Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby seeker242 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:52 pm

Fu Ri Shin wrote:One needs to understand the context in which I posed that question. A transgender individual was asked about the topic of their core value of gender identity being balanced with identification-caused suffering. The implication of this question, intended or not, is that the transgender population is more hung up over gender identity than the non-transgender population.


I don't think that was the implication. The implications was that ANY self identification with the any of the 5 Skandha, causes suffering. That is what he meant. So to say "I am transgender. I am man, I am woman, I am (insert whatever here) makes suffering. So he was addressing not the "transgender" part but the "I am" part.
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Simon » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:50 pm

Thank you, Sara, for your reply. It is much appreciated.

Going :offtopic:

Can anyone tell me how to change my board name as we now have 2 Simons.

Thank you. :oops:
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Nemo » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:04 pm

I think it would be hard to stay sane. The constant social pressure to conform to being something that you are not, the lack of acceptance and getting stink eye when you go out to get a cup of coffee. I would probably become fixated on my sexual identity and want to yell it from the rooftops. Not that I'm not fixated on it actually, only in a more "acceptable" manner. I was celibate for a time. That gets really strange after a year or so. I really experienced a weird feeling where I didn't know who I was sometimes minus the sexual component.

How do you keep yourself sane Sara? Oh, and what are your romantic prospects like? It must be really complicated.
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Simon E. » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:24 pm

Simon wrote:Thank you, Sara, for your reply. It is much appreciated.

Going :offtopic:

Can anyone tell me how to change my board name as we now have 2 Simons.

Thank you. :oops:

It has to be done by a global moderator at your request Simon....I would offer to change mine as Simon is not my real name , but I have already changed it once... :smile:
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:12 am

seeker242 wrote:
Fu Ri Shin wrote:I don't think that was the implication. The implications was that ANY self identification with the any of the 5 Skandha, causes suffering. That is what he meant. So to say "I am transgender. I am man, I am woman, I am (insert whatever here) makes suffering. So he was addressing not the "transgender" part but the "I am" part.

I don't necessarily think Astus intended to imply it, but it was implied. This thread is specifically for asking a transgender Buddhist questions, and his comment was as such (underlining by me):
Astus wrote:How do you balance the teaching on identification causing suffering and the gender identity that seems a core value for you?

It's not as if every Buddhist on this site gets asked about their identity expressions contributing to their suffering and this was just another one of those routine questions. Additionally, the language implies quite the opposite.

Again, I don't assume any of this is on purpose. Social conditioning runs deep around these issues of different and unequally treated demographics, even if the social conditioning is simply a lack of familiarity with minorities that leads to accidental bigotry. I just take it upon myself to point it out when I see age old attitudes resurfacing so that we might stop it sooner than later.
"Once delusion is extinguished, your wisdom naturally arises and you don’t differentiate suffering and joy. Actually, this joy and this suffering, they are the same."

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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Simon E. » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:42 am

:good:
Someone has asked in good faith for support over an issue which strikes deep for them.
I dont think simply dismissing that request in pursuit of some platonic ideal state of being is skillful.
We start from where we are. Embodied.
And if anyone is tempted to reply that they are not their body, then I would invite them to hold their finger over a candle flame...Maya does not cease by identifying with idealistic states.
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Fruitzilla » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:59 am

Simon E. wrote::good:
Someone has asked in good faith for support over an issue which strikes deep for them.
I dont think simply dismissing that request in pursuit of some platonic ideal state of being is skillful.
We start from where we are. Embodied.
And if anyone is tempted to reply that they are not their body, then I would invite them to hold their finger over a candle flame...Maya does not cease by identifying with idealistic states.

:good:

Couldn't agree more. :cheers: to being human.
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Simon E. » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:25 pm

Well no amount of identifying with the disembodied or with little elves or vap'rous spirits actually gives us any real choice in the matter does it Fruitzilla ?
We dont actually consciously function in the world as skandhas.
My first teacher CTR identified with the Native American chief Sitting Bull. He liked the name.
He liked the idea of the solidity. The proximity to the earth. He would (often ) urge us to emulate Sitting Bull as the antidote to spiritual materialism. "Start where you are " he would say.
And if where you are is in a transgendered body then that is where you start.
With all that brings..both positive and negative.
Not by aping incorporeal angels by an act of will or identification.
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Sara H » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:08 pm

Nemo wrote:I think it would be hard to stay sane. The constant social pressure to conform to being something that you are not, the lack of acceptance and getting stink eye when you go out to get a cup of coffee. I would probably become fixated on my sexual identity and want to yell it from the rooftops. Not that I'm not fixated on it actually, only in a more "acceptable" manner. I was celibate for a time. That gets really strange after a year or so. I really experienced a weird feeling where I didn't know who I was sometimes minus the sexual component.

How do you keep yourself sane Sara? Oh, and what are your romantic prospects like? It must be really complicated.
\

I sit.

And I take Refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, the most important of which is my Spouse.

She keeps me sane,
As does my sitting, and taking refuge in the Eternal,
and calling and talking to monks, reading Dharma books, and talks,
and listening to Dharma talks.

And importantly, what keeps me sane is teaching myself to refrain from willful action.

That makes me sane-er rather than the opposite.

As far as my romantic prospects, I am married in an open relationship,
and we have a pretty active lifestyle.
I am Bi, and get hit on by both guys and women.

Being honest about myself both to myself and others and sitting through the fear has been very helpful for my confidence.
So romantic prospects are good I guess.
*smiles*

In Gasshō,
Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby underthetree » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:17 pm

Brilliant. May it all be auspicious.
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby seeker242 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:44 pm

Fu Ri Shin wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
Fu Ri Shin wrote:I don't think that was the implication. The implications was that ANY self identification with the any of the 5 Skandha, causes suffering. That is what he meant. So to say "I am transgender. I am man, I am woman, I am (insert whatever here) makes suffering. So he was addressing not the "transgender" part but the "I am" part.

I don't necessarily think Astus intended to imply it, but it was implied. This thread is specifically for asking a transgender Buddhist questions, and his comment was as such (underlining by me):
Astus wrote:How do you balance the teaching on identification causing suffering and the gender identity that seems a core value for you?

It's not as if every Buddhist on this site gets asked about their identity expressions contributing to their suffering and this was just another one of those routine questions. Additionally, the language implies quite the opposite.

Again, I don't assume any of this is on purpose. Social conditioning runs deep around these issues of different and unequally treated demographics, even if the social conditioning is simply a lack of familiarity with minorities that leads to accidental bigotry. I just take it upon myself to point it out when I see age old attitudes resurfacing so that we might stop it sooner than later.


The idea that self identification, with anything including gender, causes suffering is a very old idea and a correct one that is to be cultivated! This is the teaching of Buddhism! It would not be appropriate to stop it.

Simon E. wrote::good:
Someone has asked in good faith for support over an issue which strikes deep for them.
I dont think simply dismissing that request in pursuit of some platonic ideal state of being is skillful.
We start from where we are. Embodied.
And if anyone is tempted to reply that they are not their body, then I would invite them to hold their finger over a candle flame...Maya does not cease by identifying with idealistic states.


No, Maya does not cease by identifying with idealistic states. Maya ceases by dis-identifying with the 5 Skandhas because that identification, is itself, maya. "I am not my body", this is "right view" and a view that should be cultivated! We start from where we are. Embodied. And we work to attain "the deathless". That is the whole purpose of practicing Buddhism! If you hold your finger over a candle it gets burned. It's just simple cause and effect, some type of identification is not necessary. :smile:
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm

Are you suggesting that there is something/someone to dis-identify with the skandhas ?
That would be an atta wouldn't it ?
There is only the skandhas. The view is to see that.
Disindentification then must happen . It will happen.
The ego, the self sense, is not a thing..its an activity. The view comes in dropping that particular activity. To see that all that is is a great emptiness.
And that in turn starts with where we are.
With the inbreath and the outbreath...At the point between the in and out breath is where we come into being by an act of identification with that which arises.
We need to see clearly what we do in order to stop doing it.
We are never separate from that which is our ground, and it is Void.
But we need the View. We cant lift ourselves by our own bootstraps.
So, as we are, we ask for transmission. As we are.
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby saltspring » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:02 pm

Thanks for that post Simon E
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:22 pm

seeker242 wrote:The idea that self identification, with anything including gender, causes suffering is a very old idea and a correct one that is to be cultivated! This is the teaching of Buddhism! It would not be appropriate to stop it.

It would be inappropriate to stop ignorance and bigotry? I don't know what Buddhism you've been studying.
"Once delusion is extinguished, your wisdom naturally arises and you don’t differentiate suffering and joy. Actually, this joy and this suffering, they are the same."

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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby seeker242 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:49 pm

Fu Ri Shin wrote:
seeker242 wrote:The idea that self identification, with anything including gender, causes suffering is a very old idea and a correct one that is to be cultivated! This is the teaching of Buddhism! It would not be appropriate to stop it.

It would be inappropriate to stop ignorance and bigotry? I don't know what Buddhism you've been studying.


Saying that "personality belief" AKA sakkāya-diṭṭhi, causes suffering, is quite in line with the teaching of Buddha. If fact, this is exactly what he taught. It is not called a fetter of the mind for no reason.

:namaste:

Simon E. wrote:Are you suggesting that there is something/someone to dis-identify with the skandhas ?
That would be an atta wouldn't it ?


No, because I am only suggesting that the activity of identification causes suffering and the stopping of that identification activity, stops it. :smile:

There is only the skandhas. The view is to see that.
Disindentification then must happen . It will happen.
The ego, the self sense, is not a thing..its an activity. The view comes in dropping that particular activity.


Yes, that is correct. But if one continues to say "I am this, I am that" they are not dropping that activity, they are supporting it, causing it to continue, feeding the fire with more wood. To drop that activity means to stop saying "I am this, I am that.". To deliberately stop putting wood on the fire. "I am this, I am that" is putting more wood on the fire.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:56 pm

seeker242 wrote:Saying that "personality belief" AKA sakkāya-diṭṭhi, causes suffering, is quite in line with the teaching of Buddha. If fact, this is exactly what he taught. It is not called a fetter of the mind for no reason.

For the last time, this fact doesn't excuse explicit or veiled bigotry. I can see you enjoy overgeneralizing spiritual teachings to apply to unrelated civil rights issues in a way that pleases your sense of Buddhist identity.
"Once delusion is extinguished, your wisdom naturally arises and you don’t differentiate suffering and joy. Actually, this joy and this suffering, they are the same."

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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Will » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:47 am

Fu Ri Shin wrote:
seeker242 wrote:Saying that "personality belief" AKA sakkāya-diṭṭhi, causes suffering, is quite in line with the teaching of Buddha. If fact, this is exactly what he taught. It is not called a fetter of the mind for no reason.

For the last time, this fact doesn't excuse explicit or veiled bigotry. I can see you enjoy overgeneralizing spiritual teachings to apply to unrelated civil rights issues in a way that pleases your sense of Buddhist identity.


There is nothing the Dharma does not apply to. If Buddha's teachings did not help us in all of life, what good would it be?
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby catmoon » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:36 am

(Puts on moderator hat)

As far as I know, the doctrine of non-attachment to self is in fact a core Buddhist doctrine. Any practioner, transgender or not, has to confront this one, and it is perfectly fine to ask a transgender person how that works out in their practice. A certain bias may show itself if the questioner assumes that the issue is somehow larger for a transgender person.

So, I would like to ask that

1) There be no further accusations of bigotry

2) That questions should be carefully examined before posting to be sure they do not contain challenges or attacks on lifestyle choices, and that they are not susceptible to mis-interpretation along those lines.

And BTW Sarah tnks for the thread, its been a bit of an eye-opener for me and I think you have handled things very well.
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby Virgo » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:38 am

catmoon wrote:(Puts on moderator hat)


Just because you have a blue wool knit hat. :thinking: :rolling:

Kevin
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Re: Ask a Transgender Buddhist

Postby catmoon » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:49 am

Virgo wrote:
catmoon wrote:(Puts on moderator hat)


Just because you have a blue wool knit hat. :thinking: :rolling:

Kevin


Sorry, I guess I should have said moderator toque.
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