Before starting it will be necessary to make it clear what is meant by Buddhism in this article. As with other religions, Buddhism has a long history during which it has developed and evolved, branched into divergent schools and sects, and been interpreted in various ways by different philosophers, reformers and saints. And as with other religions it is not always easy to get agreement by Buddhists on every issue. However, Buddhism started with the experience of a particular individual, Siddhatha Gotama, and at a particular time in history, the 5th/4th century BCE. Without going into the complexities of the issues, this article takes the position that the earliest and therefore the most authentic account of the Buddha and his teachings is contained in the Pali Tipitaka, the huge body of literature now considered canonical by the Theravada school of Buddhism [1] .

While this article deals mainly with homosexuality it will also make some references to related states, gay adoption, transgenderism, etc.

There are occasional references to Christianity in this article, sometimes contrasting it with Buddhism. As Christian spokespersons and institutions are major contributors to ongoing debates about LGBT issues, and as Christianity will be the religion most familiar to English speaking readers, it is only appropriate to refer to it rather than Hinduism, Confucianism, Sikhism, Islam, etc.


  1. The parallel Agamas were translated into Chinese in ancient times and included in the Chinese Tipitaka [back]