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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? – kero 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
Please cite references. – Kaveenga Wijayasekara Feb 18 at 23:49

Any form of sexual attraction including being gay is based on desire which is unwholesome and result experiences which are painful in the future. Buddhism deals with correcting you metal tendencies by getting rid of the roots which creates misery. This is done through practicing Vipassana and is a gradual process. Through Vipassana you can transcend any sexual preferences and orientation. To get more insights into this it is best you take a course at: https://www.dhamma.org or http://www.internationalmeditationcentre.org/

See: Saññoga Sutta

Homosexuality is considered a deviant pratice. This is rooted in excessive lust.

Now, bhikshus, amongst those humans whose life-span was 500 years, three things were widespread,

that is, abnormal lust, excessive desire and deviant conduct.

With the increase of abnormal lust, excessive desire and deviant conduct,

the life-span of beings declined, their beauty declined, too.

For these humans whose life-span and beauty were declining, whose lifespan was 500 years, that of some of their children was 250 years, and some 200 years.

More lust in deviant practices is worse off that non deviant pratice like hetrosexuality, which in some cases in the past may have been less rooted in desire, but both are rooted in unwholesomeness.

See: Cakka,vatti Siha,nāda Sutta

Is is bit unclear as to whether this is a transgression of morality but it is considered less ideal than being straight. Being straight also is based on unwholesome roots of attachment. In any case lack of fidelity and cheating in a sexual relationship would be a moral transgression.

Also Buddhism do not hold any specific attitudes towards anything as such but your choice of action is shaped by the expected results of a action or view which you cling onto. Has iterated before, homosexuality is a result of excessive lust, one should approach these practices more cautiously and perhaps practice meditation to overcome lust. If you die with lust the chancesare that your next birth will be bad.

Though in the time of the Buddha these practices would have been there this would not have been widespread as now due to longevity during the period would have resulted in the amount of lust would have been less. Hence would have not come up much. If you look at resent history homosexuality this was not wide spread as it is now.

Having said this you should not have prejudice or negative attitude towards homosexuals. This could lead to you creating negative Karma for your self if you follow through with any action.

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"Homosexuality is considered a deviant pratice. This is rooted in excessive lust." Where in the Saññoga Sutta or any sutta does it say the above quote or anything like it? Are you implying homosexuals have more lust than heterosexuals? – Uilium Feb 19 at 15:45
See note 198 Cakka,vatti Siha,nāda Sutta – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Feb 19 at 16:49
“deviant conduct” (miccha,dhamma) as homosexuality, ie, sex “between men and men, women with women.” – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Feb 19 at 17:04
that is, abnormal lust, excessive desire and deviant conduct. - Cakka,vatti Siha,nāda Sutta. This is not in Saññoga Sutta which is reference to the 1st paragraph while Cakka,vatti Siha,nāda Sutta is reference to the next. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Feb 19 at 17:23
Okay, can we find the "commentary here" in this statement: "The Commentary here ex- plains “abnormal lust” as incest, “excessive greed” or “neurotic desire,” as unbridled materialism and consumerism, and “deviant conduct” as homosexuality (DA 3:853). [5.1; §17.5 n]"? – Uilium Feb 19 at 18:25

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