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Towards a queer dharmology of sex

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Lay practitioners of Buddhism, especially lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer persons, are given little guidance by the traditional Dharmology (Buddhist theology) of sex. The most extensive discussions are the detailed prohibitions in the monastic rule, which focus on the mechanics of sex rather than on love and relationships. What advice there is on sex for lay persons is either vague or over-determined by its cultural context. Christianity, despite being homophobic and mistrustful of sex, has developed a positive attitude towards sex within heterosexual marriage. An investigation of this suggests a Dharmology of sex as relationship, based on central Buddhist doctrines such as interdependent arising. This Dharmology can be strengthened by queering it with reference to Harry Hay's notion that gay subject-subject consciousness is more compatible with Buddhist non-duality than the hetero subject-object consciousness. It can be claimed, therefore, that Buddha Nature, and Buddhism itself, is queer.
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Keywords: Buddhism; Vinaya; lay persons, Buddhist; lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer; monastics, Buddhist; sexuality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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