What is the 'legal' thing to do here (about transgender going forth)?


Ahhhh, capiche, groovy, right on, gotcha, cool!

Thank you again, teacher. Muy Bueno!

May you be further enlightened and free from life’s myriad arrows.:sunflower:


No offense, but at this age any sexual self-identification is not stable, conditioned by outside, and not regulated by person’s body yet (if there are no untimely hormonal changes). That is why societies for ages were ‘preparing’ children of young age to their subsequent gender role, because they themselves are pretty much ignorant of the nature of their body themselves alone. It’s the societal conditioning that made them to believe “I am a girl” or “I am a boy” until the body kicks in and “proves” that to them, unless of course something goes not the way it should have.
So a parent influenced by modern “progressive” ideas who decides that his/her boy is “a girl inside” because he shows interest in dolls and dresses should be, frankly, kept away from the kid, for his further benefit. I repeat once again that the multigenderism is a product of the modern western civilzation, the proof is simple: it, as a concept, was not known before, except in some occasions like those native american tribes progressivists like to mention all the time. Please re-read my previous post completely. I am telling that in terms of the Path, sexual orientation or self-identification means nothing. It’s just another sankhara of yours. The rules for ordination were put in place as a formality that would keep Sangha more or less stable for a relatively prolonged time. Yes, there’s formalism. Apparently, the Buddha saw that there’s no better way to organize poorly prepared aspirants that a set of rules.


Actually the transgender persons that I see in my clinic state the opposite- the parents go by the genitalia but their childhood brains are telling otherwise- and this continues into their teenage years and is stable beyond.


I don’t really understand what you are saying here. It sounds like you are invoking a version of the nature vs nurture argument here, or inherited trait vs acquired trait. I think that the research that we have currently suggests that this reasoning has limited or no relevance in this field. But I’m prepared to be proven wrong.

Do you happen to have a link to any research paper which backs your reasoning? Or even a popular science article to start of my investigation?


Sorry, that is nonsense. Many conditions arise with many causes known and unknown which were not known before in any given society. My Trans experience, which happened to me subjectively, was not verbally or physically expressed until I was 15 years old, could not have been in relation to my parents or any other human. I knew I was different, and feared annihilation if I were to express my inner self to anyone. My trans awareness was purely the product of some internal mechanism. Science has begun to understand the mechanism of sex and gender development through the lens of hormonal brain sex in utero. I can provide you with links if you like. Or you could do your own research before you relegate Trans identity to the dung pile of post modern psychobabble.

If you had read any of my previous expositions on my personal experience with trans identity, you would understand that throughout the 1950’s I suffered through this confusion in isolation, fear, and suicidal tendencies completely alone without external, social or philosophic input. There are so many possible causes related to sex and gendered development that your determination regarding ‘post modernism’ falls flat on its sexist face.

If it is all as simple as you say, then answer this question: Why do you identify as a man? Is it because of your genitalia? Were you aware that you had a specific genitalia when you were born, and realized what that meant. Did your parents tell you that because you had a penis that you were destined to rule? When did your awareness of being a male and all the implications therein begin? I am asking because you seem to know more about my development as a trans woman than I do.

Your male privilege is on full display here.

Really? This dogmatic statement is too absurd to even comment. I get your point about relevance to the greater goals and the path to liberation. But this arbitrary position you take sounds judgmental and dismissive.

And you have not considered the possibilities of gender as it relates to rebirth. So why is my identity a product of post modernism…and not a grander spiritual anomaly in which I get to see life from a broader perspective than someone born as only male or female?

Thank you for the brain stimulation.:persevere: May we all be liberated from suffering.:heart_eyes:


I was listening to the CBC program The Sunday Edition. There was a segment with the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, who wrote a new book, “The Lies That Bind, Rethinking Identity”. It is not a new problem. The Buddha had long ago declared that any self-identity is a delusion. “Not I Am.” It is rehashing an old but persistent human issue.

That brought me to this thread & the question:

First of all, MN-73 (Mahāvaccha Sutta) offers one aspect of a full answer. The problem is one of failing to distinguish between “the means” & “the end”. As the Buddha explained, one can attain liberation (the end) either by choosing to “go forth” or “NOT- remain a layperson” (the means). A householder is perfectly capable of attaining at least “stream-entry”, & all the way to non-returner. Thus a person’s current self-identity makes no difference if, and only if, they fully know what is their goal (the end). However, if their focus is not on “liberation & cessation of dukkha”, but rather entirely on “the means” - choosing a life-style, i.e. between that of a monastic versus a layperson, it smacks of putting “the means” ahead of “the end”, placing the cart before the horse.

Secondly, the Buddha repeated over & over, in too many suttas to list: “Not Mine. Not I Am, Not the Self”. Identity is a Delusion, Not-Knowing, Ignorance (avijja). It is politically correct to “accept” everything & anything under the aegis of “compassion”, but it is also an endorsement of delusion. As the suttas instructed all Buddhists, vipasanna is to see Dharma, reality as-it-is (yatha-bhuta). I read somewhere this translation of a sutta passage:

Yadanattā taṃ ‘netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ

Whatever is void of self of that (think): “This is not mine. This am i not. This is not my self.” So is this as soon as it/as far as it has become (come into existance) (yathābhūtaṃ) to be seen (daṭṭhabbaṃ ) with right/correct wisdom.

Thirdly, can monastic code surviving from the Buddha’s time answer whether the sangha community should allow a transgender person to join them? It is none of my business. However, I remember reading the monastic codes once and get a clear impression that many of the rules for monks & nuns are instituted to “protect the reputation of the sangha” against accusation of wrong behavior. Imagine someone with a penis living among the nuns, or a vagina among the monks. It risks the Buddhist monastic communities from being ridiculed, like bawdy stories within Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron.

So, instead of getting enmeshed in a life-style choice, follow the Buddha’s instructions, e.g. AN 10-61 Ignorance.

Focus on “associating with good persons, hearing the good Dhamma, fills up faith, fills up careful attention, fills up mindfulness and clear comprehension, fill up restraint of the sense faculties, fills up the three kinds of good conduct, fill up the four establishments of mindfulness, fill up the seven factors of enlightenment, fill up true knowledge and liberation" instead


Yes, and thank you for your clarity on this issue of gender and identity. I have survived this societally mandated pressure to identify with the benefit of unconditional love, and Buddha’s exposition on identity. And BTW, I am a post op Trans woman and thus in a slightly different category than transgendered folks who maintain their genitalia.

But as a caveat to the whole discussion, I expound on this subject not as a way of elevating it attendant suffering over others, but merely to increase other people’s awareness of the varieties of gendered experience as we all walk through this life together.

The Dhamma is the same for us all. May we all be liberated.


But hang on Rosie, what if he’s right? You know what that means? That we have developed time travel! Yay! Because almost every gender identity or sexual behavior that you can think of is in fact found in the Pali canon, as well as in plenty of other literatures all around the world. So obviously, modern people have been travelling back in time to seed this information in ancient texts!

Well, I for one want to meet whoever is doing this and shake their hand: “Thank you so much for showing me that humanity is more than a binary! Thank you for opening my eyes and expanding my concepts of what it means to be human! And by the way, I have some questions; do you think I’d be able to just pop back and talk to the Buddha for a minute? It’ll just be a couple of questions, I swear!”


For what it’s worth, young people in the United States are very receptive to the fact that gender identity is not fixed. Just two weeks ago we were discussing gender theory in one of my classes. When I spoke about the idea that gender is a social construct virtually every head in the class nodded in agreement. Many of the students are first- or second-year college students, which means that it is likely they are introduced to ideas about gender in high school. It is a very familiar theme for young people in the United States these days.


In my world (21st century, living in the UK) monastic communities (Buddhist or otherwise) are ridiculed as institutions of homosexual bawdiness. For example, by Dave Allen in the 70s or Steven Fry more recently. It’s par for the course when people of the same sex live in close proximity, especially when they claim celibacy. If the intention of the Buddha, by implementing two separate ordained communities, was to limit the ridicule of the Sangha, then this rule hasn’t aged or traveled well.


Yes, I actually, too, wanted to attach some links about it. This is one of the outside conditions (hormonal background of a mother).

Why? If you know about the constructs, you know, too, that any self-identification is a construct, that is to be abandoned eventually. In terms of the rules of the sangha, they imply you need to somehow “self-identify” as a male or female to fit into the established system. And the system, that was created by the Buddha, includes two genders only as, I presume, it was enough. If a person is transgender, wouldn’t that person just choose the sangha according to this identification? If a person somehow doesn’t identify with any gender, he should choose, because the rules are for everybody.

For the moment no, because it would require a significant amount of effort to find something more or less unbiased by the political agenda. However I can tell you for sure that the hormonal system of the body has massive effect on the behaviour that we don’t even perceive consciously. It is not uncommon that before that system is stabilized children tend to “mix up” their gender identity to certain degree and show mixed signs of identity. However, during puberty, this resolves by itself.
What I was talking about is mostly when nowadays some parents treat these mixed signs as an indication that their child is “special”, brainwash and put him on hormones to “fix” kid’s sex. As Rosie said above, in certain cases it does not resolve the way it does for the most kids, because of in utero exposure to abnormal hormonal background, which makes person’s receptors and signalling systems work in a different way.

I was talking about a social concept.

Clearly we talk about a bit different things here, hence misunderstanding.


Sounds like this is veering off the original issue of the thread, which is a question about transgenders wishing to join the monastics. Perhaps a new thread could be set up like “accusation of Buddhist monastic communities as hotbed of homosexuals like the Catholic monastics”.

Nevertheless, is this really a common accusation against the Buddhist monastic communities in UK? If not, then it is really a problem about the few accusers and their agenda to attack the reputation of the monastics.

However, if it is commonly perceived in UK that the Buddhist monastics is a hotbed of homosexual activities, then there are two more questions. (1) Is it really true? Not being familiar with UK, my guess is that it is probably not a fair accusation. (2) Is it unique to UK ? So far I have not heard the same accusation charged against Buddhist monastics at large in other countries. (Granted, there were well reported cases at some Tibetan and Zen centers in USA.)

I never claim that it was the sole intention of the Buddha. So please do not twist my word. Such line of argument is getting into sophistry and reductio ad absurdum territory.

My reading of the Vinaya is that there are many rules to keep the community “healthy”, such as the Uposatha rites: “on the new-moon and full-moon uposatha, in monasteries where there are four or more bhikkhus, the local Sangha will recite the Patimokkha. Before the recitation starts, the monks will confess any violations of the disciplinary rules to another monk or to the Sangha.”

In another sutta, AN 8.53 Brief Advice to Gotamī, we find the Buddha’s advice for more advanced monks and nuns:

“… You might know that certain things lead to dispassion, not passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to dispersal, not accumulation; to fewer desires, not more; to contentment, not discontentment; to seclusion, not crowding; to energy, not laziness; to being easy to look after, not being hard to look after. You should definitely bear in mind that these things are the teaching, the training, and the Teacher’s instructions.”

The Buddha advised them to live in solitude, in seclusion, if possible.

Again, the Buddha stated clearly that it is not necessary to become a monk/nun to practice the Eight-fold Path with the aim to attain Cessation of Dukkha. In practice, it’s much easier for a layperson to live alone than for a monk or a nun to live alone, since monastics depend on alms for their livelihood.


Dear Teacher-Friend Sujato, Ya gotta love a Monk with a wry sense of ironic humor. Sadhu! :grin:

This is truly the post modern view is it not? Whether, and to what degree the postulate that elements of personality are a construct or not can not be known by the average human. In order to know whether that postulate is true one would necessarily be able to deconstruct one’s identity, and I know from personal experience that this can not be done in a practical sense. And while it is a popular meme as disseminated through MSM, this hardly adds anything to the validity of this theory.

During the most painful period of my early to mid adolescence, when I thought I was losing my mind I circa 1962-and theories abounded blaming parents for imbalances in animus ie. a passive father and dominant mother, and without knowing anything about hormones-I decided that there must be something in my upbringing that caused me to be the Freak that I thought I was. So I spent a long time reviewing my life’s influences. And found absolutely nothing that supported this.

I agree with your comment on the effects of sex related hormones. But proof exists that these hormonal influences begin in-utero

Then you may find this interesting: “Gender identity development is poorly understood but impacted by central nervous system (CNS) factors, genes, gonadal hormones and receptors, genitalia, and social/environmental factors.”

Quite right and I apologize for my passion regarding this. I easily fall into the ‘Defender of all things gendered’. And again ironically having walked through this fire, I place little importance on my gender or personality.

Like a friend of mine is fond of saying, “It’s the same just different”. I respect your opinion, and wish you only the best. I regard my passion as a burden.
May we all be free from suffering.


No, of course not. There’s hardly any Buddhist monastics in the UK. It’s a generic celebate renunciate thing and just done for comic effect. We do a lot of ridicule in the UK.

That wasn’t my intention. Many apologies if it came across like that. I’m clearly being a bit loose with my tongue today. :heart: