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Guest JazzySmurf

Buddhism and Transgender

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Guest JazzySmurf

As a Buddhist, I'm been thinking about this, and wish to put this question out to the forum:

"What is your view of the transgender/transsexual phenomenon within the realm of Buddhist thought?"

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Guest

Hi Sam,

This is the question that has haunted me, even kept me from thoughts of transition for many years. In Zen, the non-self is the ideal, as it were. So, who is it that transitions? And, what stumped me, was the selfishness of transition as a direct conflict to that selfless nature of Buddhism. This dilemma still bothers me today.

Now, the attitude of the Sangha has been absolutely accepting. I have attended three different Zen centers since transition, and have been fully welcomed at all of them. And, I have brought up my dilemma with the leaders of these groups. I didn't ever receive an answer much more than I already know: That my dilemma is for my practice, as we all have to clean our karmic houses.

So, long story short, in Buddhism, being trans has nothing to do with it. We are all just people working on a path to peace.

I think my experiences with Zen should also apply to other lineages as well. I would be interested in hearing what your experiences are.

Love, Megan

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Guest otter-girl

Hi,

There is a saying I like which is very Zen/Buddhist style is

Wherever you are, be there.

Its a journey as a now thing. So in my mind if you are on a journey of transgender transition it may have a destination but living in the now is the goal of mindfulness.

Ultimately the goal is beyond the physical realm but if the physical realm had no purpose we would not be here. What use is a life if you dont experience it. Reducing attachment to fear and wrongness of transgender in relation to spirituality is a worthy block to clear and one we all have to work on to some extent.

I am what I am and I owe it to myself to become and to learn from it.

Thanks for posting.

Hugs

Rachel

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Guest Jaques

it would be great if we could use our buddhist way of thought so as to see beyond our bodies, but of course, its not that easy for most of us - if we were really "there" it wouldnt matter at all but that does take time and dedication for most of us and it is hard to detatch from the reality of our physical state, how every temporary it might be

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Guest Kendra K

I don't consider myself to be Buddhist, but I really respect them because they seem much more consistent than other religions in their stance against violence. Although Buddhism could be considered to be not a religion if you don't believe in reincarnation.

My reading on the net leads me to think that simply being transgender isn't a problem. The possible things that may happen are, such as being so frustrated you take it out on someone.

I certainly could be wrong, but so far in my readings that's what I've come up with.

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Guest Jaques

I don't consider myself to be Buddhist, but I really respect them because they seem much more consistent than other religions in their stance against violence. Although Buddhism could be considered to be not a religion if you don't believe in reincarnation.

My reading on the net leads me to think that simply being transgender isn't a problem. The possible things that may happen are, such as being so frustrated you take it out on someone.

I certainly could be wrong, but so far in my readings that's what I've come up with.

me neither Kendra, i consider myself Buddhist minded, The Buddha himself taught us to question everything and to discover truth for ourselves - and the present Dalai Lama did it for me when many years ago when he was interviewed and asked what he thought about his enemy, the Chinese - he said "there is no enemy, we are all brothers" - and also that if he had any religion it would be that of compassion - i just hope when he dies that he will be able to reincarnate out of Tibet because the Chinese government already kidnapped the Panchen Lama when he was a small child and put their own in his place - only they know what has happened to that child, though i believe when he dies, the true Panchen Lama will be found. The upside of the Chinese oppression of Tibet (and of course the Engllish did it long before under Colonel Younghusband, who later became Buddhist) is that Buddhism has now spread to all corners of the earth, so a terrible tragedy has had a positive outcome.

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Guest JazzySmurf

Megan,

It's so hard for me to share my experiences with Buddhism because... it's so personal :-) With that said, I will try my best:

I don't have a lineage, per se. I was taught breathing meditation by a priest of the Maezumi-Glassman lineage (of Zen tradition), and I've mostly been studying the writings of Lama Yeshe (of the Tibetan Buddhism tradition). My practices/meditations involves integrating the Buddhist meditations (say, brahma-viharas) into every aspect of my life.

About Buddhism and Transgender: I want to start by replying to your post. I'm really glad that you found the Sangha to be so accepting!! It must be so wonderful to have such a supportive group :-) May you find peace with all the dilemmas that you are facing. :-) hugsss. I wanted to asked you a question about something that you wrote: I've heard the notion that transitioning is selfish from other people too... would you be willing to give me your take on why you feel this is so?

My take on Buddhism and Transgender is to embrace it and see how it evolves. One of my current endeavors, as you know, is to develop a physical comfort with my body, which I am approaching this through dance :-)

Gosh, there are so many wonderful posts here! I'll try to get back to each of you, though maybe out of order (please forgive me). Have a wonderful day :-)

Sam

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VickySGV

This is the question that has haunted me, even kept me from thoughts of transition for many years. In Zen, the non-self is the ideal, as it were. So, who is it that transitions? And, what stumped me, was the selfishness of transition as a direct conflict to that selfless nature of Buddhism. This dilemma still bothers me today.

Perhaps the truly selfish nature was not our "transitioned" one, but the one we kept before or were kept in, Our transitioned nature is one of freedom, the prior nature was captivity in a self, but we did not know the releasing was possible. We desired the safety of a cage because we could not imagine flight.

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Guest JazzySmurf

Hi Kenda,

I agree with you that being transgender is neither necessarily good, nor necessarily bad; it is what we make of it :-) I'm glad you really respect Buddhism; it has many aspects, including Buddhist religion, Buddhist psychology, and Buddhist philosophy, and one works what-ever they're most comfortable with. Many Buddhists simply live their lives, and that is a perfectly fine way to go :-)

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Guest Charlotte J.

I, too, have struggled with trans issues in relation to Buddhism. I find Vicky's perspective beautiful and helpful:

This is the question that has haunted me, even kept me from thoughts of transition for many years. In Zen, the non-self is the ideal, as it were. So, who is it that transitions? And, what stumped me, was the selfishness of transition as a direct conflict to that selfless nature of Buddhism. This dilemma still bothers me today.

Perhaps the truly selfish nature was not our "transitioned" one, but the one we kept before or were kept in, Our transitioned nature is one of freedom, the prior nature was captivity in a self, but we did not know the releasing was possible. We desired the safety of a cage because we could not imagine flight.

Probably most of you are aware that Kwan Yin, the female bodhisattva of compassion, began her bodhisattva career as the male Avalokitesvara. If not, take a look.

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