Posted in Conflicts in Buddhist Life, On the Path, Vinaya

Sexuality talks with monastic Sangha some guidelines

Study in contrasting movemetns

Here are some guidelines about the Sangha of the 2 part bhkshu and bhikshuni who cannot discuss sexuality, sex, sexual confusion, sexual orientation, transgender issues, relationships or act as matchmakers for anyone due to our Vinaya vows we are unable to allow suffering people to discuss personal struggles in this most intimate aspect of a householder’s life.

The UN passed resolutions upholding Gay rights, and that is good! It will spur progress in protections justice, human dignity, and of rights to marriage, inheritance, child rearing and community awareness and acceptance.  We can hold our privates views regarding rights and politics.

However for us the intimate details of householder’s life of sexuality, preferences, and orientation which are popular to discuss on talk shows and among concerned parties is not proper among monastic Sangha nor is it proper to expect us to discuss the matters.  The reason being while we are caring sensitive adults, mature or experienced in our lay life with this topic we cannot with any degree of depth worthy to the suffering needs of some counsel on it.

Tormented people in crisis we are used to helping and coping we can address but not able to listen to relationship issues or a detailed description of biological functions or engage in decisions or recommendations regarding acts of , changing a body part, or psychological or social conflicts possible, we care deeply about people sufferings, but are not matchmakers or sexually active ourselves due to our precepts.

I want to address this issue so the reader is more informed about us and our responses concerning this matter, the Buddhist culture in regards to this topic, and your effect in encounters with us.  People trying to bring up this topic with a monastic Sangha member can get their feelings hurt and feel upset or angry with us by not understanding the effect upon us or the unexpected response usually unfriendly seeming like silence or the monk or nun having to get up and walk away without comments; but from our perspective we have to protect our reputation and our exposure to people wanting to discuss sex or sexuality or relationship issues 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 means if a parajika rule is broken at the moment of the act, confessed to 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 an rule is considered broken and it varies on levels according to the temple rules set forth by common unified decisions 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.

In light of this privacy and the rules set forth in the Vinaya.  It is absolutely ridiculous to insist we have a view on sexuality, transgenderism, sexual orientation just so you get to side with a monastic or with a Buddhist community with one over another!

In Buddhism the rules for the monastic Sangha are the Vinaya part of the Tripitaka, it does not allow us 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 mediation.

Sexuality is important enough of an 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 Nirvana!

None these groups concerned with such intimate part of householder 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.

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 nun, seek professional help, do not bring your issues into the temples or communities to force them to deal with it. 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 its better to disrobe for awhile to assess your future in the Sangha at all then rejoin us.

Sexuality is so personal of a nature that you need to figure it out for yourselves as grownups. If you are kids then you need your parents help, then carefully choose your friends so you are supported by them.

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 but really with what our society does have in terms of resources they can be happily supported.

We care about you deeply and this is only a guideline.  If you feel the absolute need to talk find the same gender Sangha who is capable, but please note that not everyone is and not everyone is willing to deal with this very sensitive topic. If the Sangha member is silent, closed off, says it’s not appropriate, or walks away then accept that it’s only because of our strict Vinaya rules concerning sexuality.

Amituofo, take care and be well.

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Author:

I am a Bhikshuni ordained in Mahayana Chinese Buddhist tradition. I'm currently translating Vinaya sutras from the Chinese Mahayana Tripitaka.