Homophobia as Misuse of Sexuality

buddhabanana

One of the “steps” on the Buddha’s eight fold path (the set of suggestions on how to lead a life more conducive to awakening) deals with how we approach sexuality. For Monks, Nuns, and Priest, the admonition is to lead a life of celibacy. For the laity however, this step is often interpreted as not engaging in abusive sexual relations, or participate in sexual “misconduct.”

As an aside here, the eight fold path is not a thing you do one step at a time, but is rather a group of guidelines for conduct to be tackled contemporaneously within one’s life.

When looking at the eight fold path, and applying it’s suggestions to our own life, I think one of the things we need to take into account is the cultural context in which it developed. The trick then is to find a way to adapt it to your own cultural context. As an example, one of the steps deals with “right livelihood”. This has to do with making sure that the way you make your living doesn’t generate any entanglements to trip you up. Or, at least as few as possible. The thing is, a whole lot of the jobs available now were no where to be seen in the Buddha’s time.

Unfortunately, there was a whole lot of baggage around sexuality in the time of the Buddha. Well, hell, there is now as well, but I’d like to think we’ve grown up some. In that light I’d like to propose a wrinkle of possibly useful modern interpretation for the “step” that has to do with sexual misconduct. This wrinkle directly deals with any cultural and habitual hangups we might be carrying in ourselves. In terms of keeping our process clean in the way that the Buddha proposed so that we have less hang ups to deal with in pursuit of awakening. What I am suggesting is that we also carry this step into our dealing with others. Two of the other steps are right speech, and right thought. Those steps expressly with our conduct with others. So why not the step about sex?

Part of our hang ups with sexuality have to do with judgments about others and how they should be living their lives. So, for me, the admonition to use sex “correctly” includes not having anything to say about other people’s orientation, or expression of gender. As far as I can see butting into other people’s affairs causes just as much blockage in our path, as when we misuse our own sexuality.

It’s All Made Up

EvolutionaryTreeofReligion

I love me some infographics!

I think the whole idea of an infographic is really keen, and I enjoy learning in a visual way. I makes it quite easy for me to draw relations for the information and fit the data into context.

I came across one the other day that is right up my alley.

This infographic shows (to the best accuracy of available information) the distribution of religions in the world population. I found several things in it that ran contrary to my assumptions. Some religions I thought were smaller. Some were larger. For one, I thought Buddhism was a much bigger fraction of the world’s religions.

As I studied the graphic I realized something was missing.

Where was my own personal (most of the time) religion, Discordia? (Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!)

Where are the Pastafarians, the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? (Bless his noodly appendage!)

Where were the Jedi? In 2001, in the England and Wales census, 390,127 respondents declared their faith as Jediism. That’s over three times the number of Zoroastrians in the world, according to the chart. And, 523 times more than the listed number of Samaritans!

Where was the Church of the SubGenuis!!!

I scanned back & forth across the information searching for some mention. I realized that they were not including “made up religions.” I could not figure out why they would do that. Then it hit me. Square in the pineal gland. (Sorry. Inside joke. Very, very inside…) They weren’t including the so-called “made up” religions because that would give up the game too easily.

What’s the game, you say? Well, here it is: They are all made up. Some more obviously than others, and some with tons of poetry wrapped up around their inspiration, but when you come down to it they are all made up. In all cases, women and men sat down and created these things. Even if you buy the idea of divine inspiration (which I sometimes do) it still comes down to humans taking the notes & practices and then propagating them.

However, with the march of years and the persistence of generations, these particular religions became engraved in our contextual and cultural souls. We have come to accept them as given parts of life, if not facts. We have taken them as “real.”

To a degree they are real. They are as much of a part of our world as taxes and cleaning. What is making them real though, in this case, is our acceptance.

So, what makes the “made up” religions not real is just a lack of acceptance. If we took that on board then we would have to face that all the religions of the world, big & small, venerated & ridiculed, are viewed the way they are only on our say so.

We would have to face up to them all being made up.

Personally I find such a notion liberating.

Jaded, or Just Conditioned

Jaded
We’ve all heard the tale of people becoming jaded as they get older. “Back in my day…”, “Kids these days are so…”, “When I was young politicians…”, etc. It’s a common enough story.

When I heard these stories as a kid, I assumed the adults knew what they were talking about. I took it for granted that they were right. And, sure enough, as I grew from kid into adult I began to see their point. I began to see how kids did not have the same freedom and respect that they used to. I began to see that our politicians had slid from icon to used car salesman to crook. I began to conform to this view.

Lately I am beginning to see things differently. When I look at the world we adults have built in an objective way, it seems plain to me that we are horribly coo-coo. We are messed in the head. Insane in the membrane. “Nucking Futs!” as they say. We care nothing about our home (the planet.) We vote to keep people from being recognized legally for loving each other. We go to war, and behead each other over writings that are plainly horribly outdated. We shit were we sleep, and hold that we have an inviolable rite to do so.

In short, the adult world is one dreamed up by the worst breed of basket cases.

When I look at children these days I do see that they are more at risk (other than from absolutely crazy adults who have lost all sense of propriety). However, I do not see them being any less optimistic, loving, and naturally caring than I was when I was a kid. The kids have not gotten worse. We adults have.

In other words, it’s not that the world (as such) has gotten more rotten. Rather, it’s that the world we adults hold to be true has. The children of today are no less innocent and full of a love for life than they ever have been. The adult world they grow into, and get educated to conform to, is what is going down the tubes.

What does this mean? Well, if it is true that things just get worse with time, there’s not much we can do about it. Perhaps we could improve our situation by ceasing to complain about it. That’s not much, but it’s something. However, if it is true that it’s not the world that’s getting worse, but rather it’s our adult world view, then we can change it. We can make a choice to bring forward our discarded optimism and create the world we want. Just like we did when we were kids.