a woman". In light of this, I'm sure your situation is less unique than you may imagine it to be.

Metta,
Paul. :)
:anjali: :anjali: :anjali:
It is a non-issue. I lived in Thailand for years and, as other posters have noted, you will be treated as a woman in any interaction with bhikkhus.
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by Suddh »

It might be worth knowing that monks are encouraged in the Vinaya not to get closely associated with a paṇḍaka. Also I think all the Vinaya rules regarding women apply, although usually with a lesser offence, so it'd be a good idea to read the Buddhist Monastic Code on www.dhammatalks.org
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by Suddh »

retrofuturist wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:54 pm G'day Jacey,
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm 1. As a pandaka, should I avoid interacting with monks? In person, or all together?
Do not let this stop you.
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm 2. If it is allowable for me to interact with monks, do I need to take any special precautions to avoid causing them to offend? Do I need to identify myself as a pandaka so that they can take appropriate precautions, or is appearing as a woman sufficient?
Their Vinaya restrictions will be more prohibitive in relation to females than males, so I see no reason why "appearing as a woman" would not be sufficient.
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm 3. Will it cause offense if I give to monks, directly or indirectly?
I would not see "pandaka" issues as being a factor here.
Jacey wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:02 pm Thank you for considering my questions.
No problem, and all the best. You might want to investigate how Thai "ladyboys" deal with such issues - as Thailand is known both for its Theravada Buddhism and those "appearing as a woman". In light of this, I'm sure your situation is less unique than you may imagine it to be.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Indeed. I stayed in a strict, conservative Thai Forest monastery in the south where we regularly cleaned the laypeople's toilets. My job as an initiate was to clean the toilet shoes, and several very large pairs were especially reserved for the ladies' side.
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by Jacey »

Suddh wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:49 am It might be worth knowing that monks are encouraged in the Vinaya not to get closely associated with a paṇḍaka. Also I think all the Vinaya rules regarding women apply, although usually with a lesser offence, so it'd be a good idea to read the Buddhist Monastic Code on www.dhammatalks.org
The relevant passage seems to be discussed here, in the section titled "E. Agocara: Improper Range". https://www.dhammatalks.org/vinaya/bmc/Section0072.html So long as I (correctly) identify myself as unmarried, the same restrictions apply as to pandakas, and the monks should be able to apply the rules in an informed manner.
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mikifare
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Re: Pandaka Interacting with Monks

Post by mikifare »

Jacey wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:17 pm
Suddh wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:49 am It might be worth knowing that monks are encouraged in the Vinaya not to get closely associated with a paṇḍaka. Also I think all the Vinaya rules regarding women apply, although usually with a lesser offence, so it'd be a good idea to read the Buddhist Monastic Code on www.dhammatalks.org fethiye tours
The relevant passage seems to be discussed here, in the section titled "E. Agocara: Improper Range". https://www.dhammatalks.org/vinaya/bmc/Section0072.html So long as I (correctly) identify myself as unmarried, the same restrictions apply as to pandakas, and the monks should be able to apply the rules in an informed manner.
I was looking for that, thanks for the link
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