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The Dalai Lama and homosexuality

by Patricia (psullivan@hotmail.com), The Buddhist Channel, Sept 18, 2005

The press release entitled "Prepping for the Dalai Lama's visit" which talks about the organizers in Tucson preparing for HH visit seemed to me like an enthusiastic group putting together a much awaited visit by HH the Dalai Lama. However, towards the end of the article one of the organizers made a statement about "Homosexuality and Buddhism" that broke my heart. 

I turned to Dharma when my son went through difficult time in school. I almost lost him. The statement below by one of the organizers is out of line with the spirit of his visit which is to promote nonviolence and peace.

Here is the excerpt:

"Tibetan has a much larger spiritual vocabulary than English, and there are many nuances that are difficult to get into English. His English is very good, but not good enough for the precision required for this type of commentary. Another reason is tradition. He is extremely traditional--you might say he's a Buddhist fundamentalist, if there were such a thing. What he gives is the deepest, purest transmission of dharma teachings."

"When the Dalai Lama has been asked whether homosexuality is a sin, for instance, he has explained that according to the holy writings, it is. He doesn't go for revisionism. But then he is likely to add that we all have sins, and in the eyes of Buddhism, all sins are equal".

Even if the Buddha thought homosexuality is a sin it is time that we made revisions to it, because the Buddha himself taught us not to accept any teachings without first questioning its validity.

I am pretty sure that HH has expressed in previous talks that we should not discriminate against people or feel hatred towards other individuals beacuse of any kind of differences. It appears that the press agent was overzealous in letting the world know that they are hostng an 'authentic Tibetan Lama" who adheres to tradition.

Unfortunately, all traditions are not valuable. The traditions of oppression particularly is one that we need to eradicate and promote peace, love and compassion. Labeling one section of the society's acts as ' sinful' does not help in promoting values of peace.

HH Dalai Lama should denounce such labels especially because such single act on his part will benefit millions of people who are different sexually. They did not choose to be that way. It was determined before their birth.

When something will benefit many over few a Bodhisattva ( which I truly believe he is ) should do what will benefit and bring peace and happiness to millions. He should take the challenge and make a statement to alter the sentiments of the teachings of the Buddha on homosexuality. In any event I am not well versed on all the Dharma teachings.

It is inconceivable to me that the Buddha would denounce homosexuality as a sin . He embraced the downtrodden and the society's outcast. So we should plead with our HH to revise the teachings to suit our times. If there is a cloud of doubt and confusion we should have HH promote values that will promote peace and compassion regardless of what the original Buddha said. HH is one of the Buddhas of our times and given his stature he has a responsibility towards all sentient beings.

Why not denounce something so tangible and something that is so hurtful and perpetrates hatred in the world?

Does HH know that homosexual teens are six times likely to commit suicide beacuse of the taunt and hatred they feel in schools?

I am not saying the words in the press release are the words of HH. But I feel he is in a unique position to promote peace and harmony among peoples of the world and individuals. It is timely that we request him to tell the world to stop hatred towards others because of their differences in color, race, sexual orientation.

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