Your gender and sexuality

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).

Your gender and sexuality?

Female-Gay
2
5%
Female-Bi
3
7%
Female-Straight
1
2%
Male-Gay
10
23%
Male-Bi
2
5%
Male-Straight
23
52%
Interesex-Gay
0
No votes
Interesex-Bi
0
No votes
Interesex-Straight
0
No votes
Female, Male or Interesex; Asexual
3
7%
 
Total votes: 44

greentara
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by greentara »

untxi, Simon E.......So well put "In fact I can imagine logging off for a month or six months and coming back to find you still shaking your fist at the void.

What wont have changed is that the people who share your vexation will still be vexed, and everyone else still wont give a shit. Guaranteed 100%"

I gather that in Buddhism you have to..'LET GO', let go. let go of cemented or fixed identity, let go of how important you think you or your cause is. Let go of all your tortured brooding and thinking which is - samsara!
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Kaccāni
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Kaccāni »

greentara: ... which implies that any form of organized or historical Buddhism doesn´t work, because it is the very basis of organizations or authenticism not to let go.
Shush! I'm doing nose-picking practice!
untxi
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by untxi »

Thesis: People are being marginalized and abused in our sanghas because of their race, sex, and gender. That's another way to say that people are being harmed on our watch.

Proposal: To start a dialog about remedying that. It has to start with a larger collective dialog as it's about a whole community.

Goal: To mitigate these problems to the best of our ability. There is no absolute solution in samsara-- to help to the best of our ablity.

Motivation: An ethical commitment to venturing relative bodhicitta. This is part of our samaya as mahayana and vajrayana Buddhists.

That's it.

Disclosure: There's no race/sex/gender politics to this.

Observation: There's no need to reference any particular sangha or event. We all know this happens. If we haven't seen it ourselves, there are 3+ decades of Buddhist forums and blogs to refer to. People on this board have referred to it as well.

That simple.

Caveat: What I reject is to maintain the status quo. To suggest that these people are being harmed because of their karma, and thus we just have to accept some of this.

That's not a big caveat.

Untxi est terminée.
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garudha
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by garudha »

Proposal: To start a dialog about remedying that. It has to start with a larger collective dialog as it's about a whole community.

Goal: To mitigate these problems to the best of our ability. There is no absolute solution in samsara-- to help to the best of our ablity.
Isn't the whole point of Buddhism to fix oneself rather than finding fault in, and attempting to fix, others ?

The monks of today that hold 20th century views, which you don't agree with, will soon die.
Don't worry, the children of the 21st century will be much more accepting of diversity.
Don't forget that openness about homosexually and transgenderism is still fairly new.

You're talking about communities of people who already know about the laws of the countries they live in. They don't give-up the rights to due process by becoming monks or nuns, do they?

If they really think that they think they do, then what do you expect to achieve? Surely some bad monk would put your leaflets in the trash as soon as you walked out the door.

Meanwhile there's other people who are at greater risk...

It seems to me, right now & going forward, your time would be better spent in schools providing an outreach service to young people who are at risk.
greentara
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by greentara »

garudha, Thanks, you have your finger on the pulse. "Isn't the whole point of Buddhism to fix oneself rather than finding fault in, and attempting to fix, others ?"
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rory
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by rory »

Ah the denial, it's not just a river in Egypt....And so off I go happily and securely to my lesbian-subculture where

1. I am the majority

2. where we share the same problems/difficulties

3. listen to & support one another

And people wonder where the African-American Buddhists are? I hope happily in their own subculture, in the majority and not having to exhaust themselves trying to be heard....
gassho
Rory

ps. Thank you unxti for your kind efforts
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/
JKhedrup
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by JKhedrup »

I mentioned four very concrete examples of people who challenged the status quo in Buddhism. There is no reason that those experiences and methodologies used for empowerment of women could not be applied to the issue of other sexualities within the Sangha or dharma centre.
I also mentioned Jane Elliott's down to earth anti racist training as a more effective and accessible structure to challenge the status quo than the elitest formula of identity politics.
I mentioned concrete ways to open the doors of your dharma centre to the broader local community through inclusive free events that could open the door to diversity and at least get people talking.
I also mentioned concrete ways your community could be more socially involved, and a charter for diversity.
You simply dismisses all of the suggestions saying the boardmembers wouldn't go for it.
If none of these suggestions is relevant or what you are looking for, then I am now officially confused about what you would like to accomplish.
Listing those sad atrocities is of course a wake up call, but if we don't discuss solutions what do we discuss?
As a victim of abuse by strangers in my childhood, and even a couple of years ago attempted abuse on an Indian night train by a lecherous man while I was as asleep and sick (luckily I woke up quickly and hit him on the head with a flashlight, he ran away), I can tell you Buddhism empowered me and helped me more than any psycho babble blahblah my parents paid for when I was a child (with good intentions) or victim framework for sufferers of abuse proposed by modern identity politics, which I found disempowering and counter productive for my healing.
Understanding that my experiences are shaped by past karma, I know I have abused and been abused in many lifetimes in the past. The experience of abuse especially as a young person in this life has made me determined to be a better person, and try to help those in need. It has helped me develop equanimity and maybe even compadsion, over a period of time, for the abuser, who was powerless due to their afflictions and hence unable to control themselves. I shared these experiences with a firmer GF who had also bern abused and she found them very helpful.
Once again if this is irrelevant to your mission I apologize, but I am now confused as to what you want.
Last edited by JKhedrup on Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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garudha
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by garudha »

greentara wrote:garudha, Thanks, you have your finger on the pulse. "Isn't the whole point of Buddhism to fix oneself rather than finding fault in, and attempting to fix, others ?"
I get your message but I'm rather dismayed that this thread has turned into a flaming of others outside the forum when we could be using this space to talk about ourselves, our own personal experience and how we feel about ourselves.
JKhedrup
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by JKhedrup »

This is human nature and not that surprising. Looking at and pointing out the faults of others is addictive and is easier than proposing or implementing solutions. It is easier than self reflection or relating personal experiences that might make one vulnerable.
It is easier than implementing dharma practice.

Every concrete solution and personal example (including ones embarrassing for me to share) has been dismissed or ignored by all but 3 or so people. So I will just learn to be quiet as it is obvious that neither my personal experience, proposed solutions or critiques of elitest structures have been beneficial.
untxi
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by untxi »

Ven. J Khedrup...

(I thought) I thanked you for your suggestions in an earlier post. Your contributions were constructive, and if I have not acknowledged that sufficiently, I apologize. I am looking into some of the resources that I was not familiar with.

There are several challenges to this thread, one being that several subtexts are unfolding simultaneously, both in the thread and in PM.

For me personally, since I have no status within the tradition of Buddhism, I can not challenge the status quo within Buddhism like many of those that you have shared with me. I'm neither monastic, teacher, nor scholar. As such my only recourse is to try to engage sangha in a larger conversation.

-U
JKhedrup wrote:I mentioned four very concrete examples of people who challenged the status quo in Buddhism. There is no reason that those experiences and methodologies used for empowerment of women could not be applied to the issue of other sexualities within the Sangha or dharma centre.
JKhedrup
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by JKhedrup »

Untxi you basically said yes great, but isn't relevant to your situation.

You do have some sort of position as a boardmember. If the board is incompetent simply go directly to the main spiritual teacher and appwal directly. 'I am concerned the centre does noy reflect the diversity of the local community. As such I would like to hold a lunch and open day for the community, and pass out invitations to the surrounding residences.'

Bringing people in is the first step. Once people meet eachother they can have a conversation. Being face to face one realizes they are human beings, and the process becomes less scary for all sides.

We have made the process so overcomplicated and alienating in this thread. We have condemned eachother's opinions and read between the lines for points to attack, parsing word for word, rather than listening to eachother's experiences or acknowledging people's pain.

We are further apart than before this conversation started.

People have chosen who they like and dislike, who they respect and disrespect, and are communicating according to those paradigms rathet than Buddhist ones.

People have made decisions about whose experiences to aknowledge and whose to dismiss based on attachment and aversion to web personalities.
untxi
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by untxi »

There are two sides to every dependent origination-- the cause side, and the effect side.

For some inexplicable reason, all of my contributions to this thread were redirected to the effect side of the subject of gender violence in our sanghas. This is the side of dependent origination where abuse has already occurred, and there are real beings suffering. People rightfully pointed out that all suffering comes from karma, and that all karma is caused by self-cherishing and the three poisons. As such, the only end to these samsaric sufferings is dharma pratice, and the politics of identity and victimization-- all politics really-- is anathema to ending this suffering and healing the wounded. This effect side of gender violence is the side where people also work with various political systems to understand their experience and to effect change. As such, the effect side of gender violence is the natural place to challenge the validity of such political ideologies as identity politics and their role in this cycle of suffering.

I couldn't agree more. In my own life, as a victim of violence and abuse myself, dharma has been the only real lasting remedy to my own suffering, and as a Buddhist of some 25 years, I counsel all of my most intimate friends, most certainly dharma friends, to rely upon the dharma to deal with these things. The teachings are very unforgiving about this, as is my own root teacher. When teaching on lo jong mind training, he was asked what to do regarding seeing all beings as our mother if we had a cruel and abusive mother. He said: Get over it! That was your karma! Mother is still the kindest of them all! The tradition is really fairly unforgiving as to the causes of suffering: it's our own minds, our own karma. There's no way to escape that.

Everyone's responses were really spot-on in that regard. Dharma is the path to eliminate suffering-- politics has nothing to do with it.

The problem is that I haven't been talking about the effect side of the dependent origination of gender violence-- but the cause side.

The discussion I have been trying to have isn't a discussion about victims of gender violence who already exist. At that time the causes have long come to fruition. This is where practitioners do their work on the cushion, with their therapists and crying with and confiding in their friends. This is where people do their politics-- or not. As somebody who has written about identifying with his own privilege, I am the last person to presume to write a narrative of victimization for women and gender minorities. HOW DARE I. They have their own narratives and their own voices to tell their stories. That's not the job of an ally.

I had hoped to have a discussion on the effect side of gender violence as a proactive dialog to prevent future gender violence. While it is true that suffering all stems from karma, there are also contributory causes and conditions. In the case of an abuse that has yet to occur, the karma has not yet ripened, but the contributory causes and conditions still exist. This is clearly taught in the tradition. The pain of a toothache may be caused by karma-- but we still brush our teeth. As such, it is still part of the practice to work with contributory causes and conditions. This is why all Buddhist traditions spend so much time on wish paths, aspirations, and dedication of merit.

The discussion I wished to have was on the contributory causes and conditions for gender violence in our sangha-- a subject that is entirely on the effect side of gender violence. There are no victims to heal and care for. No political identity to form (or deconstruct). No spiritual medicine to take. No victim EXISTS yet. Just an brutally honest dialog about the causes and conditions that make gender violence possible in our sanghas. To rephrase: "Hey. Are we doing something or missing something that helps this gender violence happen?" Helps this happen is the operative term-- that's in the spirit of contributory causes and conditions.

I tried to redirect with everything I had. Referencing gender aggression on the board. Referencing sex/gender taxonomies. Referencing privilege. Referencing and enumerating a laundry list of instances of gender violence in sangha. Referencing my own narrative. All to redirect from the effect side of gender violence (real victims) to the effect side of gender violence (causes and conditions). In other words, to point out that there really are causes and conditions, patterned potentialities, for gender violence in our sangha.

Why? Very simple: to attempt to remove the contributory causes and conditions for gender violence in our sanghas. To spare some suffering. This is part of our ethical commitment as Buddhists.

What might that look like? A dialog on the texts and tradition and how they might have provisional teachings (neyartha) that are causes and conditions for gender aggression. Or more gut level and personal stuff. "Hey, I'm uncomfortable with women in my sangha because they're sexually distracting, so I shun them". "Hey, I feel weird around queer people because I never knew any and I don't know what to say". "Gosh, my teacher really trashes women, I don't want to go against him". "I saw these things happen, it was wrong, but there's a certain way we deal with things in my sangha, and I don't know how to work with that". And so on.

But every time I tried to redirect from the effect side of the dependent origination of gender violence in sangha to the causal side-- the dialog would flop back to the effect side. Challenging the politics of gender identity. Challenging the politics of victimization. Asserting the Four Noble Truths. Identifying politics itself, in particular identity politics, as a cause of suffering. Recommendations to engage in forms of civic activism, legislation. All good stuff. But again the dialog was directed back to the effect side (violence happened, victims exist, real work)-- not the causal side (pre-violence, no victims, just contributory causes and conditions). I could have forced my point, but I rolled with each punch, and punched with each roll.

My hope to have a proactive dialog was defeated by some inertia that brought the dialog back to a reactive mode.

I don't know why.

But it does seem like the thread took on a life of its own, and that it was collectively more important to defend the tradition (which I had no problem with), question sex/gender taxonomies (something nobody's invested in), and refute identity politics (I'm certainly not vested)-- than to think proactively to prevent the sufferings of others.

That's really the problem, isn't it?

Q.E.D.

It's been one week to the day, so Untxi's carriage is turning into a pumpkin.

Ciao bellas.
Simon E.
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Simon E. »

We'll see. :popcorn:
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
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Kaccāni
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Kaccāni »

Doing things different implies getting yourself into position of doing things differently first.

When I want to make no difference between men and women when hiring, then I first need to get into the position to hire somebody.
Therefore I either need the money, vision and dedication to start my own business, or I need to come into a position in an existing organization where I can do so.
Now if that´s not happening, and those who are in that position don´t want to deal with the subject, then don´t expect something to change, unless they become externally motivated to do so, e.g. because there are regulations or procedures that cannot as easily be ignored as those currently in place. Otherwise there is no cause and no effect.

So in absence of regulations we need to rely on two things: Somebody becoming compassionate and enlightened, or somebody in position who wants to deal with those gender issues, instead of TLDRing it. Or a society without position. Which up to now remains an utopia.

Now telling "we only fix ourselves" says: "Live with the misery and learn to tolerate it."
That´s not what brought for women´s or gay rights from burning the witches to the stage where we are at right now.
Aufklärung did. The age of reasoning did.

Using reasoning is not all wrong. Even if 90% do not want to listen, 10% who do and care may also have an impact, if the effect has compound interest.
Of course, some minor fraction of those 90% who reject the whole thing always seem to have the loudest voices. Ignore the subsonic.

Best wishes
Gwenn
Shush! I'm doing nose-picking practice!
JKhedrup
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by JKhedrup »

Untxci I'm going to be honest.I don't doubt your sincerity regarding the anti-oppression work you want to implement in your Sangha.

But I doubt your appetite for true action or your willingness to lose your position on the board in order to be a true advocate. Instead you brought your mission here, under the safety of your chosen anonymity you have nothing to lose. You chose to fight in a safe arena.

People here may be impressed by your ability to talk the talk by using words like heteronormative etc. But when I asked you to walk the walk and proposed very basic courses of action you gave excuses as to why they weren't possible or tried to bring the discussion back to the formula of identity politics.

I am also not as active as I could or maybe should be in challenging barriers, but I have not tried to frame myself as an ally because I am not worthy of that title.

Identity politics can and must be discussed here because it is the jargon and framework that has been taken for granted as what we have to use in these discussions.

IP can have its function, such as in the work of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, who used it in the field of Indian literature to give native writers a voice apart from colonialism.

However, did you know IP is also used by people like Geert Wilders and Marine LePen?

It has led to the Balkanization and exacerbation of ethnic tensions in Europe. Communities no longer talk to eachother. For the minority communities this leads to isolation, lack of access to education and barriers to upward mobility for their childten. The consequence of such difficulties can manifest as for example the recent race riots in Britain.

The emphasis on dialogue structures of IP in modern academia leads to the Balkanization of the student body. I remember how at my university the IP paradigm was presented in a class on Middle Eastern politics. Within moments the Palestinian and Isreali students were at eachother's throats. I physically stood between two students who were ready to throw punches. A similar less Intense version manifested later between Shia and Sunni students. Prior to the IP paradigm being introduced, everyone was getting along fine.

My opinion is that IP is a dangerous illusion that offers the pretext of voicing oppression but results in the further disenfranchisement, isolation and poverty of marginalized groups. Worse, it can be hijacked by the likes of Wilders etc to exclude members of minority groups from participating in society and to introduce draconian immigration policies.

IP's final result in the further Balkanization of humanity, which ultimately lead to impoverished countries and classes being stuck in that poverty.

IP is also highly presumptuous, locking out less educated or literate groups. When I think of the jargon and charts presented here, I am so amazed people don't see how elitest it is.

Here in India IP has hijacked the political system. Politicians play various communities against eachother to win seats. The plethora of special interest parties has led to an overburdened political system that cannot address the pressing povertt, resource scarcity and environmental degradation of this amazing country. It breaks my heart.

My conclusion: IP has been a miserable failure, successful only at creating a tiny subclass of tenured elites.
Adi
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Adi »

Identity politics is an interesting academic philosophy and a taxonomic tool but it doesn't seem to work well in practical applications among people who don't know the jargon. It seems to me that the way to bring people closer is to emphasize how little distance there is between them instead of sub-categorizing the differences. We are all more alike than not on this increasingly crowded planet, and it's harder and harder to just go off with those you like and dismiss everyone else.

HH Dalai Lama and many others who I presume to know about these things say this all the time. For instance, here is an excerpt from his Nobel acceptance speech in 1989 that shows a general Buddhist view that is very helpful:
No matter what part of the world we come from, we are all basically the same human beings. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering. We have the same basic human needs and is concerns. All of us human beings want freedom and the right to determine our own destiny as individuals and as peoples. That is human nature...As a Buddhist monk, my concern extends to all members of the human family and, indeed, to all sentient beings who suffer. I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share. Although I have found my own Buddhist religion helpful in generating love and compassion, even for those we consider our enemies, I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.
Adi
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rory
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by rory »

First let me aoplogize to Ven. Khedrup for not addressing him properly. It was not done consciously (unconsciously? that's entirely possible, I don't know) I chat quite regularly with Ven. Indrajala with whom I disagree more, but I see him over at Facebook as a monk; robes etc..

Anyway as a libertarian I don't care for identity politics either, but until the majority contains the minority then people will congregate together in subcultures and it's quite normal. So until history as taught in the West actually discusses women, African-Americans etc as a normative part of history then you won't need Women's Studies dept's etc..

And yes it's happening today I took a Latin course taught by an out gay male grad student and he said "there are no ancient women philosopher's...sorry that's just the way it was..." trying to be true to the material. But he was absolutely and factually incorrect. Why? I don't know, but odds are he just wasn't interested in the subject; I'm a woman so I am. If we cannot talk, have a discussion about the problem then it will never get solved.

SGI has done a splendid job of being inclusive and having submeetings for the various groups. I thoroughly disapprove of them as a prosperity cult but I can learn from their successes. I think the biggest point is wanting to talk to people different from you and listening to their point of view. And letting them use whatever terms they choose to express themselves.

I'm belong to East Asian Buddhist Mahayana, specifically the Lotus Sutra School (Tiantai, Tendai, Cheontae, Thien Thai tong so I have a different pov than the Tibetan Buddhists here: we see karma as not fixed, subject to change and eradication in this very life. Additionally the Lotus Sutra states that regular lay people are superior to clergy in terms of attaining Buddhahood So the present circumstances of individuals that will permit them to practice are of paramount importantce.

I know a bunch of men in the poll posted they were gay and I was hoping to hear their experience in Buddhism, as it's a subject about which I know nothing.
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/
JKhedrup
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by JKhedrup »

:good: HHDL is always so same and direct in how he presents solutions.

The problem is when you start the process od division, it is hard to stop it.

Also when IP becomes the accepted norm, the majority or powerful group will begin to use it themselves. Then you get Pauline Marois trying to pass a draconian religious headgear ban in Quebec institutions. You get Geert Wilders and the Dutch immigration system.

What was meant to reduce barriers of the oppressed ends up reinforcing them. Ultimately self defeating. Hence, I believe, Farrakhan' critique above.

I already posited Bhikkuni Dhammananda, Ajahn Brahm, geshema Wangmo and Maha Ghosananda as my preference for active engagement with oppression to challenge it. Martin Luther King Jr was so successful, a strategy that works. It brought down segregation in America.

Rory please do not worry about terms of address with me. Khedrup or JK is fine with me, that's how people at the centre and here at Sera address me. I'm an egalitarian. :meditate:
Caldorian
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Caldorian »

As someone directly affected, I would like to thank untxi publicly for his effort (I did so already via pm). I was very grateful that he tried to educate people on these forums because I didn't have the strength to do so myself at the moment.

I didn't want to get involved (and I'm still not interested in discussing this), but I must be honest: this thread has been so disappointing and revealing with how strongly this community specifically (and the larger Buddhist community) uses all kinds of deflection mechanisms for handling systematic social injustice; there was resistance to really engage in a constructive and meaningful conversation as well as derailment over terminology instead of acknowledgement of problems from the very beginning. To be frank, this thread made me lose my interest in this community and my wish to participate in it in any way.

I know that it doesn't mean much from a lurker; still, before people start to dogpile untxi for his efforts, I thought it was fair to support him publicly.
May we all be happy, peaceful, compassionate, and wise!
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rory
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by rory »

Caldorian wrote:As someone directly affected, I would like to thank untxi publicly for his effort (I did so already via pm). I was very grateful that he tried to educate people on these forums because I didn't have the strength to do so myself at the moment.

I didn't want to get involved (and I'm still not interested in discussing this), but I must be honest: this thread has been so disappointing and revealing with how strongly this community specifically (and the larger Buddhist community) uses all kinds of deflection mechanisms for handling systematic social injustice; there was resistance to really engage in a constructive and meaningful conversation as well as derailment over terminology instead of acknowledgement of problems from the very beginning. To be frank, this thread made me lose my interest in this community and my wish to participate in it in any way.

I know that it doesn't mean much from a lurker; still, before people start to dogpile untxi for his efforts, I thought it was fair to support him publicly.
May we all be happy, peaceful, compassionate, and wise!
Hi Caldorian; I thanked untxi publically and privately. Feel free to discuss the issues you face with me, I'm a lesbian and want to listen and understand.

gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/
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