How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:32 am

Try Alan Wallace too and compare. Here: http://www.alanwallace.org/
But it's better to leave that for another topic alright. It's a cool discussion, though and your questions are fair.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby Ikkyu » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:21 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:Try Alan Wallace too and compare. Here: http://www.alanwallace.org/
But it's better to leave that for another topic alright. It's a cool discussion, though and your questions are fair.


I'm actually glad you bring up Alan Watts. His book "The Book" is probably one of the most eye-opening works of literature I've ever encountered in my study of philosophy and comparative religion.
"Nothing can be known, not even this."
-- Arcesilaus (but I'm not sure)
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:58 am

Not Watts.
Wallace, so that you can compare Batchelor's take with his. Wallace has a lot of texts online, so you can get a good idea if you explore his site and its links. You can also try to read something by Matthieu Ricard. Take a look at this article for instance: http://www.matthieuricard.org/en/index. ... _the_mind/
But I also dig a few writings of Alan Watts.

OK, let us not hijack this topic now. ;)
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby Steveyboy » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:46 pm

I am not so sure about discussing the topic of sexuality based on scriptural sources and I heard from some scholarly friends that the Buddha almost did not mention anything about homosexuality. Perhaps. it was taboo to talk about at that time or it was simply not an important subject matter. Anyway, I have read from somewhere that prominent Buddhist masters do consider homosexuality the same like money, power and other desires, not a good thing but it is something that we cannot live without for now. It is also not as important as more important delusion of selfishness and so forth.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby shel » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:31 pm

JKhedrup wrote:I think you are heading in the right direction with this reasoning.
I also wonder if there were health reasons for the prohibition.
While female homosexual acts are considered the safest sex one can have AFAIK, with male homosexual activity there is a heightened health risk.
So in the age before condoms, STD testing and Hepatitis vaccines, proscribing such acts was the best option.
But now that there are measures for people to take to protect themselves it seems a more modern approach is warranted.

I think this becomes clear also when you look at the fact that certain heterosexual activity was also prohibited. So it was more the acts themselves than the fact it was same-gender
activity.

Hello JKhedrup,

Just noticing that the answer to your wondering is evident. Female homosexual acts are no less proscribed than male...
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:32 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:Not Watts.
Wallace, so that you can compare Batchelor's take with his. Wallace has a lot of texts online, so you can get a good idea if you explore his site and its links. You can also try to read something by Matthieu Ricard. Take a look at this article for instance: http://www.matthieuricard.org/en/index. ... _the_mind/
But I also dig a few writings of Alan Watts.

OK, let us not hijack this topic now. ;)


Haha. I don't know how I missed the name :lol: But thank you in any case for the references and links. I'll have to check out these authors and that article.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby GarcherLancelot » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:47 pm

Ok if you don't believe in rebirth after death,what do you think will happen?.. .
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:45 pm

Just so that I could have the 108th post in this highly controversial topic...

I will say, with great joy

"I don't have to explain! The straight ones did it for me! (And Yudron. Praise her virtues! Praise them!)"

Also, I just want to say for any queers reading this in days to come: it took me years of studying the history and scripture (which as you can see from this thread seems very conflicted) and hearing over and over again from affirming and compassionate Lamas and Sangha that I was not broken, disgusting, or unable to "fit" into the Dharma. It was really really hard for me to feel like I really belonged or could practice without a gigantic contradiction. My hang ups were all the garbage of my puritanical upbringing, however--the Dharma has no intrinsic sexual ethics that prizes or favors heterosexual sex over homosexual or vice versa.

Basically:
they'll both send you to hell.

And the comments of some people in this thread who cling to that as some kind of justification for heterosexism are really just garbage. Alexander Berzin has an amazing article written about this on his site:

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... thics.html

" But there’s no mention here as to whether the woman in this case wants to have sex or not. So, from our point of view we would look at this and say, “Hey, what about these parents in Southeast Asia who are so poor and they give permission and sell their daughter into prostitution. Is that OK because the girl has permission from her parents?” It’s not specified in the texts whether it is dependent on whether the woman wants sex or not."

It gives you a whole lot more reasons to realize--we have to figure out our own practice of sexual ethics. It has to be consistent with the buddhadharma...it has to come from a lineage authority, but as laypeople, we can't haul the cultural baggage of Feudal India or Tibet or China around with us. I was mortified with the thought of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, and that's why I agonized about it for so long. But fortunately, for us, we have teachers who can help us clean the issue of "baggage" and yet maintain, as much as we can, the pure vows.

WORST case scenario, you can't take 1 out of 5 lay vows. That limitation is negligable next to the merit and benefit of keeping even just one of the precepts. Or even just the refuge vows. <3 <3 <3

I'm okay.
Last edited by Nilasarasvati on Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby invisiblediamond » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:04 pm

Interesting discussion. I personally don't mind libidinous and kinky sex involving whatever. I'm a libertine. But I do wonder about some stuff I've read. Doesn't the anus correspond (in tantric and dzogchen) to the animal or hell realm? I wonder if really loving the pleasure of that aperture might lead to a rebirth in the corresponding realm? But then, if someone were able realized at some level, can't one take that onto the path? Or if you really love receiving oral sex, might that have a quality of exploitation or at least strong attachment to the enhancement of pleasure, and might that not be negative? I feel obviously anyone can join dharma, and obviously one does so hoping for some help with the behaviors. I don't know.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby invisiblediamond » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:If a certain speech makes your blood boil that doesn't necessarily give you the right to call it hate speech. I tend not to ignore statements, for example, made by this indiviual:

Too many people in the West have given up on marriage. They don't understand that it is about developing a mutual admiration of someone, a deep respect and trust and awareness of another human's needs. The new easy-come, easy-go relationships give us more freedom - but less contentment.

I don't think people have become more selfish, but their lives have become easier and that has spoilt them. They have less resilience, they expect more, they constantly compare themselves to others and they have too much choice - which brings no real freedom.

A gay couple came to see me, seeking my support and blessing. I had to explain our teachings. Another lady introduced another woman as her wife - astonishing. It is the same with a husband and wife using certain sexual practices. Using the other two holes is wrong.

A Western friend asked me what harm could there be between consenting adults having oral sex, if they enjoyed it. But the purpose of sex is reproduction, according to Buddhism. The other holes don't create life. I don't mind - but I can't condone this way of life.


The Dalai Lama

It’s part of what we Buddhists call bad sexual conduct. Sexual organs were created for reproduction between the male element and the female element – and everything that deviates from that is not acceptable from a Buddhist point of view.

The Dalai Lama

It should hardly be news to anybody that this is the view according to the tradition.

But neither do I ignore this individual's speech:

Do not believe in what you have heard; do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations; do not believe anything because it is rumored and spoken of by many; do not believe merely because the written statement of some old sage is produced; do not believe in conjectures; do not believe merely in the authority of your teachers and elders. After observation and analysis, when it agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

The Buddha


I have a problem with the Dalai Lama on this quote. It seems a contradiction of Buddhism. There's no creator. We are self created. According to the sutras, sex organs are a result of desires, and they have no point other than to fulfill the desires. Furthermore, there's no "life" or "creation" only illusion. If there is a "purpose" of sex organs in Buddhism, it wouldn't be to create life, but to circumvent it.

It seems this is a capitulation to a theistic world view. I've often wondered if much of even the early Buddhist social structures were modeled on existing ones, and I've wondered if Buddha (who seemed to understand the formless nature of everything) was practicing a kind of aikido. That is to say, was Buddha redirecting the social energy of the day into a system that would gradually breakdown all those built up biases?
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby invisiblediamond » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:25 pm

Ikkyu wrote:So considering everything one has to ask, are all the Buddhist texts (sutras, tantras and suttas) true? And to what extent? To what extent are they allegorical or literal, metaphorical or culturally/historically irrelevant to our times? Can we cherry-pick the texts? As someone on here mentioned, this prohibition may be because of "Brahmanical sexual rulings" (I may have slightly misquoted but this seems to have been the basic statement). How much of the sutras do we take inspiration from? How much not? When I see Buddhist monks or priests lift up the sutras in reverence, are they believing word for word everything? I like Stephen Batchelor, author of "Buddhism Without Belief"'s approach, although despite how much we can secularize Buddhism or abstract the texts or look at them in a cultural context, they seem to be quite clear about the inferior status of women and homosexuals, as well as promoting sexual repression and austerity as the only way to be truly happy, thus eschewing a healthy sex life, and positing the existence of supernatural beings (devas, Buddhas and bodhisattvas) that we cannot prove exist through any epistemological investigation or Socratic deduction. They posit karma an rebirth and enlightenment, which cannot be proven as true.

Look: I'm playing the Devil's advocate here for a reason: I like Buddhism. There are aspects of it that make sense to me. But before I even slightly accept any belief I like to test and prod and debate. A Zen priest once told me to exercise "great doubt", so that's what I'm doing. Don't take my statements as an attack on Buddhism. Any good philosophy should be tested on a proving ground of evidence and reason.

I am eagerly awaiting your responses and I have enjoyed the ones posted thus far. :smile: :namaste:


I like this. There is the Heart Sutra's statement or somewhere that Buddha never said a single word of dharma, implying even dharma is empty and open. I'm inclined to believe the texts were meant to take one to a place beyond belief in the truth of the texts.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby invisiblediamond » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:28 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:Basically:
they'll both send you to hell.


Or with the right methodology, to liberation?

Note: sorry to populate this thread. I didn't notice it was a year old already.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:44 pm

Oh invisiblediamond, I'm not really sure. It's possible that consort-practices, at least for Ngakpa couples, could be the route to enlightenment. But it's not "sex" really. Tantra has a lot to say about sexual symbolism, yoga etc. but it's got as much to do with everyday sex acts as meditation has to do with sleeping. They look sort of similar, but they're not.

Ultimately if we're talking about Sutra level discourse about sex, it's all bad. A snare of Mara. If you think the Dalai Lama was being "unBuddhist" by saying that stuff about sex, you may not know much about the History. Buddhism in general is not a sex-positive, anything-goes love fest...don't mistake the doctrine of the Mahashunyata for permission to go do anything that feels good!

I recommend reading that article I posted by Alexander Berzin. It's a really great, exhaustive, undeniably Buddhist (yet he's a Westerner) and even-minded but traditional perspective on all this.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby invisiblediamond » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:01 am

Nilasarasvati wrote:Oh invisiblediamond, I'm not really sure. It's possible that consort-practices, at least for Ngakpa couples, could be the route to enlightenment. But it's not "sex" really. Tantra has a lot to say about sexual symbolism, yoga etc. but it's got as much to do with everyday sex acts as meditation has to do with sleeping. They look sort of similar, but they're not.

Ultimately if we're talking about Sutra level discourse about sex, it's all bad. A snare of Mara. If you think the Dalai Lama was being "unBuddhist" by saying that stuff about sex, you may not know much about the History. Buddhism in general is not a sex-positive, anything-goes love fest...don't mistake the doctrine of the Mahashunyata for permission to go do anything that feels good!

I recommend reading that article I posted by Alexander Berzin. It's a really great, exhaustive, undeniably Buddhist (yet he's a Westerner) and even-minded but traditional perspective on all this.


I disdain religion. If you are gay, please don't let these ideas become your beliefs. It's not healthy. At least, don't let it interfere with your free thinking and independence. My body is my shrine. My devils are my playthings.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:13 am

Too late! I believe the four seals sold me on Buddhism a long time ago. However, don't mistake the religion for the path. Don't mistake the dogma for the dharma. There are both in Buddhism, and sometimes they are the same and sometimes they aren't. All the truths taught in the Sutras and Shastras are just carefully crafted delusions that, eventually, we have to throw away as garbage.

Unlike other religions, Buddhism's point is to hurl the crutches of duality away, not break everybody elses legs and then sell them your brand of crutches.

I'm at peace with my sexuality and I believe, through the correct aspiration and motivation, that anything (and eventually everything) I do (except the 3 nonvirtuous actions of mind) can be a source of merit and benefit beings. I don't, in short, think I'm going to hell for who I am or what I do.

If I end up in lower realms for anything, it will be my addictive habits that turn me into a Preta. :P
So I offer up my merits to the pretas and pray that all their craving will dissolve in me.

There's really no circumstance that can't be transformed into Bodhicitta.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby invisiblediamond » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:34 am

Nilasarasvati wrote:Too late! I believe the four seals sold me on Buddhism a long time ago. However, don't mistake the religion for the path. Don't mistake the dogma for the dharma. There are both in Buddhism, and sometimes they are the same and sometimes they aren't. All the truths taught in the Sutras and Shastras are just carefully crafted delusions that, eventually, we have to throw away as garbage.

Unlike other religions, Buddhism's point is to hurl the crutches of duality away, not break everybody elses legs and then sell them your brand of crutches.

I'm at peace with my sexuality and I believe, through the correct aspiration and motivation, that anything (and eventually everything) I do (except the 3 nonvirtuous actions of mind) can be a source of merit and benefit beings. I don't, in short, think I'm going to hell for who I am or what I do.

If I end up in lower realms for anything, it will be my addictive habits that turn me into a Preta. :P
So I offer up my merits to the pretas and pray that all their craving will dissolve in me.

There's really no circumstance that can't be transformed into Bodhicitta.


That's good.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby rory » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:21 am

Nilasaravasti;
I'm a lesbian and a buddhist belonging to a Nichiren sect. The buddha never discussed gay vs. straight sexuality; he talked about attachment. The Lotus Sutra promises that everyone will become a buddha; so just ignore the other stuff,its cultural, whether Indian or confucian and you realize that all the straights love to discuss it as it doesn't affect them! My sensei says the same thing about the Buddha never discussing it, which I know is correct.

It's frankly a non-issue.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby greentara » Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:31 am

" However, I think it is only honest to point out that beyond that the Buddha thought of sexual desire as being a major, perhaps even the major, hindrance to spiritual evolution. As you so colorfully put it “wanking, dogging, anal, oral, threesums (sic), orgies, BDSM, and being a Furry, and Cross Dressing, aren’t going to get you a one way trip to Hell”. True, but they are very likely get you a first class seat in sensual pre-occupation, obsessive fantasizing, frustrated longing, and perhaps even seeing others only as objects of personal gratification. Of course, the Buddha may have been wrong about this. But let’s not attribute to him things he did not teach"

Ven Dhammika
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:37 am

The Pali Canon teachings on sexuality ( whatever the truth of their authorship ) are not wrong..simply incomplete.
They are hinayana..geared to those then and now whose attachment could only be managed by abstinence. ..Which is an important thing to recognise and acknowledge for those whose reality it is.
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Re: How do gay Buddhists explain this one?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:44 pm

I know nothing about the Pali Canon, actually.
I was thinking of some Shastras written by mahayana people (including Shantideva) that say men who have a taste for boys will find themselves in an emphemeral hell of sorts where they are permanently bathed in saltwater. They are pickled for aeons basically...and incredibly thirsty.

I don't take it "personally" because I know he said pretty much the exact same things about heterosexual coupling that included anything outside of good old Catholic style, Vagina/Penis missionary position solely for the purpose of procreative sex.

And of course he would. He was a monk speaking to monks writing for monks. If some laypeople got mixed in, he was trying to convince them why they needed to support a University as sprawling and well-funded as Nalanda that was mostly comprised of monks.
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