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  #11  
Old 11-07-2009, 10:01 PM
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Buddhism in the West can be quite varried on matters like polyamory, "homosexuality," and sexuality in general -- among many other things. It appears to me that as contemporary/modern "the West" continues to embrace the Buddha's dharma, that dharma often becomes modernized, updated -- and increasingly distinquishable from various rather conservative cultures, e.g., Tibet, Japan....

Much of Buddhist culture, and many sanghas, etc., are almost as unappealing to me as, say, a fundamentalist Christian church. As far as I am concerned, if a sangha isn't feminist, sex-positive, body-positive, this-worldly, pro-democracy, anti-racist, engaged (with continuing lapses in social justice, animal welfare, economic injustice...), it's just more popycock on a stick.
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  #12  
Old 08-04-2010, 07:09 PM
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I am not strictly speaking a follower of Buddha myself, though I see much positive in the Buddha's message to humankind, as I see much positive in many other religions gifts to humankind. Let us say I am born into Jewish culture but consider myself religiously multicultural in many ways, and am even familiar with some parts of the neo-pagan movement, and think it has a lot to teach 'traditional' religion. Pretty much any religion can be construed and taught in a really restrictive and negative way, and any religion practiced in a way that would make me see it as a worthwhile religion cares that people respect living beings, care about honesty, and respect the integrity of the world they live in. To me sex is both a wonderful but very private thing that comes about as the culmination/fruition of a relationship that is emotionally satisfying before it becomes physically satisfying, but I do not force that view on anyone.
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:36 AM
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If I have a religion (something in doubt at this point) it's Buddhism, but I've come to understand Buddhism as having many paths and many levels. The one most people see is all about self-denial and discipline, or at least that's the way it's interpreted. I think that's a Christian interpretation of Buddhism and a way to explain what it looks like, in terms westerners already know. But Buddhism has very ancient roots, in beliefs which were extremely shamanic, and the early forms thought of passion as a route to enlightenment and not a trap or a distraction. Loving more instead of loving less probably is more effective if you're looking for truth. I don't know that I've explained that very well but it looks pretty sensible from here. Many of the rules we now associate with Buddhist practice were set in place after the core experience of Gotama, and that probably wasn't the first core experience or the first human reaction to it. The rules of the Sangha came about to foster order in the "Buddhist family" of people who came together to practice and pursue high ideals. One of the first rules was "no kids" because kids are disruptive, lots of other rules got put into place after that. In some countries monks aren't allowed to touch money or women because in older times monks had a reputation for abusing those privileges. But it was just a way of keeping order, and sexuality was considered a viable spiritual path in older days, still is in some traditions. I think I wandered way off topic, meant to say something like, I'm Buddhist. Mostly.

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Old 04-03-2011, 10:50 AM
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Okay, somewhat old-ish thread, but hey, I'll post my two cents anyway.

From a Tibetan perspective, the Buddhist teaching (dharma) is a ladder, composed of three steps;

1) Theravana or Souther Buddhist tradition, which is mostly concerned with liberating an individual. This is sometimes in the West seen as the 'essence' of or 'original' Buddhism, as per our obsession with age (the older it is, the more original it must be, and originality is good).
2) Mahayana or Northern Buddhist tradition, which is concerned with grasping two spiritual concepts; 'emptiness' and 'lovingkindness' or 'compassion', and cultivating a 'boddhichitta' consciousness instead of the 'arhat' consciousness of the Southern Tradition..
3) Vajrayana or Tibetan Buddhism, which is concerned with becoming a Buddha through meditation, yoga and adequate grasp of the two, from this perspective, 'preliminary' steps.

Mahayana tradition is in general more accepting of women and homosexuality. However, the Western idea of Buddhism being a sort of 'If it harms none, do as thou wilt' of the East in what comes to issues of sexuality is often somewhat wishful thinking. I understand the thorough disappointment with Western patriarchal monotheist traditions which fuels this search for a more accepting tradition, but there is no religion on Earth which is free from prejudice or can be totally harmonized with our personal understanding of sexuality.

That being said, I feel that the Vajrayana Tradition is perhaps most accessible to Westerners who seek to transform desire and positive self-image into spiritual tools. Buddhist concerns of non-duality and interbeingness speak to profoundly feminist concerns, as well. However, polyamory coming from a language of 'needs' isn't really coherent with Buddhism in my mind. The point in most Eastern esoteric traditions is realizing that the Experience, the Experiencer and the Experienced are one and the same. Thus I seek to become free of addictions in the form of 'needs' and 'wants' instead of constantly looking for new partners to feed into them.
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Mahayana tradition is in general more accepting of women and homosexuality. However, the Western idea of Buddhism being a sort of 'If it harms none, do as thou wilt' of the East in what comes to issues of sexuality is often somewhat wishful thinking. I understand the thorough disappointment with Western patriarchal monotheist traditions which fuels this search for a more accepting tradition, but there is no religion on Earth which is free from prejudice or can be totally harmonized with our personal understanding of sexuality.
As I see it, a modern and Western tradition is gradually emerging which has most or all of the virtues of the various traditions, sans the historical cultural baggage (e.g., heterosexism, monogamism, sexism...). The Dharma has always taken on new forms and variations when it enters another culture. There's no avoiding that, and I find the "purists" / traditionalists are too often missing the point.

Anyhow, I don't think of the Dharma as religion, per se. It's fine if anyone wants to do so, but it's not how I see it. I see it as a wisdom tradition, as medicine, as a way of life. As such, it evolves over time and is adapted to changing culture/s.

By the way, it seems that most of Tibetan Buddhism / -ists are quite unwelcoming toward "homosexuality". It's a cultural thing, not a "religious" one. Tibetans are actually pretty conservative, generally.
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  #16  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:03 PM
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Anyhow, I don't think of the Dharma as religion, per se. It's fine if anyone wants to do so, but it's not how I see it. I see it as a wisdom tradition, as medicine, as a way of life. As such, it evolves over time and is adapted to changing culture/s.
I think most 'successful' (I define success here to mean they have survived the death of their founder and gain new members either through birth or conversion) religions need to adapt and change to their environments. I have been obsessed with originality, thinking that for example if I could somehow deduct what Jesus actually said from the New Testament hagiography I would find 'real Christianity', which is absolute bull of course.

Quote:
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By the way, it seems that most of Tibetan Buddhism / -ists are quite unwelcoming toward "homosexuality". It's a cultural thing, not a "religious" one. Tibetans are actually pretty conservative, generally.
Absolutely. More to the point of us projecting our own needs and values on to a religion. I've read that 'bottoms' were ostracized in Indian sanghas but in China and Japan monks actively chased after young novices. So yes, people mold religion to fit their cultural beliefs (in this case cultural ideas of acceptable standards of 'manhood'), if we can even speak of the two as separate entities.
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  #17  
Old 06-15-2011, 05:41 PM
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Non-attachment.

I am a follower of the Way of Dharma, and non-attachment figures importantly in that. I am a beginner along the way, really. I've drawn inspiration from the Way all of my life, nearly, but only now am I really beginning to practice, really practice.

Or should I say the Dharma is practicing me?

Every now and then I have a true breath, the kind that opens and clears and liberates, that soothes and heals and opens. (I repeat, opens. Again, opens.)

A life truly lived, fully embraced, occurs moment by moment.

So, I'm thinking and feeling and wondering and contemplating non-attachment. It must mean non-grasping, non-clinging.... And any of us can see that a person can become attached to non-attachment, can avoid -- run screaming from -- his or her own desires, longings.... The more intense a longing the more some might want to avoid, in order not to have attachment. Running from non-attachment is silly. Running headlong into attachment is silly. So what is the middle way? This is what my heart is palpably wondering, opening to as a question -- what I am wondering with my whole heart.

What I'm realizing, bit by bit, is that this thing I'm wanting so much, longing for so much, I already have. Have always had. Can never lose. In its essence, that is. And this
felt insight is what allows me to be with my intense desire and longing in a soft and open way. I don't need to dampen the intensity of my longing. I only need to hold it in the space of openness, of gentleness, of tenderness, of love. And that's all I ever wanted.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:02 PM
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Love, sex and non-attachment

http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-pra...non-attachment
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:53 AM
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I had this spoken into my ear this evening by a complete stranger:

"Why does the monk smile as he sweeps out his temple? He smiles because he knows he is moving dust."
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  #20  
Old 06-17-2011, 02:09 AM
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What a gift!

Ultimately, seen rightly, there are no strangers here.
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