Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Dazzle » Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:12 pm

.
My own personal view remains that if a relationship is loving and non-harming it is a matter for the 2 people concerned. People are born with gay, lesbian, or transexual tendancies and they should not be condemned for this nor made to feel 'other'. Trying to forcibly make people change to being heterosexual doesn't work either and results in repression, secrecy and suffering. As does expecting people who haven't taken monastic vows to just suddenly give up sex. Lay practitioners aren't generally expected to refrain from sex within loving relationships. This is also my offline observation from centres I have attended.



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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:11 am

3. It is unsuitable to have intercourse in an inappropriate orifice, such as engaging in the manner of animals.




Strange since animals have sex the hetrosexual way and the homosexual way, so vagina and anal sex so does this mean that all orifices are a no no?




It doesnt really say what an inappropriate orifice is, however once again my earlier point still stands. Why does it matter where you put it, if you claim something is unwholesome or bad you have to prove why


To me it just leads you down the line of reasoning that anything that isnt done the hetro/vagina way is coming from a negative place, so in essence gays are unwholesome

Or gay sex is unwholesome but not gays, which is the same as the Christian view of "hate the sin, love the sinner". It still demonizes homosexuals


Sorry if i seem to go on about this but religions telling me im sick, evil and/or wrong/unwholesome gets on your nerves after a while (since i know im not) even more so when their justification is "because it is" or "this old book says so"


Also more annoying because these judgements have come from people who are not gay so they dont know what its like to me a gay man or women its just outside, conditioned, judgements


metta

P.S. i know its ignorant to let it get on my nerves
Those who are lust-infatuated fall back to the swirling current (of samsara) like a spider on its self-spun web. This too the wise cut off. Without any longing, they abandon all dukkha and renounce the world

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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby sraddha » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:15 am

Hi Dazzle,

I still don't see how this passage applies to homosexuality:

3. It is unsuitable to have intercourse in an inappropriate orifice, such as engaging in the manner of animals.


This can apply to homosexuality only in the loosest sense. Animals tend to have mostly heterosexual sex during mating season...I don't get it. :shrug: Am I missing something?
Has this passage been over interpreted?
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Dazzle » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:32 am

Hi Sraddha,

I was just quoting the complete section of Sexual Misconduct from 'Dakini Teachings' from which the quote you had given was incomplete and had missed out parts.

Regarding the animals bit - that puzzled me totally to be quite honest. :?:


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Last edited by Dazzle on Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Dazzle » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:40 am

clw_uk wrote:
3. It is unsuitable to have intercourse in an inappropriate orifice, such as engaging in the manner of animals.



Strange since animals have sex the hetrosexual way and the homosexual way, so vagina and anal sex so does this mean that all orifices are a no no?


It doesnt really say what an inappropriate orifice is, however once again my earlier point still stands. Why does it matter where you put it, if you claim something is unwholesome or bad you have to prove why


To me it just leads you down the line of reasoning that anything that isnt done the hetro/vagina way is coming from a negative place, so in essence gays are unwholesome

Or gay sex is unwholesome but not gays, which is the same as the Christian view of "hate the sin, love the sinner". It still demonizes homosexuals


Sorry if i seem to go on about this but religions telling me im sick, evil and/or wrong/unwholesome gets on your nerves after a while (since i know im not) even more so when their justification is "because it is" or "this old book says so"


Also more annoying because these judgements have come from people who are not gay so they dont know what its like to me a gay man or women its just outside, conditioned, judgements


metta

P.S. i know its ignorant to let it get on my nerves




Don't worry about it, my friend - just practice!
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:10 am

Dazz, thanks so much for providing the whole passage. It answered my curiosities about all the rules.

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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby sraddha » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:01 pm

Hi Dazzle,

I only quoted the relevant section of the passage regarding the "wrong orifice" since people were wondering where the passage was coming from.

It was no Mahayana sutra as I stated and it was given to a NUN (Yeshe Tsogyal) regarding heterosexual behavior [u]for tantric practice...to use a passage meant for a nun regarding tantric practice is silly, it would be like using the Vinaya for monks to judge lay people's behaviors.


I agree with you, Buddhism is about the practice, the more you practice, the less it matters whether you are heterosexual or homosexual, whether you used to be a rabid murderer or a butcher, it's about slowly realizing that we are all enslaved and that we have to free ourselves and fast.
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Luke » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:33 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:It is true, that HHDL has identified gay sex as sexual misconduct.
I believe this is based on wrong orifice so it's reasonable to assume this would apply to certain kinds of straight sex too.

I'm not an expert with this stuff, but yes, I also think it's based on the "wrong orifice" argument.

HHDL says that it's bad for straight people to have oral and anal sex, but I'm sure that most of his straight followers (including myself) continue to engage in at least one of these practices. My feeling is that this "wrong orifice" stuff goes back to a time when hygiene wasn't what it was today, so these rules prevented people from becoming ill. For modern people who bathe regularly, I don't think these hygiene issues apply any longer (although safe sex is still very important).

Pretty much all of the major world religions aren't crazy about homosexuality, and ancient Indian society at the time of the Buddha seems to have been similarly conservative for the most part. I think HHDL is in a difficult postion: He wants to remain respectful of the old Buddhist masters' teachings, but at the same time, he is also open to modern viewpoints which can be supported by logical reasoning. However, His Holiness has never had any kind of sex and probably avoids reading about sex, so he can't really do any good "research" on the subject. Perhaps a Tibetan Ngakpa could shed more light on the topic.

I also read that HHDL once said that it's fine for a man to have sex with a female prostitute if he only has vaginal sex with her while using a condom (I would assume that HHDL was referring to an unmarried man).

Other lamas are similarly conflicted about the issue of homosexuality. Once one of my sangha members asked my lama whether she should "do anything" about her friend who is a lesbian. My lama's response was, "That's her business,"--which I interpret to mean "leave her alone and don't go and annoy her with the 'don't be gay' lecture." However, my lama didn't clearly say that homosexuality wasn't something negative either. Even though my lama is not a monk, I think he's also in a difficult position because he lives in a country where being gay is still very much a taboo. It's not easy being a modern lama...
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby BFS » Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:04 pm

Excerpts from two interviews with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
From March 1998 Shambhala Sun -


During the meeting the Dalai Lama confirmed for us another sexual proscription according to Buddhist tradition: heterosexuals are prohibited from having sex more than five consecutive times with a partner. Jose Cabezon, a gay Buddhist scholar, promptly asked him, “If the purpose of the proscriptions is to reduce sexual activity, how does it make sense to allow a man to have sex with his wife up to five times a night, while saying that it is sexual misconduct for a man to have sex with another man even once in his life?”
The Dalai Lama roared with laughter, saying,”You have a point there!”


In preparation for the meeting the Dalai Lama had traced the sexual misconduct teachings back to the Indian Buddhist scholar Ashvaghosha, and said they may reflect the moral codes of India at the time, “which stress moral purity.” He was open to the possibility of Buddhist tradition changing eventually in response to science, modern social history, and discussion within the various Buddhist sanghas. He urged all of us to go forth and advocate our interests, basing our action on Buddhist principles of “rigorous investigation and non-violence.” He noted that he is not unilaterally empowered to change tradition: “Change can only come on the collective level,” he said.



His Holiness the Dalai Lama answers some questions on the subject :The Vancouver Sun 2004
excerpts from reporter Douglas Todd's interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama:


DT: I have two questions. The most controversial one. I do not know what you think about homosexuality, it is big issue in Canada and with the Bishop, you are meeting Bishop Michael Ingham, he approves of blessing same sex relationships, homosexual relationships, and I do not know what you think about that?


Dalai Lama: Yes, even as a heterosexual context. Even if one uses one’s own hand this is sexual misconduct. So if you are a genuine believer, then you must avoid this. If you are a non-believer, then two persons male or female, they get maximum joy through this technique, they do not create violence, (laughs). One thing I would like to express, sometimes due to that kind of behaviour there is discrimination in jobs, or within the family this creates some problem purely based on that sexual reason, - if people discriminate based on sexual orientation, that is extreme and it is wrong. Whether same sex marriage is OK or not is dependent upon each country’s law.

DT: It is not a big thing for you?

DL: Even the whole concept of marriage is particular to a particular society and their unity, so whether or not homosexual couples should be accorded a marriage status, should really be dealt within that particular community and country.
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:42 pm

To add a little backround...initially HHDL had considered homesexuality as in a Tibetan or personal antedotal way. This act was considered perhaps a message of dominance and submission f found in the general population.. The author of seven years in Tibet mentions in one sentence in his book on the matter of Tibet, Homosexuality was not uncommon amongst monks. Thinking of it, as 25% of males in Tibet then went into a monestary and with the serf type soceital structure as perhaps 10% of peoples generally present with homo sexual preference such would seem to be probably a true statement. All homosexuals probably entered into a mosestary there being no gay community to assimilate into. So HHDL initially was strongly against it seemingly, but changed his views when exposed to the industrial society application of this thing, which is not in that context. As in either a monestic context or a dominant submissive context both would be in all sense of the word wrong in producing of harm.

It seems to stand that he is stateing from a buddhist perspective it is not preferred. But many have this as a means to happiness and thusly all partners in such things must be equally protected by rule of law. In a social sense then it is not wrong or right.

Suchly it can be reasonably assumed he would favor such a thing if it was presented in some hypothetical society in which government is seperate from religion. able to have gay marriage with no constraints.

I find it funny some seem to approach this thing only from a gender biased manner as if female gay sex did not occur.

I suggest the beast or animal reference is in the form of how cows oxes sheep and other animals in a agricultural environment are observed to be having sex from a rear or back entrance. Humans who are not very obese favor the front or face to face manner. Hence the fat deposits on the female which favor such a entrance.Those fat deposits do not in any manner favor breast feeding but are clearly to support a front entrance as propogation is more likely from this approach, due to anatomical constraints. Wide hips are only thought to enhance birthing ability and not as sexual provocation. Breast fat deposits are thought sexual provocations to a male. A rear or back to front entrance would suggest a other orifice useage to a largly thin agricultural culture generally. Though in a society of very obese peoples with perhaps differing procreation organ size, that may be the ordinary manner for ordinary sex. Fat deposits being everywhere and belly sizes perhaps prohibiting normal or favored for propogation, approach. If a equally divided group is managed the front entrance or face to face entrance in humans will produce more pregencencies given a equal number of penetrations it is thought.

So some of this by those two examples is probably lost in translation. Is is very hard and impossible for many people to look at sex other than personally as it tends to the personal.

At a advanced spiritual level I'd suggest any sex is not very important. Asking monks who are celibate about such things is probably not best regardless of their compassionate nature. Things may just not be understood as they do not engage. Concepts such as female gay sex may be quite alien to culture and to experience. SEx usually functions in relationship to allocation of foods and continuance of gene pool or as domination and submission. Sex just for sex is a foreign notion to most cultures.

What would the buddha do...the buddha would not have sex, as a buddha there is no need after enlightenment. In some stories there existed at least one monk who was infatuated with the buddha seemingly. He did not encourage or like it, discouraged it in the personal... but the monk was at the end of the day still a monk. That is what I have heard.

He would advocate as circumstances require. If there are very few buddhists and few to propogate the teaching amongst the laiety he would probably advocate against gay sex as the dharma may be threatened by men and women not having children in comparison to theists and such having children..... lots of them. In our present circumstance he/she would probably not advocate against it as it is of no matter and not indicitive of submission or dominance.
In any event he/she would not advocate legal sanction against such thing in any form.

So that is what I think the buddha would do.

As a aside of sorts that speaks to the personal nature of sex....the western preoccupation with no hair first on the female and now progressing to the male..... on only certain parts of the body directly in opposition to other parts of the body, which ironically were kept hairless in the female, in ancient greece speaks......of strange subliminal things which we can only hint at and never grasp it seems.
Quite strange in retrospect it will eventually be found to be i assume years and years from now. This thing of sex and its application to the western mindset.

The advent of manly short head hair can be directly tied to the industrial revolution and the general hazard of having such in factories and assembly rooms of such a society it is thought. Such perhaps could even be traced to the female in their useage for the first time in factories and assembly rooms during world war 2 when men due to war useage did not always fill those jobs. Which continues to this day. But with significant variance as considerably fewer are in such occupations. So we have variance of all sort of head hair currently. Military around machines tanks guns... very short both sexes. Others maybe maybe not.

Body hair equilivency with sexual preference in western societies(some not all)....quite strange.
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:12 am

BFS thanks so much for your remarks :twothumbsup:

And Ron yours are very interesting! Thanks :namaste:

Best,
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby mudra » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:23 am

To reiterate a position stated above, it really is mainly "the wrong orifice issue".

It's really stupid to consider this to be a singling out and discrimination of homosexuals. There are plenty of prominent homosexuals in the Tibetan Buddhist scene, a couple of them are close to HHDL, and HHDL couldn't care less. He is just referring to this as technical issue, he is horrified that people would use an issue of someone's sexuality to treat anyone unjustly.

In HHDL's position, he has no right to make unilateral rulings on issues that concern vinaya. He tread carefully, and rightly so - imagine if he created a schism in the monastic community!! Yet he has pushed considerably for review on many of these sensitive issues (such as that perennieal one about reviving the Bhikuni tradition).

But let's get something straight (oops sorry), and this is kind of crucial. This wrong orifice thing is much more of an issue when it comes to vows, in other words there is much more emphasis on it being 'wrong' from a proscriptive stand point rather than it being a 'natural wrong'.

The vows in question here would be the pratimoksha vows and Tantric vows. When one takes the lay pratimoksha vows it should be explained clearly as to the type of contact etc (there are degrees etc, depending on the orifice and so forth). From what I understand these are not discussed with non-upasaka/upasikas.

Certain types of sexual dysfunction such as that in which arousal is only possible in the most extreme manner, are considered obstacles for vows arising in the mind.

In terms of Tantra the wrong orifice thing very much relates to the different winds and channels, and from that perspective one would be really messing up the winds.

As to marriage, there is no Buddhist marriage. You can get a monk or respected lay person to "bless" the marriage but there are no marriage rites in the BUddhist canon. The Buddha's position was simply that you go with local culture and mores.
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Huifeng » Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:09 am

jacx wrote:The "wrong orifice" edict is from Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosabhasyam. But I don't know whereabouts in that massive text to find it. Nor do I have access to a copy.

So, neither a Tibetan nor a Mahayana text I suppose!

Also, I never want to perform that particular Google search again! :emb:


If you have the English translation by Prude, of de la Vallee Poussin's French of the Abhidharma kosa bhasya, it is Vol II, pp. 651ff.

"... 2. Intercourse with one's own wife through a forbidden way;330 ..."

This is footnoted n330 to references in the Mahavyutpatti, Siksasamuccaya, and Suttavibhanga.

The Chinese - which de la Vallee Pousin was basing this on, has:

「二於非道行不應行。謂於自妻口及餘道。」
《阿毘達磨俱舍論》卷16〈4 分別業品〉 (CBETA, T29, no. 1558, p. 87, a16-17)

"2. It is inappropriate to engage in intercourse through the wrong orifice, namely: one's wife's mouth or other orifice."

Maybe de la Vallee Poussin was a bit bashful about leaving that out.

And the Skt:

"2. anaṅge vā gacchati svāmapi bhāryām apāne mukhe vā"

Elsewhere, there are similar statements, such as this from the Upadesa:

「非道之處,則非女根,女心不樂,強以非理,故名邪婬。」《大智度論》卷13〈1 序品〉 (CBETA, T25, no. 1509, p. 156, c17-18)

"The wrong orifice is not through the female organ, the lady does not like this, and so forcing it [upon her] is inappropriate, therefore it is said to be "sexual misconduct"."

And likewise:
「云何邪婬。此邪婬人。若於自妻。非道而行。或於他妻。道非道行。」《正法念處經》卷1〈1 十善業道品〉 (CBETA, T17, no. 721, p. 2, c19-20)
and
「何者邪行。謂於婦女。非道行婬。彼不隨順。自力強逼。」《正法念處經》卷6〈3 地獄品〉 (CBETA, T17, no. 721, p. 33, c13-15)
both of which describe it as either towards one's wife, or forced.

And in the Satya-siddhi
「邪婬名若眾生非妻與之行婬。是名邪婬。又雖是其妻於非道行婬。亦名邪婬。」《成實論》卷8〈116 十不善道品〉 (CBETA, T32, no. 1646, p. 304, c22-24)

But in one or two of these examples, it is difficult to 100% ascertain if the phrase 非道 is "wrong orifice" or simply "inappropriate manner". I am very sure for the majority of these citations, however.

A couple of things about all these statements:
1. They are not in sutra, but in sastra and upadesa.
2. They only refer to the "wrong orifice" with respect to women, not to men (and even then, to one's own wife).
3. They seem to reject it on the grounds that it is forced upon the women (nowadays a kind of domestic rape).

Thus, they do not really say anything about homosexuality (which in itself it not identical with that particular type of intercourse).

Still, this doesn't say much about "Gay marriage: What would Buddha do?"

Probably he'd still say that any sort of marriage relationship is a bond to samsara and an obstruction to liberation. Still, not at all some instant ticket to hell, or anything like that. One could still practice the path as a lay person, and make a fair degree of progress.

In other words, same as any other marriage! haha!
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Indrajala » Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:31 am

Huifeng wrote:「非道之處,則非女根,女心不樂,強以非理,故名邪婬。」《大智度論》卷13〈1 序品〉 (CBETA, T25, no. 1509, p. 156, c17-18)

"The wrong orifice is not through the female organ, the lady does not like this, and so forcing it [upon her] is inappropriate, therefore it is said to be "sexual misconduct"."


I think the obvious response to this would be two points:

1) What if the wife wants and/or asks for it, or initiates it?

(by modern western standards at least...)

2) Can't the wife decide for herself whether she wants anal or oral sex?


I know Ven. Sheng Yan in his commentary outlines the same definitions about sexual misconduct stating it to be extramarital or using orifices not appropriate for intercourse. Masturbation and homosexual coupling is also out of the question.

However interestingly he also remarks that a monogamous marriage between a man and woman is the only appropriate way for people to conduct themselves in the present day. That's not a traditional Chinese way of thinking where polygamy up until quite recently was expected and encouraged, and it even sounds a bit drenched in Christian influences.

But then he does cite one interesting exception to his arguments in a Mahayana sutra that states prostitution (obviously not with your wife) is only sexual misconduct if you don't pay. But he dismisses it as inapplicable to modern individuals.

In any case even though a modern master like Sheng Yan says it, it is still just his opinion.
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:12 pm

Very interesting, and much gratitude to those who found the original sources. If domestic rape -- or, at least, protecting unwilling wives from oversexed husbands -- was the main concern, then perhaps this is a case where the intention behind the clause is more important than the technicalities? In other words, don't foist on your partner something he/she doesn't want you to do.

FWIW, I've been told that in modern-day China many people still regard oral sex as taboo, on the grounds that it is "unhygenic" or "degrading".

As for Master Sheng Yan, do you think he was reacting specifically to the traditional Chinese context (polygamy)? In that case, he might have been more progressive than it sounds to a Western ear...polygamy was no picnic from the wives' POV.

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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Indrajala » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:43 am

Lazy_eye wrote:Very interesting, and much gratitude to those who found the original sources. If domestic rape -- or, at least, protecting unwilling wives from oversexed husbands -- was the main concern, then perhaps this is a case where the intention behind the clause is more important than the technicalities? In other words, don't foist on your partner something he/she doesn't want you to do.


However, this doesn't say vaginal intercourse with your wife who doesn't want it is sexual misconduct. It just says inappropriate orifice as the lady does not like it. I suspect in this time period such ideas as "domestic rape" did not exist in the languages of India. It was a man's right to take his wife when he pleased. It is still this way in much of the world today.



FWIW, I've been told that in modern-day China many people still regard oral sex as taboo, on the grounds that it is "unhygenic" or "degrading".


The same could be said about America which produces unbelievable amounts of pornography -- some people think it is unhygienic and degrading, but evidently much of society does not.


As for Master Sheng Yan, do you think he was reacting specifically to the traditional Chinese context (polygamy)? In that case, he might have been more progressive than it sounds to a Western ear...polygamy was no picnic from the wives' POV.


As much as I respect him and his writings, what he wrote sounds a bit too drenched in modern western ethics which of course would have heavy Christian influences.

Whether or not polygamy is right or not, if you say it is sexual misconduct then for thousands of years both in India and East Asia many many Buddhists were breaking their precepts on an almost daily basis.
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:27 pm

Huseng wrote:However, this doesn't say vaginal intercourse with your wife who doesn't want it is sexual misconduct. It just says inappropriate orifice as the lady does not like it. I suspect in this time period such ideas as "domestic rape" did not exist in the languages of India. It was a man's right to take his wife when he pleased. It is still this way in much of the world today.


Yes, that's a good point. I also doubt any such concept existed. Still, why do the commentaries make a point of mentioning that a woman "dislikes" non-vaginal sex? Why was a woman's POV considered worth mentioning here and not elsewhere?

The same could be said about America which produces unbelievable amounts of pornography -- some people think it is unhygienic and degrading, but evidently much of society does not.


Heh. True. My impression, though, was that in East Asia much of society does consider it, if not taboo, rather risque. More so than here in the US, for instance. But maybe I'm wrong.

As much as I respect him and his writings, what he wrote sounds a bit too drenched in modern western ethics which of course would have heavy Christian influences.


I think you've aptly summed up the problem with trying to define "sexual misconduct" beyond the rather general guidelines the Buddha provided (no adultery, stay away from minors, etc). For centuries polygamy wasn't considered misconduct, and now Ven. Sheng Yan comes along to say that it is. For centuries non-vaginal sex is considered misconduct, and now we come along to say that it isn't.
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Heruka » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:09 am

i thought the paedophilia abuse, of the rockefeller foundation funded kinsey institute "gave" a generation the ok to act as they wished, in their sexual revolution?

then taught through public school system in sex ed.


just food for thought, as it is said, culture is given to you.

these things dont occur by mistake.
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:25 am

Lazy_eye wrote:Yes, that's a good point. I also doubt any such concept existed. Still, why do the commentaries make a point of mentioning that a woman "dislikes" non-vaginal sex? Why was a woman's POV considered worth mentioning here and not elsewhere?


It was a male writing it. :smile:

We have all kinds of ideas about what women want...


Heh. True. My impression, though, was that in East Asia much of society does consider it, if not taboo, rather risque. More so than here in the US, for instance. But maybe I'm wrong.



Yes and no. It depends on the individual really. While initially some people dislike the idea of oral and anal sex, peer pressure might make them cave in and "try it", or in some cases they feel obligated to do it for their partner. Again, it is case by case like anywhere in the world.


I think you've aptly summed up the problem with trying to define "sexual misconduct" beyond the rather general guidelines the Buddha provided (no adultery, stay away from minors, etc). For centuries polygamy wasn't considered misconduct, and now Ven. Sheng Yan comes along to say that it is. For centuries non-vaginal sex is considered misconduct, and now we come along to say that it isn't.


Ven. Shengyan would have been well aware of the history, but then he is writing for a modern Chinese readership. I think if he went into the history of polygamy and Buddhism, and even indicated in Sanskrit how the word wife is usually used in the plural, it might lead some individuals to think having mistresses is okay (which incidentally is quite common in East Asia), which in present day society has become both inappropriate/illegal and dangerous (STDs).



But then if the Buddhist community is willing to reform their views on marriage from polygamy to monogamy, then why not allow for gay marriage too?
The rules are obviously quite flexible.
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Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

Postby Huifeng » Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:33 am

When one looks at the guidelines for what people are included in the range of those with whom one cannot have intercourse, a range of people who are "protected" by others in some form, one clearly sees that this is a social norm.

In other words, society has indicated that it is inappropriate with a range of persons. In present society we do the same, though the range is different.

This is one point that makes the precept of "sexual misconduct" different from that of other precepts. eg. the "no killing" doesn't indicate a range of living beings that society considers are acceptable to kill. And it is at this point that we also see the distinction between "sexual misconduct" as a lay precept, and the full precept of "no sexual activity". The latter is really more in the same form as the other precepts, abstaining from the action in question in toto.

Know the full precept, but draw one's own line as to how far one can practice it at present, considering the standards of society as a whole.

That's why precepts are called "trainings" (siksa), and no absolute injunctions or proscriptions.
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