Changing Genders, Changing Buddhists


That makes perfect sense. Thank you.


I think this is the journey that we all have to navigate.

And it’s not always about gender identity - it can be whatever we take to be ourselves; whatever has become, for whatever reason, really important for us to put our focus on. For me, gender identity wasn’t a major focal point. Important to a point but not something that stressed me out or shaped my journey. But there have been other things that have shaped who and what I take myself to be.

And it’s always - so it seems to me - a case of accepting how we are, how we feel and how we can sing in this world with grace…I mean, how we can express ourselves in this world. Because to exist is to express ourselves - whether we want to or not. But sometimes it feels like we actively choose and set a particular direction and other times it feels like we are in the flow of a stream that can feel stronger than ourselves.

For me it is about finding that place where I acknowledge what I am and have love viewed through the Dhamma. But it’s also about allowing this to disappear and recognising that it can and does - sometimes when I deliberately focus on something else, and other times - in it’s own sweet time.

I think, I don’t know, after a while…we stop caring about what we take ourselves to be. Because we realise, eventually and over time too perhaps, that these things pass… They are as unreliable as the wind. Only, for me, the things I still identify with, no matter how much I might tell myself on an intellectual level that they are “not-self”, don’t feel like the wind…they feel like the earth when heavy machinery has driven over it - unyielding and compacted!

I think what you’ve described is a normal part of the journey. Resolution comes…but I think only in bits and pieces and gradually and one day completely…I hope! But in the mean time, I’m trying to encourage myself to relax about it because it’s just a normal part of the journey…and if anatta is true…then it means all I can do (as all the wonderful teachers say) is put the causes in - make the wholesome kamma - and the results will come at a time when the kamma ripens. And not because of “me”, not because of some (mis)perceived atta.

I guess the thing with the process of dependent origination - as far as my limited intellectual understanding goes - is that it is essentially a process that demonstrates the nitty gritty of how craving works from life to life. The Ignorance of not completely understanding (in a visceral, experiential, deeply, widely, clear, clear, clear way) the 4 Noble Truths etc. mean we continue to crave and create sankharas, make kamma and experience/feel (contact/vedana) the results.

Perhaps this also means that craving can be used as a servant of the 8 Fold Path. For craving is intrinsic to what we are. We can’t get rid of it until the end or close to the end. So we may as well use the thing; we may as well use what we are, or rather that aspect of ourselves that is so elementally essential to us - at least until we see through it.

For me, these days, this is what Right Intention is about. Setting your intention within the parameters of the 3 facets of Right Intention (or Right Thought as Bhante Sujato translates it) is very powerful. And it ties in with the Buddha’s teachings on the 4 Iddipadas; chanda , the first iddipada, is about giving your consent to cultivate your mind in a particular direction - that’s how I have heard it translated by Ajahn Brahm many years ago - I think…it was a while ago now!!

Anyway, I think it’s about setting your intention. Interestingly, to put your “chanda”, in Singhalese, means to cast your vote - to give your vote to the direction you want a particular election to go. (Though I like Bhante Sujato’s translation of “enthusiasm” too. If you’re enthusiastic, you kind of head in a particular direction…sort of naturally… I dunno, for me, it makes sense for it to link in with setting one’s intention clearly, using the craving we’re all teeming with anyway (!!) for the purpose of cultivation of the wholesomeness of the 8 Fold Path.)

So for me, when it comes to accepting or letting go of identity. It’s best not to ask myself what I should do. Rather, if I’m approaching the matter from within Right Intention - and it leads me to feel more peace and love towards myself and others…then that’s the way to go. And I think being present is really important - that way you take each situation as it comes and only focus on it if there’s a real need to. I mean, if I’m peacefully going along, I’m not going to drag my identity issues into focus because, well, I figure suffering/trouble will find me anyway, I ain’t gonna go looking for it!!! Not deliberately/intentionally anyways!

Sorry…so rambly!! But thanks Rosie for sharing your very real, honest, heartfelt concerns about your Practise. :anjal: I hope my response/sharing is helpful and if not - please do just leave it aside.

With metta


Dear Kay, I LOVE your rambling. Thank you so much. Please don’t ever stop rambling.

I sometimes wonder how different the character of suffering is for people who are born normally gendered. I am certain that being a man or a woman does contain its own unique brand of difficulties.
This Trans life is like having a limited view into the suffering of both genders, and another kind that involves being outside the normal paradigm.

What an apt description: And gender definitely feels compacted for most people. But for me part of the problem was that I realized early in life that gender was conditioned, but the rest of the world took it pretty seriously.

I guess I need to do my learning about DO because I thought that it referred to a relational development of all cause and effect…the concept that nothing exists autonomously, and that all causes are the effects which become the cause. I admit to being rather ignorant of so many things as a BN
[ Buddhist Newbie] that I welcome correction, and will do more research.

Very well said. I try to do this also.

I know that you are referring to your own perspective. I just wanted to say that my gender, as ambiguous as it was, was not a problem for me. But apparently the rest of the world had a huge problem with it, and in many cultures still do. It is the continuuing expectations of a world mired in illusion which demands duality…polarity that causes temporary suffering in so many non-conforming people.

Most helpful, and appreciated. Thank you, with Love!


Beautifully put. :slight_smile:

It’s one of those topics I need to read about or hear about again and again… I think I’ve sort of got some kind of an intellectual handle on it…but honestly, that’s all it is!

I can only imagine and use my own experiences in attempting to interact with the world to try and understand what it must have been like…

I imagine you as being like a member of the French Resistance!! :slight_smile: Or perhaps sometimes being someone wanting to feel a sense of belonging…

It must have been painful… I’m sorry you or anyone else would have to suffer through the lack of something that could so easily have been offered to you: community, belonging and acceptance.

Thank you so much!! :hibiscus:


Hello again, and I don’t know where you are or what time it is there, but I sure do appreciate you being here with me. And I want to say something that I may not have made clear before. My continuing emphasis on gender as a primary condition and cause for suffering is not meant to describe only my suffering regarding gender roles. My attention to this is to increase awareness regarding the violence still applied to those people who are still very vulnerable to the forces of hate which still exist in so many places.

Thank you my friend, and PEACE.


Hi :slight_smile: I’m in Australia and it’s pretty late! So I’m off to bed soon…

French Resistance :wink: And good on you :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

And to you too Rosie :heartpulse:


Yes, many things are right there.
"Furthermore, take a mendicant who has faith, ethics, learning, generosity, and wisdom. They think: ‘If only I might realize the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life, and live having realized it with my own insight due to the ending of defilements.’ They realize the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements. And, mendicants, that mendicant is not reborn anywhere.”

That is what the Buddha said. Satisfied, the mendicants were happy with what the Buddha said. "

Craving for rebirth in any circumstance seems to be… craving. Cultivating craving seems to be the path to suffering.

edit: links adjusted to conform to SCd&d interface.


@ERose “Cultivating craving seems to be the path to suffering.” is only half correct. I will PM you instead since this is off-topic.


Oh dear, I’m offline for a couple of days and this thread has suddenly added 27 new replies, which I’m afraid I cannot all read and address. But thank you all for your contributions!

Just to confirm to you @Rosie: yes, it was your challenge that I picked up on from another thread. I think it’s an excellent exercise for a man to dress up as a women and go to shopping in Wallmart and then observe how you feel. Unfortunately, something like that would not be possible for monks: they already have the same outfit as the nuns!


It’s very interesting what Venerable @Vimala says, that monks have the same outfit as the nuns, which indicates that, the Buddha since long time ago, since thousands of years ago, have applied a system of equal treatment for men and women, where Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis are treated by the same regulations for use the same robe and have to shave their hair equally ( this is different from some other religions that still practicing gender discrimination, mainly to women, where they have to wear certain types of clothing which this regulation don’t apply to men ).


Regarding dressing in the same robe- I suppose it reduces the difference between the genders, as it is those that lead to attraction. There is a sutta which discusses this which I cant find right now.

May all beings be free from discrimination!

best wishes


LOL, Sure, but some earrings and a nice pair of heels might be the perfect compliment? JUST KIDDING…monks can’t wear earrings!
Blessed is a sense of humor!..with Metta.


I think this just became my intention.


Why do you say this is craving when it could well be intention? If rebirth is inevitable why not intend for it to be more noble?
Seriously…humbly in peace.


i did not say that, actually. What i posted was, "Craving for rebirth in any circumstance seems to be… craving. " The choice of words was deliberate.

You posted “If rebirth is inevitable…” but imo it is not “inevitable”; i think the Buddha escaped this cycle. (And i think arahants have the option, but what they do is known to arahants.)

:slight_smile: Peace, happiness, liberation; may these be everyone’s.


Thanks for the clarification. I should have been more clear. I was only referring to myself regarding this inevitability. May we all be free from suffering.


Rosie, i edited my post to improve the links. The words from my post which you quoted are from MN120; linked above.


Okay, thanks. That makes sense. The removal of defilements is more applicable than just wanting, so if I intend to remove the defilements which doom me to rebirth I do not have to ‘intend’ anything.


Hi, I forgot to say that that sense of needing to belong took me a long time to process. One can’t imagine the imperative to conform until one steps completely outside the context.

Then there is this note from an anonymous source:

This topic is clearly important to you – you’ve posted more than 21% of the replies here.
_Are you sure you’re providing adequate time for other people to share their points of view, too? Have I craved subjective exposition ad nauseum? I hope not! lol


Hi @Rosie, I’ve found out that the message you received is an automatically generated message from the Discourse system. It is only triggered when a certain percentage of posts is reached. The intention is just to be a “heads up” for participants to check right speech and right intention.

One thing you could consider is when replying to multiple points or to a few people it is better to group all the posts together as one, rather than making many small responses. It generally makes the threads easier to read and follow. Best wishes :slight_smile: