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Question on whether a gay person can practice Jainism

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  • Rhiannon
    Hello, I joined this group to learn about Jainism, because I was having a tough time finding a place to get answers beyond the basics of what Jains believe and
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 2 1:39 AM
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      Hello,
      I joined this group to learn about Jainism, because I was having a
      tough time finding a place to get answers beyond the basics of what
      Jains believe and practice. Basically I was having a hard time
      finding out what Jains believe about modern issues. One of the most
      important issues for me is how a religion reacts to gay people among
      its own members. My view is that gay housholders who engage in
      committed monogamous relationship are no different morally than
      straight people as long as they practice the same moral practices
      such as vegetarianism, kindness, etc. They are engaging in some
      level of attachment because they are householders, but to me it seems
      no worse or better to be a gay householder than a straight
      householder. In fact personally, although I am in a committed
      relationship already, if I was not, then it would be possible that I
      would end up "married" to either a man or a woman. Even though I
      appear straight because my significant other is a man, I would never
      want to join a religion in which I felt it was necessary to conceal
      that aspect of my identity and my views on gay marriage the way I
      would conceal that information at a job or among my fiance's more
      conservative relatives. So my question is whether the Jain community
      and Jain religion is accepting, and not just toward gay people
      outside Jainism, but also toward gay people within Jainism?

      Also, I wondered if there is any sectarian difference on this
      matter. Since Svetambars believe a woman can be enlightened while
      Digambars believe only a man can be enlightened, I thought their
      views on other gender-related issues might skew in a similar fashion
      with Digambars being more conservative and Svetambars being more
      accepting, but I wasn't sure at all.
      Thanks,
      Rhiannon
    • Chandraprakash Shah
      Dear sir, When the prostitutes are allowed to practice Jainism why cann t be Gay people? Everyone has right to practice Jainism but within the frame work of
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 2 6:23 AM
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        Dear sir,
         
        When the prostitutes are allowed to practice Jainism why cann't be Gay people?
        Everyone has right to practice Jainism but within the frame work of its principles and not on their own derived principles.
         
        Regards,
         
        Chandraprakash Shah


         
        On Sun, Mar 2, 2008 at 9:39 AM, Rhiannon <rhiannon_chiana@...> wrote:

        Hello,
        I joined this group to learn about Jainism, because I was having a
        tough time finding a place to get answers beyond the basics of what
        Jains believe and practice. Basically I was having a hard time
        finding out what Jains believe about modern issues. One of the most
        important issues for me is how a religion reacts to gay people among
        its own members. My view is that gay housholders who engage in
        committed monogamous relationship are no different morally than
        straight people as long as they practice the same moral practices
        such as vegetarianism, kindness, etc. They are engaging in some
        level of attachment because they are householders, but to me it seems
        no worse or better to be a gay householder than a straight
        householder. In fact personally, although I am in a committed
        relationship already, if I was not, then it would be possible that I
        would end up "married" to either a man or a woman. Even though I
        appear straight because my significant other is a man, I would never
        want to join a religion in which I felt it was necessary to conceal
        that aspect of my identity and my views on gay marriage the way I
        would conceal that information at a job or among my fiance's more
        conservative relatives. So my question is whether the Jain community
        and Jain religion is accepting, and not just toward gay people
        outside Jainism, but also toward gay people within Jainism?

        Also, I wondered if there is any sectarian difference on this
        matter. Since Svetambars believe a woman can be enlightened while
        Digambars believe only a man can be enlightened, I thought their
        views on other gender-related issues might skew in a similar fashion
        with Digambars being more conservative and Svetambars being more
        accepting, but I wasn't sure at all.
        Thanks,
        Rhiannon


      • Rhiannon
        Hi, Thank you. Actually I am a ma am, not a sir, though. As I said, I am new to Jainism, and I actually was unaware that prostitutes were allowed to practice
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 2 7:03 PM
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          Hi,
          Thank you. Actually I am a ma'am, not a sir, though. As I said, I
          am new to Jainism, and I actually was unaware that prostitutes were
          allowed to practice Jainism. That's good, of course, because if
          someone is in that situation it must be very helpful to them to have
          a religion to turn to since a prostitute's life is usually very
          difficult. But, how can a person be a practicing Jain and a
          prostitute at the same time, though, when a prostitute is
          promiscuous, whereas I thought Jains who don't renounce are still
          supposed to be monogamous? Also, I'm not sure if your reference
          really understands my point, because sort of my whole point is that
          gay people can enter into a monogamous marriage, adopt and raise a
          family together, and live as moral monogamous householders, so I
          wondered if they are treated as religious equals to straight
          householders, whereas comaparing gay to prostitute sort of implies
          the common cliche that people assume gay people are all promiscuous.
          Anyway, could you elaborate a little bit on what you mean by "within
          the frame work of its principles and not on their own derived
          principles" please? In any religion you have to interpret what is
          meant by things, you have to "derive" the meaning of the teachings,
          so I was wondering what your meaning was in expressing that concept.
          Thank you very much!

          Sincerely,

          Rhiannon

          --- In jainlist@yahoogroups.com, "Chandraprakash Shah"
          <chandraprakash.shah@...> wrote:
          >
          > Dear sir,
          >
          > When the prostitutes are allowed to practice Jainism why cann't be
          Gay
          > people?
          > Everyone has right to practice Jainism but within the frame work of
          its
          > principles and not on their own derived principles.
          >
          > Regards,
          >
          > Chandraprakash Shah
          >
          >
          >
          > On Sun, Mar 2, 2008 at 9:39 AM, Rhiannon <rhiannon_chiana@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > > Hello,
          > > I joined this group to learn about Jainism, because I was having a
          > > tough time finding a place to get answers beyond the basics of
          what
          > > Jains believe and practice. Basically I was having a hard time
          > > finding out what Jains believe about modern issues. One of the
          most
          > > important issues for me is how a religion reacts to gay people
          among
          > > its own members. My view is that gay housholders who engage in
          > > committed monogamous relationship are no different morally than
          > > straight people as long as they practice the same moral practices
          > > such as vegetarianism, kindness, etc. They are engaging in some
          > > level of attachment because they are householders, but to me it
          seems
          > > no worse or better to be a gay householder than a straight
          > > householder. In fact personally, although I am in a committed
          > > relationship already, if I was not, then it would be possible
          that I
          > > would end up "married" to either a man or a woman. Even though I
          > > appear straight because my significant other is a man, I would
          never
          > > want to join a religion in which I felt it was necessary to
          conceal
          > > that aspect of my identity and my views on gay marriage the way I
          > > would conceal that information at a job or among my fiance's more
          > > conservative relatives. So my question is whether the Jain
          community
          > > and Jain religion is accepting, and not just toward gay people
          > > outside Jainism, but also toward gay people within Jainism?
          > >
          > > Also, I wondered if there is any sectarian difference on this
          > > matter. Since Svetambars believe a woman can be enlightened while
          > > Digambars believe only a man can be enlightened, I thought their
          > > views on other gender-related issues might skew in a similar
          fashion
          > > with Digambars being more conservative and Svetambars being more
          > > accepting, but I wasn't sure at all.
          > > Thanks,
          > > Rhiannon
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
        • Anish A Shah
          Jai Jinendra, Jainism has very minimum rules on Dos and Don ts. It is not a rule based religion; it is a principle based religion. It is a religion that
          Message 4 of 6 , Mar 3 10:35 AM
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            Jai Jinendra,
             

            Jainism has very minimum rules on Dos and Don’ts. It is not a rule based religion; it is a principle based religion. It is a religion that follows the natural laws rather than dictates or whims or commandments of a deity or a God. Rather than explicit prohibitions, in most cases the karmic consequences of various actions based on natural laws are described in Jainism; it is upto the people to follow the principles as per their capabilities after fully being aware of the consequences.  

             

            Now coming to your specific questions – “whether the Jain community and Jain religion is accepting, and not just toward gay people outside Jainism, but also toward gay people within Jainism?”

             

            There is no specific injunction against Gay people as such…..the attitude towards gays amongst the Jains will be more a reflection of the attitude in general society rather than the religion itself. However promiscuity or the overt sexuality and public display is frowned upon and an average Jain is not concerned about his neighbours sexual orientation. The Karmic principle as per Jainism will not distinguish between a gay or a straight per se. A so-called straight person full of passion and lust will attract more karmas than say …a gay person who is less promiscuous. Ultimately to qualify for liberation, straight or gay, everyone has to live a celibate life in accordance with the five great vows.

             

            The ethics and morality in Jainism is dependent on your state of mind and actions, rather than the norms of the society. For eg. Giving charity without any expectation of personal benefit is morally good and attracts pious karmas, while charity with expectation of personal benefit or ulterior motive attracts bad karmas and is thus immoral. However in the eyes of the public that person may be perceived as doing good deeds and of high morals.

             

            Hope this answers your question.

             

            Regards

             

            Anish

             

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Rhiannon
            Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 8:33 AM
            Subject: [JainList] Re: Question on whether a gay person can practice Jainism

            Hi,
            Thank you. Actually I am a ma'am, not a sir, though. As I said, I
            am new to Jainism, and I actually was unaware that prostitutes were
            allowed to practice Jainism. That's good, of course, because if
            someone is in that situation it must be very helpful to them to have
            a religion to turn to since a prostitute's life is usually very
            difficult. But, how can a person be a practicing Jain and a
            prostitute at the same time, though, when a prostitute is
            promiscuous, whereas I thought Jains who don't renounce are still
            supposed to be monogamous? Also, I'm not sure if your reference
            really understands my point, because sort of my whole point is that
            gay people can enter into a monogamous marriage, adopt and raise a
            family together, and live as moral monogamous householders, so I
            wondered if they are treated as religious equals to straight
            householders, whereas comaparing gay to prostitute sort of implies
            the common cliche that people assume gay people are all promiscuous.
            Anyway, could you elaborate a little bit on what you mean by "within
            the frame work of its principles and not on their own derived
            principles" please? In any religion you have to interpret what is
            meant by things, you have to "derive" the meaning of the teachings,
            so I was wondering what your meaning was in expressing that concept.
            Thank you very much!

            Sincerely,

            Rhiannon

            --- In jainlist@yahoogroup s.com, "Chandraprakash Shah"
            <chandraprakash. shah@...> wrote:
            >
            > Dear sir,
            >
            > When the prostitutes are allowed to practice Jainism why cann't be
            Gay
            > people?
            > Everyone has right to practice Jainism but within the frame work of
            its
            > principles and not on their own derived principles.
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Chandraprakash Shah
            >
            >
            >
            > On Sun, Mar 2, 2008 at 9:39 AM, Rhiannon <rhiannon_chiana@ ...>
            wrote:
            >
            > > Hello,
            > > I joined this group to learn about Jainism, because I was having a
            > > tough time finding a place to get answers beyond the basics of
            what
            > > Jains believe and practice. Basically I was having a hard time
            > > finding out what Jains believe about modern issues. One of the
            most
            > > important issues for me is how a religion reacts to gay people
            among
            > > its own members. My view is that gay housholders who engage in
            > > committed monogamous relationship are no different morally than
            > > straight people as long as they practice the same moral practices
            > > such as vegetarianism, kindness, etc. They are engaging in some
            > > level of attachment because they are householders, but to me it
            seems
            > > no worse or better to be a gay householder than a straight
            > > householder. In fact personally, although I am in a committed
            > > relationship already, if I was not, then it would be possible
            that I
            > > would end up "married" to either a man or a woman. Even though I
            > > appear straight because my significant other is a man, I would
            never
            > > want to join a religion in which I felt it was necessary to
            conceal
            > > that aspect of my identity and my views on gay marriage the way I
            > > would conceal that information at a job or among my fiance's more
            > > conservative relatives. So my question is whether the Jain
            community
            > > and Jain religion is accepting, and not just toward gay people
            > > outside Jainism, but also toward gay people within Jainism?
            > >
            > > Also, I wondered if there is any sectarian difference on this
            > > matter. Since Svetambars believe a woman can be enlightened while
            > > Digambars believe only a man can be enlightened, I thought their
            > > views on other gender-related issues might skew in a similar
            fashion
            > > with Digambars being more conservative and Svetambars being more
            > > accepting, but I wasn't sure at all.
            > > Thanks,
            > > Rhiannon
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >

          • Ralexa333@aol.com
            Jai Jinendra, Could someone remind me what the five great vows are? Rebecca **************It s Tax Time! Get tips, forms, and advice on AOL Money & Finance.
            Message 5 of 6 , Mar 3 9:29 PM
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              Jai Jinendra,
              Could someone remind me what the five great vows are?
               
               
               
              Rebecca



            • Sreepalan VC
              Samyak Darshan Dear Shri Rebecca, Let soul secure Samyakthva. Ask thou, thou shall be given; knock thou and thou shall be heard. ‘Know thyself and be
              Message 6 of 6 , Mar 6 4:27 AM
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                Samyak Darshan

                Dear Shri Rebecca,

                Let soul secure Samyakthva.

                Ask thou, thou shall be given; knock thou and thou
                shall be heard.

                ‘Know thyself and be thyself’ – Achaarya Shri Kund
                Kund Dev.

                Sub: five vows
                Ref: Tue, 4 Mar 2008 00:29:37 EST

                Shri Thathvaartha Sutra the bible of Passionless Jina
                Dharma details the five great vows as under and they
                are auspicious activities:

                ‘Himsanartasteyabrahmaparigrahebhyo virtatirvratam’
                It means 01) desisting from injury, 02) desisting from
                falsehood, 03) desisting from stealing, 04) desisting
                from unchastity, and 05) desisting from attachment.

                The vow is of two kinds, great – complete and small –
                partial. The former is for advanced stage of Shraman –
                Muni and the later is introductory for householders.

                Attempt made to present the best known and it is
                likely that it may be falling short of one’s
                expectation and information. It is earnest and sincere
                request to bring out the defects and insufficiencies
                thereby help understanding better.

                Welcome for any further clarification.

                Truth is of Kevalin and the rest are mine.

                Wishing you all the best for the early dawn of
                Samykathva.

                Now, it is, for the participants to come up.

                Yours brotherly
                Sreepalan

                --- Ralexa333@... wrote:

                > Jai Jinendra,
                > Could someone remind me what the five great vows
                > are?
                >
                >
                >
                > Rebecca
                >
                >
                >
                > **************It's Tax Time! Get tips, forms, and
                > advice on AOL Money &
                > Finance.
                > (http://money.aol.com/tax?NCID=aolprf00030000000001)
                >



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