José Cabezón has an interesting article on Buddhism and sexuality in the latest (summer 2009) issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. The article examines the tricky concept of “sexual misconduct” (kamesu micchācāra in Pali); one of the basic Five Precepts is a vow to refrain from “sexual misconduct.” But what exactly counts as misconduct? A fellow student asked me this when I took a Goenka vipassanā course. Goenka, in keeping with his general emphasis on non-harming, himself listed only rape and adultery as examples. But premodern Buddhists have typically gone further than this.
Cabezón probes the point that the present Dalai Lama, while defending the “full human rights” of gay people, nevertheless treats male homosexual sex (and oral and anal sex more generally) as a form of sexual misconduct. Continue reading