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Buddhism in relation to gender and sexual diversity

10 February 2017 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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 Anger is like a hot coal which one picks up with one’s hands and doesn’t let go. One just simply burns unnecessarily. In life there are situations which trigger our anger. However, the wise ones are able to nip anger in the bud without letting things escalate and go out of control.   


 When I was growing up, I had a lot of anger in me. Rage even. I would get hurt often and cry a lot as a result. However, the years have brought about a certain amount of wisdom in me.I rarely react in anger at anyone or any situation now. And I am much more tolerant in dealing with people and situations. If someone were to hurt me badly, one friend advised me to have some very real compassion towards the person who hurt me and say a silent blessing for that person. Niduk Weva, Neerogee Weva, Suvapath Weva -- translated as “May you be without sorrow, May you have good health, May you be at Peace”. I rarely get hurt these days. However, there are situations where I still do.   


 Loving kindness is the antidote not only to fear but also to anger. When we love others without conditions, that’s real love. In my heart I have so much love for people, animals and nature. And also towards myself. If we cannot love ourselves, our loving kindness practice is incomplete. These qualities which I have been developing have helped me see the connection between me and all people.   


In these times there are so many types of discriminations running rampant. There’s homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and many other things. I can fearlessly say that if the Buddha was alive in these times,he would have been an ally towards all people with their various gender and sexual orientations.   


Where anger is concerned, some people react negatively towards people who are not heterosexuals. This is a very limited way of thinking. We have to develop compassion towards everyone regardless of their gender and sexual orientations.We should move on with the times and adapt to the changes taking place in our society.

  
I can’t help remembering the great Sri Lankan author Martin Wickramasinghe who wrote the gorgeous novel Gamperaliya. The story is about a family who is unwilling to change with the changing times and stagnates bitterly as a result. Martin Wickramasinghe advocated change. Change is a constant in our lives and if we don’t accept it and move on, we will simply stagnate.   
In parting, my one wish for the Sri Lankan community would be to think wisely and not condemn people who are different to oneself or the general norm. I think in our society, transgenders suffer the most. They are most often misunderstood and ridiculed.They can’t help being what they are and it’s very sad to see them being condemned by society.    The Buddha was an amazingly tolerant and compassionate being. If he were alive today, He would offer sanction towards all people with gender and sexual diversity. I wish people, especially in Sri Lanka to not only think wisely, but also to act wisely, and accept other people however different, with all their heart.

  
As my cousin so wisely said, thinking about death always reminds us why we need to make the most out of the time we have with our loved ones and people in general. It makes all other differences and problems we have with them seem insignificant. As Buddhists, this would be cultivating the truth of kindness towards all humanity. The truth of accepting people who are different to us.  And on that note, I shall leave you for today. 


With many loving wishes to you and yours and a happy and peaceful Poya to you all.    

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