01: Gay rights is a long-simmering and diﬃcult subject for American Buddhists and it is currently making it into the media.
The subject of homosexuality has been most diﬃcult for American Buddhist converts who champion social and political liberalism, but acknowledge that such leaders as the Dalai Lama have taken a more conservative stance on the issue than many of their Christian and Jewish counterparts. This was brought home recently to American Buddhists after an oﬃcial in the Dalai Lama’s oﬃce compared homosexuality to lying and stealing.
The summer issue of the Buddhist magazine Buddhadharma deals with the conﬂict surrounding gay rights and homosexuality. A lengthy article suggests Buddhists are facing similar diﬃculties as those of other religions.
Author Jose Cabezon writes that Western Buddhists tend either to sweep Buddhists’ texts’ negative views on homosexuality under the carpet, be uninformed about them or dismiss such teachings outright. Cabezon concludes that the matter comes down to conﬂicts over faith, reason and authority.
(Part of this article is on the magazine’s website; the complete article is in the print version. Visit: http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/issues/ 2009/summer/index.php)