Buddhist says nirvana not for gays

Reuters, July 4, 2003

BANGKOK, Thailand (Reuters) — A leading Buddhist monk in Thailand has called for rigorous screening of candidates seeking to don saffron robes because too many homosexual men were becoming monks, the Nation newspaper reported on Friday.

Phra Payom Kalayano said tighter screening was needed to prevent those with “sexual deviation” from becoming ordained.

“Some homosexual monks have caused trouble in the temples,” he told the English-language daily, estimating that 700 of Thailand’s 300,000 monks were gay.

Phra Khru Pimornsorakhun, secretary to Bangkok’s monastic chief, said senior monks and abbots were looking into religious laws to see what measures could be taken.

“We have so far been unable to reach a conclusion,” he was quoted as saying.

Ambiguity surrounds the whole issue of Buddhist monks and homosexuality and existing monastic legislation does not demand that gay monks should be barred.

Before ordination, Buddhist monks are simply asked whether or not they are a man.

About 90 percent of Thailand’s 62 million people are Buddhist. All monks are required to take a vow of lifelong celibacy.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday July 8, 2003.
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