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Guest roxanne22

Confused About Transition

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Guest roxanne22

I have struggled with this question for a very long time. I have been a follower of Buddhist practices for over 15 years. It has given me much insight into my life, my problems, and allowed me to find the courage to face reality. I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict with now over 25 years of continuous sobriety. But it has only been in the last 10 years that I have slowly understood the true meaning of my transgender path. I have tried to deny being transgender through suicide attempts, drugs and alcohol and when that didn't work, I tried therapy and anti-depressants. But finally this year, I have been able to break through the denial, quilt and shame that I have always felt for not being the man I was supposed to be. I was an actor, pretending to be a man, when inside my heart was the essence of a woman. After growing up denying the pain and shame I felt, it took a long time and a wonderful therapist to help me embrace and love my true female essence.

So this brings me to my inner conflict. My Buddhist teachings tell me I must overcome my unhealthy desires and attachments, in order to reach peace and wisdom. I have come to the conclusion that I am undeniably transgender. But now the question is do I transition? Is the desire to transition an unhealthy desire? Or will it be a positive change that will help me become a more wise, compassionate human being? I dream of having the body of a woman and of being accepted as a woman. But is representing myself as a woman to the world really that important? This body will die someday but as long I am true to my essence, the body is of little meaning, other than to provide me life as a human.

So my struggle is to find the Middle way. I am far from being ready for transition, as I have only told one other person other than my therapist about being transgender. And I fear the consequences of transition, specifically the possible loss of those I love, especially my daughter. My therapist tells me to climb the mountain, not knowing how high it is or how far I have to go. Just keep climbing and don't look down. I would just like to hear some other thoughts, ideas or experiences.

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Guest Elizabeth K

My answer is a personal one, possibly applicable only to me.

I worked a year at least, to understand clearly that I am a woman, always have been, am now, will always be one. I also believe I have essentially a female soul. I admit that the soul may not be gendered, but my soul apparently goes toward the female principal, at least in my past lives. This current 'male' incarnation is for a purpose. Perhaps I need balance, perhaps I am recovering principals that I have not been using in the past and need to have. I remember many lives as myself - and they were as a female. I have very few rememberances as a male, but of course, we don't recall all our existances.

As to transition in this incarnation? I suspect I am being allowerd to revert to my true being in this later part of my life, havin accmplished what I was to do.

So I have no conflict - what I am doing is not only allowed, but proper action... after my revelations on what I REALLY am, and what is REALLY going on.


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Guest JaniceW

I would propose this question, is the incongruity of your body and mind interfering with your ability to focus on achieving enlightenment? If that answer is yes then, what can you do to resolve that incongruity so it no longer interferes?

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To the best of my knowledge and in a very over simplified explanation Buddhism is a series of teachings with each being necessary for the ultimate goal of enlightenment.

Conflict is one of the great distractions from ever achieving enlightenment and transgendered is a huge distraction.

How can you obtain enlightenment while you are still fighting to maintain a you that is false, transitioning in my way of interpreting the teachings would be considered the logical and actually essential step to get you back onto the true path.

Peace and enlightenment are not contrary to transitioning as a matter of fact the main goal of transitioning is inner peace so it is on your path to enlightenment already.

People tend to think of transitioning as a purely physical need - it is not, it has physical, emotional and mental needs attached - you must clear your mind of all confusion to ever reach your goals.

Love ya,


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Guest Annaemo

I would propose this question, is the incongruity of your body and mind interfering with your ability to focus on achieving enlightenment? If that answer is yes then, what can you do to resolve that incongruity so it no longer interferes?

I like the Buddhist idea that we are always progressing towards enlightenment. I felt that when I became aware of my transition that I had taken a big step towards enlightenment. At the same time a flood of knowledge appeared in front of me and it was such a great feeling for a few weeks. If I explained to a therapist and they told me I would have to return to my former male self, I'd say thats impossible because either he is gone or did not exist in the first place. Its as if you were to die and return to a previous life as an animal. I don't think this would make sense in Buddhist teachings although I'm not an expert. I also feel its amazing that some can transition while still living! When I was younger I expected to die and be reborn as a woman but I see that wasn't the way is was supposed to happen :).

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Guest roxanne22

Thanks so much to all who replied to my post. This is the first time I have reached out for help, other than from my therapist. I have always known from my days of addiction recovery that it is essential to learn from those who have walked the path ahead of you. Not sure why I waited so long to do this. Just fear, I guess. I really appreciate the acceptance of my confusion. I have looked over this site and really like what I have found. I look forward to learning and listening. So far, all that you have said has been relevant to my experience. I too thought I would just die and hopefully be reborn female. But directing a rebirth through the bardot of death takes great skill. I am not close to achieving that level of expertise. And I have searched and tried to find the true reasons why I want to transition. I too see my current condition as a possible obstacle in my path to achieve enlightenment. Transition would have a tremendous impact on my life and the lives of those I care about. But I trust in my path and I know I cannot turn back or deny my true nature, knowing what I now know. Again, I am very happy for all the responses and wish you a great peace.

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I would ask in what way could or would a need to transition be considered an unhealthy desire?

I see it as a re-alignment. Bringing mismatched parts of the body that cannot function properly at odds into harmony. And because this mismatch also profoundly affects how we are able to express ourselves and be true to ourselves in our lives it creates an enormous imbalance. If living in a male body causes negative emotions and behaviors then it is something that needs to be resolved. How you need to resolve it is a personal and individual thing.


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Guest JazzySmurf

Dear roxanne22,

The merit of actions, intentions, and desires arises from the motivations or attitudes behind each. Therefore, it is important to first examine these motivations or attitudes. If the motivation is born out of ordinary aspirations such as wanting wealth, fame, glamor, or even seeking enlightenment as an end in and of itself, then such is not the path of the teachings. If one takes on the attitude to reduce suffering and bring happiness to all beings everywhere, then, as the Tibetan master Patrul Rinpoche writes,

[...] skillful means will permeate your positive actions, and you will have set out on the path of great beings.

This is why he writes

What makes an action good or bad?

Not how it looks, nor whether it is big or small,

But the good or evil motivations behind it.

The desire to transition is, a priori, neither healthy nor unhealthy, as it does not take on an inherent existence independent of thought. What influences its merit are your attitudes and motivations. Will you seek to transition for ordinary reasons such as wanting wealth, fame, glamor, or even seeking enlightenment as an end in and of itself? Or, can you envision a way in which you can use your transition for the benefit of all beings?

To further meditate on how to apply the Dharma to one's life, including the process of transitioning, it is important to critically analyze all the teachings that you receive. Equally important is to not accept without critical analysis the teachings of others, whether it comes from a seemingly ordinary person, a realized teacher, or even the Buddha himself. The Buddha, as written about his earthly existence, even gave teachings that may appear contradictory; this is why it is important to deepen one's insight to appreciate the wisdom of meritorious teachings. As the American poet Mary Oliver writes

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention [...]

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

Have a wonderful day.


ps: The Patrul Rinpoche quote is from his text The Words of My Perfect Teacher and the Mary Oliver quote is from her poem The Summer Day.

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Guest The Avatar

The question is more like "Why?"

You COULD NOT transition because you are attached to your physical body.

You COULD transition because you are attached to your physical body.

You COULD NOT transition because you believe it will bring you closer to spiritual balance.

You COULD transition because it will bring you closer to spiritual balance.

Either way you are asking a question of yourself that has many reasonings.

Your spirit is far more than a body.I think this is one of those things where you have to ask for advice not so much from others but from a deeper self. You don't have to transition any more than anyone else has to not transition.

I say climb that mountain. Literally. Go out and find a place where you can let yourself go so to speak. Meditate on it. The answer you find yourself at peace with is the most powerful answer you could receive. None of us know you or your life as well as you do. Part of putting that inner conflict to rest is finding it yourself.

I see nothing wrong with either decision. What worries me is whether or not you're at peace with the decision.

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Guest vtphoenix

The Druids had a saying: "Once one recognizes the truth, one is then bound by its laws."

Now that you know you're a woman, how can you deny that essence?

The Druids also said this, and it's my favorite quote of all time I think: "Three things which strengthen a person to stand against the whole world: seeing the quality and beauty of truth, seeing beneath the cloak of falsehood, and seeing to what ends truth and falsehood come."

My whole life, I've sought out enlightenment, I never felt close to achieving it until I embraced this path.

I see lessons in everything.

In the movie, "Men Who Stare At Goats," there is an awesome idea, that of "optimum trajectory." Klooney's character explains it thusly: "Your life is like a river. If you're aiming for a goal that isn't your destiny, you will always be swimming against the current."

In the movie, "The Matrix," Morpheus says to Neo, "There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."

We walk our life's path toward our destiny, whether we understand it or not, and if we wander off the path, away from our destiny, life guides us back, much the same way that the actors in "The Truman Show" keep Truman trapped in his small world. Synchronistic events pop up like signposts to tell us to go back, this is not the way. We can rail against these things as though they are infringing on our sense of free will but it is not some outside agency that is forcing us down our path. The cause of all these obstacles, or on a deeper level the perceiving of these things AS obstacles, comes from within. Which means it is not God telling us that we have gone astray, it is our own conscience.

There is one view, that our conscience is the eye of God in the heart of humankind, but there is another view, the Pandeist view, that the Universe and God are synonymous. In that view, we are not struggling to reunite WITH God, but are living components OF God. I find this second view particularly beautiful and appealing because we don't need to cleanse our desires to bring us closer to a sameness with everyone else, instead we can embrace our desires as different ways to experience the Universe.

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Guest notajanedoe

Do no harm. Do the least harm.

Simple enough priorities for a Buddhist to keep in mind. One follows the other, the second made necessary given the imperfect understanding of most living things.

But if you don't 'do' anything? Consider: is the inaction itself causing harm? Bowing one's head can be as dangerous as striking with one's fist, can it not?

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