"Homosexuality" is a hot topic everywhere in the world now. But is it a sin according to Buddhism? Does it cause a breaking of the third precept? I have heard in a sermon that people are born gay because of breaking the third precept severely in previous births and people are born as females for also breaking the third precept (not as severely I suppose). I know that where I come from if the government accepts gay marriages the monks will be the first to protest even before the church does! Is it because it is a sin? (PS: I am totally fine with someone being gay)


10 Answers 10


It is not a sin.

Lust is born out of desire. Desire is one of the root defilements (kilesas). It can manifest itself in different ways, e.g. sexual preference, body type preferences etc.

Lust is still lust, no matter what object its involved with.


I'm shocked at some of the responses here - to try to twist the precepts of Buddhism to condemn something that one finds personally abhorrent is counter to everything The Buddha taught.

Yes, allowing lust to dominate your thoughts is counter to the path of enlightenment but the question was that of homosexuality - not sex. Those that are quick to condemn homosexuality are perhaps tainted by cultural or prior religious indoctrination and should look at heterosexual practices that seem to be accepted all too readily.

I have never seen anything in Buddhist teachings that forbids a man to find companionship with another man or likewise between two women.

I would suggest that as long as any relationship is based upon loving kindness and continual compassion towards the other person, it is not forbidden.

Of course I could be wrong. :)

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    It is not forbidden for laymen only for monks\
    – Heisenberg
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 12:22
  • I agree - although monks are not permitted relationships with the opposite gender either.
    – Phil
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 23:56
  • @Phil. You are not wrong. Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 1:26

it's not a sin for the simple reason that a concept of sin is alien to the Dhamma, if anything it would be an unskillful, impure act

on the basis of sexual misconduct description from the Nikayas it's impossible to construe that being homosexual or engaging in homosexual sex per se is a violation of the precept

He engages in sensual misconduct. He gets sexually involved with those who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man.

Cunda sutta (AN 10.176) but it's a stock passage found elsewhere across the four NIkayas


1st of all Buddhism does not prohibit or have anything against being gay. But Hethorosexuality is unwholsome as it is rooted in desire, though lay people may engage in such activities, within Sila. Homosexuality activity needs to have stronger attraction than is Hethorosexual avtivity, which is more unwholsome. When engaging in any sexsual activity if compaired to a fall, Hetrosexuality say is a 3 foot fall, hence you get hurt in the long run less, Homosexuality is a 6 foot fall, which you you are likely to get more hurt by this in the long run than Hethorosexuality, as weight of attaction is stronger between partners. Incest is more grave like say a 9 foot fall. There will be future society when this also may become accepted, according to the quote below. In each case the attachment is relative. Also historically hetrosexsual people have been less liberal, but current liberal practices have more attachment than in the past so more unwholesome mind moments.

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 your mental 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

According to the Dīgha Commentary, here “abnormal lust” (adhamma,raga) refers to incest, that is, “lust between mother and mother’s sister and father’s sister and maternal uncle’s wife and other such improper situations” (mata matuccha pituccha matulanī ti adike ayutta-t,thane rago); “neurotic desire” (visama,lobha) refers to excessive greed by way of consuming things (paribhoga,yuttesu pi thanesu atibalava,lobho, in other words, excessive materialism and consumerism); and “deviant practices” (miccha,dhamma) refer to sexuality “between men and men, women with women.” (DA 3:853)

Homosexuality is a deviant practice (miccha,dhamma). 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

Sin is violation of God's will or religious ideal. In Buddhism there is no concept of God's will but with respect to ideal we can consider anything creating unwholesome fabrications as a sin then it will be. Sila general deals with more stronger Karma with can influence rebirth. In this context it is not clear cut but still in contravention of the religious ideal as homosexuality is considered a deviant practice.

  • 3
    Yes I agree but what I am asking is whether that act alone is a sin. Like robbing, lying
    – Heisenberg
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 5:05
  • 1
    Updated. See if this answers your question. Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 5:17
  • 2
    Thanks for the additional info. But having lust is not a sin but a root cause. For example I have a wife and the lust and sexual relationship with her cannot be a sin. If I have the same sexual relationship outside the marriage it is a sin. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think what you are saying is that being gay makes a person more inclined to sin but the act alone is not a sin?
    – Heisenberg
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 5:34
  • 3
    It's like playing violent video games. It makes your mind more crueler and it may lead you to commit violent and sinful acts. But the act of playing the video game by itself is not a sin
    – Heisenberg
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 5:38
  • 2
    Thanks. Your last comment just made me think of a very interesting question which I will post soon!
    – Heisenberg
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 5:42

Monks were expelled for homosexual activity, both heterosexual and homosexual activity is not allowed for monks and nuns.

So it is considered as sinful or harmful.

"At that time the venerable Upananda, of the Sakya tribe, had two novices, Kandaka and Mahaka; these committed sodomy with each other. The Bhikkhus were annoyed, &c.: 'How can novices abandon themselves to such bad conduct?'

They told this thing to the Lord Buddha, &c.

'Let no one, O Bhikkhus(Monks), ordain two novices. He who does, is guilty of a dukkata offence.'" - (Mahavogga, 1.52)

Homosexuals aren't allowed to be monks, neither are those who practice heterosexual activity.

"Now, what is the taking on of a practice that is pleasant in the present but yields pain in the future? There are some brahmans & contemplatives who hold to a doctrine, a view like this: 'There is no harm in sensual pleasures.' Thus they meet with their downfall through sensual pleasures. They consort with women wanderers who wear their hair coiled in a topknot.

"The thought occurs to them: 'Now what future danger concerning sensual pleasures do those [other] brahmans & contemplatives foresee that they have spoken of the relinquishment of sensual pleasures and describe the full comprehension of sensual pleasures? It's pleasant, the touch of this woman wanderer's soft, tender, downy arm.'" - Cula-dhammasamadana Sutta

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    The logic in your opening paragraph says that "it (homosexuality) is sinful" -- but really I think it's that "sexual activity of any kind (whether hetero-, homo-, or mono-) is incompatible with the monks' rules and ideals."
    – ChrisW
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 10:25
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    I agree, but if it's sinful for monks it's sinful in general for all as well. Monks have to follow strict rules to make enlightenment easier. Lay followers don't follow the rules of a monk, but the things considered harmful for monks in general is also harmful for all. Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 1:37
  • Sin a Christian concept. There is no sin in Buddhism. There is code of conduct for Monks but not for householders regarding sex. Where did Gautam Buddha speak about sex as harmful thing? Over-indulgence is harmful but attending to Nature's call is essential. For example when there is urge to urinate one has to urinate. If one does not then there are repercussion on health. Similarly sexual urges need to be satisfied otherwise it will create physical and mental disorders. Please read Freud about it. Freud attributed all mental disorders to libido. Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 6:59
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    @ShashankKhare I think it's just semantics to differentiate between "evil deeds", "sins", etc....many times Gautama Buddha spoke of sex as a harmful thing that causes bad things to happen. Your reasoning or point of view is nearly exactly what was described in the Cula-dhammasamadana Sutta (believing there is no harm in sensual pleasures). It is very difficult for many people to understand but I finally understood what he was talking about, but I don't want to talk about it. Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 1:59
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    @ShashankKhare your mind is obviously attached to and clung onto hating Christianity or dividing yourself away from Christianity, why talk to such a foolish human? Sexual activity being viewed as immoral is something found is many religions besides Christianity. What is difference between saying "a harmful deed" vs. "a sin"....the difference is small and subtle. Neither heterosexual nor homosexual activity leads towards enlightenment. Do you think that by engaging in heterosexual or homosexual activity you'll become an arahant? Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:53

Shashank, There is no such thing as "sin" in Buddhism. Karma, yes, but not sin. Although, it is a rule for monks to avoid sexual relations, it does not apply to the laity. However, it seems to me that meditation will diminish sexual appetite regardless of monk or lay person. In the mean time, it is good to control sexual desire as there is a proper place, a proper time, and proper partner. It is kind of vague what the last one means, but at least it forbids adultery. As for being genetic, the latest and most extensive scientific studies I have seen suggest that homosexuality is NOT genetic.


The Pali suttas are silent on the matter of homosexuality. The matter of homosexuality is only mentioned in the monk's Vinaya, where certain types of ex-homosexuals (but not all) are forbidden from ordaining as a monk.

Further, homosexuality does not fall into the definition of 'sexual misconduct', which essentially is having sex with individuals who are in existing relationships (such as having sex with another person's husband or wife or with a child/teenager still living in the care of their parents).

It follows homosexuality itself is not a 'sin' or 'transgression' in original Buddhism.


I can not comment, so I will post here.

"Miccha dhamma" is never about homosexuality. The comment of the Cakkavattisuttaṃ (DN 26) is wrong.

The word "miccha dhamma" and other two words are also appear in the Palokasuttaṃ (AN.3.56), and no comment about homosexuality here (as far as I know).

Obviously, "miccha dhamma" just means any wrong doctrines or something away from sammā (involving greed to others' belongings or possessions) which happening in natural and man-made disasters, not some specific action.

The three words (adhamma-rāga), (visama-lobha), (miccha dhamma) have the similar meaning. The meaning of rāga is similar to lobha, and the meaning of visama is similar to adhamma & miccha dhamma. So, it does not mean some specific action, and the three words are just some ancient pali collocations.

That wrong comment just came from some medieval homophobic buddhists like any homophobic Buddhists in the Modern times, whether he is living in Sri Lanka or not, whether where he living colonized by Britain's CHRISTIAN CUSTOM or not.

Non-majority is not deviant practice, as left-handers are not. However discrimination against minority is deviant practice, so anyone does so is deviant.

And I must say if homosexuality involving any of this, then Buddha would say more in other suttas, not just appearing in the mouth of some medieval homophobic commentators and their homophobic followers.

The comment of Palokasuttaṃ (AN.3.56) also mentioned (adhamma-rāga), (visama-lobha), (miccha dhamma), but it does not mention anything about homosexuality. You can see:" Micchādhammaparetāti avatthupaṭisevanasaṅkhātena micchādhammena samannāgatā. Devo na sammā dhāraṃ anuppavecchatīti vassitabbayutte kāle vassaṃ na vassati. Dubbhikkhanti dullabhabhikkhaṃ. "

Another Buddhism scripture《大薩遮尼乾子所說經》(Bodhisattvagocaropāyaviṣayavikurvāṇanirdeśa) also mentioned that the miccha dhamma is about learning Tirthika's doctrine. (於諸外道非義論中起義論想。於無益論生利益想。於非法中生是法想。於末世時。非是智者所作論中。以為正論。生於信心。熏修邪見。以為福德。是名邪法羅網纏心)

This [Tirthika's doctrine] is the correct meaning of the DA 26 "Miccha dhamma", not the ridiculous, discriminative explanation and its bigot speaker.

The Counterfeit of the True Dhamma(SN 16.13) said:「when a counterfeit of the true Dhamma arises in the world, then the true Dhamma disappears.」.

Those homophobic followers let a counterfeit of the true Dhamma arises, as they wrongly explain DA 26.


After Budhha Siddharta Gotama had not teached about a GOD/the abrahamitic GOD, how can something be a "sin" in buddhism?


Sex is not sin. Only for monks its forbidden. Householders are supposed to have sex irrespevtive of body type. Homosexuality is a byproduct of unnatural living. Scientists claim its genetic. Religion says its because of unnatural living these defects are creeping in. Also it might be due to unnatural lifestyle. Therefore lifestyle correction which includes meditation is required. If homosexuality is lifestyle induced it will go sway on its own. Still my answer is it is not sin at all. Its just a choice.

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