The Dalai Lama, the Pope & monkly mistakes

One of the problem with the Westernised media, particularly coming from the Americas is that there is a strong tendency to apply their own world view of how things should be to the rest of the world. This is called ethnocentrisms. Thus it does not get any better when the American/Western media continuously portray the Dalai Lama like he is the sole authority of the Buddhist world, the equivalent of the pope in Catholicism. Of course, the popularity of the Dalai Lama have, in part, a lot to do with the fact that Tibet was taken over by China, and there are good political agenda and interests to use that fact against China, by some government agencies to negotiable deals and force China to obey Western rules. So sometimes it hard to tell when the Dalai Lama is a Western government’s tool of against China or when its really for the concern of the people in Tibet.

I don’t really blame them for being ignorant, but what is worst is that some Buddhists themselves seems to take Dalai Lama’s words as fully authoritative for all Buddhists and that some of his views of Buddhism IS the only Buddhist view. That I am puzzled. What have they been learning?

So for the record, the Dalai Lama is not the Pope of Buddhism. Buddhism does not have a Pope. Neither are he views nor practices on Buddhism necessarily reflective or representative of all Buddhists views and practices. Basically, Buddhism, as of currently, can be divided into 4 main traditions (or practices).

All these traditions point to a different way of achieving the same thing: elightenment.

You have the Theravada, popular in Sri Lanka and most parts of Indo-China like Thailand and Laos. Next is a whole class of practice under Mahayana, which springs 2 more different practices: Zen and Tibetan Buddhism.

Each tradition have their own authorities and there are no sole authority for each tradition neither. Take for example Zen tradition in Korea, Japan, Vietname and other parts of the world have different authorities.

Now, the Dalai Lama belongs to the Tibetan Buddhism traditions. Within that tradition, there are currently four major sects, each with its own head and authority. The Dalai Lama is not the head of any of these sects. But he is considered a political head of Tibet. His spiritual authority, thus, is only derived from students who has taken him as a guru or those who see him as a teacher, and the rest of the “feel-good” junkies. I am not saying that the Dalai Lama is fake and that his teachings is not worth it. On the contrary, there are a lot of insight and wisdom in his teachings. I am talking about those “Michael Jackson/Madonna”-like fans who put the Dalai Lama up in a heavenly and untouchable pedestral.

So its really frustrating that whenever the DL says that gay sex is a sexual misconduct in Buddhism, (homophobic) Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike then claim that Buddism is, thus, homophobic and use it to no ends to condemn gay people with it. What he should be saying is that gay sex is a sexual misconduct only within the form and tradition of Buddhism that he knows and practices. What this means that if you are not a Tibetan Buddhist nor is he your guru or beloved teacher, you can safely ignore that part of his message. If you fall under his purview, then you might be a bit screwed if you believe what he said to be dogmatic truth without using your own brains. Sorry, but I really have no sympathy for such brainless devoution.

The other day, someone posted a reply by Ajahn Brahm to the Dalai Lama’s comments in heartland, which I thought would help of those out there confused by the DL’s message:

Ajahn Brahm today has written to the West Australian newspaper in response to an article published last week in which the Dalai Lama was quoted as saying that homosexuality was immoral. This article was first brought to the attention of Ajahn Brahm – the elected head of the Australian Sangha Association – by members of the BSWA’s Armadale Meditation Group who felt that the Dalai Lama’s comments were not in line with the Buddhist ethos. In his response Ajahn Brahm explains why, as follows….

*Dear Sir/Madam,

The Dalai Lama was out of line when he said (according to your article in the West, April 15, Page 7) “if you are a Buddhist, homosexuality is wrong. Full stop.” The Dalai Lama is not the ‘Pope’ of Buddhism and, charming as he often is, he sometimes gets it wrong. He is only the head of one of the four main sects of Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism) and he speaks only for his group.

The greater majority of Buddhists throughout the modern world are inspired to learn that the Buddha certainly did not discriminate against homosexuality. The core teachings of original Buddhism clearly show that it is not whether one is heterosexual, homosexual or celibate that is
good or bad, but it is how a person uses their sexual orientation that makes for good or bad karma. For example a gay man in a committed, loving and joyful relationship with a male partner is definitely morally superior to a straight married guy who is unfaithful to his wife. Homosexuality is not wrong per se. However, it is bad karma to condemn homosexuality out of hand!

The Dalai Lama’s error is to look for his guidance in dodgy scriptures composed many centuries after the time of the Buddha. So the fact is that the Buddha, and therefore Buddhism, embraces gays and lesbians and transsexuals with equity and respect. Too long has religious bigotry caused suffering to minority groups in our society. All religions should be more loving. Full stop!*

Ajahn Brahm

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36 thoughts on “The Dalai Lama, the Pope & monkly mistakes

  1. The Dalai Lama is not the Pope of Buddhism. Neither is Ajahm Brahm.

    I do hope that Ajahn Brahm makes it clear that he does not represent all the Buddhist outside the Tibetan Tradition. Tibetan, Zen and Pureland sect of Mahayana Buddhist consider gay sex a misconduct.

      • Can we agree that firstly Ajahm Brahm does not represent the Mahayana Tradition ?
        Mahayana tradition does see gay sex as a misconduct. And we do not see it as wrong view.

        • Ajahn Brahm was writing to an Australian audience, I am just posting what was printed. You should talk to Ajahn Brahm yourself. I am from the Zen and as such Mahayana tradition and I cannot find any scriptural evidence (except parraots repeating what dead humans said) that are backed by facts that Buddhist teachings to deem gay sex as a misconduct, In fact, holding such a view is harmful, unwholesome and a wrong view. If you can produce evidence to back your views then perhaps it makes a good discussion topic.

          • As for Ajahn Brahm’s comment. No problem. I comment here as I read.

            Please refer to 优婆塞戒经 of Mahayana scriptures.

            世尊的开示:什么是邪淫及邪淫的果报

            《优婆塞戒经》业品第二十四

            佛经原文:
            ……
            若于非时非处非女处女他妇。若属自身是名邪淫。唯三天下有邪淫罪。郁单曰无。若畜生若破坏。若属僧若系狱。若亡逃若师妇。若出家人近如是人。名为邪淫。出家之人无所系属。从谁得罪。从其亲属王所得罪。恶时乱时虐王出时。怖畏之时。若令妇妾出家剃发。还近之者是得淫罪。若到三道是得淫罪。若自若他。在于道边塔边祠边大会之处。作非梵行得邪淫罪。若为父母兄弟国王之所守护。或先与他期。或先许他。或先受财。或先受请。木泥画像及以死尸。如是人边作非梵行。得邪淫罪。若属自身而作他想。属他之人而作自想。亦名邪淫。如是邪淫亦有轻重。从重烦恼则得重罪。从轻烦恼则得轻罪。

            ……

            经文解释:

            对优婆塞来说,除了夫妇之间的男女关系外,一切不受国家法律或社会道德所承认的男女关系,均为邪淫。有关邪淫在戒律上,有详细的规定。本经在这里仅讲了其中的几个主要方面,优婆夷可参照领会,同样适用。

            1、若在:

              非时——制戒律所规定的不应行淫的日期及时间;
              非处——指戒律所规定的不应行淫的处所及「三道」;
              非女——指同性恋、人畜之间行淫;
              处女——未婚女;
              他妇——有夫之妇;
              自身——自身行淫,如手淫;

            这些情况下行淫的,均为邪淫。

            邪淫罪,四大部洲中只有东,西,南三大洲有,北郁单越洲则无邪淫罪。

            2、若对:

              畜生——动物;
              破坏——已经坏烂的女尸;
              若属僧——僧人;
              若系狱——狱中女犯;
              若亡逃——逃亡的女性;
              若师妇——师长的妻子;

            做非梵行,就是邪淫。

            3、已经出家的人,虽已无所系属,但对自己的亲属,王属等作非梵行的,得淫罪。

            4、在恶世时,乱世时,暴君出世时,怖畏时刻,若强令自己的妻妾剃发出家,当出家后,仍同她作非梵行的,得淫罪。

            5、若在三道(指:口道、小便道、大便道)作非梵行时,得淫罪。

            6、若自己或者与其他人在道路边,塔庙边,祠寺边,大众集会之处作非梵行的,得邪淫罪。

            7、若在父母,兄弟,国王死亡后守护(守灵)期内,或先与他人约会,或先应允他人,或先接受财礼,或先接受邀请(其目的是为了作非梵行的),得邪淫罪。

            8、若在木像、泥像、画像(一解指圣贤像;二解死亡的亲属、王者像)、死尸等边,作非梵行的,得邪淫罪。

            9、若在自淫时或就自己意淫时,把自己的配偶想象为他人的配偶;把属他人之妻,产生了自己与之作非梵行想,这种单方面的意淫,也名邪淫。

            以上所列举的邪淫罪,也有轻重,如果烦恼重(贪嗔痴比较强烈),则得重罪;如果烦恼轻,则得轻罪。

            对于现在这个社会,常见的:用性具自淫是邪淫;卖淫嫖娼就更是邪淫,邪淫有罪,必有恶报;一夜情是邪淫;婚外恋婚外情包二奶婚外通奸均是邪淫;婚前同居偷尝禁果是邪淫(没有登记领取结婚证得到法律承认保护即未婚同居)。如果再由于这种邪淫引起的堕胎杀生更是罪过无量无边,要在地狱受无量无边的痛苦。希望大家谨慎小心。纵使百千劫,所作业不亡。因缘会遇时,果报还自受。

            乾隆大藏经 -> http://www.goodweb.cn/sutra/dazangjing/1083.asp

      • * On Dalai Lama’s position on sex and procreation *

        Let me extraction a section from a forum posting:

        Quote

        The PURPOSE of sex as spoken by the Dalai Lama is for procreation and the organ is to perform this FUNCTION. To support this reasoning, consider the following:

        – when a gay couple mate, the male top will eject sperm. Is there a way to stop this from happening? Is the male top able to prevent this? We all know the answer is “No”. The male top has totally no control over his ejaculation. Why do gay have sperm in the first place and why does he HAVE TO ejaculate it during gay sex? It’s such a trouble to have to be cleaned up and it does not seem to serve any useful purpose in gay sex. “Mother nature” has it that this ACT of sex and the spontaneous ejaculation of sperm, is to fertilise the egg of his female partner. This is a strong signal from “mother nature” that the ACT of sex is for procreation

        – when the woman is sexually aroused, without conscious deliberation, the woman virginal self-lubricate. The anus of the gay bottom does not. Again, “mother nature” is telling us that one of the function of the woman virginal is to receive the penis. The anus does not share this ability

        Obviously, nobody can tell for sure why “mother nature” chooses to make both straight and gay man this way. We do not understand and we probably will never know the reason. But, not knowing the reason does not equate to there are no reasons – just that we do not know.

        Anybody can suggest that the sex ACT can be anything other than procreation and firmly believes in it. However, from the above, it does seem like the penis is designed to enter the virginal and not the anus.

        The signs from dear “mother nature” are pointing in the Dalai Lama’s favour.

        Unquote

        The point here is that we really do not need anyone to tell us what sex is for. Nature has spoken. We just need to listen.

        • Thank you for your nature debate. Yes, we are definitely not sure what “mother nature” is because there are at least documented cases of 500 species of animals who engaged in same-sex sex and some are even documented to have shown preference to a same sexed partner. I wonder what “mother nature” says about that, I wonder if “mother nature” talking through someones head while in a trance.

          So oral sex even between hetero couples with or without ejaculation and masturbation is also outside “mother nature” design I guess. To say that the penis is designed for the vaginal and can only use for that is like saying that mouth is designed for eating and speaking but not for kissing.

          Also procreation are ideas unfortunately borrowed from God-religion centric teachings, they are not Buddhist teachings Also there are no concerns in Buddhist teachings where sex organs go to for lay persons, the concern has always been whether an action is harmful and exploitative.

          When and if Buddhist teachings even becomes teachings of bedroom rights and wrongs, then surely the day of decline is fast approaching.

          • As a Buddhist, we know that animals are from a lower realm. So should we follow the more delusion to justify our acts or follow our teachings given in the Upasaka Sutta (优婆塞戒经)?

            No. I didn’t say the penis can only be used for the virginal. That would mean if I want to have sex, I cannot use my penis to pee! I’m saying that when it comes to sex, the penis is to enter the virginal and not the anus.

            Can anyone give some suggestions why the virginal self-lubricate but not the anus?
            Can anyone give some suggestions why a gay man has to ejaculate sperm during gay sex and it’s totally beyond his control?
            Can anyone give some suggestions why sperm will fertilise the egg from the female partner (and not the shit inside the anus)?

            I know this is not Buddhism but it’s already obvious, do we need the Buddha to tell us that the sun rises in the east?

            Many religion share similar values such as no stealing, no lying. etc. We didn’t borrow from God-religion centric teachings. We have it in our Mahayana scriptures. Not sure if you have read the other reply to you but it’s clearly written in the scripture no gay sex. And that’s Zen.

            Buddhist teaching is not about bedroom right and wrong. It’s about compassion… as Ajahm Brahm says that we need to be compassionate about other’s suffering such as “inequality in marriage”. Agree, from the gay man’s perspective, he is suffering. But from the Mahayana Buddhists’ perspective, the gay sex act will bring about tremendous retributions for him… so in not supporting this “perceived inequality”, we are truly compassionate in the Mahayana Buddhist sense!

            • Since “mother nature” was used as an evidence, I was just trying to show how diverse “mother nature” is. Also there is no concept of “going against nature” in Buddhist teachings, if so then wearing spectacles and eating with forks and knife will be “against nature already”.

              Having anal sex is not for procreation, of course its a useless question to ask. The only way to have procreation is when a sperm meets an egg, but this can be done inside and outside the body. It doesn’t matter whether vaginal self-lubricates or not. There is little or no evidence that properly done oral and anal sex cause any harm. Just as improper vaginal sex can cause bleeding even though its vaginal sex. Also in some cases, vaginal don’t lubricate enough and some even have problems with lubrication. Does that mean the poor women should not have sex?

              Also oral sex and even anal sex is practiced between non-same sex couples also.

              Also there is no Buddhist explanation as yet why anal and oral sex whether performed by same sex or non-same sex persons is harmful or unskill, whether from the Dalai Lama nor within the sutra. Even the explaining the five precepts within the pali canon, there is a logical sequence of explaining why each precept is important why one should refrain from them.

              In most of the accepted Buddhist text, even within the vinaya monastic code of conduct, the Buddha would explain why an action is harmful, unskillful or not necessary. The Upsaka sutra introduces prohibitions as commandments without any explanation or story to related to those prohibitions. This then becomes no different from someone accepting the biblical text as truth and commandments.

              Strange that there are no upasika sutra, all prohibitions are only centered around the male species, so it means that women have none of those prohibitions. This shows the biasness of the author and the world views and cultured lens in which the sutra was first constructed.

  2. 非女——指同性恋、人畜之间行淫;

    I want to question why is the sutta only so concern about male lay practioners sexual conduct and not female lay practioners?

    Does it means that sexual conducts between females isn’t consider a sexual misconduct?

    以上所列举的邪淫罪,也有轻重,如果烦恼重(贪嗔痴比较强烈),则得重罪;如果烦恼轻,则得轻罪。

    If the act of putting penis into anus is an absolute sexual misconduct, then why is there a need to differentiate a varying degree of sin (karma) that is tag with varying degree of (ignorance, hatred and greed) when performing the acts? It implies that there is more negative karma when performing these acts with greater (greed, hatred and ignorance). With further induction, it means that if one puts his penis into the anus of someone that he loves with lots of love, there is no sin created.

    Since the “——” is inference, I would also like to make a bigger inference. During Buddhas’s time, sexual orientation isn’t a known concept, all men that have sex with men are considered anomalous desire that need to be tamed. They didn’t know that there are men that fall love ONLY with men. Their desire isn’t greater than straight men since they never desire to sleep with any woman.

    • Quote
      非女——指同性恋、人畜之间行淫;
      I want to question why is the sutta only so concern about male lay practioners sexual conduct and not female lay practioners?
      Does it means that sexual conducts between females isn’t consider a sexual misconduct?
      Unquote

      May be yes. May be no.
      Isn’t it an irony that we have been talking about man all these while and not mentioned gay woman ?

      Quote
      以上所列举的邪淫罪,也有轻重,如果烦恼重(贪嗔痴比较强烈),则得重罪;如果烦恼轻,则得轻罪。
      If the act of putting penis into anus is an absolute sexual misconduct, then why is there a need to differentiate a varying degree of sin (karma) that is tag with varying degree of (ignorance, hatred and greed) when performing the acts? It implies that there is more negative karma when performing these acts with greater (greed, hatred and ignorance). With further induction, it means that if one puts his penis into the anus of someone that he loves with lots of love, there is no sin created.
      Unquote

      My understanding is this: There is a difference between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. In Theravada, it’s the act that counts while in Mahayana, it’s the thought that counts. I believe you are right – if a person puts his penis into the anus of someone that he loves with lots of love and without ignorance, hatred and greed, then there is “no sin”. But if the person does not have ignorance, hatred and greed, would he bother to put that penis in?

      Quote
      Since the “——” is inference, I would also like to make a bigger inference. During Buddhas’s time, sexual orientation isn’t a known concept, all men that have sex with men are considered anomalous desire that need to be tamed. They didn’t know that there are men that fall love ONLY with men. Their desire isn’t greater than straight men since they never desire to sleep with any woman.
      Unquote

      I don’t know if this is true that during the Buddha’s time, what you say is correct “they didn’t know that there are men that fall love ONLY with men”. If what you say is correct, then it’s easy to explain why the Buddha didn’t mention the “sin” of gay sex in the Theravada Sutras because the people didn’t know there is such a things. I guess I misunderstood you.

      Would be good if someone can invent a “desire meter” so that we can measure the desire of straight and gay man, and bi-men, of course.

  3. Making the statement that “George Yeo is not the PM of Singapore” does not imply that I am, and it would be completely unnecessary and inane to add that clarification. Aj. Brahm stated a fact: the DL is not the “pope” of Buddhism – full stop. I don’t see the need for him to then state that he is/is not. Utterly superfluous. No need for T’s & C’s.

    He then states “The greater majority of Buddhists throughout the modern world are inspired to learn that the Buddha certainly did not discriminate against homosexuality.” This suggests to me that people hold an animosity towards gays as a result of society and cultural attitudes, and perhaps believe that these are based somehow on the Buddha’s teaching. When people learn that the Buddha did not teach discriminatory views towards this particular group of people, they are relieved that his teachings of loving kindness and compassion are consistent, universal, and include ALL beings. Kelvin, I would suggest that although Aj. Brahm is addressing an Australian readership, he is undoubtedly including Asians, given his extensive experience of teaching in Asia. Indeed, you have probably experienced this yourself.

    As this blog is primarily an English medium one, it would have been helpful to translate the Chinese text. Nevertheless, after wrestling with the classical Chinese, I don’t see where homosexuality is condemned. It is only in reading the sutra through the biased lenses of the subsequent commentary that would point in that direction. So, to the commentary.

    非 could mean “wrong” or “not/non”. In his first point, he seems to be saying “wrong time (非时), wrong place (非处), not/non-woman (非女), virgins (处女 – he understands this to be only unmarried women?! perhaps he should get out more!)…”. Logically speaking, all three would be “wrong”, or all three would be “not/non”, with the latter interpretation making no sense whatsoever (not/non-time, not/non-place?!). Clearly the pattern he was using for 非 was “wrong”, so why the sudden, seemingly arbitrary change to “not/non-” when it comes to 女 (rhetorical question, we can only guess at the mind of the author)? 非女 (wrong woman) has typically meant women who were under the protection of a male relative (underage and unmarried girls, and married women), mentally/cognitively challenged, and nuns [virgins are normally included in this category, but he separates them out]. He seems to have completely ignored/eliminated them in his understanding of this term and made the quantum jump to homosexuals. Or is he perhaps suggesting that these classes of women are now OK? Again, we can only speculate about the commentator’s intentions.

    小便道! Really? Now, I am not familiar with the Mahayana Vinaya(s), so do not know if this is correct or not, but is that really the term used for vagina? In the Pali Canon, the only references to the “paths/doors” is in the Vinaya, not in the Suttanta (I stand to be corrected), so this would be one of those interesting divergences in the Canons.

    In these types of discussions, we tend to get sidetracked by the superficialities without really addressing the underlying, and more important strata that the Buddha would probably have focussed on. Is the action based on a mind of greed, aversion and delusion? Or is it based on a mind of non-greed, non-aversion, and non-delusion? In the case of the former, it would be unwholesome and lead to more unsatisfactoriness (dukkha). In the case of the latter, the action would be wholesome and lead towards freedom. When talking about homosexuality, or any sexuality for that matter, this is where the focus should be, not on the mechanics.

    • Quote
      As this blog is primarily an English medium one, it would have been helpful to translate the Chinese text. Nevertheless, after wrestling with the classical Chinese, I don’t see where homosexuality is condemned. It is only in reading the sutra through the biased lenses of the subsequent commentary that would point in that direction. So, to the commentary.
      Unquote

      Wait a minute… why are you looking for condemnation in the Sutra? When the Buddha says do not kills, does he condemn killers? Obviously not! Neither are Mahayana Buddhist out to condemn gay people. Or it is a case of reverse bias where gay supporters trying to condemn non-gay supporter here? 😉

      As for “非时非处非女”… I must first compliment you on your depth of analysis. Sorry, I didn’t know that there is a rule for English Blog and that I need to translate. I didn’t write this and I try not to translate if possible as I don’t want to incur the Karma of mistranslating. But I will try to elaborate in English.

      非时——制戒律所规定的不应行淫的日期及时间;
      非处——指戒律所规定的不应行淫的处所及「三道」;
      非女——指同性恋、人畜之间行淫;

      The word to lookout for in the Chinese text is 不该. In my iPhone DianHua dictionary “should not” and 不 being negative. The HanYu dictionary also says “should not”. Also, Dict.cn says 不该 = “should not”. So 非 implies negative and not “wrong”. So when it comes to 非女, it means the negative or not woman.

      As for “小便道”. 道 is path.

      • I feel that this is more a classic case like the bible where hebrew and greek were translated to modern english with its equivalent, but only when scholars really read and understand the orignal text do they realise there are mistranslation.

        In the english version of the The sutra on Upasaka Precepts by Numata Center, it says instead:

        “If at an improper time or place one has sexual contact with women other [than one’s wife], one commits the offense of sexual misconduct. This offense exists only in the three continents but not in the Uttarakuru continent. … ETC”

        As you can see the translation for 非女 is more “not one’s wife”.

        Also the word homosexual or 同性恋 is not invented until its first reference in German in 1869. Obviously, the Chinese word only developed much later. So the meaning and translation is only very recent in history. Not that homosexuals don’t exists in Buddha’s time, on the contrary, this is quite evident in the pali canon and also to scholars studying ancient India. It is only in the modern world that people becomes discriminated against homosexuals and justify it with scriptures. However, of the volumes of text in the pali canon, there is not a single text mention that the so-call homosexual is inappropriate for the lay persons as compared to heterosexuality.

        Further more, the only reference we have of the upasaka sutra is from the Chinese canons and the origins is unknown and I believe it comes from a later period. And lastly, as I have mentioned before, generally Buddhist teachings are not commandments, all of them have an explanation as to why people should follow a certain action. The Upasaka precepts breaks away from this tradition and sound more like a holy bible without questions if you ask me.

        • Quote
          I feel that this is more a classic case like the bible where hebrew and greek were translated to modern english with its equivalent, but only when scholars really read and understand the orignal text do they realise there are mistranslation.

          In the english version of the The sutra on Upasaka Precepts by Numata Center, it says instead:

          “If at an improper time or place one has sexual contact with women other [than one’s wife], one commits the offense of sexual misconduct. This offense exists only in the three continents but not in the Uttarakuru continent. … ETC”

          As you can see the translation for 非女 is more “not one’s wife”.

          Also the word homosexual or 同性恋 is not invented until its first reference in German in 1869. Obviously, the Chinese word only developed much later. So the meaning and translation is only very recent in history. Not that homosexuals don’t exists in Buddha’s time, on the contrary, this is quite evident in the pali canon and also to scholars studying ancient India. It is only in the modern world that people becomes discriminated against homosexuals and justify it with scriptures. However, of the volumes of text in the pali canon, there is not a single text mention that the so-call homosexual is inappropriate for the lay persons as compared to heterosexuality.
          Unquote

          I think “非女” is not “not one’s wife”. If it’s intended to be “not one’s wife”, then it should probably say “非妻”. My opinion.

          Ok. You are RIGHT !!! Let’s not use the word “同性恋”. Because, a man can have sex with a bi-man and not necessary have to be a gay man. Let’s translate to “not woman”. OK, so long as it’s not a woman, what else do you have left? Is man a woman?

          If you read further down the English Upasaka Sutta, it says (not sure if I got the text correctly cause it’s quoted in a book and not the original text http://www.scribd.com/doc/80317775/Celibacy-and-Religious-Traditions… where is the URL for Numata Center ?)

          “If the contact involves the three organs [oral sex with the male or female mouth, and anal sex], the offense of sexual misconduct is committed.”

          It’s also written in the English version of the Upasaka Sutta that it’s a misconduct for oral and anal sex, both with man and woman. So oral sex is a misconduct.

          Quote
          Further more, the only reference we have of the upasaka sutra is from the Chinese canons and the origins is unknown and I believe it comes from a later period.
          Unquote

          Sorry, I cannot accept this argument. So long as the Sutta is in the Qian Long Da Zhang Jing, we have to accept it. If not, the Mahayana Buddhist don’t have a baseline as to the set of Sutta to follow. You or Ajahn Brahm can raise this as an issue with the Mahayana world and argue your case and get take Sutta out of the QLDZJ but until then, we will take this as correct. And if you feel so strongly that it’s not correct and it discriminates against gay people around the world, YOU SHOULD DO IT !

          You can argue that we do not know its origin but not knowing the origin is not proof that it’s fake or not from the Buddha.

          Quote
          And lastly, as I have mentioned before, generally Buddhist teachings are not commandments, all of them have an explanation as to why people should follow a certain action. The Upasaka precepts breaks away from this tradition and sound more like a holy bible without questions if you ask me.
          Unquote

          I hear you. You can submit this to whoever is maintaining the QLDZJ as support for your argument. But no case as far as now is concerned.

          • I have already given you the English translation from the Upasaka Sutra (I have a copy myself for cases like yours) and I have shown that the interpretation of 非女 as not women is not in that translation. Of course, according to your world view, those scholars must be wrong, since you insists its means not women. The poor readers must somehow read inbetween the pages to decipher that from the English translation.

            The link to scribd describes celibacy for monastics, I have no argues that monks and nuns should not have sex or sexual contact with anyone or anything. Period. But if you look at the monastic codes, you will be surprised to find that homosexual contacts has not been singled out as more deplorable compare into heterosexual contacts. In fact, in many cases, the reverse is more truth. This is probably also the origins of the “no contacts with 3 organs” when people got confused between monastic codes and lay person’s code. Also it interesting that since there is not much said about (comparing with hetero) same-sex sexual relations in the monastic code, that the lay person’s code its even more strict and specific.

            For me, it doesn’t matter if it is from the Buddha or not, because we don’t have an actual recording of what he said, all text are written in the form of “so I heard…” and the any earliest records of those text are at least 500 – 600 years after his parinibbana. Even the well known story of his birth and predictions and sightings outside his palace walls are probably adapted from Jain’s stories of their founder.

            It is just so sad that some Buddhists are treating Buddhist text like the holy Bible as an uncontestable truth. It is sad that they themselves do not spend the effort and time to investigate and compare against known facts and develop insight, this is what makes Buddhists and the system of teachings special. Once we believe that Buddhist text are absolute truth than there is where learning stops and religion begins.

            • 1.

              I don’t have your copy and I don’t know what else is written which is not quoted by you. So I search the internet… Please refer http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra33f.html. Search for “not a woman”

              extracted here:

              “If one has sex at an inappropriate time or place, with someone who is a virgin, not one’s wife, or not a woman, one is guilty of the sin of sexual misconduct.”

              2.

              As for the previous quote, let me extract it here and you can see that it’s referring to lay people… no oral sex… laity means what ah ?

              This flexibility isreadily apparent in the case of celibacy. Buddhist scriptures invite lay peopleto adopt various sets of precepts, the most common of which are five: do not kill, do not steal, do not engage in sexual misconduct, do not lie, and do not drink alcoholic beverages. In this list of taboos, the precise meaning of ‘‘sexual misconduct’’ for the laity was open to interpretation. One influential scripture described the precept as follows:

              If at an improper time or place one has sexual contact with women other [than one’s wife], one commits the offense of sexual misconduct….If at a time of difficulty, war, tyranny, or fear, one hasone’s wife renounce the home life and later maintains a sexual relationship with her, one commits the offense of sexual misconduct. If the contact involves the three organs [oral sex with the male or female mouth, and anal sex], the offense of sexual misconduct is committed.

            • Quote
              For me, it doesn’t matter if it is from the Buddha or not, because we don’t have an actual recording of what he said, all text are written in the form of “so I heard…” and the any earliest records of those text are at least 500 – 600 years after his parinibbana. Even the well known story of his birth and predictions and sightings outside his palace walls are probably adapted from Jain’s stories of their founder.
              Unquote

              Very sad to hear this as a fellow Buddhist.

              Quote
              It is just so sad that some Buddhists are treating Buddhist text like the holy Bible as an uncontestable truth. It is sad that they themselves do not spend the effort and time to investigate and compare against known facts and develop insight, this is what makes Buddhists and the system of teachings special. Once we believe that Buddhist text are absolute truth than there is where learning stops and religion begins.
              Quote

              No. I don’t take the Buddhist text as uncontestable truth. But given such a situation, I always leave my options open. I see that your options are closed.

              • In what way did you say that your opinion is open, I don’t seem to have that impression? My opinion is not closed, I am just saying that water freezes at 0 degree celsius, Anyone any where can attest to these independently that it is so. However, the text according to your understanding is saying that its unnatural for water to freeze at 0 degrees, but offers no scientific studies or any testable studies to prove otherwise.

                I am saying if you can concretely proof your case, than it is possible for discussion. But if one only relies on unproven truths and mambo jumbo Dharma, then its not possible to discuss.

                What do you mean by “sad from fellow Buddhist?” You mean someone who engages and questions the scripture is sad? Or someone who is willing to challenge established system colored by rituals and traditions and pseudo truths is sad?

  4. What is the karma for interpretating Buddhist scriptures wrongly, propagating the wrong view broadly and causing suffering to people?

    • More importantly is how I know I’m holding the right view ?
      Many years back, people think the world was flat. Right view or wrong view ?
      Now, we know it’s not. May be still wrong view.

      I’m not saying your view is wrong. Just some food for thought. Same for me too.

      • You are right that people used to believe that the earth is flat. However, when others started to see that the earth was round, it was the religious people in power that refused to believe so even though there are scientific evidence point to it. They would even decree anyone believe otherwise a heretic and even silence them.

        The same hold true for homosexuality where is a vast scientific and even psychological and biological evidence that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality (or people engaging with “non-procreative” activities) and it is part of nature. We can, of course, say that all these scientist, psychologist and biologists are holding wrong views, even though many of the studies are independently held and peered review in their own industry. But to say that is to say that one is wiser than all these people combine.

        The brahmic idea of procreation is the believe that the sperm holds life (not the egg or a combination that forms life), that is why if sperm is spill anywhere else but in the vaginal it was consider killing life. This is obviously unsubstantiated and male-oriented. Unfortunately it is precisely such ideology that was infused into later Buddhist teachings and the biasness is also introduced together with authors of those text.

      • 非时——制戒律所规定的不应行淫的日期及时间;
        非处——指戒律所规定的不应行淫的处所及「三道」;
        非女——指同性恋、人畜之间行淫;

        I am refering to the person who apply an inconsistent interpretation of the meaning for “非” for three of the above (time, place and woman). Obviously, “非” here can’t mean “not” because “not time” and “not place” are nonsensical. To me, “非” here mean inappropriate. But if you insist that it means “negative”, it is alright. We then have negative time, negative places and negative women. In this new light, does it make sense anymore that 非女 refers to homosexuality and bestiality?

  5. What is the meaning for “非”?

    Anybody good enough in chinese will know the chinese phrase “孰是孰非”. What does “非” here means? It is “wrong”.

    The whole phrase has the meaning of “who is right and who is wrong”.

    So who is still arguing that “非” here does not take on the meaning of “wrong”?

    I don’t think we need to write to the whole Mahayana world to protest. It is very obvious that “非女” means wrong woman.

      • Do you mean you still insist it means “not”? Then, to be consistent, we have

        1. “not time”?
        2. “not place”?
        3. “not woman”?

        I feel that to get some respect, intellectual honesty is important.

        • Are you telling me there is such a law in Chinese 文言 regarding this consistency ? Could please kindly produce evidence.

          I have also produced the English version http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra33f.html:

          “If one has sex at an inappropriate time or place, with someone who is a virgin, not one’s wife, or not a woman, one is guilty of the sin of sexual misconduct.”

          • It is not so much of a law in classical chinese but it is common logic that should be applied to everything. Do you think anybody or any entity still command respect if they are inconsistent?

            I am not sure what you meant by you also produced the English version. Do you mean you translated the sutra? Whatever it is, the link you produced can’t be authoritative in proving anything since we can’t even be sure who has translated those sutras.

            • So you have no evidence that this so called “consistency” is a requirement in Chinese Classic but your so called “common logic” should be applied to every thing !

              What I quote cannot be authoritative ? I guess you are the authoritative one here. heh heh

              • How can a translation be reliable if you don’t even know who the translator is? This is again common sense. Need any evidence?

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