Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Prevalence of Gays

"Prevalence of Gays" number 106 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

Supposedly homosexuality is widespread in Japan as it is everywhere. Okay, I don't see it but if you say so.

The topic of gays in Buddhism bores me as it is just not relevant to my experience. There are gays in my sangha, just like there are left handed people and even a couple of odd red-heads.  Now if there was a prevalence of Republicans  in Buddhism, that would be something to see.

Any error or confusion created by my commentary on
Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance.
Any merit generated by this activity is solely the result of
Aitken Roshi's clear teaching and is dedicated to
all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time.


  1. For Westerners like us, Dharma practice is an unconventional undertaking. But for those in countries where it is an entrenched part of society, your Buddhists are your conservatives. They have been known to move to the US and register Republican.

    I've heard that Mormons are encouraged by their holy writings to meditate (or reflect), but there are no instructions given in the texts. Some have found their way to at least one Zen teacher I know of. Another potential source of social conservatives.

    Having said all that, I know exactly one Republican Dharma practitioner, who has politely complained about the bias of his practice center. He spotted assumptions about shared political values in places I'd never think to see them, but he was right.

    It got me thinking about who we exclude based on our sangha "culture." I was at SF Zen Center when the Iraq war began, and I remember one woman on her first visit to the center. She was the mother of a soldier, and she was distraught that her son was being shipped out. She desperately wanted solace and wasn't sure if she'd be accepted for being part of something "warlike." Of course she was reassured.

    But would we have been so welcoming to a pro-war conservative who wanted to learn to meditate?

  2. Thank you Shugetsu, for your thoughtful comment. You put this theme into words better than I.

    "... assumptions about shared political values".

    That is what I wanted to say. Assuming that we all share the same political values or same sexual values or same cultural values or even spiritual values is to short change reality.

    My experience is that life is complicated and widely variable. My experience with Zen groups is that they seem populated and lead with a vanilla brand of Democrat ideology. Not very challenging, liberal or progressive. And we wonder why some any Dharma centers are graying.

    Frankly, I can't see western Zen groups becoming inclusive. All I can do is look at my own assumptions about shared values and wonder. This is for sure an expression of my own delusion.

    I fell that all the structural stuff of Zen and its western offshoot, is none of my business. My business is to wake up to reality. And yet I still marvel at the "shared" confusion.

    Thank you.