Thursday, January 15, 2009

Homosexuality : Sexual Misconduct?


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Question:(unedited)

I have seen many references to abstaining from sexual misconduct, and know that in traditional western faiths homosexuality is placed in this category. What is the Buddhist view on this?

My comment:

Thank you for asking me.

To abstain from sexual misconduct is the third of the 5 precepts which a good Buddhist would abide. The purpose of keeping the 5 precepts is to keep us away from troubles and problems. The emphasis here is "misconduct". If one is having extra sexual affairs with all and sundry, it is sexual misconduct. We all know the problems and troubles this type of sexual misconduct will create. Sexual misconduct does not necessarily mean illegal sex, which is against the country's laws. As the key word is "misconduct", it implies our misbehaviour in sexual activities. If a couple is sincerely in love, whether legally married or not, their sexual activities should not be construed as sexual misconduct. However, if the particular society or culture dictates that couples should be legally married, then it is their social and legal responsibilities to abide by the rules.

I am not an expert in this rather controversial topic of homosexuality. However, from my personal point of view, homosexuality is a dysfunction caused by psychological problems and/or genes. The precept just states "sexual misconduct". I would not construe sexual activities between 2 homosexuals as "sexual misconduct" if they do not extend their sexual activities with other parties. So long as they keep their sexual relationship within themselves, I don't see any harm or trouble that they may cause to others, or themselves.

Just to reiterate; the 5 precepts are for us to practise so that we do not court troubles and problems for ourselves and to others. So long as we live a dignified, noble, and harmless life, we should be able to live in peace with ourselves and with the society.

5 comments:

Barry said...

Thank you for an excellent post, Justin.

Over the years, I've taken an increasingly narrow reading of the Third Precept.

In this view, any sexual activity that centers around "I" or "my" or "me" will count as sexual misconduct.

If I engage in sexual relations with my wife in order to gain some pleasure or control or other self-centered objective, then it counts as misconduct.

Of course, in this view, almost any kind of self-centered activity will count as misconduct. So we need to pay meticulous attention to our intentions, as well as our actions.

Thanks!
Barry

Justin Choo said...

Barry,

Thanks for your comment. My interpretation will not be accepted by many, not to mention followers of other faiths. So let's qualify it : "This is my personal opinion."

Barry,
If you maintain the view as commented then marriage is not an option for you. Again this is just my personal opinion.

Have a good day, and a happy week-end..

Barry said...

LOL! There's are certainly days when marriage doesn't seem like an option. But then I talk with my wife and everything is wonderful!

Best wishes to you for the weekend!

A true Malaysian said...

I would see 'sexual misconduct' in Buddhism perspective as sexual out of marriage. Sexual relationship should be confined to husband and wife. Outside of this scope husband-wife relationship to me, is consider as 'sexual misconduct' even if it is between willing partners, in love or not in love.

All should regard this sexual relationship as 'respectable' and 'holy'. Without this relationship, there will be no 'rebirth'. This relationship may not results in any birth, but this is beside the point.

A birth out of 'sexual misconduct' will cause problems, though at different degree.

I tend to see homosexuality as sexual misconduct. Who is the husband and who is the wife in such homosexual relationship?

PM said...

"even if it is between willing partners"

I do not know ... but what if a man/woman cannot have that little pleasure to satisfy his or her desire, may lead them to commit other bigger wrong. Who is at fault, man or buddha's teaching.

There must be a certain leeway for those who are not made out to be monks.

Instead of raping someone, find a willing partner!!! To me thats OK

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