March 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm #35056
March 26, 2011 at 2:24 pm #265551March 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm #265550March 26, 2011 at 4:18 pm #265549March 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm #265548::
Most of the debate on homosexuality within Hinduism is centered on these three teachings, and how proponents and opponents of homosexuality interpret these teachings.
Opponents of homosexuality argue that:
* Romantic love is only natural between a man and a woman, and it is impossible for two men or two women to experience the same form of love.
* Since romantic love is only possible between a man and a woman, sex between two men or two women can only be the product of lust, and lust is wrong; therefore homosexual activities are wrong.
* One of the three functions of marriage is Prajaa, the progeny for perpetuation of one’s family. A homosexual couple cannot procreate, and thus cannot be married.
* Premarital and extramarital sex are wrong, and because homosexuals cannot marry, they should not engage in sexual relationships.
Proponents of homosexuality argue:
* Nowhere in the Hindu sacred texts is romantic love excluded to all but a man and woman, so there are no religious grounds to make a statement to the contrary.
* Since homosexuals can experience romantic love, homosexual sexual relationships are not all the product of lust.
* The three functions of marriage are given in the Dharma Shastras, books that are not binding to Hindus, and thus Prajaa is not a determining factor in Hindu marriages. Even if the three functions of marriage were binding in terms of marriages, Prajaa may be interpreted in a number of ways that do not involve procreation at all. Thus homosexuals should be allowed to marry.
* Sexual expression within a loving relationship is encouraged by Hinduism because it is not an expression of lust, but an expression of love and devotion to each others’ happiness. Therefore, homosexuals in loving relationships (i.e. marriage) should be allowed to express their love sexually.
Lay Buddhists (those who live outside the monastery) are expected to adhere to Five Precepts, the third of which is a vow “not to engage in sexual misconduct.” But what is sexual misconduct? Right and wrong behavior in Buddhism is generally determined by considerations such as the following:
* Universalibility principle – “How would I like it if someone did this to me?”
* Consequences – Does the act causes harm and regret (in oneself or others) or benefit and joy?
* Utilitarian principle – Will the act help or harm the attainment of goals (ultimately spiritual liberation)?
* Intention – Is the act motivated by love, generosity and understanding?
“Sexual misconduct” has thus traditionally been interpreted to include actions like coercive sex, sexual harassment, child molestation and adultery. As Homosexuality is not explicitly mentioned in any of the Buddha’s sayings recorded in the Pali Canon (Tripitaka), most interpreters have taken this to mean that homosexuality should be evaluated in the same way as heterosexuality, in accordance with the above principles.March 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm #265547March 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm #265546::
Buddhism and homosexuality is complicated.
One of the five precepts of Right Conduct is: “to undertake to observe the precept to abstain from sexual misconduct”. The precise nature of “misconduct” is never defined, although most Buddhist sects consider it to be anything coercive or abusive. Therefore most Buddhist groups apply the principle of Right Conduct to heterosexual and homosexual relationships indiscriminately.
The Dalai Lama has repeatedly said that homosexual sex is a no-no for Tibetan Buddhists, but that those restrictions do not apply outside of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama only represents the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, which despite his fame is a fairly small segment of the religion.
On the whole, attitudes about homosexuality in Buddhist-dominated countries generally reflect cultural attitudes, not any kind of dogma or doctrine within Buddhism itself.
As for the Hindus, I haven’t the foggiest.March 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm #265544March 26, 2011 at 6:45 pm #265542March 26, 2011 at 7:10 pm #265540::
Buddhism generally doesn’t have any opinions at all about homosexuality. Ordained monks and nuns are of course forbidden to have homosexual sex, but they are on the other hand also forbidden to have heterosexual sex! Many people confuse the rules for ordained monks and nuns with rules for lay people, however, which makes people make faulty claims about what Buddhism or certain Buddhist teachers say.
Here’s a direct quote from an interview in 2003 with the 101th Ganden Tripa, the supreme head of the Tibetan tradition to which the Dalai Lama (and I myself) belong:
“Question: What is Your Holiness’s view on homosexuality?
Answer: Homosexuality seems to be getting more common in the world these days. Homosexuality, like heterosexuality, are both activities of samsara. Neither seems to be particularly better or worse than the other. Whether a man or woman is straight or gay does not make him or her any particularly better or worse than the other. In general, both are activities of lay people. Not that, however, that there is no karma involved in homosexuality, only that it is just like heterosexuality, another activity of samsara.”
I know of many Western Buddhist, including famous teachers and writers, who are homosexual, and I have never heard of any problems they’ve encountered in the Buddhist context because of being gay.
On the other hand, many of the Buddhist cultures in Asia are negative to homosexuality (just like so many cultures around the world …). That’s, however, not from religious (Buddhist), but from cultural reasons.
If you want to look more deeply into the question, you might want to visit the homepages of some gay buddhist organizations:
http://www.gaysangha.org/November 29, 2012 at 3:34 am #256580
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