Buddhist Stance on Homosexuality

Posted on the Facebook page Buddhist Boot Camp

Someone asked me, “What is the Buddhist stance on homosexuality?”

The answer is simple (and I included it in the book): Buddhism has a precept regarding sexuality in general; it does not have a different teaching regarding homosexuality than it does on heterosexuality.

The third Buddhist precept, beautifully translated by Thich Nhat Hanh in his book For a Future to Be Possible: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life, is about “cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society.” It is about respecting your own “commitments and the commitments of others,” and not engaging “in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment.” The precept invites everyone to “do everything in [their] power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct.”

When a sexual act is an expression of love, loyalty, honesty, warmth and respect, then it doesn’t break the third precept (whether the couple is of the same gender or not). As long as there is love and a mutual agreement between the two people involved, it isn’t sexual misconduct.

Unfortunately, as is the case with all organized religions and philosophies, some sects would argue this point, but I don’t think the Buddha would. Bigotry wrapped in a prayer is still bigotry, and we don’t play that game!

The Buddha fully prepared us for this when he said, “Don’t believe everything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Find out for yourself what is truth, what is real. Discover that there are virtuous things and there are non-virtuous things. Once you have discovered for yourself, give up the bad and embrace the good.”

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