Lay Followers and Monastic Practices
In the early sutras of Buddhism, "accepted or unaccepted human sexual conduct" for laypersons "is not specifically mentioned." "Sexual misconduct" is a broad term, subject to interpretation according to followers' social norms. Early Buddhism appears to have placed no special stigma on homosexual relations.
The situation is different for monastics. For them, the Vinaya (code of monastic discipline) bans all sexual activity, but does so in purely physiological terms, making no moral distinctions among the many possible forms of intercourse it lists.
Among Buddhists there is a wide diversity of opinion about homosexuality. Buddhism teaches that sensual enjoyment and desire in general, and sexual pleasure in particular, are hindrances to enlightenment, and inferior to the kinds of pleasure (see, e.g. pīti, a Pāli word often translated as "rapture") that are integral to the practice of jhāna. However, most Buddhists do not pursue skill in meditation or aim for enlightenment. For most, the goal is a pleasant life and, after death, a pleasant rebirth. For these Buddhists, enjoying sensual pleasures in a non-harmful way is normative.
Regarding transsexual people, the earliest texts mention the possibility of a person changing sexes; such a person is not barred from ordination, and if already ordained, simply changes orders.
Read more about this topic: Buddhism And Sexual Orientation
Famous quotes containing the words practices, monastic, lay and/or followers:
“Of all reformers Mr. Sentiment is the most powerful. It is incredible the number of evil practices he has put down: it is to be feared he will soon lack subjects, and that when he has made the working classes comfortable, and got bitter beer into proper-sized pint bottles, there will be nothing left for him to do.”
—Anthony Trollope (18151882)
“I like a church; I like a cowl;
I love a prophet of the soul;
And on my heart monastic aisles
Fall like sweet strains, or pensive smiles;
Yet not for all his faith can see
Would I that cowled churchman be.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“I shall not cease to bless because
I lay about me with the taws
That night and morning I may thrash
Greek Alexander from my flesh,
Augustus Caesar, and after these
That great rogue Alcibiades.”
—William Butler Yeats (18651939)
“All the followers of science are fully persuaded that the processes of investigation, if only pushed far enough, will give one certain solution to each question to which they can be applied.... This great law is embodied in the conception of truth and reality. The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real.”
—Charles Sanders Peirce (18391914)