Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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SarathW
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Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?

Post by SarathW » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:46 pm

Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?

There is an interesting topic in Sutta Central D&D forum. This may be related to some of the discussion we had in this forum.

========

Here are three basics that are often misunderstood, let us not repeat them any more!

There is no rule that prohibits monks from touching women. There is, rather, a sanghadisesa rule that prohibits monks from sexually groping women with “mind overwhelmed by lust”. For a monk to touch a woman with no lustful intent is not an offence. Lust is, however, a grey area, and there is a minor (and probably later) derived rule that speaks against touching close family members out of affection (pema).

There is no rule that prohibits a monk from being alone with a women: This one is a little more complex, but the explanation in the Vibhanga makes it clear that the monk must have rahopekkha, i.e. be seeking seclusion. There is no offence if a monk happens to be alone with a woman but is not seeking privacy. Essentially the rule is about not seeking a rendezvous.

There is no rule prohibiting trans people from ordaining, in fact the Vinaya explicitly accepts trans people as fully ordained. I’d look up the reference if I had the time, hopefully someone will do it for me. It is true, there are certain kinds of people who might possibly be considered non-binary for whom ordination is forbidden or problematic. However a simple case of a trans man or woman is not one of those cases. More difficult areas of interpretation involve people such as those with no gender or with dual genders. The interpretation and reading of such passages is difficult, as the concepts found in the texts and traditions often blur behaviour, biology, and even supernatural elements. This is an ongoing area of concern and research among the Sangha east and west.

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/on ... ople/14206
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

confusedlayman
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Re: Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?

Post by confusedlayman » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:01 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:46 pm
Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?

There is an interesting topic in Sutta Central D&D forum. This may be related to some of the discussion we had in this forum.

========

Here are three basics that are often misunderstood, let us not repeat them any more!

There is no rule that prohibits monks from touching women. There is, rather, a sanghadisesa rule that prohibits monks from sexually groping women with “mind overwhelmed by lust”. For a monk to touch a woman with no lustful intent is not an offence. Lust is, however, a grey area, and there is a minor (and probably later) derived rule that speaks against touching close family members out of affection (pema).

There is no rule that prohibits a monk from being alone with a women: This one is a little more complex, but the explanation in the Vibhanga makes it clear that the monk must have rahopekkha, i.e. be seeking seclusion. There is no offence if a monk happens to be alone with a woman but is not seeking privacy. Essentially the rule is about not seeking a rendezvous.

There is no rule prohibiting trans people from ordaining, in fact the Vinaya explicitly accepts trans people as fully ordained. I’d look up the reference if I had the time, hopefully someone will do it for me. It is true, there are certain kinds of people who might possibly be considered non-binary for whom ordination is forbidden or problematic. However a simple case of a trans man or woman is not one of those cases. More difficult areas of interpretation involve people such as those with no gender or with dual genders. The interpretation and reading of such passages is difficult, as the concepts found in the texts and traditions often blur behaviour, biology, and even supernatural elements. This is an ongoing area of concern and research among the Sangha east and west.

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/on ... ople/14206
I think transgender can ordain if they want to free from suffering.
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living unaffected by other cause and condition to suffering is true bliss
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Bhikkhu_Jayasara
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Re: Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:03 pm

These are nothing new for people who actually read the vinaya, which does not include many, if not most monastics :). I encourage all serious lay people who want to support and spend time around monastics to really get into the vibhanga(the full rules, stories, and permutations), not just the patimokkha(just the stated rule). Of course you should also see what respected monastics say about the rules as a commentary to them, because they can be confusing without enough context. My own study and experience(i've read the patimokkha dozens of times, the full vibhanga 3-4 and some summary/commentary books like the BMCs, the Bhikkhuni patimokkha and some of the Bhikkhuni vibhanga, and speaking to various monastics I have contact with, im decades from being a vinaya scholar, so Im not claiming any expertship at all, but i've read more then many monks i've met, which is not meant to be a brag at all, its sad to me and never anything I expected) has shown that there seems to be very little EVERYONE agrees on haha. The range of interpretation and implementation of the vinaya is vast and much of what people think are "rules" are actually cultural, or " this is what our master taught us".

There are people who could debate what Bhante Sujato has stated in that paragraph, especially if they start using vinaya commentaries. So It would be a mistake to think that what Bhante Sujato has said is fully supported by all.

To be honest, sometimes the Vinaya is also just fascinating reading, better then jerry springer lol. You get to see the depths of human craving on full display amongst the men and women attempting to follow the monastic life.

As for the trans thing, this falls into one of those vague definitions but I do believe current thinking among many for pandakas and others not allowed to ordain do fall more into the classifications Bhante wrote, and not Trans people. As Bhante said this stuff can get quite complex, and is well above my paygrade to get into the discussion, I mostly just sit back and watch the debate :).

There is one section of the vinaya(in the permutations of parajika 1)that clearly speaks of a "sex change", and that is when the Buddha allowed a Bhikkhu who woke up one day " with the characteristics of a woman" to go into the Bhikkhuni sangha with the same years and standing, and vice versa.
At one time the characteristics of a woman appeared on a monk. They told the Master. He said: “Monks, I allow that very discipleship, that very ordination, those years as a monk, to be transferred to the nuns. The monks’ offenses that are in common with the nuns are to be dealt with in the presence of the nuns. For the monks’ offenses that are not in common with the nuns, there’s no offense.”

1531V_153At one time the characteristics of a man appeared on a nun. They told the Master. He said: “Monks, I allow that very discipleship, that very ordination, those years as a nun, to be transferred to the monks. The nuns’ offenses that are in common with the monks are to be dealt with in the presence of the monks. For the nuns’ offenses that are not in common with the monks, there’s no offense.”
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Re: Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:40 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:46 pm
Lust is, however, a grey area, and there is a minor (and probably later) derived rule that speaks against touching close family members out of affection (pema).
It seems the Dhammapada and the Dhamma does not differentiate between "lust" and "affection", as follows:
212. From endearment (piya) springs grief, from endearment springs fear. For one who is wholly free from endearment there is no grief, whence then fear?

213. From affection (pema) springs grief, from affection springs fear. For one who is wholly free from affection there is no grief, whence then fear?

214. From attachment (rati) springs grief, from attachment springs fear. For one who is wholly free from attachment there is no grief, whence then fear?

215. From lust (kama) springs grief, from lust springs fear. For one who is wholly free from craving there is no grief; whence then fear?

216. From craving (tahna) springs grief, from craving springs fear. For one who is wholly free from craving there is no grief; whence then fear?

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .budd.html
piyehi vippayogo dukkho

separation from the liked is suffering

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Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:03 pm
At one time the characteristics of a woman appeared on a monk. They told the Master. He said: “Monks, I allow that very discipleship, that very ordination, those years as a monk, to be transferred to the nuns. The monks’ offenses that are in common with the nuns are to be dealt with in the presence of the nuns. For the monks’ offenses that are not in common with the nuns, there’s no offense.”

1531V_153At one time the characteristics of a man appeared on a nun. They told the Master. He said: “Monks, I allow that very discipleship, that very ordination, those years as a nun, to be transferred to the monks. The nuns’ offenses that are in common with the monks are to be dealt with in the presence of the monks. For the nuns’ offenses that are not in common with the monks, there’s no offense.”
The above appears to be a strange nonsense (because it appears to say the man was already a monk and then developed female features, which is impossible). In other words, were there any actual "trans-people" during the time of the Buddha, who had actual sex changes (apart from men who were castrated)? :shrug:
Last edited by DooDoot on Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:25 am, edited 4 times in total.
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SarathW
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Re: Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?

Post by SarathW » Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:50 am

Lust is, however, a grey area, and there is a minor (and probably later) derived rule that speaks against touching close family members out of affection (pema
The above extract is from Bhante Sujato's post in D&D Sutta Central.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?

Post by Volo » Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:19 pm

I have read about cases of spontaneous sex "change" from woman to man. For example if a biologically born man (i.e. he has XY chromosome) has due to some anomaly a very low level of testosterone, he might look like a girl (his penis remains undeveloped, and his general appearance is like that of a girl). But over time the level of testosterone his body produces might increase (usually during puberty), and surprisingly for everyone "she" becomes a young man with a male organ, etc. Such cases are known. There is even a remote area somewhere where this happens quite often (probably many males there inherited this type of genetic disorder, and produce little testosterone).

Maybe a reverse mechanism (i.e. sudden drop of testosterone level for a person who already has marginal level of this hormone) can turn a man into a woman. But I've never heard of such cases proven scientifically (i.e. male phenotype to female phenotype. Female phenotype to male phenotype is known as I said before). Maybe there's some other biologically mechanism which can be responsible for such quasi sex change. But it might be not a mere fiction.

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Re: Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?

Post by santa100 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:52 pm

SarathW wrote:Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?
It all depends on what and how a monk uses the Vinaya for. Some monks simply show absolutely zero regards for it. Some study it just to show off. Some others study it in details not for living out a noble life but to find out just enough nooks and crannies to slither thru it without "technically" breaking it. Then there's the rare dying breed of monastics who really seriously study it for its true original purpose of being the foundation of a noble life, the springboard to further progress on the Path for the development of Samadhi and Panna.

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Re: Clarification of some Vinaya rules among monks, nuns and trans people?

Post by zerotime » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:28 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:46 pm
...there are certain kinds of people who might possibly be considered non-binary...

the problem is the difficulty for an easy acceptance of that dialectics like "non-binary", "intersex" etc... like expressions of empiric facts of Reality. I mean as a solid fact and independent from the noise of the Times. That dialectics comes from a social theory instead new discoveries with empiric data from Science and the experience. Even it lacks of enough universal scientific support in the world, and the difficulties to get that total universality and acceptance in all the world it seems to be hard in many disciplines.

The situation reminds others from the past History, in where we can find social changes or political designs for the societies, and the wish to influence all the social spaces also including Buddhism. In example it was the case of past century with the Fascism and authors like Julius Evola, trying to fit those racial theories into Buddhism.

However, J.Evola can be an interesting reading like an historical thing. And probably this present literature with the "non-binary people" and "liquid gender" will be another historical case for the study of future generations.

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