midwestbuddha: (mind of the beholder)
Sathya (Truth)
I’m often amazed that humans find so many ways to separate from each other--skin color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation--instead of using these things to rejoice in our diversity. We often focus on our ideology and not our natural love and compassion for one another.

Dharma (Righteousness)
In an interview with OUT Magazine, the Dalai Lama explained, "If someone comes to me and asks whether homosexuality is okay or not, I will ask 'What is your companion's opinion?'. If you both agree, then I think I would say 'if two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay'.” Being a politic spiritual leader, he has also contradicted himself on this subject. Since I personally am rather fond of the man, and he openly admits his shortcomings, I’m inclined to forgive the circumstances and go with his statement above as representative of greater Western Buddhist philosophy.

The Heart Sutra states: Form is empty, emptiness is form… Likewise, sensation, discrimination, conditioning, and awareness are empty. …they are not defiled, they are not undefiled. Buddhists understand this as a caution against becoming attached to how anything physical seems—since attachment leads to suffering.

I attended a science fiction convention recently which had an event called “Geek 12 Step Program”. Actually, what it turned out to be was a group of people on a panel sharing amusing stories about times they’d been smarter than someone else. I marveled at how the role of the geek has changed from just a few years ago—the time of the smart guy with short pants, broken, taped glasses and a slide rule has gone the way of the dodo. Geeks rule! In fact, they have now chosen to look at this as a way of separating themselves. Who could have foreseen that instead of being relieved they are now looked upon by others as smart enough to be asked how to handle computers, reverse engineer tasks, or even how to spell, that they’d be resentful—even annoyed? I think it’s very possible that there will come a time when we’ll also see Gays rule! I only hope that they will show more compassion to heteros than we have shown them.

Prema (Love)
At that same convention was Gay Haldeman, Joe Haldeman’s wife. Haldeman is famous for his science fiction book Forever War. This is part of an interview on the book:

DM: Gay characters in books don't raise eyebrows nowadays, but you wrote such characters in the seventies. Why?

JH: It wasn't about homosexuality. It was about being isolated. I had my character being the only straight in a universe of gays just to show what's "queer" is being different from everybody.

Did you know GLBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers? It’s reassuring to know there are organizations such as The Trevor Project, which are displaying love for all.

Shanti (Peace)
For adults, issues surrounding marriage still pervade the GLBT community: everything from the rights so taken for granted by heterosexuals—such as, if one person has an accident, the other may not be allowed into the hospital room, to the fact that Insurance often doesn’t cover same sex dependents, nor do all mortgage lenders recognize a same sex partner as being co-owner of a home in the event of the death of the other partner.

A friend resides in the United Kingdom. Civil partnerships there give same sex partners the same benefits and associated legal rights of marriage--tax exemptions, joint property rights, next-of-kin status and shared parenting. However, her wife lives in North Carolina, parts of which do not recognize same-sex marriages. Although there is no constitutional amendment implanted at this time, an anti-same-sex marriage bill is currently pending there. Can you imagine the difficulties they face?

What can bring all this conflict to peace? I offer this from the Dhammapada:

Not by hate is hate defeated; hate is quenched by love. This is the eternal law.

Please, GLBT friends, keep loving us. We’re ignorant and we know NOT what we do.


midwestbuddha: (Default)

June 2012

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