Sunday, March 9, 2008

O Budismo não é lá essas coisas

Prezados amigos, recebi a resposta abaixo sobre o texto de A. L. De Silva
que divulguei e respondo ao James DeMeo, um estudioso das influências
ambientais no comportamento humano, reenviando os comentários a todos vcs.

Oh my dear James, it was not a too long reply. Indeed, an excellent one.
Armored Buddhists are as bad as Christians or Muslim armored ones!!!
Even celibacy can be a good or a bad thing since the celibatic one is an
armored beeing or an open minded and hearted one. Your reply is excellent to
help people to realise the differences existing between what the Buddha
taught and what the "owners" of Buddhism are in fact practicing.
----- Original Message -----
From: "James DeMeo"
To: "Lino Guedes Pires M.D."
Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2000 5:23 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: Homosexuality and Theravada Buddhism

>My dear James, this text is not a pronouncement against anything. Please,
>read it more carefully and you will understand. Also, women have not been
>buried alive in Buddhist areas since Buddhism teachs people not to kill.
>Such things happened in the Hindu areas, what is a different thing.
>With love

Dear Lino,

The article seemed to reveal part of the sexual problem underlying
Buddhism, namely the biological consequences of the demand for celibacy.

Yes, you are partly correct about Buddhist teachings, but one could
similarly say the ideas of Jesus were of peace and love and not killing,
etc. Buddha was the same himself, as was Ghandi and other peacemakers of
the world. I don't argue against the original ideas so much as what crazy
human beings have done with those teachings afterward. Buddhist philosophy
mixed with Confucianism in China, and with Hinduism in India, and became
part of a monstrous ideology which justified much brutality. Women are
still considered "unworthy" and lower than men in every major branch of
Buddhistic influence, which underlies the call for chastity for Buddhist
monks and priests (very similar to Christianity, and even Judiasm has
similar philosophical aspects). In Mongolia and to a lesser extent in
Tibet, prior to the Communists, about a third of the entire male
populations were celibate monks who were waited on, hand and foot, by the
rest of society -- except for the soldiers who in alliance with the priests
were the "enforcers". Homosexuality flourished in those male-only monastic
societies, as it does/did in Catholic seminaries. A third of the
populations in those same areas were peasant farmers who owned not even the
tools they used to work the land they also did not own. They were
basically slaves and serfs to the Buddhist monks and soldiers, who owned
everything and did little work themselves. We have probably both seen the
documentaries where devotees to the Buddhist monks prostrate themselves on
the ground, lowering their heads, etc., in a manner similar to what was
done in obedience to any King or Emperor.

This was the situation which bred at least some support for the communist
movement in Asia -- not that they proved to be any better! Today, nearly
all of China is a prison, and dissenters against the central authority in
Beijing are dealt with very harshly! But I would argue, that the
Buddhistic philosophy shares some of the blame for this, as outlined in
Saharasia. It never directly challenged the prevailing anti-sexual
patriarchal ethos which underlies the "Mass Psychology of Fascism", but
instead absorbed much of that same ethos into its own doctrines. So,
today, women remain second-class, lower persons than the men, espeically
the male Buddhist priesthood, who remain in charge. As a social movement,
the Buddhistic reformers failed miserably and it is today run by
power-elites. I've some personal experiences here, with Buddhistic
followers in Europe I met who became interested in orgonomy, and so Reich
became a growing influence in their thinking. This prompted "much concern"
by others in their communities.
I've seen Buddhists throw families out of their communities onto the
street, penniless in the middle of winter, when someone would challenge the
authority of the monks (in this partricular case, a man argued that workers
in that particular Buddhistic community should be paid a reasonable wage
for their work and labor, which was bringing in enormous amounts of money
to the Temple). In another case from Europe, which I know about directly,
the head Lama had some kind of sexual dominance of both men and women in
his small fiefdom. When one of the men broke from this bedroom hierarchy,
marrying a woman and having a child without approvals from the head Lama,
he was expelled -- again, penniless, after perhaps 15 years of hard work
for the "Buddhistic community". These are only two examples I know about
personally, so you can do the mathematics and estimate how frequently this
might be occurring around the world. Of course, the influence of Reich was
at work in both cases.

I write these sentences as the majority of people in the USA today are
celebrating the Murder of Christ (not his life, but rather his death on the
cross). The top political candidate of the Republican Party (Bush) has
openly called Jesus his "role model", and he says "before undertaking any
important law, I ask myself 'What Would Jesus Do?' " This hypocrite Bush
has a record number of executions during his governorship of Texas, so one
naturally wonders if Bush believes Jesus would approve of executing
criminals. This kind of hypocrisy also permeates the fascistic Buddhistic
regions of south Asia, such as Burma and Thailand, the former of which is a
brutal fascist state, and the latter of which has enslaved around 10% of
its female population as prostitutes for Western and Japanese businessmen.
Certainly, Hinduism shares some of the blame in those same regions, but
only some. I try to look beyond the basic claims of any religion about its
lofty goals (even Islam has lofty goals), and see how those philosophies
are carried out "on the ground". In this sense, Buddhism has also failed.

There's a German woman named June Campbell--- who was the "secret lover" of
a high Tibetan lama (he officially lived in celibacy, but enforced her
obedience and silence by threats). She got tired of constantly being
squashed and lied about, and finally went public with a book "Traveller in
Space: In search of Female Identity in Tibetan Buddhism". Most of the
world's Western-oriented Buddhistic groups have reacted to her book with
acid and hate, and even death threats. A similar scandal errupted here,
regarding an American Buddhist leader. Think about it, Lino, a priesthood
of men who claim divine enlightment beyond that attainable by ordinary
people -- or rather, as attainable by ordinary men, as women cannot attain
such enlightment. Isn't this the exact same problem we see everywhere else
in armored patristic society?

I wish it were otherwise, as Buddhism has many good things to speak for it.
If only the leaders of Buddhism would stop acting like small gods. Oiy,
this is too long of a reply to your short note!

Best wishes,


this is the original text I spread all over!

Dear friends, by change I found this text and I found it so good, so
enlightening that I am sending it to the ones I listed under "Lightworkers",
"Karma", "Environment", "South Africa", "Saúde Alternativa" and "Jornais".
Lino Guedes Pires MD
Wilhelm Reich body therapies - acupuncture
Rua Gal San Martin, 1212 - Leblon, Rio de Janeiro RJ
Tel 55 031 21 294 8044 home 539 1668 mobile 9995 9422

Homosexuality and Theravada Buddhism
A. L. De Silva

Buddhism teaches to, and expects from, its followers a certain level of
ethical behaviour. The minimum that is required of the lay Buddhist is
embodied in what is called the Five Precepts (panca sila), the third of
which relates to sexual behaviour. Whether or not homosexuality, sexual
behaviour between people of the same sex, would be breaking the third
Precept is what I would like to examine here.

Homosexuality was known in ancient India; it is explicitly mentioned in the
Vinaya (monastic discipline) and prohibited. It is not singled out for
special condemnation, but rather simply mentioned along with a wide range of
other sexual behaviour as contravening the rule that requires monks and nuns
to be celibate. Sexual behaviour, whether with a member of the same or the
opposite sex, where the sexual organ enters any of the bodily orifices
(vagina, mouth or anus), is punishable by expulsion from the monastic order.
Other sexual behaviour like mutual masturbation or interfemural sex, while
considered a serious offense, does not entail expulsion but must be
confessed before the monastic community.

A type of person called a pandaka is occasionally mentioned in the Vinaya in
contexts that make it clear that such a person is some kind of sexual
non-conformist. The Vinaya also stipulates that pandakas are not allowed to
be ordained, and if, inadvertently, one has been, he is expelled. According
to commentary, this is because pandakas are "full of passions, unquenchable
lust and are dominated by the desire for sex." The word pandaka has been
translated as either hermaphrodite or eunuch, while Zwilling has recently
suggested that it may simply mean a homosexual. It is more probable that
ancient Indians, like most modern Asians, considered only the extremely
effeminate, exhibitionist homosexual (the screaming queen in popular
perception) to be deviant while the less obvious homosexual was simply
considered a little more opportunistic or a little less fussy than other
'normal' males. As the Buddha seems to have had a profound understanding of
human nature and have been remarkably free from prejudice, and as there is
not evidence that homosexuals are any more libidinous or that they have any
more difficulties in maintaining celibacy than heterosexuals, it seems
unlikely that the Buddha would exclude homosexuals per se from the monastic
life. The term pandaka therefore probably does not refer to homosexuals in
general but rather to the effeminate, self-advertising and promiscuous

The lay Buddhist is not required to be celibate, but she or he is advised to
avoid certain types of sexual behaviour. The third Precept actually says:
'Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.' The word kama refers to
any form of sensual pleasure but with an emphasis on sexual pleasure and a
literal translation of the precept would be "I take the rule of training
(veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami) not to go the wrong way (micchacara) for
sexual pleasure (kamesu)". What constitutes "wrong" will not be clear until
we examine the criteria that Buddhism uses to make ethical judgments.

No one of the Buddha's discourses is devoted to systematic philosophical
inquiry into ethics such as one finds in the works of the Greek
philosophers. But it is possible to construct a criterion of right and wrong
out of material scattered in different places throughout the Pali Tipitaka,
the scriptural basis of Theravada Buddhism. The Buddha questioned many of
the assumptions existing in his society, including moral ones, and tried to
develop an ethics based upon reason and compassion rather than tradition,
superstitions and taboo. Indeed, in the famous Kalama Sutta he says that
revelation (anussana), tradition (parampara), the authority of the
scriptures (pitakasampada) and one's own point of view
(ditthinijjhanakkhanti) are inadequate means of determining right and wrong.

Having questioned the conventional basis of morality, the Buddha suggests
three criteria for making moral judgments. The first is what might be called
the universalisability principle - to act towards others the way we would
like them to act towards us. In the Samyutta Nikaya he uses this principle
to advise against adultery. He says: "What sort of Dhamma practice leads to
great good for oneself?... A noble disciple should reflect like this: 'If
someone were to have sexual intercourse with my spouse I would not like it.
Likewise, if I were to have sexual intercourse with another's spouse they
would not like that. For what is unpleasant to me must be unpleasant to
another, and how could I burden someone with that?' As a result of such
reflection one abstains from wrong sexual desire, encourages others to
abstain from it, and speaks in praise of such abstinence."

In the Bahitika Sutta, Ananda is asked how to distinguish between
praiseworthy and blameworthy behaviour. He answers that any behaviour which
causes harm to oneself and others could be called blameworthy while any
behaviour that causes no harm (and presumably which helps) oneself and
others could be called praiseworthy. The suggestion is, therefore, that in
determining right and wrong one has to look into the actual and possible
consequences of the action in relation to the agent and those affected by
the action. The Buddha makes this same point in the Dhammapada: "The deed
which causes remorse afterwards and results in weeping and tears is
ill-done. The deed which causes no remorse afterwards and results in joy and
happiness is well-done." This is what might be called the consequential
principle, that behaviour can be considered good or bad according to the
consequences or effects it has.

The third way of determining right and wrong is what might be called the
instrumental principle, that is, that behaviour can be considered right or
wrong according to whether or not it helps us to attain our goal. The
ultimate goal of Buddhism is Nirvana, a state of mental peace and purity and
anything that leads one in that direction is good. Someone once asked the
Buddha how after his death it would be possible to know what was and was not
his authentic teaching and he replied: "The doctrines of which you can say:
'These doctrines lead to letting go, giving up, stilling, calming, higher
knowledge, awakening and to Nirvana' - you can be certain that they are
Dhamma, they are discipline, they are the words of the Teacher."

This utilitarian attitude to ethics is highlighted by the fact that the
Buddha uses the term kusala to mean 'skillful' or 'appropriate' or its
opposite, akusala, when evaluating behaviour far more frequently than he
uses the terms punna, 'good', or papa, 'bad'. The other thing that is
important in evaluating behaviour is intention (cetacean). If a deed is
motivated by good (based upon generosity, love and understanding) intentions
it can be considered skillful. Evaluating ethical behaviour in Buddhism
requires more than obediently following commandments, it requires that we
develop a sympathy with others, that we be aware of our thoughts, speech and
actions, and that we be clear about our goals and aspirations.

Having briefly examined the rational foundations of Buddhist ethics we are
now in a better position to understand what sort of sexual behaviour
Buddhism would consider to be wrong or unskillful and why. The Buddha
specifically mentions several types of unskillful sexual behaviour, the most
common of which is adultery. This is unskillful because it requires
subterfuge and deceit, it means that solemn promises made at the time of
marriage are broken, and it amounts to a betrayal of trust. In another
passage, the Buddha says that someone practicing the third Precept "avoids
intercourse with girls still under the ward of their parents, brothers,
sisters or relatives, with married women, with female prisoners or with
those already engaged to another." Girls still under the protection of
others are presumably too young to make a responsible decision about sex,
prisoners are not in a position to make a free choice, while an engaged
woman has already made a commitment to another. Although only females are
mentioned here no doubt the same would apply to males in the same position.

As homosexuality is not explicitly mentioned in any of the Buddha's
discourses (more than 20 volumes in the Pali Text Society's English
translation), we can only assume that it is meant to be evaluated in the
same way that heterosexuality is. And indeed it seems that this is why it is
not specifically mentioned. In the case of the lay man and woman where there
is mutual consent, where adultery is not involved and where the sexual act
is an expression of love, respect, loyalty and warmth, it would not be
breaking the third Precept. And it is the same when the two people are of
the same gender. Likewise promiscuity, license and the disregard for the
feelings of others would make a sexual act unskillful whether it be
heterosexual or homosexual. All the principles we would use to evaluate a
heterosexual relationship we would also use to evaluate a homosexual one. In
Buddhism we could say that it is not the object of one's sexual desire that
determines whether a sexual act is unskillful or not, but rather the quality
of the emotions and intentions involved.

However, the Buddha sometimes advised against certain behaviour not because
it is wrong from the point of view of ethics but because it would put one at
odds with social norms or because its is subject to legal sanctions. In
these cases, the Buddha says that refraining from such behaviour will free
one from the anxiety and embarrassment caused by social disapproval or the
fear of punitive action. Homosexuality would certainly come under this type
of behaviour. In this case, the homosexual has to decide whether she or he
is going to acquiesce to what society expects or to try to change public
attitudes. In Western societies where attitudes towards sex in general have
been strongly influenced by the tribal taboos of the Old Testament and, in
the New Testament, by the ideas of highly neurotic people like St. Paul,
there is a strong case for changing public attitudes.

We will now briefly examine the various objections to homosexuality and give
Buddhist rebuttals to them. The most common Christian and Muslim objection
to homosexuality is that it is unnatural and "goes against the order of
nature". There seems to be little evidence for this. Miriam Rothschild, the
eminent biologist who played a crucial role in the fight to decriminalize
homosexuality in Britain, pointed out at the time that homosexual behaviour
has been observed in almost every known species of animal. Secondly, it
could be argued that while the biological function of sex is reproduction,
most sexual activity today is not for reproduction, but for recreation and
emotional fulfillment, and that this too is a legitimate function of sex.
This being so, while homosexuality is unnatural in that it cannot lead to
reproduction, it is quite natural for the homosexual in that for her or him
it provides physical and emotional fulfillment. Indeed, for him or her,
heterosexual behaviour is unnatural. Thirdly, even if we concede that
homosexuality "goes against the order of nature", we would have to admit
that so do many other types of human behaviour, including some religious
behaviour. The Roman Catholic Church has always condemned homosexuality
because of its supposed unnaturalness - but it has long idealized celibacy,
which, some might argue, is equally unnatural. Another Christian objection
to homosexuality is that it is condemned in the Bible, an argument that is
meaningful to those who accept that the Bible is the infallible word of God,
but which is meaningless to the majority who do not accept this. But while
there is no doubt that the Bible condemns homosexuality, it also stipulates
that women should be socially isolated while menstruating, that parents
should kill their children if they worship any god other than the Christian
God and that those who work on the Sabbath should be executed. Few
Christians today would agree with these ideas even though they are a part of
God's words, and yet they continue to condemn homosexuality simply because
it is condemned in the Bible.

One sometimes hears people say: "If homosexuality were not illegal, many
people, including the young, will become gay." This type of statement
reflects either a serious misunderstanding about the nature of homosexuality
or perhaps a latent homosexuality in the person who would make such a
statement. It is as silly as saying that if attempted suicide is not a
criminal offense then everyone will go out and commit suicide. Whatever the
cause of homosexuality (and there is great debate on the subject), one
certainly does not 'choose' to have homoerotic feelings in the same way one
would, for example, choose to have tea instead of coffee. It is either
inborn or develops in early childhood. And it is the same with
heterosexuality. Changing laws does not change people's sexual inclinations.

Some have argued that there must be something wrong with homosexuality
because so many homosexuals are emotionally disturbed. At first there seems
to be some truth in this. In the West, at least, many homosexuals suffer
from psychological problems, abuse alcohol, and indulge in obsessive sexual
behaviour. As a group, homosexuals have a high rate of suicide. But
observers have pointed out that such problems seem to be no more pronounced
amongst African and Asian homosexuals than they are in the societies in
which they live. It is very likely that homosexuals in the West are wounded
more by society's attitude to them than by their sexual proclivity, and, if
they are treated the same as everybody else, they will be the same as
everybody else. Indeed, this is the strongest argument for acceptance and
understanding towards homosexuals.

Christianity grew out of and owes much to Judaism with its tradition of
fiery prophets fiercely and publicly denouncing what they considered to be
moral laxity or injustice. Jesus was very much influenced by this tradition,
as have been the Christian responses to public and private morality
generally. At its best, this tradition in Christianity to loudly denounce
immorality and injustice has given the West its high degree of social
conscience. At its worst, it has meant that those who did not or could not
conform to Christian standards have been cruelly exposed and persecuted. The
Buddhist monk's role has always been very different from his Christian
counterpart. His job has been to teach the Dhamma and to act as a quiet
example of how it should be lived. This, together with Buddhism's rational
approach to ethics and the high regard it has always given to tolerance, has
meant that homosexuals in Buddhist societies have been treated very
differently form how they have been in the West. In countries like China,
Korea and Japan where Buddhism was profoundly influenced by Confucianism,
there have been periods when homosexuality has been looked upon with
disapproval and even been punishable under the law. But generally the
attitude has been one of tolerance. Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit missionary who
lived in China for twenty-seven years from 1583, expressed horror at the
open and tolerant attitude that the Chinese took to homosexuality and
naturally enough saw this as proof of the degeneracy of Chinese society.
"That which most shows the misery of these people is that no less than the
natural lusts, they practise unnatural ones that reverse the order of
things, and this is neither forbidden by law nor thought to be illicit nor
even a cause for shame. It is spoken of in public and practiced everywhere
without there being anyone to prevent it." In Korea the ideal of the hwarang
(flower boy) was often associated with homosexuality especially during the
Yi dynasty. In Japan, a whole genre of literature (novelettes, poems and
stories) on the love between samurais and even between Buddhist monks and
temple boys developed during the late mediaeval period.

Theravada Buddhist countries like Sri Lanka and Burma had no legal statutes
against homosexuality between consenting adults until the colonial era when
they were introduced by the British. Thailand, which had no colonial
experience, still has no such laws. This had led some Western homosexuals to
believe that homosexuality is quite accepted in Buddhist countries of South
and South-east Asia. This is certainly not true. In such countries, when
homosexuals are thought of at all, it is more likely to be in a good-humored
way or with a degree of pity. Certainly the loathing, fear and hatred that
the Western homosexual has so often had to endure is absent and this is due,
to a very large degree, to Buddhism's humane and tolerant influence.

A. L. De Silva


Source: Buddhist Council of New South Wales, Australia, http://buddhism

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