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Good Answer and Question on Quality

Dharmacharya Andrew. J. Williams

Good Answer and Question on Quality

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“A little while ago I was asked the following good question by a very thoughtful and conscientious young student, following a Dharma class. My brief answer follows below.

Question: “Are there any monastic rules that might bar a transgender person from receiving full ordination to become a monk or a nun? In this case this transgender person would have undergone surgery to change their sex/gender. I am more interested in the Vietnamese Mahayana tradition, because even in Vietnamese culture transgender people are often shunned by their own family, relatives and friends.”

Answer: “The Buddha Dharma is for the benefit of all sentient beings, therefore there should be no prejudice shown towards any living being.

I’m not aware of any monastic rules that would bar a transgender person from the monastic order. Although I’m not 100% sure. It may vary between different traditions and cultures, and the possible differences in the interpretations of some monastic rules. May I suggest that you query a few different monks and nuns on this matter and ask for their views, both from a Vinaya (monastic rules of conduct) and a personal opinion viewpoint.

Years ago in Los Angeles I was asked by a journalist of a gay magazine whether Buddhists are prejudiced towards homosexuals, and I answered by saying that “we should not be prejudiced towards any of the myriads of sentient beings that we know about and even the ones that we don’t know about. So how can we be prejudiced towards homosexuals?” Therefore, how can we be prejudiced towards any living beings, including transgender people?

Although I should add that the intention of any person who wants to join the monastic order should be pure. For their own benefit, as well as for the benefit and integrity of the monastic order, and Buddhism as a whole. It is of utmost importance to have pure intention.”

I hope that these words, both the question and the answer, are somewhat helpful to you on your path to enlightenment.”

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~Dharmacharya Andrew. J. Williams~

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GOOD Q&A FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

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“A little while ago I was asked the following good questions by a very thoughtful and conscientious young student, following a Dharma class. My brief answer follows below.

Questions: “(1) What is one hope or aspiration you have for the young people of the world? (2) What is one piece of knowledge or wisdom you would like to impart to the world before you depart from this life?”

Answer: “Firstly, I rejoice in your very important question. Although I should mention that I have many wishes and aspirations for the younger people of the world. As well as many aspects of knowledge and wisdom that I would like to share.

But for the sake of easy reading, I will do as you request and share one aspect for each of the two parts of your question.

I hope and wish that the young people of the world realise that we are all inter-related, all part of one big family. No matter where or how we live, no matter the language we speak or our age. Therefore, we should be kind to each other and encourage others to do likewise.

Furthermore, I hope and wish that the young people of the world realise that we all have the potential and opportunity to be wise and compassionate, and realise our true enlightened nature.

In addition, you should know that there is no such thing as a so-called ‘generation gap’. This is just one of the many man-made concepts that are not helpful and serve only to divide people.

The similarities far outweigh the differences between different generations. Primarily, we all need air to breath, water to drink, food to eat, and clothes and shelter to protect us from the elements. Everything else is secondary.

Also it is important to note that we wouldn’t have the conveniences and luxuries that we have today if it wasn’t for the foresight and efforts of the previous generations. So let us all help, appreciate and respect one another.”

I hope that these words, both the questions and the answer, are somewhat helpful to you on your path to enlightenment.”

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~Dharmacharya Andrew. J. Williams~

 

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