First of all, I would like to ask if there are any Buddhists here. Second, I would be interested in whether being gay and being Buddhist have anything to do with each other, or are these things absolutely separate in your lives.
Is not that which is Buddhist that which is Gay equally? We are neither, we simply are.
I am Buddhist.
For me they are strongly linked. I became interested in Buddhism in my teens because I realised I was gay and I initially tried to control myself to be not gay but then at a Buddhist meditation retreat I came to accept my sexuality. Then I was a follower of Burmese Therevada but now I am a member the Soto School of Zen Buddhism.
Buddhism is fundamentally about understanding the nature of self. As Dogen (the founder of the Soto school) most famously said:
"To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be verified by all things. To be verified by all things is to let the body and mind of the self and the body and mind of others drop off."
This is something that has to be experienced rather than understood but knowing this south asian, male, right-handed, introverted, gay, AI nerd body (including brain) is real and also indistinct from the incomprehensible flow of the universe means fully accepting the truth of my experience.
I am a member of the Treeleaf Sangha, an international online Sangha of the Soto Zen school of Buddhism based in Tsukuba, Japan. Today’s zazenkai (meditation meeting) was dedicated to our LGBTQI+ ancestors. I found Jundo’s talk very moving.
If you are interested, the recorded version is on YouTube here:
You will need to fast forward to about 55:55 if you are only interested in the talk.
Nice topic. I consider myself Buddhist, in part for cultural reasons, and not just because I relate to Buddhist ideas about the nature of reality.
I am also an atheist - and one of the beauties of Zen Buddhism is that it is a spiritual path and philosophy that does not require what I consider to be superstitious beliefs in "god", or a desire for reward in some afterlife.
Buddhism is also inherently friendlier to sexual minorities - unlike the monotheisms, which are the origin of some of the most homophobic ideologies in history.