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Sangha in the USA

Welcome to the this Sangha blog.  I am so happy you are here.  To access the pages and the blog click on the 3 lines text button in the left margin.

There are comments rules and a Sangha policy.  Here they are:

Comments Policy:

This is a Sangha blog, comments are allowed under the following guidelines.

1. Uphold the Triple Jewel, no views beyond this allowed.

2. Comments against Sangha are to be respectful, no view defaming, slamming, devaluing our role in Buddhism or “putting us in our place.”

3. Non Buddhists note, no way any of your efforts to post conversion attempts will make it here, no secular voices of a negative view against the Triple Jewel, attacks against Sangha, robes or dharma masters.

4. Academics who are not committed to Buddhism, your views are limited here if you do one of the following: omit key Buddhist teachings, ignore the role of Sangha in Buddhism, ignore Vinaya, ignore the Sutras/suttas and existing and past collections and commentaries; make gross generalizations in attempts to devalue the Triple Jewel and the current or past Sangha communities in existence.

5. No deviant or harmful views of Buddha’s teachings.

6. No political crap.

7. No business spams.

8. Anything that is offensive, rambling tome of nonsensical topics not related to the post or it’s subtopics.

Sexuality, Sexual Preference and Sex Topics Policy

I want to address this issue so the reader is more informed about us and our responses concerting this matter, the Buddhist culture in regards to this topic, and your effect in encounters with us.  Sangha in the real monastic sense are celibate (no sex) in mind or actions.  Our Vinaya vows have guided us since Buddha set them forth, the most serious ones are called parajikas or defeat rules.  No sex is a parajika rule.  This is true for Theravada – Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Nepal, including Western countries and Mahayana – Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Tibetan, Vietnamese, including Western countries.

This means if a parajika rule is broke it is at the moment of the act, confessed to or sometimes not in a pratimoksa one is expelled immediately without benefit of being a Sangha member or the right to wear robes or conduct services.  Buddha set forth strict rules to determine if a rule is considered broken and it varies on levels according to the temple rules set forth by common unified decision of the monastics themselves.  Who is confessed to is the discipline master in charge not laity or members of the public or media.  This matter is entirely among the offender between Bhikshu or Bhikshuni Sangha and not open to public discussion or viewing. It is a private matter.  The laity can bring these charges against a Sangha member, but after that it’s handled by the Sangha.  Also legal charges in courts can be made against an offending Sangha member who must go through the legal process and is not exempt from legal or lawful actions.

In light of this privacy and the rules set forth in the Vinaya.  Sangha are often asked to take a stance on societal issues and act on societal or political concerns particularly with human rights or great injustices are noted by society.  It is absolutely ridiculous to insist we have a view on sexuality, trans gendered, or on sexual preferences just so you get to side with a monastic or with a Buddhist community with one view over the other!

In Buddhism, the rules for the monastic Sangha are Vinaya part of the Tripitaka, it does not allow us to address these concerns of lay people.  You should remember that it is not a dharma matter for us appropriate to discuss.  Seek a good support group outside the Sangha and monasteries for this is a householder matter not suitable for Sangha to engage in discussion or meditation.

Sexuality is an important enough issue that you get to decide for yourself and you reap the rewards and consequences both good and bad according to your reactions to it and because of it.   GLBT members demanding separate groups of like-minded Sangha communities are so ridiculous it’s beyond comprehension as to why you constantly need to separate yourselves over sex and orientation when all you need to do is focus on study, meditation, and practices that lead to ultimately Nirvana!

None of these groups concerned with discussing such an intimate part of householder’s life should be in a temple, a dharma center or a monastery with the purpose of setting themselves separately from the rest of the community nor should they discuss sexual matters on any part of the Sangha land or properties. These issues are so complex and they need to be conducted in therapy groups instead off Sangha lands.  GLBT people may enter the Sangha if they qualify and observe the monastic harmony rules.  Each case of transgendered/cis applicant is decided by the accepting master, however, the cost of maintaining with medicines and therapy is not expected to be born by Sangha, thus a potential obstacle for those interested in being Sangha.  GLBT may join the 4-fold assembly as upasaka or upasika with out discrimination. Notice, to Sangha the issue of sexuality, sexual orientation does not matter because people come together to practice Buddhism with Buddhists not to separate into social groups.  That sexual or biological urge is an intimate part of life and is important to the householder but not to the monastic.

The path to Nirvana is not sex.

Sangha if you had struggles with this in the past and it’s cropping up while you are a monk or a nun; seek professional help, do not bring your issues into the temples or communities to force them to deal with it.  It would add more stress to your life and may discourage your life in community.  Most of you know that people are people in the temple as well, so there are varying degrees of views regarding sexuality or level of acceptance or understanding concerning sexual orientation.  They mostly would be wondering why you bring up sexual topics at all when we should be focusing on the Path.  It is a parajika for us to engage in sex and you know it.  If you are a Sangha monk or nun and can’t control yourself, it’s better to disrobe for a while or go in solitary retreat to assess your future in the Sangha then rejoin us.

Sexuality is so personal of a nature that you need to figure it out for yourself as a grownup.  If you are kids then you need your parent’s help, then also carefully choose your friends who are supportive in words and actions both in safe concrete ways.  If your family member is suffering or yourself from this conflict then professional help along with a good solid support group is what you need to look into, some people seem to have to slog it out on their own in their own time frame but our society has more support than you probably have tried to find out, reach out so you can be happily supported.

We care about you deeply and this is a guideline.  If you feel the absolute need to talk find the same gender Sangha who is capable of counseling you, but please note that not everyone is capable and not everyone is willing to deal with this very sensitive topic.  If the Sangha member is silent, closed off, walks away from you then accept that is their choice either due to personal beliefs or  it’s because of our strict Vinaya rules concerning sexuality.  Very few Sangha are Western trained in psychology, therapy or in childhood to adult development. Even less have interest or experience with LGBT issues beyond the media if even that much.

Amituofo, take care and be well.

Ven. Hongyang

January 14, 2015

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