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Religious Studies
RELG 271
Jon Waind

Buddhist Sexual Ethics March 7, 2017 Buddhism in Brief • The Buddha o Originally named Siddhartha Guatama th th o Lived in 6 -4 century BCE o Born a prince and lived a leisurely life ▪ Hidden from the sufferings in the world outside the palace o On one occasion, he left the palace and witnessed old age, sickness, and death ▪ Tried to overcome suffering o Renounced the world at age 29 • Key ideas in Buddha’s teaching o Samsara – karma and rebirth ▪ Karma = quality of our actions, intention of our actions and how the quality/intentions impact our current and future lives • Actions determine the circumstances of our rebirth ▪ Rebirth is not a good thing, not sought after • We’ve each undertaken countless rebirths and are stuck in the samsara cycle o Tanha (craving)  Dukkha (suffering) ▪ Tanha is linked to Dukkha ▪ Stuck in rebirth cycle as long as you crave o Anatman – no permanent self ▪ Everything in samsara impermanent ▪ No endless, non-decaying self that persists ▪ Ethical consequences: notion of possessing something or something being unique to us is deconstructed by the Buddha o Nirvana – there can be an end to all suffering ▪ Suffering is impermanent • Dharma o Literally means order, justice, duty ▪ Difficult to reduce to an English word o Basic principles of reality and cosmic law o Not only the way that things are in the universe, but also has a sense of the way things should be o In Buddhism, it refers to the teachings of the Buddha Buddhist Ethical Precepts – 8-Fold Path • Precepts that aid the cessation of suffering • Wisdom teachings: o Right view o Right resolve • Moral Virtue o Right speech o Right action o Right livelihood • Meditation o Right effort o Right mindfulness o Right concentration • Right action involves 5 abstentions o Killing o Stealing o Misconduct concerning sense-pleasures ▪ Includes adultery, incest, coercive intercourse ▪ Avoiding sexual activity which is exploitative or hurts others ▪ Monogamy is preferred o False speech o Intoxicants • Standards for monks are higher Monastic Code (Vinaya) • Monks and nuns have the strictest ethical codes, observing additional precepts • Buddha thought that letting women in the monastic practices would deteriorate the dharma faster  more precepts for women • Monastic life requires a total avoidance of sexual intercourse o Transgression results in permanent dismissal from the order o Sex represents an untamed mind o Sex is seen as a prominent craving (craving perpetuates suffering) o Sex thought to use up energy that could be more effectively used for spiritual activities such as meditation • Not a lot of distinction made between which types of sexual misconduct are worse Buddhism and Sex • Mara – constantly deploying sex in order to tempt Buddhist practitioners away from path and to temptation • Women seen as temptresses • The Buddha – Buddha was handsome and had grace and remarkable to behold o His beauty is part of what made people follow Buddhism o Buddha slept around at the palace o Said to be very attractive to women but also impossible to be attracted to him because his celibacy was so strong that people couldn’t imagine him having sex ▪ Conflicting images of Buddha • Vinaya 2:110 reports a case of how in the early monastery there was a monk who castrated himself by severing his penis in order to cut off desire o Buddha says mutilation is a grave offence – what should have been cut off was desire, not his penis Early Buddhist Perspectives on Homosexuality • Monastic code dictates that intercourse with emission by design results in expulsion from the order, regardless of gender o Does not explicitly condemn homosexuality or heterosexuality, just condemns sexuality • Only a few later commentators list homosexuality as a taboo • Homosexuality is not decried any more than heterosexuality The Pandaka • Third gender construct commonly referenced in early Buddhist texts • Encompasses a wide range of behaviors and sexual characteristics • Typically included transgendered people, men who took the passive role in homosexual relationships, people with fetishes, and those with procreative dysfunction o Fail to meet the norm of sex roles for adult males ▪ More damning than homosexual acts themselves because India at this time was very focused on the procreation of sons • Female Pandaka – very little known about femal pandaka but exists • Viewed negatively o Pandaka has too much or too little desire – notion of normative desire o Too much desire: thought to have sexual passions of males and females o Lack desire that’s necessary to take a monastic vow against: thought to be weak in character • Not allowed to be ordained as monks or nuns – incapable of proceeding ethically because have either too much or too little desire Buddhist Tantra • Three major streams of Buddhism: o Theravada (Sri Lanka) – earliest Buddhism o Mahayana (Medieval India, China, Japan) ▪ Based around body of the Bodhisattva – being that puts off own enlightenment to lead all other beings toward enlightenment • all-inclusive notion of enlightenment ▪ Upaya – skillful means – Buddhist teachings are seen to means to an end o Vajrayana (Tibet) – grew out of Mahayana • Vajrayana: The “thunderbolt” school o Like supercharged Mahayana school o Offers enlightenment potentially in one lifetime o Utilizes Tantra: ▪ From root “tan”: to expand or to weave ▪ Powerful vehicle towards salvation • Incorporate anything toward enlightenment ▪ Employs antinomian acts (breaking taboos) and sexual yoga • Employs sex metaphorically and sometimes physically in secretive rituals o Management of desire • Goddess Vajrayogini (female Buddha) has deep Tantric roots o “I am identical to the bodies of all women, and there is no way that I can be worshipped except by the worship of women…visualizing that she is fully my embodiment, the yogi should make love to this woman. Because of uniting the diamond scepter and lotus, I will grant enlightenment”  sex brings enlightenment Debating Marriage March 23, 2017 Marriage Matters • John Witte Jr. • Marriage in the Western Tradition • 4 models of Christian marriage: o Spiritual – marriage as a sacramental association and subject to the doctrinal culture of the church o Social – treats marriage as a social estate subject to the state laws and social laws (political and legal culture) ▪ State and legal authority o Contractual – marriage as a voluntary (family units and influence) ▪ Authority of family members o Naturalist – treats marriage as a created institution subject to natural laws of creation ▪ God’s authority rooted in something that created order • Models are complementary and competing o Each emphasizes one aspect of marriage • On Aristotle (and Aquinas): “humans are ‘marital animals’ as much as they are ‘political animals,’ and… most men and women have a natural attraction to each other and have a natural inclination to produce ‘copies of themselves’” Models of Marriage, Family, and Parenting • Diversity Model – seeks to recognize that there are different forms of family and that’s a positive thing o Acknowledges and values growing diversity in family life o Defines parenthood by quality of relationship o Some adult-adult intimacy lead to kids, but not necessarily so o Function, not form ▪ What matters is if the family is functioning in a positive way to help children develop ▪ Not concerned that a biological mother and father are raising the children or that there are two caregivers, etc. o Biology, sex-difference, and gender roles unimportant o Role of law is to support diversity • Integrative Model – reaches back to Aristotle and religion o Family as natural and fundamental group unit o Biological reproduction in heterosexual marriage o Integration of sexuality into opposite-sex marriage o Adult pair-bonding, sex difference, adult-child relationships o Right of children to two biological parents (mother-father team) ▪ Matters to the child that the mother and father are attached o Caution towards ART Gay Marriage • Different Statuses o Legal – USA, Canada o Not legal, punishable by death o Not legal, punishable by imprisonment o Legal, with conditions – Russia • Islam cannot promote same-sex marriage o But democratic respect for those with different opinions/beliefs than you • Homosexuality was settled by the Buddha – there’s a middle way o Same-sex acts should neither be condemned to the death penalty nor praised with marriage o Non-virtue but not a heinous crime o Unwholesome deed, but a minor one Evolving Legal Realities: Canada and USA Canada • Canada: court challenges o Manitoba (1974) ▪ First reported incident of a same-sex couple applying for a marriage license o British Columbia Supreme Court (2001) o Ontario Halpern Judgment (2002) ▪ Judgement: existing legal framework is discriminatory; therefore 3 options: • Redefine marriage • Civil unions • State out of the marriage business o Quebec decision (2002) o B.C. Appeal (May 2003) • Legislative Response: 2003 o Parliamentary Hearings (January-June 2003) regarding changing definition of marriage o June 10: Ontario Court of Appeal upholds Halpern decision that definition of marriage is discriminatory o June 12: Parliamentary hearings are abolished ▪ June 17: Government changes definition of marriage • Supreme Court of Canada: 2004 o Is redefining marriage in the government’s power? o Consistent with the Charter? o Are clergy protected? o Is the traditional definition of marriage unconstitutional? o Opinion (Dec. 2004): affirmed government’s right to redefine marriage and the rights of officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages on religious grounds • Bill C-38: Civil Marriage Act (2005) o Marriage, for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others o It is recognized that officials of religious groups are free to refuse to perform marriages that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs o Consequential amendments: deletion of all references to natural or biological parenthood USA • USA constitutional controversy o State ▪ Contstutional or staute bans ▪ MA – challenged constitutionality of DOMA ▪ California – Prop 8 unconstitutional? • Only marriage between a man or a woman is legal in CA o Feb 23, 2011 – Obama on DOMA ▪ Instructed General Attorney to not defend DOMA • DOMA (1996) – Bill Clinton o Spouse means a person of the opposite sex (wife or husband) • SCOTUS o 26-27 March 2013 – oral arguments on constitutionality of CA prop 8 and DOMA o 26 June 2015 – 5-4 majority decision rules that the Constitution guarantees right to same-sex marriage Reconceiving Marriage Against same-sex marriage • Religious/moral arguments o Unbiblical o Unnatural • Contradiction of terms • Dis-integrates human sexuality • Fails children • Violates common good • Lacks universality • Relies on expansive and expanding state power • Still obscures individual freedom (Beyond Marriage) For same-sex marriage • Fundamental human right • Essential civil right • Extension of legal benefits • Protection form discrimination • Confers social approval • Focus on core issue of love • Procreative potential a non-issue • The kids will be alright • Rejection not based on public reason Marriage – plural in content and meaning • Nussbaum • Content o Sexual relations o Friendship and companionship o Love o Conversation o Procreation and child-rearing o Mutual responsibility • Meaning o Civil rights aspect o Expressive aspect o Religious aspect • Marriage is a legal construct – role of government o Marriage is what the state says it is • Social constructionist approach The Expression of Marriage • Nussbaum • Human dignity requires marriage, not merely civil union o Civil union is not enough o Civil union is separate but equal • Two key questions related to expressive aspect: o Should the state be in the business of dignifying some unions rather than others? o What are the arguments for and against admitting same-sex couples to the status of state-recognized marriage? • Two-fold argument: o “so long as the state is in the marrying business, equality concerns require it to offer marriage to same-sex couples” o But it would be better if the state withdrew from the marrying business, leaving the expressive domain to religions and other private groups people may associate with Disgust, Rights, and Marriage • “The only distinction between unworthy heterosexuals and the lass of gays and lesbians that can possible explain the difference in people’s reaction is that the sex acts of the former fo not disgust the majority, whereas the sex acts of the latter do” – Nussbaum o supported by president of Uganda • Separate but equal? A Case for Discriminating (Novak) o Only arbitrary discrimination is morally objectionable, not discrimination based on valid reason o There is a difference between justifiable and unjustifiable change by the state ▪ The state can justifiably correct injustices that have arisen within the institution (the work of the courts) ▪ The state can justifiably refine and reform its governance over the institution (the work of the legislators) ▪ The state cannot declare the institution itself to be unjust ▪ The state cannot re-define an institution that pre-dates it o Novak doesn’t see marriage as a legal construct – sees marriage and family as something that the state can recognize (Il)legitimate State Interests • Novak • Expressive aspects of marriage? o Legitimate state interest in procreation (continuity) o No legitimate state interest in expressive aspect • Parental and children’s natural rights o State respect for natural right of parents o State enforcement or transfer of that duty when unfulfilled • Challenges o Abortion and divorce challenge adult agency o Parts natural right challenges state intervention Sex Work/Prostitution April 4, 2017 Religions and Prostitution • All world religions are concerned with family stability o A stable family is recognized as extremely important for society and figures in the constellation of religious sanctions Hebrew Scriptures • Failure to remain in covenant with God • Genesis – Tamar • Different sexual arrangements besides marriage • Prostitution may be tolerated to a degree in different times and places, but overall is seen as an immorality Christian New Testament • Gospels – prostitutes among examples for how to enter kingdom of God o They aren’t saying “look what I’ve done, I deserve to go to heaven,” so they deserve to go to heaven o Look like they’re doing everything on but they hear the message and believe it, they are dependent on it o Not promoting prostitution o Marginalized, weak people  enter kingdom of heaven o Obedience to Christ, not reliant on selves, reliant on God • Epistles – sin of prostitution Christianity and Prostitution – The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 • Don’t break the covenant and join something else • Sex is a unitive element, going outside to an illicit place to get the unitive element • Prostitution is a vile practice and a sin Thomas Aquinas on Prostitution • “Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain evils be incurred: thus Augustine says [De ordine 2.4]” ‘If you do away with harlots, the world will be convulsed with lust’” • Toleration of prostitution is not the promotion of it Hinduism and Prostitution • No learned father should take a bride-price for his daughter, no matter how small, for a man who, out of greed, exacts a bride-price would be selling his child like a pimp • No matter how great or small the price, the sale amounts to prostitution • Go to hell if engage in prostitution Responses to Sex Work Key Terms (UNAIDS) • Sex worker – all adults who sell or exchange sex for money, goods, or services (e.g. transport) o Even if they don’t consider themselves a sex worker ▪ Includes sugar babies o Female, male, transgender o Regular or occasional o Not coerced o Direct or indirect ▪ Indirect doesn’t consider sex work primary source of income ▪ Doesn’t consider self a sex worker • Prostitution – outmodes and negative term for sex work o UNAIDS only uses this word when quoting directly from something • Transactional sex – exchange of sex for goods or services, usually by someone who has other sources of income (not likely to identity as a sex worker) • Trafficked – coercively transported for purpose of exploitation, often sexual UN Approach • Trafficking Convention (1949) o Overtly anti-sex work position o Prostitution is undignified, prostitutes are victims o Punishment for procurement, enticement, and exploitation of prostitution of another, with or without consent o Prohibit brothel keeping and renting accommodations • CEDAW (1980) o States parties shall take all approporiate measures, including lefislation, to suppress all forms of sex work o ?? UNAIDS, Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific (2012) • Legal empowerment underpins effective HIV responses • Positive public health and human rights outcomes accompany decriminalization • Licensing and registration models have not proved to be effective o Legalization isn’t effective in addressing issues • Communities need to determine their own solutions o Localize the issue Attitudes Toward Sex Work Realities (Brock) • Historically involves coercion o E.g. rape and violence • Projects blame onto females • Exploits childhood o Average age of entry is 14 o 85% are victims of sexual abuse • Overlap between prostitution and drug trade Two Views of Sex Work/ Prostitution • A form of violence against the one being prostituted – exploitative in itself • A human rights issue – a valid form of work • Decriminalization o The repeal fo all existing laws governing voluntary sexual exchanges in adult (over age of 18), nonviolent, consensual relationships, whether or not money changed hands • Legalization o Imposition of state power o Usually involves licensing o Allows state to designate sex industry areas o Raises questions about enforcement of trafficking Brock’s Argument for Decriminalization • Key concern: focus on regulation of sex rather than on misuse of power • Instead of seeing sin in sexual behavior, which has created ceils of shame and guilt even around healthy sexual feelings, we must see it in the abuse of power • Alleged problem – assumption that sexuality embodies sin o Move away from Christian legacy Legal Models for Prostitution Laws • Swedish model o Penalize only clients and pimps o Prostitution = slavery; consent is irrelevant o Harshest penalty is 10 years • Dutch model o Respecting adult consent o Legalizing prostitution, regulation of the trade Prostitution and Canadian Law • Canada v Bedford (2013) – SCC found the following laws unconstitutional: o Prohibitions against brothels (Section 210 & 211) o Public communitcation for purpose of prostitution (section 213) o Living off of the profits of prostitutions (Section 212) • Bill C-36 (2014) o Criminalizes the purchase of sex and advertising or other forms of communication related to its sale ▪ Can’t band together to advertise but can promote own work o Provides some legal immunity for sex workers themselves ▪ Repeals section 212 Negative Effects of Criminalizing • Criminalization jeapordizes safety Positive Effects of Criminalizing Abstinence and Sex Education April 11, 2017 Erin Gilson – Pornography and vulnerability • Key ethical issue – responsiveness o Porn as a way to control, not responding to world o Porn erases ambiguity, which is an issue • If women can get involved in the creation of porn, it can be ok • Male perspectives determine is sexy and what is out of bounds • More concerned about approach to porn  idea of porn as creating own fantasy • Not responding to something, creating boundaries  makes self invulnerable • Exploitation of vulnerability is at stake o Not only when someone in a perilous situation is abused, but also when the open, ambiguous, undermined character of vulnerability is reduced, narrowed to a fixed, ostensibly pre-given, and overly determined way of being affected • Main issue we might take with consumer interaction with porn is the way it fosters the pursuit of invulnerability and the cultivation of entrepreneurial subjectivity • Porn limits responsiveness Introduction Discussion Questions • Who should be the primary sex education instructor in the child’s life? Why? • What should the state teach about sex education? At what age should children receive this instruction? Why a decline in teen birth rate? • Decline in teen birth rate in USA since 1990s • Economic distress • Less sex o More abstinence or more non-procreative sex acts • More effective contraception • More effective education about contraception Chastity • Chastity is a Chris
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