AN7.51 Bound to one’s gender

“A woman focusses on her own femininity:
Itthī, bhikkhave, ajjhattaṃ itthindriyaṃ manasi karoti—
her feminine moves, feminine appearance, feminine ways, feminine desires, feminine voice, and feminine adornment.
itthikuttaṃ itthākappaṃ itthividhaṃ itthicchandaṃ itthissaraṃ itthālaṅkāraṃ.
She’s stimulated by this and takes pleasure in it.
Sā tattha rajjati tatrābhiramati.
So she focusses on the masculinity of others:
Sā tattha rattā tatrābhiratā bahiddhā purisindriyaṃ manasi karoti—…”

A being attends to their gender, and on account of delighting in it, is bound to their gender and seeks to be bounded with another gender.

The being delights, essentially, in their groin area, the bases for their gender designation. They ‘take it up’ as mine etc and are thus taken along with it, wherever IT wants to go.
Joined , bonded and engaged with their groin. They seek that which will emphasizes it.

Even one who denies their gender on account of what they feel or think is still bound or acting from their groin.

It is often quite popular to reflect on the opposite gender as disgusting, so as to arrive at dispassion, but staring at images or having such thoughts is missing the mark.
For the root of attraction towards others is the attraction one has for ones own groin, and this is where the asubha/unattractive perception needs to be applied.

The DANGER of being bound to ones own groin, the unsatisfactory nature of being subject to ITS wants, is what asubha/ unattractive is.
The urges from ones own fleshy groin area, is what one is overwhelmed by through delighting in, and through not correctly discerning it. It leads one on and on and on, here there and everywhere.
We can avoid the other attractive gender, as an initial pause so to gain perspective on the situation, but if we have not disengaged with our own groin, we are still bound, and maras daughters/ sons will continue to try and find a way to entice us. There will be no rest.

A person can stare at asubha pictures,but will eventually see attraction in those pictures because the root of the problem is not abandoned.

(Apologies if this was supposed to be posted in another category, I’m still trying to discern the difference. I’ve posted it here with the intention to engage with anyone who can maybe see a fault in my understanding. This post might be better suited in the ‘essay’ department?)


You may find this topic engages some of the issues you raise here


When a person delights or obsesses over their gender, that person then seeks out that which will emphasize their obsession one way or another I.e being PASSIONATELY CONCERNED in regards to one’s masculinity, ones seeks out femininity or anything else which will highlight ones masculine reality.
This includes a person who is REJECTING their masculinity or femininity.
Whether one rejects or delights in one’s gender, one is obsessed, concerned, passionate about it. Either one wants it to Be or Not-to-Be (bhava or vibhava), either way, one is bound passionately towards it and then affected by whatever
befalls it.

Whether one hates or lusts or denies one’s own gender, that gender is there, indifferent towards one’s concerns.

Being bound to one’s gender, as the sutta says, results in the proliferation of desire I.e being attached to one’s body, cravings, desires or passions will multiply and proliferate and
the proliferation of craving is not very practical for one seeking freedom from suffering.

However, the escape from being identified and bound with ones gendered-body, is not in denial or ignoring its reality. To Deny the gendered-bodies reality means that one initially first recognises the way it is, therefore the denial is an inauthentic act because one knowingly chooses ignorance, one pretends and convinces oneself that what exists does not.

To be truly unbound to the body, to be unaffected by it, to no longer have a possibility of suffering in regard to the body’s gender, age, health, appearance etc one must no longer be passionately concerned with it, through right understanding of it. Then no matter if the body gets sick, ages or is discriminated against, one can not suffer because of it.

The degree to which a person gets upset on account of their bodily status in the eyes of others or themselves, reveals the degree to which ignorance and craving is present.

No amount of beauty products, healthy food or acceptance from others can free one from the craving which causes the suffering.
But subjective acceptance of basic realities, such as, this body is male, it is 5O years old, it is tall etc’ and ’ this mind is angry, happy, bored etc’ is necessary for revealing the gratuitous nature of it all.
The fundamental, universal nature of anicca-dukkha-anatta will not be discerned if one can not even accept basic realities I.e mundane right view…Mn117

*what is right view that is accompanied by defilements, has the attributes of good deeds, and ripens in attachment?

‘There is meaning in giving, sacrifice, and offerings. There are fruits and results of good and bad deeds. There is an afterlife. There are duties to mother and father. There are beings reborn spontaneously. And there are ascetics and brahmins who are well attained and practised and who describe the afterlife after realizing it with their own insight.’ *

Accepting ones gender and not delighting in it, makes life much less complicated.


Thank you for directing attention to this Sutta.


Does a Bhikkhu’s renunciation go against having duties towards one’s parents?

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(I suppose this is off topic but I will answer anyway. May the powers that be forgive me.)

I wouldnt say that it does.
Buddhist renunciation does not mean denial of basic realities or pretending that ‘all things are illusions and do not really exist’. There are gifts and offerings,there are results from our actions; there are people who help us and there are results from how we respond to them and how we use what we have received; there is the possibility of living the holy life and there is the results from ignoring that possibility etc

The duty that one has towards ones parents is automatically there once we are born and it grows as they help us grow,likewise with our teachers.
Our duty then is to,at the very least, show gratitude for their help by taking up responsibility for what has been given.
In other words,if you receive a gift, the best way to say thank you is to use it wisely.

A person who indulges in sensuality, cultivates ill-will, or who wastes one life in distraction can perform all sorts of cultural etiquettes in regard to ones parents but is that really fulfilling one’s duties towards them? Is that showing respect towards what they have done for one?

To live a wholesome life, through taking responsibility for our actions and choices is to a great degree fulfilling the duties towards our parents and benefactors, even if they do not agree, because of course not all people are endowed with wisdom.
What better way to repay our parents or teachers than by becoming an Arahant?

So overall, a Bhikkhu should acknowledge and contemplate the duty towards ‘mother and father and teacher’, so that he takes his opportunity seriously, because a bhikkhu who neither partakes in the cultural etiquettes towards his parents or practice the Dhamma, receives an ever-growing debt.


Perhaps the silent assent of non-response is simply indicative of our overwhelming agreement. :grin:

And thanks for the sutta reference. I have added unbound to the Inspire Me examples of