Saturday, September 26, 2009

Emptiness of the Gay Self

I think gays and homosexuals offer us the best opportunity to understand the emptiness of self. And do you know why I think so? It is because the emptiness of an inherently gay or lesbian self is easiest to understand. (note: From here onwards I will use the word "gay" only but essentially I am also referring to lesbians, transexuals and bisexuals).

If you are gay and you probe into yourself and look for this "permanently gay entity", you will not be able to find it. Is the body gay? Is the mind gay? If it's body, which part of the body is the gay part? If it is a certain part, then others who are not gay but also have the same body part would be gay too...if that's the logic you have. But no...every human have basically the same body parts. Of course, we leave out those who are born deformed or handicapped or other situations where the baby was born out of natural norm.

If it is the mind that is gay, which construct of the mind is gay? The eye consciousness? The ear consciousness? The 8th consciousness perhaps? Again, if any of these are inherently gay, then others who have the same mind-part would be gay too. All of us have the same mind-parts, then we all would be gay, right? But no... not everyone is attracted to the same sex.

Or, is there a gay gene in the human body you are born with? There is in fact an intense scientific research into the existence of this gay gene. You only need to google "gay gene" in order to find out the various scientific researches into it. But really, I think (and I am no scienctist, but merely a Buddhist) even if there is a gay gene, if you probe deeper into what the gene is made up of, again I think you will never find the permanent indestructible gay identity. Perhaps genes are made of proteins or chromosomes? Which chromosome/protein is gay then? Looking at it from a longer term perspective, ultimately, you will be gay as far only as this life is concerned. In the next life, you will take another rebirth in another form. Is there a gay ghost? Is there a gay dog? Or gay deva? I dont' think so. Someone tell me please if you know there is. If you engage too much in anal sex and if there is any negative karma resulting from these acts, there is a strong chance of being reborn as an animal or hell (where you will be pierced by a sharp pole through your anus and out of your head). It's scary just thinking about it, right?The conclusion I derive as a Buddhist, and not a scientist, therefore is that we cannot find any cell in your body or parts of your mind that is inherently and permanently gay. Hence, according to the Buddhist emptiness doctrine, the gay self does not exist. However, if you are gay, you will have a problem of eliminating your intense attachments. You really must find a way to reduce it. And one way is to see "your" own emptiness. The "you" that you believe is gay. See that there is no "gayness"; only different attachments and desires.

That's why people who hate gays should not hate gays because the gay entity doesnot exist. It is only their peculiar attachments and intensity of their desires that you probably hate. But it is also because of their intense attachment that gays suffer so much. Hence, don't hate them and give them a chance to love another man/woman if you are straight. There's no need to discriminate against them. I think they are already having so much suffering. If you are straight, never embarass another friend if you know they are gay or bisexual or whatever. If they want to keep their sexual orientation a secret, don't expose it and cause much suffering for the person. It's very very bad! Exercise patience and tolerance.

And gay people should not over-emphasise their gayness more than necessary. For instance, there's no need to have those annual gay parades or something. In the US, they usually have these, if I am not mistaken. Basically, it means not over-doing your sexuality. Just deal privately with your attachments and desires (i.e. reducing it gradually). I feel that a man can still love another man.. or a woman with another woman...and even hug and kiss him/her. But try to cut down on anal sex. Heterosexuals too should cut down on anal sex. There is a strong likelihood that anal sex causes rebirth as animals or hell as mentioned earlier.Thus, the gay self is only an illusory self-belief which is a "self" that existed in the first place based on ignorance. And this explanation of the emptiness of the gay self can be extended to see also the emptiness of the heterosexual self and other types of "self" or "ego" that we believe exists. If there were ever any gay Buddha or Bodhisattva that manifests just for the sake of the gay community, he/she will probably teach them exactly this. For whatever that is incorrect, I do take it back. But please ponder upon it carefully.

I think I like what I have written here. When I started to write this, I have only a small idea what I was going to write. But it ended up this long. I hope it's my small contribution towards fostering understanding towards the gays, bisexuals and transexuals. And in the process I hope this community themselves will be able to understand themselves better by not clinging too much to their sexuality. Hence they can contribute to their society in a more positive manner by not letting the society look down upon them as some weird humans that are neither man nor woman. Instead these community can be more confident about themselves by behaving to the norms of society, being able to practice dharma but yet able to love the man or woman they are attracted to. Do you like this post? I hope you do.

1. Tsong-kha-pa. The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. Vol. III. New York. Snow Lion Publications. 2002.

2. Rabten, Geshe. The Essential Nectar – Meditations on the Buddhist Path. Boston. Wisdom Publications. 1992.

3. Biology and sexual orientation. Wikipedia.

4. “Is there a gay gene?”.

No comments: