The Dalai Lama is Not Gay-Friendly

Posted by Censor Librorum on Aug 10, 2009 | Categories: Celebrities, Lesbians & Gays

Last week a masked gunman killed two and wounded 15 at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv.   As protesters mourned the victims and condemned the homophobic sentiment assumed to be behind the attack, police hunted for the assailant, whom many believe to be a member of the Orthodox Jewish community.

The Orthodox have clashed with Israeli gay and lesbian Jews over civil rights. “While Judaism is a religion of peace and tolerance, without strict adherence to the commandments of the Torah – which speaks strongly and unambiguously on this issue – we cease to be the “light unto the nations” G-d commands us to be,” said one Orthodox statement on a gay pride march.

Knowing how strictly traditionalist Christians, Jews and Muslims feel about gays and homosexuality, I thought I would check out the Buddhists; specifically the Dalai Lama, who seems to have become an international spokesman for Tibetan liberation and cultural survival, and a universal spiritual icon for peace and justice. dalai_lama1

My 25-year-old son is quite taken with him and his philosophies on inner calm, the practice of meditation, compassion, and peaceful living.   I have not delved into his teachings, but he seemed to me to be a jolly, joyful, earnest and indeed, holy spiritual leader and man.

Imagine my shock, then, to discover the Dalai Lama doesn’t sound one whit different than the most conservative Vatican bureaucrat, bishop, fundamentalist preacher or orthodox rabbi when it comes to gay and lesbian sex.

“A gay couple came to see me,” he said during an interview, “seeking my support and blessing. I had to explain our teachings. Another lady introduced another woman as her wife – astonishing. It is the same with a husband and wife using certain sexual practices.   Using the other two holes is wrong.”

“A Western friend asked me what harm there could be between consenting adults having oral sex, if they enjoyed it,” the Dalai Lama continued, warming to his theme. “But the purpose of sex is reproduction, according to Buddhism. The other holes don’t create life. I don’t mind – but I can’t condone this way of life.”

Although he says that no real love between people can be condemned and that any discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation must end, the Dalai Lama nevertheless persists in considering the natural expressions of gay and lesbian physical love as “wrong,” “unwholesome,” a “bad action,” and as “vices.”

In an interview with the French magazine Dimanche, the Dalai Lama says of gay and lesbian sexuality:

“It’s part of what we Buddhists call “bad sexual conduct.   Sexual organs were created for reproduction between the male element and the female element–and everything that deviates from that is not acceptable from a Buddhist point of view.”

In the same interview, he specifically said he was “for” (heterosexual) sex with condoms or the pill. That is, it’s fine for heterosexuals to have non-procreative, recreational sex–as long as it doesn’t involve foreplay with other areas of the body.

A Newsweek article on the Dalai Lama entitled “Lama to the Globe” stated that, “Although he has affirmed the dignity and rights of gays and lesbians, he has condemned homosexual acts as contrary to Buddhist ethics.”

Sound familiar? Pope Benedict XVI expresses the same kind of   “support” for gay people.

When respected lesbian educator and Claremont College professor Lourdes Arguelles asked the Dalai Lama when and where the Buddha gave teachings on inappropriate organs to use during sex, the Dalai Lama honestly replied, “I don’t know.”

The Catholic church is covered, since all sex outside marriage is a sin.   Period.   However, what does it say about oral sex for couples married in the faith?

I googled “catholic church teaching on oral sex” and found this little gem: “The Morality of Oral Sex Within Marriage.”

Here’s an excerpt:   “Naturally, one would first look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a definitive answer to the question. (After all, it seems to talk about everything else Catholics should and should not do…) The Catechism does not speak of oral sex by name, but it talks about offenses against chastity and names lust and masturbation as two of these offenses. The Catechism states that lust “is [a] disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.”

“..the Church clearly teaches that oral sex is wrong when a couple chooses to separate the act from sexual intercourse and merely achieve orgasm(s). However, what happens when a married couple wishes to use oral sex as a means of foreplay? This is where language and wording becomes tricky… for would this action be called oral sex, or oral stimulation? In the case of foreplay before sexual intercourse, the act is more properly called oral stimulation. By engaging in this activity, the couple wishes to promote orgasm during the intercourse that follows.

So, this puts Catholics united in sacramental marriage one step ahead of Buddhists when it comes to oral sex.   It’s “morally acceptable” so long as its a warm up to intercourse… without birth control, of course. Buddhists are OK on birth control, but no fooling around with the wrong “holes.”

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14 Responses to “The Dalai Lama is Not Gay-Friendly”

  1. Póló Says:

    It really is a gem. Just another proof of the intellectual and semantic contortions required to buttress an unsustainable position. The Church is still in hock to Pius XII. The only difference is that they now have to respond in the vernacular.

    A friend sent me this smile-inducing piece recently. All that is necessary is to know that Ryanair is an Irish based budget airline. Apologies in advance if you are already familiar with it.

    A mother and her young son were flying Ryanair from Dublin to Malaga .
    The little boy (who had been looking out the window) turned to his
    mother and asked, “If big dogs have baby dogs and big cats have baby
    cats, why don’t big planes have baby planes?”

    The mother (who couldn’t think of an answer) told her son to ask the
    flight attendant. So the boy went down the aisle and asked the flight
    attendant, “If big dogs have baby dogs and big cats have baby cats, why don’t big planes have baby planes?”

    The busy flight attendant smiled and said, “Did your mother tell you to ask me?”

    The boy said, “Yes, she did.”

    “Well, then, you go and tell your mother that there are no baby planes
    because Ryanair always pulls out on time. Have your mother explain that to you.”

  2. Karen Says:

    Hey Polo! Always good to hear from you! Thanks for the Ryanair story. I started my morning at work off with a huge laugh! Be well, Karen

  3. Jimmy Mac Says:

    Maybe Dilly Dolly should listen to his Teacher:

    “Do not believe in what you have heard; do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations; do not believe anything because it is rumored and spoken of my many; do not believe merely because the written statement of some old sage is produced; do not believe in conjectures; do not believe merely in the authority of your teachers and elders. After observation and analysis, when it agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up
    to it.”

    — Buddha —

  4. Paul Says:

    There is a fundamental misunderstanding here. There is no “SIN” in Buddhism, as there is in Catholicism. There is no Bible that says to stone sinners. And no Ten commandments, or Laws of Moses. There are no sacraments that you can’t receive if you are gay or lesbian. The early Buddhist sangha was centered around monastics, for whom the vinaya prescribed celibacy. The prescriptions around sexuality for non-monastics were essentially based on the social conventions of the time, with a certain element of asceticism thrown in. The Dalai Lama here is merely repeating the tradition. However, the essence of Buddhism is not primarily about maintaining a certain behavioral code. While Buddhist communities might frown upon certain forms of sexual expression, there is nothing that essentially cuts one off from considering onself Buddhist if one’s sexuality deviates from some social ideal.

  5. Buddhism Evolves from "traditional" to LGBT-friendly. | elephant journal Says:

    […] comments, info below if so inspired), but I can’t imagine he’s not open to updating dusty ol’dogma in the interest of inclusion and tolerance and compassion, just like most modern […]

  6. Bran Says:

    “So, this puts Catholics united in sacramental marriage one step ahead of Buddhists when it comes to oral sex”

    The Dalai Lama does not represent Buddhism, he is but one leading figure in what sect of Tibetan Buddhist.

    According to Guatama Buddha, all desires prevent one from true awakening and liberation from the endless cycle of rebirth. Sexual desire is one of the strongest human desires, that is why monks take vows of chastity, to devote themselves to the goal of awakening/liberation. Oral sex, anal sex, homosexual sex, etc. is no more “wrong” than watching a movie for entertainment, though the intensity of the desire and the corresponding attachment may create more intense habit formation – it depends on the individual situation.

    Please don’t attack Buddhism using straw man tactics. If you really want to understand Buddhist teachings, you can read about it yourself in books or on the Internet, using a critical, inquiring, mind. In the age of the Internet, there is no need to give away your authority to one man.

  7. Tim Says:

    It’s not straw man tactics. Everything the writer wrote is a valid criticism of Buddhism. I am Chinese myself, and my parents are Buddhist, and I find that the teachings are stupid (and so do they, actually, they are really just “lax” Buddhists). Sure there is some nice stuff in there about kindness and all (like all religions), but when it comes down to it, as long as this fundamental message is projected – That there is something wrong with sex and it is unnatural or bad in some way – then no matter what, to me, that religion is illogical and stupid.

    Yes, even in the context of Buddhism (reaching the different levels of true awakening). It’s really just the same sh!t as Christianity (keeping women as virgins for purity). But in the end, it’s all about the dowry. Buddhism does the same thing. It’s all about the $. Yes, some monks and nuns do live really bare-bones lives (in other words, boring). But the Pope and the Dalai Lama? They are treated like kings. You think the Dalai Lama doesn’t get to stay in the nicest hotel wherever he goes?

    And they get it for perpetuating the most archaic beliefs. People think they have a special hotline to the afterlife or something. But they don’t. They’re just people. Buddhism, like all major religions, is as backwards as they come.

    What’s more unnatural, 2 people having oral sex (you know dolphins do it with their blowholes for fun), or a grown man who chooses to be abstinent for the rest of his life? PS on that note, one of my friends was raped by her cousin who was a priest. He denied it ’til his death and she had triplets and took care of them herself as a single mother.

    It’s not that I have a negative view on religion. It’s just that I have a realistic one. What do you expect will happen when society tells a man he shouldn’t have sex anymore in these rules we make up? No matter how well we learn to sit on office chairs or wear a tux at a wedding, in the end we are still animals. Any dogma that denies our basic wants and needs as animals is stupid.

    The ONLY reason Buddhism was used by the government in history is at the end, for political purposes. It was a way for the rich gov’t officials to tell the peasants that they should be happy finding a “true awakening” or “liberation” by giving up earthly desires. This way, the peasants would feel like they were doing very well and on their way to a better reincarnation. The shogun in Japan thought it was an excellent way to keep the peasants poor and working for the rich, in their elaborate system.

    Buddhism combined with Confucianism made things perfect for the Emperor.

    So before people think the Dalai Lama is all that, please note that he perpetuates these old beliefs that were created to control the masses and keep them poor (make them believe they don’t want nice things, so we can have all of it instead) (Of course eventually the farmers caught on and so did the merchants who became wealthier than the samurai in time). And while the Dalai Lama perpetuates these ideals that the masses adore, he’s living life like a king with all these people, politicians, and celebrities sucking up to him.

  8. Andrey Says:

    Hey Tim,

    Your comments are very interesting, and certainly can represent an alternative way of looking at all this 🙂 Thanks! For example, I can imagine there could be some other religions in the past that would actually encourage struggle for power (for example). But of course, unless they capture the power, it is highly unlikely that this type of religion would survive under any government. And so, we never know what are the other ways of looking at life could be, unless they are able to survive under the governments or whoever is in power. And you can certainly think that they would only let the religion survive if it was beneficial to them as a class. Although there is a slight chance that the people in power would actually care about the welfare of all people… After considering your arguments, I think that it is actually quite unlikely.


  9. Barry Says:

    The main reason religions try to prescribe against sex outside marriage is rooted in the past and the fear of disease. They worked very much along the lines of keeping the general populace as monogamous as humanly possible.Naturally enough this prohibited adultery, fornications and the old favorite homosexuality.Never forget that religion is a form of social control and all social control works best if you can quote a higher authority or bogey man as being the source. In small communities where transient members could come and go, the risk of disease through intimate sexual contact was great, and prohibition amounted to a sensible precaution or so they thought. Couple to this the lack of any considered medical practice and you can see where they were coming from in a way. They knew of course, that they would never stop it, but they hoped to contain it as you might say. Most religions spring from the same root so it is no surprise that they sell the same ‘petrol’ in this respect. It’s my contention that most intelligent people never have and never will take much notice of these ‘holy laws’ just as most people have very little interest in religion full stop.

  10. Matt Says:

    Tim, thank you for your post. I am sort a lost soul looking to find himself, and Buddhism seems natural to me, but I was raised Christian and when I was mentally advanced enough to see the that my parents’ beliefs were insane (age 13) I immediately started looking for a more rational approach to spirituality. I still believe in the Buddha’s teachings, but being from a non-Catholic Christian upbringing I can’t help but ask myself “Who does this Dalai Lama guy think he is?” I have read his writings and watched his videos, and certainly he has far more insight than most people and in my opinion he is a great man, but he is no God. I honor his wisdom but find it offensive that people consider him holier than you, me, my dog, or the flea attached to my dog. I find it offensive that he allows and proliferates this belief that he is holy rather than vehemently protest it. I see him living the life of a celebrity, while the once-rich Buddha is said to have starved himself nearly to death while meditating under the Bodhi tree. The Dalai Lama is not a bad man at all, he deserves his Nobel Peace Prize for his work in Tibetan liberation, but he is more of a political figure than a religious one. To use a very Western expression, Guatama Buddha is probably rolling in his grave over his exploitation by this so-called holy man. Any rational thinker can easily see that a Dalai Lama is simply a normal person who is chosen from birth, brainwashed into believing his (always a man of course) importance, and trained to exude knowledge. It doesn’t make him a bad man, and it doesn’t even make him a fraud. It just means he is deluded by religion to believe he is something he is not. Just like the pope, but less swayed by modern prejudice.

  11. Things You Didn’t Want to Know About the Dalai Lama | Of the Hue of Wheat Says:

    […] his values from humanist ones. One of the elephants in the room is his record on homosexuality. It isn’t very good. He has condemned homosexual acts as contrary to Buddhist values, prescribed weird prohibitions on […]

  12. Silva1 Says:

    But Buddhism teaches contentment, so you should have contentment with genial sex, may be.

  13. Daniel Says:

    People tend to missunderstood and missinterpret Dalai Lam’s position on homosexual sex. As I understand ALL sex is considered wrong in Buddhism, including heterosexual sex, specially non-reproductive acts even among heterosexual like oral and anal sex. That’s because is considered attachment.
    Now, because something is “wrong” in Buddhism because it’s attachment does not mean you can’t do it or is sinful (the concept of sin is not part of Buddhism) it’s means that you can do it but knowing that is not going to do anything good for your enlightment.
    I’m pretty sure that’s what the Dalai Lama meant, he has said publically that he supports gay marriage and human rights for gay people, he just said that according to Buddhist tradition homosexual sex is bad (as it is all forms of non-reproductive sex including heterosexual ones) but that doesn’t mean that people who has all those forms of sex shouldn’t be equal and have same rights.

  14. Daniel Says:

    and to further explain my point, here some of the Dalai Lama’s words about the subjetc:

    “If someone comes to me and asks whether [homosexuality] is okay or not, I will ask… ‘What is your companion’s opinion?’ If you both agree, then I think I would say, if two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay.”

    “A sexual act is deemed proper when the couples use the organs intended for sexual intercourse [penis and vagina] and nothing else… Homosexuality, whether it is between men or between women, is not improper in itself. What is improper is the use of organs already defined as inappropriate [mouth, hand, anus] for sexual contact.”

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