Before a large audience in Singapore in June, the outspoken Theravadin Buddhist monk cited the Buddha’s call for compassion toward all sentient beings as a starting point for a Buddhist position on the LGBTIQ community. He said he was very proud to be able to perform a gay marriage in Norway. He continued:
“There is nothing in the sutras, in the teachings of the Buddha, which discriminates against anybody no matter what race, religion, or sexual orientation. I do ask all Buddhists to please show compassion and respect for everybody.”
“If you discriminate and suppress a person’s natural sexuality, it causes terrible, terrible harm. It is one of the reasons why, in civilized countries, modern countries in the West, they recognize that it is harming the whole community. And morality does not fall apart when we don’t have discrimination.” He said that one of the countries recently noted for their suppression of homosexuality is the Russian Federation, and this is the same country who shot down [or passed along the weapons for the shooting down of] the Malaysian aircraft over Ukraine. Other countries, that do respect the gay community don’t fall apart and morality is usually much better, he continued.
He concluded by talking about an incident that helped him to fully understand the need for religious leaders to teach compassion and respect for the LGBTIQ community:
Many years ago in Perth , a leader of the gay community in Perth came up to me – now please, I was never gay when I was young, I had girlfriends – and to be honest with you I was scared of homosexuality because I didn’t understand it when I was a layman. But becoming a monk, you have much great opportunity to become wise, become compassionate. I remember this guy came up to me, he was a leader of the gay community in Australia and he said with such pain in his heart I can never ever get this out of my memory. He said, “Religion has been so cruel to the gay community.” And when he said that, you could feel his pain and that went right into my heart. I have never forgotten that. How it hurt him to the core for years. That’s unacceptable.
This story was first reported at Gaystarnews.com. Read more and see videos of Buddhist leaders (including Ajahn Brahm) discussing Gay marriage in Buddhism. Ajahn Brahm was also featured here after his UNDV (UN Day of Vesakh) paper on Gender Equality in Buddhism was canceled earlier this year, resulting in a Avaaz petition being created calling for it to be read at the 2015 UNDV conference.