Buddhism and sexual orientation
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The relationship between Buddhism and sexual orientation varies by tradition and teacher. According to some scholars, early Buddhism appears to have placed no special stigma on homosexual relations, since the subject was not mentioned.
Lay followers and monastic practices
In the early sutras of Buddhism, "accepted or unaccepted human sexual conduct" for laypersons "is not specifically mentioned." "Sexual misconduct" is a broad term, subject to interpretation according to followers' social norms. Early Buddhism appears to have been silent concerning homosexual relations.
According to the Pāli Canon and Āgama (the early Buddhist scriptures), there is no saying that same or opposite gender relations have anything to do with sexual misconduct, and some Theravada monks express that same-gender relations do not violate the rule to avoid sexual misconduct, which means not having sex with someone underage (thus protected by their parents or guardians), someone betrothed or married and who have taken vows of religious celibacy.
Some later traditions feature restrictions on non-vaginal sex (some Buddhist texts mention non-vaginal sex as sexual misconduct, including men having sex with men or paṇḍaka) though some Buddhist monks interpret such texts as being about forced sex. This non-vaginal sex view is not based on what Buddha said, but from some later scriptures such as the Abhidharma texts.
Regarding Buddhist monks, the Vinaya (code of monastic discipline) bans all sexual activity, but does so in purely physiological terms, making no moral distinctions among the many possible forms of intercourse it lists.
Among Buddhists, there is a wide diversity of opinion about homosexuality. Buddhism teaches that sensual enjoyment and desire in general are hindrances to enlightenment, and inferior to the kinds of pleasure (see, e.g. pīti, a Pāli word often translated as "rapture") that are integral to the practice of jhāna.
Within the earliest monastic texts such as the Vinaya (c. 4th century BCE), male monks are explicitly forbidden from having sexual relations with any of the four genders: male, female, ubhatovyanjañaka and paṇḍaka; various meanings of these words are given below. Later, the Buddha allowed the ordination of women, forbade ordination to these other types of people, with exceptions to a few particular types of paṇḍaka. The Buddha's proscriptions against certain types of people joining the monastic sangha (ordained community) are often understood to reflect his concern with upholding the public image of the sangha as virtuous; in some cases, this is explicitly stated. Social acceptability was vital for the sangha, as it could not survive without material support from lay society.
The word ubhatovyanjañaka is usually thought to describe people who have both male and female sexual characteristics: hermaphrodites (intersex). In the Vinaya, it is said that ubhatovyanjañaka should not be ordained, on account of the possibility that they would entice a fellow monk or nun into having sex.
The paṇḍaka is a complex category that is variously defined in different Buddhist texts. In the earliest texts, the word seems to refer to a socially stigmatized class of trans-feminine and/or cross-dressing people, some of whom may have been sex workers. Paisarn Likhitpreechakul argue that these people are grouped together with groups who are excluded from ordination as well; those with physical disabilities such as deafness or dwarfism, or those who have committed crimes. "The Story of the Prohibition of the Ordination of Pandaka" from the Vinaya claims that the ban is a response to the example of a paṇḍaka monk with a desire to have sex. Being refused by other monks, he had sex with animal handlers, who then told the wider community and brought disgrace upon the sangha.
In the Lotus Sutra, it said Bodhisattva should not go near Paṇḍaka, as like what monk rules said in Vinaya. The Milinda Panha, claims that Paṇḍakas let out secrets through their imperfection.
LGBTQ+ people in later traditions
Some modern commentators interpret the word ubhatovyanjañaka as including those who are not physically intersex, but display behavioral and psychological characteristics of both sexes, such as a woman who is attracted to other women. 5th-century Buddhist writer Buddhaghosa describes ubhatobyanjanaka as people with the body of one sex but the "power", or gender of the other. Leonard Zwilling argues that in this account Buddhaghosa does not in fact describe "hermaphroditism" but rather bisexuality or homosexuality. Janet Gyatso pointed out that Zwilling destroys his own argument that pandakas are homosexuals when he writes, "The Vinaya, in fact, goes so far as to distinguish sexual activity between normative males from sexual relations between a socially normative male and a pandaka."
In other texts, the term paṇḍaka can include those born sexually indeterminate or with no sex, eunuchs, those whose impotence changes every half month, males who gain sexual potency by absorbing other men's semen, or spying on other people having sex. It sometimes includes males or females with any sexual dysfunction, such as impotence or irregular menstrual cycles. The common element seems to be those whose sexuality is either limited physiologically, or those who are sexually impotent. Together these impotence types are almost always portrayed negatively as a pariah class, especially in the earliest texts. In modern contexts, paṇḍaka is sometimes wrongly interpreted to include lesbians, gay men, and transgender and intersex people, although in ancient times, a man who sexually penetrated another man or a paṇḍaka was not himself considered a paṇḍaka.
Some texts of the Abhidharma state that a paṇḍaka cannot achieve enlightenment in their own lifetime, but must wait for reincarnation as a man or woman. Ananda — Buddha's cousin and disciple — was said to be a paṇḍaka in one of his many previous lives, as was the Buddhist nun Isidāsī (from the Therigatha). In both cases, birth as a paṇḍaka was a result of poor karma, and the idea that being a paṇḍaka stems from bad behaviour in a previous life is common in Buddhist literature. Asanga and Vasubandhu discussed if a pandaka was able to be enlightened or not.
In the Samantapasadika, a work of the 5th century CE Theravadin commentator and scholar Buddhaghosa's, paṇḍaka are described as being filled with defiling passions (ussanakilesa), unquenchable lusts (avapasantaparilaha) and are dominated by their libido (parilahavegabhibhuta). The 4th century Mahayana Buddhist writers Vasubandhu and Asanga contend that the paṇḍaka has no discipline for spiritual practice, due to their defiling passions of both male and female sexes. They lack the moral fortitude to counter these passions because they lack modesty and shame. Incapable of showing restraint, such a being is abandoned by their parents and lacking such ties are unable to hold strong views. Asanga, like Vasubandhu, refuses the pandaka recognition as a layman on the grounds that such persons are unfit to associate with or serve the Sangha. Asanga, however, considers them capable to practice the path of a layman individually if they so desire, but without receiving recognition as a layman or being introduced in the sangha. A position similar to Asanga view was also featured in the Lotus Sutra, where sangha members were advised to avoid the paṇḍaka.
Buddha's proscriptions against certain types of people joining the monastic sangha (ordained community) are often understood to reflect his concern with upholding the public image of the sangha as virtuous. Peter Jackson, the scholar of sexual politics and Buddhism in Thailand, speculates that the Buddha was initially reluctant to allow women to join the sangha for this reason. Jackson explains:
Buddhism, the middle path, has always been concerned with the maintenance of social order and since the Buddha's time the sangha has never claimed to provide a universal vehicle for the spiritual liberation of all individuals in society, explicitly excluding those who are considered to reflect badly on the monkhood in terms of prevailing social norms and attitudes.
Social acceptability was vital for the sangha, as it could not survive without material support from lay society.
Several Theravada Buddhist texts state that the members of the paṇḍaka are excluded from a variety of Buddhist practices (in addition to ordination):
- acting as preceptors in ordination ceremonies
- making donations to begging monks
- meditating and
- ability to understand the Dharma.
Classical Mahayana scholars like Shantideva and Aśvaghoṣa considered non-vagina sex to be sexual misconduct. Shantideva based his views on quotes from the Saddharma-smrtyupasthana Sutra. According to Mizuno Kōgen's study, Saddharma-smrtyupasthana Sutra is related to Ghoṣa's Abhidharmāmṛtarasaśāstra, and is compiled by Sarvastivada (possibly from someone related to Ghoṣa after the 2nd century). In the Great Treatise on the Perfection of Wisdom (Sanskrit: Mahā-prajñāpāramitā-śāstra), the Madhyamaka scholar Nagarjuna mentioned the non-vagina sex restriction as based on coerced action toward one's own spouse.
In contrast, later texts, particularly Tibetan Buddhist writings, occasionally value paṇḍaka positively for their "middleness" and balance. The paṇḍaka in these Tibetan works is translated with the term ma ning — "genderless" or "without genitals". The 13th-century Tibetan monk Gyalwa Yang Gönpa, who was one of the significant figures in the early Drukpa Kagyu sect, writes about ma ning as a balanced state between maleness and femaleness. Yang Gönpa describes ma ning as "the abiding breath between male exhalation and female inhalation" and "the balanced yogic channel, as opposed to the too tight male channel, and the too loose female one".
Most Mahayana teachings assert that all beings who correctly practice the dharma may reach enlightenment, since all possess innate Buddha nature. Enlightenment being achievable even in a single life.
Gampopa (12th century), one of the main early masters of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, followed the Indian Buddhist tradition, starting with the 3rd-century Hinayana texts of Vasubandhu, that oral and anal sex, whether with a man or a woman, are violations of the third precept regarding inappropriate sexual behavior. Longchenpa, the 13th-century founder of the Nyingma school, citing the 3rd-century Mahayana texts of the Indian master Asanga, elaborated that inappropriate sexual behavior also include the hands among inappropriate parts of the body for sexual activity. In the same way, Gelug predecessor Je Tsongkhapa also adheres to such rules in his studies.
Subsequent Tibetan masters from all five schools of Tibetan Buddhism accept all these specifications as delineated in the earlier Indian Buddhist texts.
The late Lama Thubten Yeshe, a Gelugpa Lama and founder of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, indicated that he did not consider homosexuality to be sexual misconduct. He stated: "My own view, man stay with man, female stay with female, I don’t consider it good or bad. This is my opinion. It’s just no big deal, no big deal, that’s all." 
The 14th Dalai Lama follows the traditional Tibetan Buddhist assertion that inappropriate sexual behaviour includes lesbian and gay sex, and indeed any sex other than penis-vagina intercourse with one's own monogamous partner, including oral sex, anal sex, and masturbation. In a 1994 interview, he stated: "If someone comes to me and asks whether homosexuality is okay or not, I will ask 'What is your companion's opinion?' If you both agree, then I think I would say 'if two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay'." However, in his 1996 book Beyond Dogma, he states, "A sexual act is deemed proper when the couples use the organs intended for sexual intercourse and nothing else... 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."
In this discussion, it should be understood that the controversial topic is inappropriate sexual conduct for a Buddhist practitioner, as the Dalai Lama has repeatedly "voiced his support for the full recognition of human rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation." He explained in 1997: "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," while penis-vagina non-procreative sex is not considered to be sexual misconduct. The Dalai Lama admitted that there is a difference between the views of believers and unbelievers: "From a Buddhist point of view, men-to-men and women-to-women is generally considered sexual misconduct. From society's point of view, mutually agreeable homosexual relations can be of mutual benefit, enjoyable and harmless." He cited the Indian Buddhist texts of Vasubandhu, Asanga, and Ashvaghosha as his sources concerning what constitutes inappropriate sexual behavior.
Four years earlier, he had been unsure if a mutually agreeable non-abusive same-sex relationship would be acceptable within the general principles of Buddhism. However, he had difficulty imagining the mechanics of homosexual sex, saying that nature had arranged male and female organs "in such a manner that is very suitable... Same-sex organs cannot manage well." The Dalai Lama has repeatedly said to LGBT groups that he can't rewrite the texts. He thinks that this is the type of issue that would need to be discussed by a council of Buddhist elders from all Buddhist traditions. Only such a council could amend issues concerning Vinaya and ethics. The Dalai Lama also recommends the issue of the equality of women, particularly in monastic rituals and ceremonies, to be reconsidered and revised.
Nazi Germany SS officer Ernst Schäfer, during his 1938–39 German expedition to Tibet, in his account of Tibetan homosexuality, describes the various positions taken by older lamas who broke their vows with younger boys and then goes on to explain how covert homosexuality played an important role in the higher politics of Tibet. There are pages of careful observation of Himalayan people engaged in a variety of intimate acts.
In an interview with Wikinews, Tashi Wangdi, representative to the Dalai Lama, further elaborated his perspective on these views. If a person was to engage in homosexuality, "a person would not be considered as following all the precepts of Buddhist principles. People don't follow all the principles. Very few people can claim they follow all the principles. For instance, telling a lie. In any religion, if you ask if telling a lie is a sin — say Christian — they will say yes. But you find very few people who don't at some point tell a lie. Homosexuality is one act, but you can't say [a person who is homosexual is] not a Buddhist. Or someone who tells a lie is not a Buddhist. Or someone who kills an insect is not a Buddhist, because there's a strong injunction against that."
In Thailand, traditional accounts propose that "homosexuality arises as a karmic consequence of violating Buddhist proscriptions against heterosexual misconduct. These karmic accounts describe homosexuality as a congenital condition which cannot be altered, at least in a homosexual person's current lifetime, and have been linked with calls for compassion and understanding from the non-homosexual populace." Some more recent Thai Buddhist accounts (from the late 1980s) have described homosexuality as "a willful violation of "natural" (hetero)sexual conduct resulting from lack of ethical control over sexual impulses." Peter Jackson, an Australian scholar of sexual politics and Buddhism in Thailand, writes that these positions represent "two broad schools of thought on homosexuality [which] are current among contemporary Thai Buddhist writers, one accepting, the other unaccepting. The key factor differentiating the divergent stances is the author's conceptualisation of the origin of homosexuality; those who, taking a liberal stance, maintain that it is a condition which is outside the conscious control of homosexual men and women and has its origins in past misdeeds, whereas those who maintain that homosexuality is a willful violation of ethical and natural principles takes an antagonistic position."
Peter Jackson argues that AIDS in the 1980s brought about a shift of perception in Thailand regarding kathoeys, "placing homosexuality rather than gender at the focus of the concept", which was associated with "a shift in Buddhist attitudes from relative tolerance of homosexuality to condemnation."
In 1989, the supreme governing body of the Thai sangha affirmed that "gays" (here translated from Thai kathoey) are prohibited from being ordained. Their declaration has apparently gone unheeded in some quarters, as Phra Pisarn Thammapatee (AKA Phra Payom Kalayano), one of the most eminent monks in the country, demanded in 2003 that 1,000 gay monks be ousted from the sangha, and that better screening processes are put in place to keep out any gay postulants.
Several writers have noted the strong historical tradition of open bisexuality and homosexuality among male Buddhist institutions in Japan. Despite the fact that isolated reports of homosexual cases date back to the earliest period of written history in Japan (the eighth century AD), Buddhists were the first to engage in public rationalization of pederasty, and it is due to them, therefore, that a homosexual culture emerged in Japan in subsequent centuries. When the Tendai priest Genshin harshly criticised homosexuality as immoral, others mistook his criticism as having been because the acolyte wasn't one's own. Chigo Monogatari, "acolyte stories" of love between monks and their chigo were popular, and such relationships appear to have been commonplace, alongside sex with women.
Western Christian travellers to Japan from the 16th century have noted (with distaste) the prevalence and acceptance of forms of homosexuality among Japanese Buddhists—Jesuit priest Francis Cabral wrote in 1596 that "abominations of the flesh" and "vicious habits" were "regarded in Japan as quite honourable; men of standing entrust their sons to the bonzes to be instructed in such things, and at the same time to serve their lust".
A 17th-century Japanese Buddhist scholar, Kitamura Kigin(北村季吟,きたむら きぎん), wrote that Buddha advocated homosexuality over heterosexuality for priests:
It has been the nature of men's hearts to take pleasure in a beautiful woman since the age of male and female gods, but to become intoxicated by the blossom of a handsome youth... would seem to be both wrong and unusual. Nevertheless, the Buddha preached that [Mount] Imose was a place to be avoided and the priests of the law entered this Way as an outlet for their feelings, since their hearts were, after all, made of neither stone nor wood. Like water that plunges from the peak of Tsukubane to form the deep pools of the Minano River, this love has surpassed in depth the love between women and men in these latter days. It plagues the heart not only of courtier and aristocrat but also of brave warriors. Even the mountain dwellers who cut brush for fuel have learned to take pleasure in the shade of young saplings." — Wild Azaleas (1676)
A later Japanese legend attributed the introduction of monastic homosexuality to Japan to Shingon founder Kukai, although scholars now dismiss the veracity of this assertion, pointing out his strict adherence to the Vinaya. Nonetheless, the legend served to "affirm same-sex relation between men and boys in 17th century Japan."
About Buddhism and homosexuality in China, scholar A. L. De Silva writes, "Generally the attitude has been one of tolerance. Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit missionary who lived in China for 27 years from 1583, expressed horror at the open and tolerant attitude that the Chinese took to homosexuality and naturally enough saw this as proof of the degeneracy of Chinese society."[importance?]
Venerable Hsing Yun, one of the premier figures in contemporary Chinese Buddhism, has stated that Buddhism should never teach intolerance toward homosexuality, and that people should expand their minds.
Marriage is an institution that reflects the values of the society that supports it. If the people of a society no longer believe that it is important to be married, then there is no reason why they cannot change the institution of marriage. Marriage is a custom. Customs can always be changed. We can find the same core point in this question as we have in others — the ultimate truth of the matter is that individuals can and should decide for themselves what is right. As long as they are not violating others or breaking the laws of the society in which they are living, then they are free to do what they believe is right. It is not for me or anyone else to tell them that they must get married if they want to live together. That is their choice and their choice alone.
The same analysis can be applied to homosexuality. People often ask me what I think about homosexuality. They wonder, is it right, is it wrong? The answer is, it is neither right nor wrong. It is just something that people do. If people are not harming each other, their private lives are their own business; we should be tolerant of them and not reject them.
However, it will still take some time for the world to fully accept homosexuality. All of us must learn to tolerate the behavior of others. Just as we hope to expand our minds to include all of the universe, so we should also seek to expand our minds to include all of the many forms of human behavior.
Tolerance is a form of generosity and it is a form of wisdom. There is nothing anywhere in the Dharma that should ever lead anyone to become intolerant. Our goal as Buddhists is to learn to accept all kinds of people and to help all kinds of people discover the wisdom of the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha.— Hsing Yun, Buddhism Pure and Simple, pp. 137–138
Hsing Yun is a best-selling author throughout the Sinosphere, as well as an advocate of Humanistic Buddhism, an approach to reform Chinese Buddhism to match the needs of contemporary laypeople. As such, his views may not be wholly reflective of the older Buddhist views in China. However, at an earlier point (1998), he is quoted as remarking that "according to Buddhism, any emotional involvement, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is a form of attachment ... and, therefore, is a source of suffering," and when the topic of homosexuality, in particular, came up "the master spoke more strongly, calling homosexuality a perverted view (xiejian)."
An example of an older view in opposition to homosexuality is given by the traditional master, Hsuan Hua, an important figure for Buddhism in both China and the United States. Master Hsuan Hua stated that homosexuality "plants the seeds that lead to rebirth in the lower realms of existence". In his commentary on the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters, he described homosexuality as behavior caused by confusion, as the product of sexual desires.
Buddhism in the West
In contrast to Buddhism in Asia, modern Buddhism in the Western world is typically associated with a concern for social equality—partly as a result of its largely middle-class intellectual membership base, and its philosophical roots in freethought and secular humanism. When applying Buddhist philosophy to the question of homosexuality, western Buddhists often emphasize the importance the Buddha placed on tolerance, compassion, and seeking answers within one's self. They stress these overarching values rather than examining specific passages or texts. As a result, western Buddhism is often relatively gay-friendly, especially since the 1990s. As an interpretation of what is sexual misconduct is an individual decision and not subject to judgment by any central authority, a view of accepting all peoples, but rejecting certain types of sexual acts is more predominant. LGBT people such as Issan Dorsey, Caitriona Reed, Pat Enkyo O'Hara and Soeng Hyang have been ordained as Buddhist monastics and clergy.
However, this interpretation of sexual misconduct is only applicable to lay Buddhists or Japanese Buddhism's secular married priests. It is a mistake to assume that it would be applied to monastics at all. In traditional forms of Japanese Buddhism, nuns are not allowed sex partners. Neither Theravada or Mahayana traditions of Vinaya traditional Buddhism allow same-gender monastics same-sex partners. They must be celibate no matter what their sexual orientation or they cannot be considered monks or nuns in monastic Buddhism. Sexuality is not a factor in determination of a qualification of a candidate in full ordination in those traditions that follow traditional Vinaya Buddhism as set forth by the Buddha.—Ven Hong Yang, Bhikshuni 21:16, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
An interesting position comes from the western scholar Alexander Berzin,
The texts in Buddhist traditions have been written from the point of view of a heterosexual male. We need to explore the intention of the teachings on sexual misconduct, which ultimately is to eliminate attachment, obsessive desire, and dissatisfaction. If a heterosexual male finds no bounds to these disturbing emotions, he might have sex with someone else's partner, as well as other men. We can apply the same logic and explore what constitutes boundless attachment and dissatisfaction for homosexual and bisexual males or females. For example, having sex with somebody else's partner and so on could be destructive for these types of person as well".
The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, holder of the Karma Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, in a 2008 talk delivered to LGBT Dharma practitioners at the Shambhala Meditation Center of New York, stressed that for vajrayana lay practitioners, homosexual relationships are no better or worse than heterosexual relationships and that only unhealthy relationships, in general, are to be avoided. Both the Nalandabodhi sangha, which was founded by The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, and the Shambhala sanghas founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche have stated that they are welcoming of all sexual orientations. The Shambhala Meditation Center of New York hosts a weekly practice group, Queer Dharma, specifically catering to the needs of the LGBTQ Buddhist community. According to the Danish Karma Kagyu Lama Ole Nydahl, Buddha saw homosexuality as circumstances making life more difficult, but also explained the reason for homosexuality could be aversion against the opposite sex in a former life. Nydahl says however that sexual orientation is not really important in order to practice Buddhism.
The U.S. branch of Soka Gakkai International, a Japan-based new religious movement (Japanese new religion) influenced by Nichiren Buddhism, announced in 1995 that they would start holding wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples, and in 2001 established a conference for LGBT members and their supporters. A Buddhist temple in Salt Lake City connected with Jodo Shinshu, another Japanese school of Buddhism, also holds religious rites for same-sex couples.
Another Buddhist organization founded in the West, Juniper Foundation, wrote an article A Buddhist Vote for Same Sex Marriage demonstrating how Buddhist thinking embraces same-sex marriage:
The heart of Buddhist thought is its insight philosophy, which uses critical inquiry to challenge dogma and to reveal how seemingly fixed ideas are more arbitrary than we might think. Applying this philosophy, we see that social customs are not fixed laws but evolving conventions that serve a purpose in a particular culture and time. Marriage is one of these conventions. It is not a rigid law but a social custom that evolves.
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- James William Coleman, The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition. Oxford University Press 2002, page 146.
- GLBT in World Religions, Sermon by Rev. Gabriele Parks, along with Phil Manos and Bill Weber."Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-04-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta" [To Cunda the Silversmith]. Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight. 1997. AN 10.176. Retrieved 2011-03-14.
Abandoning sensual misconduct, he abstains from sensual misconduct. He does not get sexually involved with those who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another manCS1 maint: others (link)
- 優婆塞經 Archived 2017-02-18 at the Wayback Machine(Upāsaka Sutra from Madhyam āgama):復次，舍梨子！白衣聖弟子離邪婬、斷邪婬，彼或有父所護，或母所護，或父母所護，或兄弟所護，或姉妹所護，或婦父母所護，或親親所護，或同姓所護，或為他婦女，有鞭罰恐怖，及有名雇債至華鬘親，不犯如是女。彼於邪淫淨除其心，白衣聖弟子善護行，此第三法
- Ajahn Punnadhammo. "Same Sex Marriage".
The lay man is told to abstain from sex with "unsuitable partners" defined as girls underage, women betrothed or married and women who have taken vows of religious celibacy. This is clear, sound advice and seems to suggest that sexual misconduct is that which would disrupt existing family or love relationships. This is consonant with the general Buddhist principle that that which causes suffering for oneself or others is unethical behaviour. ("Unskillful behaviour" would be closer to the original.) There is no good reason to assume that homosexual relations which do not violate this principle should be treated differently.
- Somdet Phra Buddhaghosacariya (1993). Uposatha Sila The Eight-Precept Observance.There are four factors of the third precept (kamesu micchacara)
- agamaniya vatthu — that which should not be visited (the 20 groups of women).
- asmim sevana-cittam — the intention to have intercourse with anyone included in the above-mentioned groups.
- sevanap-payogo — the effort at sexual intercourse.
- maggena maggappatipatti — sexual contact through that adhivasanam effort.
- Bhikkhu Bodhi (1981). Going for Refuge & Taking the Precepts (The Five Precepts). Buddhist Publication Society.
- Ajahn Punnadhammo. "Same Sex Marriage".
- Harvey, Peter (2000). An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 421–. ISBN 9780511800801.
- Huifeng. "Re: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?". Dharma Wheel. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- 《Great Treatise on the Perfection of Wisdom》（Sanskrit: Mahā-prajñāpāramitā-śāstra; 中文: 大智度論）卷13：非道之處，則非女根，女心不樂，強以非理，故名邪婬。（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）
- Thubten Chodron. Dealing With Life's Issues (PDF).
The Pali scriptures make no mention of homosexuality being unwise sexual conduct. For monastics, all sexual intercourse is a root downfall. It doesn't specify the gender of one's partner. Vasubandhu, a teacher who came several centuries after the Buddha, discouraged homosexuality. He wrote: "Personally speaking, I think what's most important is the motivation behind how we use our sexuality. In other words, if people use their sexuality unkindly or unwisely, it doesn't matter if it is directed to someone of their own sex or the opposite sex.
- José Ignacio Cabezón. "Thinking through Texts: Toward a Critical Buddhist Theology of Sexuality". Retrieved 17 February 2017.
Now the obvious historical question then becomes this: If the early doctrine of sexual misconduct is so simple and elegant, when and why did it get so complex and restrictive – that is, when do we find the transition to “organ/orifice mode”? The answer to the “when” question is simple. We don’t find any examples of the more elaborate formulation of sexual misconduct before the third-century CE.
- George E. Haggerty, Gay histories and cultures: an encyclopedia. Taylor and Francis 2000, pages 146–147.
- See, for example, the Pandakavatthu section of the Mahavagga. 1:61, 68, 69.
- Peter Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics. Cambridge University Press, 2000, page 390. Quoting Sponberg 1992, 13–18.
- The Pali Text Society Pali-English Dictionary defines ubhatobyanjanaka as "Having the characteristics of both sexes, hermaphrodite". Rhys Davids, T. W. & William Stede (eds.), Pali-English Dictionary, Oriental Books Reprint Corporation, New Delhi, 1975.
- Harvey, op cit, pages 412–413; the bad can be found at Vin. I.89; Vin. II.271.
- Harvey, Peter (2000). An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues, Cambridge press. p.416. ISBN 978-0-521-55640-8, ISBN 0-521-55640-6
- Damien Keown, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Buddhism, page 683.
- Vinaya: Mahavagga, 1:71, 76.
- Vinaya, Vol. 4, pp. 141–142
- Harvey, Peter. An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics, Cambridge University Press, 2000, pages 415f.
- Lotus Sutra: Leon Hurvitz, trans., Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976), p. 209
- Lotus Sutra: If he enters the house of another person, he should not engage in talk with the young girls, unmarried women or widows. Nor should he go near the five types of "unmanly males" or have any close dealings with them.
- Milinda Panha, 100 BC. p. 310.
- Milinda Panha: There are nine kinds of people, Nâgasena, who let out a secret that has been talked over with them, and treasure it not up in their hearts. And who are the nine? The lustful man reveals it in obedience to some lust, the ill-tempered man in consequence of some ill-will, the deluded man under some mistake. The timid man reveals it through fear, and the man greedy for gain to get something out of it. A woman reveals it through "infirmity", an alcoholic in his eagerness for drink, a eunuch (Paṇḍaka) because of their "imperfection", and a child through fickleness.
- Bunmi Methangkun, head of the traditionalist Abhidhamma Foundation in Thailand, describes two types of hermaphrodites, namely, female (Pali: itthi-ubhatobyan janaka) and male (Pali: purisa-ubhatobyanjanaka). According to Bunmi, an itthi-ubhatobyanjanaka is physically female, including having normal female genitals, but when physically attracted to another woman, "her previously female mind disappears and changes instead into the mind of a man, and at the same time male genitals appear while her female genitals disappear and she is able to have sexual intercourse with that woman." (Bunmi Methangkun, Khon Pen Kathoey Dai Yang-rai (How Can People Be Kathoeys?), Abhidhamma Foundation, Bangkok, 2529 (1986).)
- Zwilling, Leonard (1992). "Homosexuality As Seen In Indian Buddhist Texts", in Cabezon, Jose Ignacio, Ed., Buddhism, Sexuality & Gender, State University of New York. p. 206.
- Janet Gyatso (2016). Karen Derris; Natalie Gummer (eds.). Defining Buddhism(s): A Reader（One plus one makes three: Buddhist gender, monasticism, and the law of the non-excluded middle）. Routledge. ISBN 9781134937325.
neither pandaka or ma ning are code words for homosexuality as such, as some have argued, and in any event same-sex sex is not singled out as distinct from other kinds of proscribed sexual activity in the Vinaya....It seems that people who desire conventional homosexual sex, whatever that might be, can be ordained and can stay ordained as long as they do not actually have sex. Exactly the same would be true for people with heterosexual desire. Zwilling destroys his own argument that pandakas are homosexuals when he writes, "The Vinaya, in fact, goes so far as to distinguish sexual activity between normative males from sexual relations between a socially normative male and a pandaka."
- Zwilling, Leonard (1992). "Homosexuality As Seen In Indian Buddhist Texts", in Cabezon, Jose Ignacio, Ed., Buddhism, Sexuality & Gender, State University of New York. Pp. 203–214.
- Paisarn Likhitpreechakul, Paisarn (2012). "Semen, Viagra and Pandaka: Ancient Endocrinology and Modern Day Discrimination". Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. 3.
- For example, the Pravrajyantaraya Sutra, or the 7th century Ta-ch'eng tsao-hsiang kung-te sutra. In the latter, a man "with the lusts and desires of a woman, [who] enjoys being treated as a woman by other men" despised other men or enjoyed dressing as a woman in a previous life.
- Hurvitz, Leon (1976). Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma(The Lotus Sutra). Columbia University Press. p. 209. ISBN 978-0231148955.
- Jackson, Peter A. (1998). "Male Homosexuality and Transgenderism in the Thai Buddhist Tradition". In Queer Dharma: Voices of Gay Buddhists, edited by Winston Leyland. San Francisco : Gay Sunshine Press. ISBN 0-940567-22-9
- Mahavagga 1.69, 38.5.
- Ref from Gyatso (2003): For example, Visuddhimagga 5.40–42 (translated in Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa, The Path of Purification, trans. Bhikkhu Nyanamoli, 2 vols. [Berkeley: Shambhala, 1976]) avers that both hermaphrodites and pandakas are among those who cannot develop kasina concentration, of indeed any kind of meditation at all, due to their defilement and bad kamma. Abhidharmakosabhasya 4.43 also asserts that neither pandakas or sandahas are subject to any of the three disciplines (from verse 13: those of monasticism, meditation, and the pure path), nor indeed the absence thereof.
- Cutler/Newland The Great Treatise On The Stages Of The Path To Enlightenment p.220
- 水野弘元 (Mizuno Kōgen) (2003). 佛敎文獻硏究. pp. 49–51. ISBN 9789575982447.
Four 'Sarvastivada Abhidharma (Prakaranapada, Mahavibhasa, Saṃyuktābhidharmahṛdaya, and Abhidharmāmṛtarasaśāstra) said that there are forty Mental factors (caitasika)....and only in the Saddharma-smrtyupasthana Sutra, there are the same forty Mental factors corresponding with Abhidharmāmṛtarasaśāstra
- Kumar, Nitin (2005). Exotic India Art. The Many Forms of Mahakala, Protector of Buddhist Monasteries Text online.
- Yang Gönpa is also known as rgyal ba yang dgon pa, rgyal mtshan dpal Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
- The Collected Works (Gsun 'bum) of Yan-dgon-pa Rgyal-mtshan-dpal (Thimphu: Kunsang Topgey, 1976), volume 2 pp. 454 and 457 (cited in Gyatso 2003).
- Padma, Sree. Barber, Anthony W. Buddhism in the Krishna River Valley of Andhra. 2008. pp. 152
- Reeves 2008, p. 5 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFReeves2008 (help)
- The Great Chariot: A Treatise on the Great Perfection by Longchenpa (1308–1363), chapter 5. Text online: 1 Archived 2006-08-27 at the Wayback Machine, 2.
- Kopan Course no. 14 (1981): Lama Yeshe Lecture and Q&A by Thubten Yeshe, Text online: .
- "Even with your wife, using one's mouth or the other hole is sexual misconduct. Using one's hand, that is sexual misconduct". (Dalai Lama, at a meeting with lesbian and gay Buddhists, June 11, 1997). Reported widely, including in: Dalai Lama Speaks on Gay Sex – He says it's wrong for Buddhists but not for society. By Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer, Tuesday, June 11, 1997, San Francisco Chronicle. Text online
- Dalai Lama urges "respect, compassion, and full human rights for all", including gays, by Dennis Conkin, Bay Area Reporter, June 19, 1997. Text online Archived 2006-04-23 at the Wayback Machine
- Dalai Lama says 'oral and anal sex' not acceptable, Jack Nichols, May 13, 1997. Text online
- OUT Magazine February/March 1994.
- See full transcript of interview: On Homosexuality and Sex in General, World Tibet Network News, Wednesday, August 27, 1997.
- Q-Notes, 1997. What’s up with the Dalai Lama?, by Steve Peskind and Donald Miller. Article online
- Dalai Lama, June 11, 1997, at a press conference in San Francisco. Cited in "According to Buddhist Tradition", by Steve Peskind, Shambhala Sun, March 1998. Text online.
- World Tibet Network News. Thursday, July 1, 1993. Text online Archived August 4, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
- Study Buddhism Buddhist Sexual Ethics: Main Issues
- Peter Levenda, Unholy alliance: a history of Nazi involvement with the occult, 2nd edition, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002, 423 p., p. 194.
- Interview with Tashi Wangdi, David Shankbone, Wikinews, November 14, 2007.
- "Dalai Lama says gay marriage is 'OK' and anti-LGBT bullying is 'wrong' · PinkNews". Pinknews.co.uk. 2014-03-06. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
- "The Dalai Lama Weighs In On Same Sex Marriage | Dalai Lama Interview | Larry King Now - Ora TV". YouTube. 2014-02-27. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
- Jackson, Peter (1995). Thai Buddhist accounts of male homosexuality and AIDS in the 1980s. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, Vol.6 No.3, Pp.140–153. December 1995. Text online
- Khamhuno. 1989 (B.E. 2532). Gay Praakot Nai Wongkaan Song ("Gays Appear in Sangha Circles"). Sangkhom Saatsanaa (Religion and Society Column). Siam Rath Sut-sapdaa (Siam Rath Weekly), November 18, 1989 (B.E. 2532). 36 (22):37–38.
- Buddhism Grapples With Homosexuality by Peter Hacker (2003), Newscenter Asia Bureau Chief, 365Gay.com. Article online.
- Stephen O. Murray (2000). Homosexualities. The University of Chicago Press. p. 73. ISBN 0-226-55194-6.
- Leupp, Gary (1995). Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan. p. 31
- Faure, Bernard (1998). The Red Thread: Buddhist approaches to sexuality p. 209
- Boxer, C.R. The Christian Century in Japan 1549–1650. University of Californian Press, Berkeley, 1951. p 69.
- Spence, Jonathan, D. (1985). The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci, Faber and Faber, London. p. 225
- Mount Imose is traditionally associated with heterosexuality.
- Wakashudo, "the Way of Youth", i.e. homosexuality
- Paul Gordon Schalow, trans. 1996, Kitamura Kigin, "Wild Azaleas" (Iwatsutsuji) in Partings at Dawn, an Anthology of Japanese Gay Literature, San Francisco, Gay Sunshine Press p. 103. ISBN 0-940567-18-0
- Schalow, Paul Gordon. "Kukai and the Tradition of Male Love in Japanese Buddhism," in Cabezon, Jose Ignacio, Ed., Buddhism, Sexuality & Gender, State University of New York. p. 215.
- "Homosexuality and Theravada Buddhism". BuddhaNet Magazine. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- "International Gay & Lesbian Review: Buddhism Pure and Simple". Archived from the original on 2012-11-25. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
- Chandler, Stuart (2004). Establishing a Pure Land On Earth. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. p. 146.
- Prebish, Charles: The Faces of Buddhism in America, page 255. University of California Press, 1998.
- Hua, Hsuan: The Sutra in Forty-Two Sections Spoken by Buddha, page 221. Buddhist Text Translation Society, 1994.
- Coleman, James William (2002). The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515241-7. See chapter 2, "Sex, Power, and Conflict." Review online.
- Monastic Code 1 and Monastic Code 2 by Thannissaro Bhikkhu
- (2008). HEART TO HEART: A Program for the LGBT Dharma Community [Motion picture]. United States: Vajra Echoes. Description.
- "About Shambhala". Shambhala International (Vajradhatu). Archived from the original on 2009-11-29.
- "Queer Dharma".
- Nydahl, Ole: "Buddha og Kærligheden – Parforholdets muligheder" in Buddha and Love – The possibilities of the relationship (2006) Borgen, Denmark. ISBN 978-87-21-02858-9
- World Tribune, May 5, 1995, p.5. (Soka Gakkai International's weekly newspaper)
- "Freedom and Diversity". SGI-USA. Archived from the original on 2016-04-23. Retrieved 2013-05-04.
- J.K. Hirano (2004), Gay Buddhist Marriage? Text online Archived 2008-09-07 at the Wayback Machine.
- Juniper Foundation "A Buddhist Vote for Same Sex Marriage" Archived 2011-03-03 at the Wayback Machine 10-06-2009.
- "Buddhists come out for equality". Starobserver.com.au. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
- Buddhist Sexual Ethics: Main Issues. Includes a discussion about what would be destructive or constructive sexual behavior for male and female homosexuals and bisexuals.
- Thinking through Texts: Toward a Critical Buddhist Theology of Sexuality José Ignacio Cabezón