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I am specifically interested in the attitude of Theravadan Buddhism toward homosexuality (if it has one at all.) I don't recall ever seeing any references to homosexuality in the suttas...I do recall seeing some non-normative sexual activity discussed in the Vinaya (or its commentary) but am not as familiar with the Vinaya. If anyone can speak to the Vinaya on this topic that would be helpful.

It seems right to assume that homosexual activity would not be treated any differently than heterosexual activity, but the fact that I do not recall seeing it ever discussed, along with general cultural attitudes expressed (e.g., statements by the Buddha (as I recall) that there is nothing more attractive to a man than a woman and vice versa) makes me wonder if I am missing something.

Also, if anyone has any contextual information about the culture in India at that time that would point to why there would be no discussion of homosexuality--e.g., it was absent--that would be helpful.

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Did you already read this question's answers? – kingkero Jul 3 '14 at 18:33

I think that the reason you only find references to homosexual activity in the vinaya is BECAUSE the vinaya is the only place where there is a need to be specific regarding sexual acts... Oral sex is still oral sex whether it's performed by a man or a woman, an animal or even yourself.

In the Suttas, the teachings, it doesn't matter if you are attracted to the opposite sex, same sex, etc. it's all about craving,clinging, desire, attachment, and aversion all underpinned by ignorance. These come from the mind and go far deeper then sexual identity and attraction.

As for Homosexuality and the Theravada tradition, buddhanet.net strikes again:


As homosexuality is not explicitly mentioned in any of the Buddha's discourses (more than 20 volumes in the Pali Text Society's English translation), we can only assume that it is meant to be evaluated in the same way that heterosexuality is. And indeed it seems that this is why it is not specifically mentioned.

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(1) I actually don't recall references to homosexual activity in the Vinaya (or commentaries)--whether there are any is part of my question; (2) The way you characterize the suttas seems to be in line with the letter and spirit of the Dhamma as I understand it; yet, I don't know of any explicit references to homosexuality in the suttas, which is a bit of a curiousity. (3) The article you linked to is interesting, but it doesn't appear to give any sources even when apparently directly quoting. (4) The claim that homosexuality is not mentioned is something I would like to have someone verify. – Adamokkha Jul 4 '14 at 16:38
This is where I wish I could upvote like 100 times, lol... one of my teachers in Buddhism is a gay man. I'm heterosexual. There was no need to even bring it up until there was denial of one nature or another relating to the practice of sexuality--ergo, having sex. The idea is about physical stimulation, not about who or what is causing it. – Vishwa Jay Nov 20 '14 at 22:27

In Paarajika, where a Bhikku lost his state of Bhikku, it is described that homosexuality is one of the reason to lost the state of Bhikku.

If other monk is accidently falls over another Bhikku while sleeping, the Bhikku should stay without shake his body. The Bhikku who shake his body will loose the state of Bhikku.

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Just to clarify, homosexuality as a preference is not a parajika; having homosexual sex (or any sex) is. – yuttadhammo Jul 4 '14 at 0:51

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