The Buddha’s Stance on Transsexuals

The Buddha’s Stance on Transsexuals

BHANTE RAHULA BASNAGODA, PhD

“The Vinaya Pitaka, the ancient Buddhist texts that define the rules for Buddhist monks and nuns, record two incidences of sex change that a monk and a nun had gone through. A group of monks and nuns bring the two incidences to the Buddha’s notice. The Buddha accepts their changed status. He allows the former male disciple who became a female to live with female disciples, and the former female disciple to live with males. 


These episodes indicate the Buddha’s open-mindedness toward transsexual persons. He accepted their bodily changes even though some in his society attributed such changes to the influence of bad Karmas. Some of the sections in the Vinaya Pitaka are obviously later additions, which do not represent the Buddha’s true voice. There is every reason to believe that the Buddha accepted all kinds of people irrespective of any differences they had undergone.

The Buddha’s statement that one becomes a noble person not by birth but by one’s behavior confirms this conclusion. “Birth” means wealth, social status, and physical appearance including the gender of a particular person. Change of a certain person’s gender has no connection to the evaluation of that person. Only wholesome behavior—wholesome words, actions, and thoughts—makes a person noble. ”

BHANTE RAHULA BASNAGODA, PhD

Author of The Buddha’s Teachings on Prosperity

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