Dhammananda尊者（1919-2002, Venerable Dr K． Sri Dhammananda Nayake Maha Thera）來自斯裏蘭卡，多年擔任馬來西亞佛教大長老。以下為達摩難陀尊者與一位同性戀者的電子郵件通信。
我在尋求您的指點之前，請允許我首先祝賀長老在佛教界五十年的服務，最 重要的是，祝賀您對人類進步的貢獻。過去幾年中，我那些同為同性戀的朋友們 一直向我提問，他們有興趣瞭解佛教對同性戀的觀點。在今日世界裏，很難過地 說，同性戀仍然被當成是社會唾棄的物件，認為這些人不幹正事，只思淫欲。這 種根深蒂固的形象造成了在工作單位上對同性戀的歧視，這在亞洲國家尤其嚴 重。
根據我的理解，像伊斯蘭教與基督教這樣的宗教是譴責同性戀行為的，但是 我常常自問佛教是怎樣的態度。作為一個信奉佛教的同性戀者，我在這點上並沒 有清楚的瞭解。
對於同性戀，我還有更多問題想請教您。長老的許多著作講解了佛教的邏輯 與智慧。我可否建議長老寫一本關於”佛教與同性戀”的書，我個人覺得對這個 問題有許許多多的人觀點含糊不清。這樣做，有益於糾正社會對同性戀的看法。
謝謝你的電郵。我很高興你提出了這個問題，因為我意識到這個問題對於我 們周圍發生的一切極其重要。我們不能繼續假裝人類行為的這個側面是件羞恥的 事情，要是我們不理它，足夠長時間後，它就會自己消失。我同意，這個問題應 當有一本書作詳細討論，但這需要時間。在這期間，我希望這個簡單的答復有助 於你理解佛教對同性戀的態度。
首先，目前人們對同性戀的態度，其主要影響來自英式基督教對聖經有關部 分的看法，再加上１９世紀維多利亞時代人以狹隘頭腦所加以的誇大。在亞洲， 特別是印度與中國，性事從來不被當成一種骯髒事件, 只能暗中享受, 或只為繁 衍後代。在印度，印度神廟裏的石雕足以證明，各種各樣的性行為（包括手淫） 是一種感官娛樂(KAMA-sensual pleasure)的表達方式, 在道德(Dharma-virtue)的 某個限度裏是可以享受的。我們作為人，有這個身體，渴望各種各樣的享樂（不 僅僅是性）──我們渴望食物，愉快的氣味，美妙的聲音，等等。假如我們硬要 抵抗，當它們為罪孽，就好象用強力壓制天性，這是有害的。人們受無明 (Maya-ignorance)的影響，把身體看成真實存在，渴望滿足自己對感官娛樂的追 求。但是精神上成熟以後，無明被知識(VIDYA-knowledge)與智慧 (PANNA-wisdom)代替。因此，在把身體看成虛幻印象時，自然而然就超越了這 種執著。我們看見有些高明的人成熟起來以後放棄了性事，就象一個孩子長大後 不再玩那些玩具。性事本身沒有什麼錯。錯誤的是對它的執著(attachment)與受它 的奴役，以為耽於性事可以帶來最終的幸福。這是當今娛樂媒體對性事的渲染利 用帶來的問題──誇大了性事帶來長久幸福這種神話。
我們佛教中每天持誦的五戒中第三戒是：“我接受這樣的訓誡，避免不正當 的性事。”首先我們注意到，這裏沒有強制性，沒有觸犯神的法律而受罰的懼怕， 但是在我們認識到執著於性事的危險後，我們自願地採取步驟來脫離執著，也就 是接受訓誡。
下一步，我們來看看”不當性事”的意義－我們這裏指的是不正當，並非指 所有性事。對那些沒有選擇獨身的佛家子弟，性事並不禁止。無疑這只是對那些 不是僧尼的在家弟子所說。僧尼們已經自願選擇了戒除性事，把精力集中于修 持。不正當行為的意思是，那些對行事的人或者對方造成傷害的行為。某一種意 義上說，假如雙方為成人而且自願，就不構成傷害。在佛教裏，我們不把任何事 情看成是一種違反神聖法令的”有罪”。我們出於無明(Ignorance)而做錯，因此 做了”缺乏技巧”的事(unskillful action)，它會延緩或者干擾我們的修行。由 於我們對事物本質無明，這樣行事從靈性上看是有害的。智慧與明辨會幫助我們 避免有害的舉措，無論心理上還是行為上。
與此有關的是，佛教並不承認婚姻是上帝許可的結合，似乎這樣就使性事突 然合法了。性事是一種人類活動，與天堂地獄無關。你要注意到，性事上的檢點 只是五戒之一。殺生要嚴重得多，因為你更為惡意地傷害了另一個生命。性事由 欲望(craving)造成，類似於對食物，酒精，麻醉品，財富，權力的欲望。對其中 任何一種的執著都構成了”缺乏技巧”。佛教勸告人們放棄任何這些執著，因為 它們會把我們更緊密地束縛於輪回之下。而且耽於性事還會導致其他的惡果。從 這裏可以看見，佛教並不把同性戀看成是”錯誤”，而異性戀就”正確”。兩種 都是用身體進行的性活動，都是淫欲的強烈表現，都增加我們對現世的渴望，使 我們在輪回中陷得更久。無論是兩個男子，或者一對男女戀愛，都出自相同的人 身局限，也就是沒有把身體看成空無實相。佛教並不譴責同性戀，就如同佛教並 不譴責任何錯事。我們出於對真相的無明而行事，因此所作只錯在”缺乏技巧 ”。我們沒有權利去譴責他人。我們的責任是幫助他人瞭解到，他們這樣是出於 無明，和怎樣找到真正的快樂。我們沒有權利去譴責那些與我們想法和做法不同 的人，特別是當自己也身為其他感官娛樂的奴隸這種情形下。我們知道，我們一 隻手指指向別人，就有三隻手指指向自己。
總之，同性戀與異性戀一樣，起源於無明，當然沒有基督教意義上的”有罪 ”。所有形式的性事增加對身體的淫欲，渴望，執著。有了智慧我們學會怎樣脫 離這些執著。我們不譴責同性戀是錯的，有罪的，但是我們也不遷就它，這是因 為它與別的性事一樣，延緩我們從輪回中的解脫。
Question: What is the Buddhist attitude towards homosexuality?
Dear Venerable Sir,
Before I seek your guidance on certain issues, may I first express my congratulatory note to Ven. Sir for your 50 years of services for Buddhism and most importantly for the good of mankind.
For the past few years, I have been posed by questions from my fellow gay friends who are interested to know what Buddhism views of homosexuals. In today's society, sad to say that homosexuals seem to be considered as "a thrash" of society who has nothing better to do than having sexual lusts. This stereotype image has prompted to the discrimination of homosexuals at the work place and even more so in the Asian countries.
From my understanding, religions like Islam and Christianity condemn homosexuality but I often ask myself the Buddhist viewpoint. Being a homosexual who also practices Buddhism, I do not have a clear view about this issue.
I have read many of your great publications and also heard of your dhamma talks. I even read some websites about this but there is no answer to this.
Here are some of my questions:
1) Does Buddhism condemn homosexuals?
2) If a true Buddhist who practices Buddhism but also on the same time is a
homosexual, is he by any means considered breaking the precepts especially
pertaining to the precept of "avoiding sexual misconduct"?
3) If two men fall in love with each other, are they wrong by any means?
There are many more questions I would like to ask pertaining homosexuals. Venerable Sir have written many publications that explain the rationale and wisdom
of Buddhism. May I suggest Venerable Sir to even write a book on "Buddhism and
Homosexuality" as I personally feel there are many more people out there who have mixed feelings on this issue. This is to correct the perspective of society on homosexuals.
I end here with my wishes of good health, and good wishes to Venerable Sir and may Venerable Sir continue to guide us and show us the way to the Dhamma.
Thank you for your e-mail. I am happy that you have brought up this matter as I realize how important it is in the context of what is happening in the world around us today.
We can no longer pretend that this aspect of human behavior is something shameful and if we ignore it long enough it will simply go away. I agree that it should be discussed at greater length in a book, but that will take time. In the meantime I hope that this brief reply will help you become acquainted with the Buddhist attitude to homosexuality.
To begin with, present day attitudes are largely influenced by the Tudor - Christian approach in the Bible which was blown out of proportion by the narrow mindedness of the Victorian era in 19th Century England.
In Asia, especially India and China, sex was never seen as something dirty only
to be indulged in surreptitiously and only for the purposes of breeding. Stone sculptures on the Hindu temples of India amply testify to the fact that all kinds of sexual behavior (including masturbation) was an expression of KAMA, of sensual pleasure which could be indulged in within the limits of Dharma, which in this case meant virtue.
As human beings, we are equipped with bodies which crave for the pleasures of all kinds (not only sex) - for food, pleasant smells, sounds etc. If we deny these for being sinful, then we repress natural desires which are harmful. The being which is the victim of MAYA (ignorance) sees the body as real and craves to satisfy its longing for KAMA.
But as the being matures spiritually MAYA is replaced with VIDYA (knowledge) and PANNA (wisdom) . Therefore when the body is seen as an illusion, than the being naturally GROWS OUT of craving. Here, we see the superior being renounces sex
through maturity just as a child stops playing with toys as he or she grows up.
THERE IS NOTHING INTRINISICALLY WRONG WITH SEX. What is wrong is attachment and slavery to it, on believing that indulgence in sex can bring ultimate happiness. This is the problem with the exploitation of sex by the mass entertainment industry today - extending the myth that sex can bring lasting happiness.
The third of the Five Precepts we recite in daily Buddhist practice is: undertake the training rule to refrain from sexual misconduct. First we note that there is no compulsion, no fear of punishment for infringement of any divine law, but when we recognize the danger of attachment to sex, we freely take the steps (training rule) to grow out of it, i.e. "I undertake".
Next we look at "sexual misconduct" - here we refer specifically to sexual misconduct, not all sexual behaviour. Sex is not prohibited to those who do not choose to be celibate. Undoubtedly, this rule only applies to those who are not monks or nuns. These latter have voluntarily taken it upon themselves to abstain from sex to better concentrate on their spiritual progress. By misconduct is
meant behavior which harms the person who does the act or the other party. This in a way means that if both parties are consenting adults, not under-aged, not “attached”- legally or otherwise to someone else, there is no harm done.
In Buddhism we do not consider any action "sinful" in the sense that we transgress a divine commandment. We act wrongly because of Ignorance and therefore we commit an Akusala Kamma (unskilful action) which delays or interferes with our spiritual progress. Because of our Ignorance about the real nature of things (in this case our body) we act in ways which are detrimental to us from a spiritual point of view.
Wisdom and Understanding will help us refrain from harmful actions, both mental and physical.
In this connection, Buddhism does not recognize that marriage is a divinely ordained institution which suddenly makes sex OK. Sex is a human activity which has nothing to do with heaven and hell. You will notice that sexual restraint is
only ONE of the Five Precepts. Killing is far more serious because you can hurt another being more viciously. Sex is caused by a craving just like craving for food, liquor, drugs, wealth, power, etc. Attachment to any of these constitutes
Akusala Kamma. Buddhism discourages any of these forms of carving because it will tie us down more firmly to Samsara. Also indulgence in sex can lead to other evils.
You may see from this that Buddhism does not see Homosexuality as WRONG and HETROSEXUALITY as RIGHT. Both are sexual activity using the body, both are strong expressions of lust which increase desire for life and therefore trap us longer in Samsara. Whether two men or a couple fall in love, it arises out of the same human limitation that is, of not seeing the body as empty of any ultimate reality.
Buddhism does not condemn homosexuals in the same way as it does not condemn any wrong doing. We act through ignorance of the true nature of things, therefore we are only guilty of AKUSALA Kamma (unskilful action) . We have no right to condemn others. Our duty is to help others see that they are acting out of ignorance, to show how real happiness can be gained. We have no right to condemn those who think or act differently from us especially when we ourselves are slaves of sensual pleasure in other forms. We know that when we point one finger at others, three fingers are pointing at us.
In summary, homosexuality like heterosexuality arises from Ignorance, and is certainly not "sinful" in a Christian sense. All forms of sex increase lust, craving, attachment to the body. With wisdom we learn to grow out of these attachments. We do not condemn homosexuality as wrong and sinful, but we do not condone it either, simply because it, like other forms of sex, delays our deliverance from Samsara.
Wishing you progress in your Dhamma practice.
Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda