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Homosexuality & the Dalai Lama

Hi all ..

Pope Benedict has realeased a very controversial document relating to Homosexuality in the Priesthood. Living in Ireland this has gotten alot of serious news coverage on Main Stream Radio and T.V. programmes.

While listening last Sunday to a local P.P. who was defending the Pope's document on Homosexuality in the Priesthood, this parish priest said something along the lines of, "Most religions have a issues around the idea of homosexuality, even the Dalai Lama, has issues with homosexuality" (not a direct quote)

Obviously, because this was on a radio show, the topic moved on quite quickly and nobody challanged or queried what the priest had said about the Dalai Lama.

What are buddhism view on homosexuality? What if any are the teachings of the Dalai Lama on homosexuality, does anyone know please?

Thank you.
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Comments

  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited December 2005
    This may nelp:
    The Dalai Lama is the leader of the Tibetan people and is revered by millions of Buddhists worldwide. At a press conference in 1997-JUN, he commented: "From a Buddhist point of view [lesbian and gay sex]...is generally considered sexual misconduct". This belief is not based on the partners being of the same gender. In his book "Beyond Dogma," he has written that "homosexuality, whether it is between men or between women, is not improper in itself. What is improper is the use of organs already defined as inappropriate for sexual contact." Buddhism prohibits oral, manual and anal sex for everyone - both homosexuals and heterosexuals. However, these restrictions refer only to members of the Buddhist faith. From "society's viewpoint," same-sex relations can be "of mutual benefit, enjoyable and harmless." He supports human rights "regardless of sexual orientation." At a subsequent meeting with gay and lesbian representatives, he expressed the "willingness to consider the possibility that some of the teachings may be specific to a particular cultural and historic context." Dawa Tsering, spokesperson for the Office of Tibet commented: "His Holiness opposes violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation. He urges respect, tolerance, compassion and the full recognition of human rights for all.


    And here is another interesting link:
    http://www.quietmountain.org/links/teachings/gayrites.htm

  • edited December 2005
    Simonthepilgrim,

    "Buddhism prohibits oral, manual and anal sex for everyone - both homosexuals and heterosexuals."

    Where? How? Why?
  • edited December 2005
    It is my understanding that sexual misconduct is prohibited by Buddhist thought. I think one has to sort it out for themselves. My partner and I have been together for 4 years. He loves me and I love him. What we do in our bedroom is our business. I honestly don't see what one does with their genitals as a basis for whether it is less spiritual or not. I think the intent is the matter.

    The understanding of homosexuality has progressed in the scientific community since science started. The American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association have statements saying there is nothing wrong with homosexuality and is most likely inherent at birth.

    I would not question that the Dalai Lama is a wise man, but he is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, not all. One of the things that attracted me to Buddhism was the approach of the Buddha to think for yourself. When I stopped asking everyone's opinion of my being gay and lived my life was when I quit worrying about what others thought. If you can practice your sexuality with a clear conscience seems to be of more importance then what the act is.
  • edited December 2005
    The Dalai Lama got it wrong. Homosexual sex is not sexual misconduct according to Buddhism, except for celibate clergy, and that only insofar as all sex is inappropriate. What the Dalai Lama was expressing was the idea of sexual misconduct according to Tibetan cultural norms, which interestingly think it's fine for a man to share his wife with visiting guests, if I remember correctly. As I understand this issue, the Dalai Lama changed his tone after meeting with a group of gay Buddhist practitioners, who made clear to him how damaging what he had said was. It helps to remember that there is a difference between what Buddhism teaches and what different cultures express. They're not always the same or even complementary.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited December 2005
    All,

    Sexual misconduct as described by the Venerable S. Dhammika:

    If we use trickery, emotional blackmail or force to compel someone to have sex with us, then this is sexual misconduct. Adultery is also a form of sexual misconduct because when we marry we promise our spouse that we will be loyal to them. When we commit adultery we break that promise and betray that trust. Sex should be an expression of love and intimicy between two people and when it is it contributes to our mental and emotional well-being.

    Also, here is an interesting article from Buddhanet about Buddhist Sexual Ethics

    :)

    Jason
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited December 2005
    Sexual behaviour and its acceptance is socially conditioned. If you look at the development of HHDL's statements about sexuality, you will notice that his position has evolved, as in many another area.

    Whilst we, in the West, have been instructed in many aspects of Buddhism by the exile of HHDL and his many public pronouncements, at the same time he has also been learning and changing.

    Our current attitudes to homosexuality, monogamy and varieties of sexual activity are simply local and relatively recent developments. Human societies have permitted, encouraged or prohibited different forms of behaviour at different times and in different places.

    Whilst I have not come across the tradition, among Tibetans, of offering one's wife to a guest, this behaviour has been noted among other groups and is, probably, the reason that Abraham pretended that Sarah was his sister when in Egypt!

    As ever, context is all.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited December 2005
    Yes, and if Abraham ever does that again, he'll have to sleep on the couch.....!:grin:" alt=":grin:" height="20" />
  • edited December 2005
    Fede, Fede,
    It's most likely a myth! Relax, the couch is safe for now!
  • edited December 2005
    zenmonk_genryu said:
    The Dalai Lama got it wrong. Homosexual sex is not sexual misconduct according to Buddhism, except for celibate clergy, and that only insofar as all sex is inappropriate. What the Dalai Lama was expressing was the idea of sexual misconduct according to Tibetan cultural norms, which interestingly think it's fine for a man to share his wife with visiting guests, if I remember correctly. As I understand this issue, the Dalai Lama changed his tone after meeting with a group of gay Buddhist practitioners, who made clear to him how damaging what he had said was. It helps to remember that there is a difference between what Buddhism teaches and what different cultures express. They're not always the same or even complementary.
    I agree, Genryu. My teacher, who is an American Tibetan Buddhist teacher, says quite the opposite. She sees nothing at all wrong with gay sex, only promiscuous sex (regardless of gender), exploitative sex, and the like. I mean, she's got a gay son!

    Palzang
  • edited December 2005
    I might add that many of our sangha, particularly the ordained sangha, are gay and/or lesbian because they do not find the judgmentalism and condemnation they had foisted upon them in other religions, such as Christianity.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited December 2005
    Palzang said:
    I might add that many of our sangha, particularly the ordained sangha, are gay and/or lesbian because they do not find the judgmentalism and condemnation they had foisted upon them in other religions, such as Christianity.
    I did think of adding a flippant comment about the use of "because" in this sentence. But then I thought better of it: this is an important point. As one (Catholic) clerical friend put it, if Pope Benedict and others succeed in excluding non-heterosexuals from the priesthood (and I include ordained women in those churches with a conscience) they'll have one hell of a time finding ordinands!
  • edited December 2005
    Palzang said:
    I might add that many of our sangha, particularly the ordained sangha, are gay and/or lesbian because they do not find the judgmentalism and condemnation they had foisted upon them in other religions, such as Christianity.
    But this makes it sound like it was their second pick.

    "Okay... the Christians won't have us - I guess I'll take Buddhism for $400, Alex."

    -bf
  • edited December 2005
    BF,
    As a former Bible Beater, I waited 10 years before I even explored anything that sounded remotely religious. Getting kicked out (or in my case unwelcome) from a church is quite a devestating experience. Buddhism was the first thing I had read about that made sense to me after a decade. So it wasn't "Okay... the Christians won't have us - I guess I'll take Buddhism for $400, Alex". It was a person looking for home and finding it someplace they never thought to look.
    Jerry
  • edited December 2005
    Jerbear said:
    BF,
    As a former Bible Beater, I waited 10 years before I even explored anything that sounded remotely religious. Getting kicked out (or in my case unwelcome) from a church is quite a devestating experience. Buddhism was the first thing I had read about that made sense to me after a decade. So it wasn't "Okay... the Christians won't have us - I guess I'll take Buddhism for $400, Alex". It was a person looking for home and finding it someplace they never thought to look.
    Jerry
    Jer...

    I hope you know by now that I'm not ripping on people for what they tend to follow and how they choose to live their lives.

    I'm just saying that to embrace a religion and go as far as becoming a priest or a monk - just because you couldn't have your first option ... just doesn't ring true.

    If people become Christians (and I know this is a bad example) because Buddhism won't have them - I would think they're in for a rude awakening.

    But, I am cool with whatever it is that people do that bring peace in to their lives.

    -bf

    P.S. And I wasn't singling you out, my friend.
  • edited December 2005
    Bf, that engenders an interesting question. Would you then say that the "call" someone might feel as a Christian is then not valid if they become a Buddhist? I mean, I know that my own "call" as a Christian didn't "transfer" over, but that's just because I will not take a vow of celibacy. I couldn't do it. I'm not exactly promiscuous, but I do know that I'm not going to live without the companionship of a mate in this life. But does this mean that someone who is formerly Catholic couldn't be ordained as Buddhist Clergy?
  • edited December 2005
    Well, Bf, as usual your take on what people say is a little off, to say the least. I never said Buddhism was the second best option. That came from your little mind. Obviously when a child or young person is seeking out spirituality, they are most likely going to look first in the tradition in which they were raised, which for almost everyone in this country (the US), is Christianity or Judaism. But if you're gay/L/T, etc., you're most likely not going to have a good experience in those arenas because they're going to judge the crap out of you for being who you are, so you either give up your search altogether (as most g/l/t, etc. people do, unfortunately), or you look elsewhere. If that elsewhere happens to be Buddhism, then they are much more likely, imho, to feel welcomed there. That may not always be the case, I don't know, but it has been my experience that it's just not an issue here in the West. Maybe it is in Asia, probably is some places, but not here. As someone at the Zen Center of NY once said, "It's a non-issue here." I'd say that's the case at most Buddhist centers here, with the possible exception of some more ethnic-centered temples (i.e., centers whose sangha are mostly or entirely made up of Asians who immigrated here).

    So does that clear up that little point that should have been obvious before? Hmmmm? (Testy, aren't we!)

    Palzang
  • edited December 2005
    buddhafoot said:
    Jer...

    I hope you know by now that I'm not ripping on people for what they tend to follow and how they choose to live their lives.

    I'm just saying that to embrace a religion and go as far as becoming a priest or a monk - just because you couldn't have your first option ... just doesn't ring true.

    If people become Christians (and I know this is a bad example) because Buddhism won't have them - I would think they're in for a rude awakening.

    But, I am cool with whatever it is that people do that bring peace in to their lives.

    -bf

    P.S. And I wasn't singling you out, my friend.
    BF,
    That was a horribly failed attempt on my part to try to explain the position of the GLBT persons point of view. I know many who would like to be involved in a regular church (as opposed to a gay church) and just be part of the everyday lives of people. But people of many faiths have told them to hit the bricks once the truth is known. We are thought to be intrinsically immoral for something we have absolutely no control over. And if we accept what life has dealt us, we are even more condemnable.
    Science continues to show that homosexuality is just part of life and not a moral choice. Animals (not including us from a biological perspective) have homosexual relations and they don't worry about it. It would make sense that humans would do the same thing, but people who hate homosexuality say the studies are skewed and that the GLBT population makes sure they only hear the part that "gay is okay".
    The bottom line is that every person who is GLBT need to decide for themselves what they feel is appropriate conduct for themselves, as long as they aren't hurting anyone else. And then they need to live their lives accordingly. Buddhism has shown me that one can live a moral life without necessarily being religious. I'm still an agnostic at heart and will continue to question things for a long time to come.
    And by the way, of course you were singling me out. I'm the only one on this board who's opinion matters to me. Just teasing ya, BF. But when discussing sensitive topics, don't reduce it to something as shallow as a game show. You don't like Oprah, and I don't like people's struggle reduced to Alex Trebek.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited December 2005
    .... and I hate runny eggs....:wtf:" alt=":wtf:" height="20" /> :D
  • edited December 2005
    Sorry for my testy reply yesterday. I thought it didn't go through! It's not my fault though - PMS*.

    Palzang


    *pissy monk syndrome
  • ECMECM
    edited December 2005
    Can I have a little translation?
    What is IMHO
    and who is Alex Terbeck?
    EM
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited December 2005
    EM,

    IMHO = Im My Humble Opinion or In My Honest Opinion

    Alex Trebek

    :)

    Jason
  • edited December 2005
    bushinoki said:
    Bf, that engenders an interesting question. Would you then say that the "call" someone might feel as a Christian is then not valid if they become a Buddhist? I mean, I know that my own "call" as a Christian didn't "transfer" over, but that's just because I will not take a vow of celibacy. I couldn't do it. I'm not exactly promiscuous, but I do know that I'm not going to live without the companionship of a mate in this life. But does this mean that someone who is formerly Catholic couldn't be ordained as Buddhist Clergy?
    You know, I don't really know what it means.

    It was just thought I had while I was reading some of the statements that were being made on this thread. I don't think my comments were definitive in any sense. It was just a statement questioning how a person comes to terms with this.

    -bf
  • edited December 2005
    Palzang said:
    Well, Bf, as usual your take on what people say is a little off, to say the least. I never said Buddhism was the second best option. That came from your little mind.
    Thank you, Palzang. I'm sorry for having a mind which questions and thinks and that I constantly have the wrong take on what people think. I also apologize for not being right - ...

    Obviously when a child or young person is seeking out spirituality, they are most likely going to look first in the tradition in which they were raised, which for almost everyone in this country (the US), is Christianity or Judaism. But if you're gay/L/T, etc., you're most likely not going to have a good experience in those arenas because they're going to judge the crap out of you for being who you are, so you either give up your search altogether (as most g/l/t, etc. people do, unfortunately), or you look elsewhere. If that elsewhere happens to be Buddhism, then they are much more likely, imho, to feel welcomed there. That may not always be the case, I don't know, but it has been my experience that it's just not an issue here in the West. Maybe it is in Asia, probably is some places, but not here. As someone at the Zen Center of NY once said, "It's a non-issue here." I'd say that's the case at most Buddhist centers here, with the possible exception of some more ethnic-centered temples (i.e., centers whose sangha are mostly or entirely made up of Asians who immigrated here).

    So does that clear up that little point that should have been obvious before? Hmmmm? (Testy, aren't we!)

    Palzang
    No actually nothing you've gone on about refutes or substantiates anything to do with my initial post.

    I was thinking more along the lines of "Christianity wouldn't have me, but Buddhism would." So, being that you couldn't endure a Christian life (or wasn't accepted into a Christian clique) - does Buddhism hold the same or provide the spiritual longing a person initially had?

    It's almost like one of the major issues with homosexuality. "I tried being hetero for years. Had a wife/husband, had children - because my family/friends clique were all hetero's, they wanted me to be hetero and I wanted to be hetero - but my first pick wasn't cutting it for me." So, then they embrace their homosexuality - regardless of what it does to their friend and family network and do what is right for them.

    Is turning to Buddhism a shade of that? I wanted to be Christian, but the bastards wouldn't have me - but Buddhism would.

    Does this turn meet their requirements as a person? Or is there still a longing to be Christian? Have they turned to Buddhism because of anger or resentment? Or is this the path that brings them what they needs spriritually?

    And I'm the one being testy....

    -bf
  • edited December 2005
    Jerbear said:
    BF,
    That was a horribly failed attempt on my part to try to explain the position of the GLBT persons point of view. I know many who would like to be involved in a regular church (as opposed to a gay church) and just be part of the everyday lives of people. But people of many faiths have told them to hit the bricks once the truth is known. We are thought to be intrinsically immoral for something we have absolutely no control over. And if we accept what life has dealt us, we are even more condemnable.
    Science continues to show that homosexuality is just part of life and not a moral choice. Animals (not including us from a biological perspective) have homosexual relations and they don't worry about it. It would make sense that humans would do the same thing, but people who hate homosexuality say the studies are skewed and that the GLBT population makes sure they only hear the part that "gay is okay".
    The bottom line is that every person who is GLBT need to decide for themselves what they feel is appropriate conduct for themselves, as long as they aren't hurting anyone else. And then they need to live their lives accordingly. Buddhism has shown me that one can live a moral life without necessarily being religious. I'm still an agnostic at heart and will continue to question things for a long time to come.
    And by the way, of course you were singling me out. I'm the only one on this board who's opinion matters to me. Just teasing ya, BF. But when discussing sensitive topics, don't reduce it to something as shallow as a game show. You don't like Oprah, and I don't like people's struggle reduced to Alex Trebek.

    Jer... I apologize for the "game show" reference. It wasn't meant to be demeaning or immflamatory. But, that just goes to show that how unthinking comments can upset someone else - and for that, I apologize.

    I wasn't singling you out - because there may be other G/L on this forums. But, since I know you and we have discussed this issue - I do think that you have a much more realistic view of gay and lesbian issues - so you're like a "go-to" source on this forum.

    I think I stated a much more valid set of questions during a response to one of Palzang's condescending rebuttals to my initial comment. You might want to read those.

    Again... my sincerest apologies.

    -bf
  • edited December 2005
    Oh Dear ....

    Firstly can you guys clarify a few abreviations for me...

    Palzang: You said "g/l/t" what does the t stand for? Transexual?

    & Jerbear you said "GLBT population" what does that mean? Sorry just a bit thick with these abreviations, a sign that I'm getting on ... eh?

    Thanks again Simon, as usual you do get to the nub of things and everybody else for the discussion. I am to say the least quite disapointed. I personally am hetrosexual, but one of the reasons I had difficulty with my Catholic upbringing was the non tolerant approach to other human beings differences, such as homosexuality!!

    This discussion has brought up a whole raft of questions for me. Very basic questions which in any religion or polictical view point I have had difficulty resolving. What gives any group the right to say that one "life choice" is right and the other is wrong. I am very disapointed to learn for the first time that from a Buddhist persepective that there are a whole list "bold" things. For women having sex during certain times in their mensturation cycle? Please dont say that that is because women are considered dirty at these times?

    Gotta fly .... will be back though with about 44 pages of a rant ... BEWARE!!!!!!!
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited December 2005
    This was posted on another forum by a member there. The topic is 'A Christian & Buddhist dialogue/debate oh Joy".....

    "I was watching a television program the other day on Vision TV called "Test Of Faith" and there was a round table discussion with a group people representing various religious beliefs including Depak Chopra. It was actually a very interesting and stimulating discussion and at the end they opened it up to questions from the audience. A young woman asked, "If religions are always preaching love and compassion, why is there so much opposition, negativity, and anger with regards to same-sex marriage? The Christian representative of this round table panel answered, "The scriptures are very clear with regards to homosexuality. If you are a homosexual and practicing homosexuality you are not welcome and we do not have a spot for you within our religion."

    And this was my response....

    "I cannot disagree that this was to all intents and purposes a harsh, unforgiving frankly nasty reply....
    I used to be a practising Roman Catholic, and we had three members of our congregation (that I know of, and were 'public' in their persuasion) who were gay - there was never any negativity, hostility or nastiness displayed towards them - they were actively welcomed and all very popular members of the church. I never even heard anything mentioned about them privately, which could be construed to have been against them. At one point, a member did ask what the Bible's viewpoints were on homosexuality - with no rancour intended - and the priest answered that whatever the views, he didn't think they were necessrily conducive to Christian fellowship or Love for ones' fellow man. He stated that God's Love is unconditional - if we strive to reveal God within our Hearts, we should do nothing less. "



    He then posted this little snippet, which made me smile.....

    "Your post reminded me of a story, about a guy who for various reasons was unable to gain membership of a particular Christian church. He spoke of this to a Christian friend of his, who replied (upon hearing the name of the church)....."I'm not surprised, even God has found it difficult getting into THAT one........"

    Which just goes to show what a popular topic for discussion this appears to be whatever the forum.
  • edited December 2005
    Well wasnt it Groucho Marx who said that "I wouldn't be a member of any club that would want me" or something along those lines .... Well maybe its more of a truism than humour in this case!?!?!?
  • edited December 2005
    I'm sure that the Dalai Lama either got it wrong, he was misquoted, or, somebody took the statement out of context. Rightly or Wrongly, so far everything that I have read, or heard about buddhism, has never referred to homosexuality as "sexual misconduct'-it is the first time that I've heard that the Dalai Lama even went so far as to comment on the issue. The Buddha never commented on issues that were not 'useful' to discuss. It may be the Dalai Lama's Personal Opinionrather than Buddhadharma.

    I know Im opening a can-of-worms here, but one could argue that if we equate misconduct with the word 'abnormal', then one could say that celibacy and masturbation are 'abnormal' to the perceived 'normal' purpose of humans on earth-that is, to procreate. That would then place many monks and priests of many religions in the sexual misconduct bucket-would it not?

    One final note, I believe that the word 'Lama' means 'Teacher'-or similar. Most teachers myself included, would agree I'm sure, that all of us are bigger 'learners' than we are 'teachers'

    This is just my 20cents worth.-hope no one got offended.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited December 2005
    All,

    Let us not forget that the definition of "misconduct" can change. The precept against 'sexual misconduct' prohibits illicit sex that is physically or or mentally harmful, adulterous, or illegal (going against the laws of the land). For example, if it is illegal where you live to have sex with someone if they are under a certain age, then having sex with them is 'sexual misconduct'. The precepts are meant to protect you from creating negative kamma for yourself, from harming other sentient beings, AND from getting into legal trouble. They're nothing if not practical.

    :)

    Jason
  • edited December 2005
    grainne said:
    Oh Dear ....

    Firstly can you guys clarify a few abreviations for me...

    Palzang: You said "g/l/t" what does the t stand for? Transexual?

    & Jerbear you said "GLBT population" what does that mean? Sorry just a bit thick with these abreviations, a sign that I'm getting on ... eh?

    Thanks again Simon, as usual you do get to the nub of things and everybody else for the discussion. I am to say the least quite disapointed. I personally am hetrosexual, but one of the reasons I had difficulty with my Catholic upbringing was the non tolerant approach to other human beings differences, such as homosexuality!!

    This discussion has brought up a whole raft of questions for me. Very basic questions which in any religion or polictical view point I have had difficulty resolving. What gives any group the right to say that one "life choice" is right and the other is wrong. I am very disapointed to learn for the first time that from a Buddhist persepective that there are a whole list "bold" things. For women having sex during certain times in their mensturation cycle? Please dont say that that is because women are considered dirty at these times?

    Gotta fly .... will be back though with about 44 pages of a rant ... BEWARE!!!!!!!
    GLBT=Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered.
  • edited December 2005
    BF,
    I can see where it would be easy to think that Buddhism was a second pick for some people. I've talked with a few other gay Buddhists and they even got mad at their temples and quit going. I listened to their complaints and some were valid, some weren't. They may have gone into it for the wrong reasons, but hopefully as they continue to practice that will clear itself up.
    One thing to think about is the joy in coming home when you've been gone a long time and a bit lost. The relief you feel can be tremendous. Many GLBT persons feel this when they find a new spiritual home, whatever form that may take. Everyone has different reasons for coming to Buddhism. I'm sure mine aren't 100% pure. I've found it refreshing that it really is a non issue at my temple. Everyone knows and they ask about my partner. That's nice of them, and it does make me feel a tad more welcome. But the point of my being there is to practice, not to be an ambassador of the GLBT community. To be honest, I don't even think about being gay when I'm there.

    Of course your forgiven for the Alex Trebek comment. I do look more like the host of Family Feud though. I should put a picture up some day. There's not one on this computer.
  • edited December 2005
    If certain elements of the 'Christian' Faith have a problem with Homosexuality, and the end result is that the recipients of this frankly narrowminded and intolerant view choose to embrace Buddhism.....it is Buddhism gain and Christianity's loss!
  • edited December 2005
    Abraham,
    Thank you! I'm glad to be a part of a faith that uses reason instead of blind obedience.
  • edited December 2005
    Am I wrong to think that Buddhism suggests that you read everything that you can read, educate yourself as much as possible, read what Buddha has thought, meditate on all of the above. If you then believe you are right to pursue a particular path, even if it is contradictory to Buddha's teachings ... then you are still right, to do what you believe in. In other words doesn't Buddhism suggest that Blind faith is wrong?

    Therefore while we can look to HHDL for teaching and direction, as Buddhists, it is up to us to put right thought and motivation into practice. Thereby according to Buddhist philosophy, I may, believe that Homosexuality is as valid as Hetrosexuality?
  • edited December 2005
    I'm probably going to piss some people off by saying this - but then, what's new about that?

    Contrary to what others might think - I believe the Dali Lama is just a man.

    Thus, is he given to making mistakes or speaking without Right View or Right Intention at times. If what he states is not beneficial or good to the one and many - I don't really worry about it.

    -bf
  • edited December 2005
    Jerbear said:
    BF,
    I can see where it would be easy to think that Buddhism was a second pick for some people.
    I still wonder, ultimately, if some people come to Buddhism to fill a spiritual gap in their lives while still carrying around anger, resentment or longing and desire for a "christian" life. And what does that do to their mindset while following Buddhism.

    I didn't say this was a bad thing or a good thing - just a thing.

    -bf
  • edited December 2005
    buddhafoot said:
    I still wonder, ultimately, if some people come to Buddhism to fill a spiritual gap in their lives while still carrying around anger, resentment or longing and desire for a "christian" life. And what does that do to their mindset while following Buddhism.

    I didn't say this was a bad thing or a good thing - just a thing.

    -bf

    I'd say that partly that's inevitable. We're human beings, we get angry, we often have a tendency to feel that we fall short of some imagined ideal and that includes the ideals that we may have absorbed unconsciously from other faiths that either predominate in our society or into which we were born. There is also what Trungpa Rinpoche referred to as Spiritual Materialism.

    Ego is able to convert everything to its own use, even
    spirituality. For example, if you have learned of a particularly
    beneficial meditation technique of spiritual practice, then ego's
    attitude is, first to regard it as an object of fascination and,
    second to examine it. Finally, since ego is seeming solid and
    cannot really absorb anything, it can only mimic. Thus ego tries to
    examine and imitate the practice of meditation and the meditative
    way of life. When we have learned all the tricks and answers of the
    spiritual game, we automatically try to imitate spirituality, since
    real involvement would require the complete elimination of ego, and
    actually the last thing we want to do is to give up the ego
    completely. However, we cannot experience that which we are trying
    to imitate; we can only find some area within the bounds of ego that
    seems to be the same thing. Ego translates everything in terms of
    its own state of health, its own inherent qualities. It feels a
    sense of great accomplishment and excitement at have been able to
    create such a pattern. At last it has created a tangible
    accomplishment, a confirmation of its own individuality.

    If we become successful at maintaining our
    self-consciousness through spiritual techniques, then genuine
    spiritual development is highly unlikely. Our mental habits become
    so strong as to be hard to penetrate. We may even go so far as to
    achieve the totally demonic state of complete "Egohood."

    - From 'Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism' by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpo
    che
  • edited December 2005
    I must once again agree with Brother Genryu. However, what does it really matter what route we took to get on the Path? The important thing is that we have the extreme good fortune to be on it. When I look back at the route I had to take to get where I am, it's mind boggling! How fortunate we all are even to hear the name of the Buddha!

    Oh, and Happy Buddha-Bush to all of you!

    Palzang
  • edited December 2005
    This is partly in response to the post about the calling to a religion.

    I think this happens more often than people think. Some people are just born seekers, others go their whole lives with a belief and no name for it. What we are raised around is not always what is best for us. At the same time, to shift directions mid-stream is not only upsetting for yourself but for all those around you.

    I have a friend, he's a Christian, a Lutherian (sp?) in fact and he's very, very gay. Admitedly, he has recieved a lot of pressure from his family on the matter, but he doesn't feel the need to change religious or even political views because of it. Oddly enough he's a Republican too.

    My point is, if someone is going to seek spirituality in some form other than what they have been around all their lives, then they will simply do it regaurdless. Simply not being the social norm for one reason or another is not a driving factor to make a person 'change' religions.
  • edited December 2005
    Yes, critter, but the main point of my "question" is that some people are indeed born to a certain calling. Like you said, some people are born as "seekers". Therein lies my main point and it's relationship to this thread. If a person feels he/she is "called" and that call entails forswearing sex for life, then I don't see how their homosexual tendencies are an issue, regardless of the religion. Singling out gay priests in the Catholic Church is nothing more than scapegoating.
  • edited December 2005
    Thank you Reverend Genryu. That is something I will try to be aware of. I still have some anger at the organized fundamentalist churches. But here is a question. If you know that what people are saying and doing to other people is harmful, what is wrong with getting mad about it? I see people in the GLBT community just raked over the coals by "christians" and then they try to get it written into the constitution that we should not get the same rights as other Americans. I would find it difficult not to get angry. I also do something about it so that it is channeled somewhere (writing political leaders, voting, etc.). But again, I'm just a beginner and may find later down the road that I will have to let the anger go.
  • edited December 2005
    Critter,
    Herein lies a big problem. Gay people are expected by some faiths to remain celibate. We aren't given a choice in the matter. If we have sex, we are deemed "abominable" or "turning your back on God". Sex is still seen for procreation as the normative, instead of giving life to people on it's own. If one foreswears sex out of choice, it would seem to me to be of more importance than someone not having sex out of fear of rejection by a deity or a church. It isn't out of a desire to serve, but fear of punishment. Something to think about.
  • edited December 2005
    Jer...

    I believe there is a Buddhist teaching about how one shouldn't "fight anger with anger".

    Now, as you should know about me by now, I'm not telling you not to be angry at something that you see is wrong - but what is anger getting you? It's robbing you of your own peace.

    I think a lot of people that deal with Buddhists think that they are a bunch of wusses because we don't tout anything like a "righteous anger" - like some religions do. But, to me, it takes far much more compassions and backbone to return anger with love or understanding. That is not to say that you just abide by letting someone walk over you - you just take other methods that Right View, Right Action, Right Intention, Right Mindfulness - you know the schpeal.

    Maybe just another way to look at it. Whatcha think?

    -bf
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited December 2005
    I love the way all these threads overlap and ultimately come together.... Critter also started a thread on Appropriateness, and modfication of behaviour to suit the moment, (to which I responded, using the Eightfold as my reasoning)... here we now have BF discussing the same, and we have our thread on 'The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching' which - guess what? is chiefly about the application of the Eightfold Path.... Add the specific thread, and what do we have as the Common denominator?

    All roads lead to The Eightfold Path!

    Boy, could the message be any louder? :)
  • edited December 2005
    federica said:

    Boy, could the message be any louder? :)

    What message is that, dear?

    -bf
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited December 2005
    I have my friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion with me, and we're all skippin' along, merrily singing....


    FOLLOW THE EIGHT-FOLD PATH!! FOLLOW THE EIGHT-FOLD PATH!!

    FOLLOW FOLLOW FOLLOW FOLLOW FOLLOW THE EIGHT-FOLD PATH!!

    WE'RE OFF TO SEE THE BUDDHA, THE WONDERFUL BUDDHA-BODHI!


    Now is that clearer? :)
  • edited December 2005
    Fede's a little teapot, short and stout.
    Here is her handle, here is her spout
    When she gets all steamed up, hear her shout
    Then tip her over and pour - her - out!


    -bf
  • edited December 2005
    LOL, bf!

    Since we are on the subject of homosexuality....why the heck aren't any of the theaters near me playing the movie "Brokeback Mountain"??? Has anyone seen it yet? I am dying to see it, but since I live in the ultra-conservative Midwest, I doubt I will get to see it in the theaters. Gosh, I sure miss Phoenix!!!
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited December 2005
    I have been around BF waaaaay toooo long.....:crazy: ;)
  • edited December 2005
    Jerbear said:
    Thank you Reverend Genryu. That is something I will try to be aware of. I still have some anger at the organized fundamentalist churches. But here is a question. If you know that what people are saying and doing to other people is harmful, what is wrong with getting mad about it? I see people in the GLBT community just raked over the coals by "christians" and then they try to get it written into the constitution that we should not get the same rights as other Americans. I would find it difficult not to get angry. I also do something about it so that it is channeled somewhere (writing political leaders, voting, etc.). But again, I'm just a beginner and may find later down the road that I will have to let the anger go.

    Unfortunately I think the phrase "letting go" makes it sound sometimes too much like an effort of will, something that we do. I would say that really, letting go happens almost involuntarily. It happens when we can maintain openess, space. One of the major characteristics of anger that we resist or indulge is that there is no space. It's claustraphobic. Rather than trying to get rid of or supress anger, a more skilful way to work with it is to gradually learn to allow space, even a sense of humour about our anger, and that is done largely through sitting and mindfulness practice in daily life - through learning to be with our anger and other emotions, without getting consumed by them but also without repressing them.

    In the West I think we're not really bought up to consider any option other than those of clinging or aversion and it leaves us emotionally disadvantaged. The assumption is that either an emotion is repressed, or it's acted out. As we learn in our sitting, we can be with what's happening, internally or externally, without falling into either reaction. And that takes some guts and it takes time initially too. We 'let go' of our ideas of how we should be, or how others should be - you have no idea how many times I've been told that I'm not a real monk because I get pissed off sometimes - but I digress. We can learn experentially that all emotions are simply energy and that energy can be worked with. In Zen one of the essentials of practice is called Great Determination. Sometimes it's actually translated as 'Great Angry Determination' - Anger can become dynamic activity.

    This quote from Trungpa Rinpoche might be of interest:

    Transmutation takes place with the understanding of shunyata and then the sudden discovery of energy. You realize that you no longer have to abandon anything. You begin to see the underlying qualities of wisdom in your life-situation, which means that there is a kind of leap. If you are highly involved with one emotion such as anger, then by having a sudden glimpse of openness, which is shunyata, you begin to see that you do not have to suppress your energy. You do not have to keep calm and suppress the energy of anger, but you can transform your aggression into dynamic energy. It is a question of how open you are, how much you are really willing to do it. If there is less fascination and satisfaction with the explosion and release of your energy, then there is more likelihood of transmuting it. Once we become involved with the fascination and satisfaction of energy, then we are unable to transmute it. You do not have to completely change yourself, but you can use part of your energy in an awakened state.

    The whole point is that we have not actually experienced our emotions, although we think we have. We have only experienced emotions in terms of me and my anger, me and my desire. This "me" is a kind of central governing structure. The emotions play the part of messengers, bureaucrats and soldiers. Instead of experiencing emotions as being separate from you, your rather unruly employees so to speak, you must actually feel the texture and real living quality of the emotions. Expressing or acting out hatred or desire on the physical level is another way of trying to escape from your emotions, just as you do when you try to repress them. If one actually feels the living quality, the texture of the emotions as they are in their naked state, then this experience also contains ultimate truth. And automatically one begins to see the simultaneously ironical and profound aspect of the emotions as they are. Then the process of transmutation, that is, transmuting the emotions into wisdom, takes place automatically.

    The problem is that we never experience emotions properly. We think that fighting and killing express anger, but these are another kind of escape, a way of releasing rather than actually experiencing emotion as it is. The basic nature of the emotions has not been felt properly.

    If we are trying to be good or peaceful, trying to suppress or subdue our emotions, that is the basic twist of ego in operation. We are being aggressive towards our emotions, trying forcefully to achieve peace or goodness. Once we cease being aggressive towards our emotions, cease trying to change them, once we experience them properly, then transmutation may take place. The irritating quality of the emotions is transmuted once you experience them as they are. Transmutation does not mean that the energy quality of the emotions is eliminated; in fact it is transformed into wisdom, which is very much needed.
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