Sexual Addiction and Perversion
Wisdom Quarterly (ANALYSIS)
- Pandaka is variously and unsatisfactorily translated as eunuch, homosexual, or hermaphrodite. The best translation might be "pervert," compulsive sex maniac, transgendered compulsive permiscuous sex maniac, rake, rogue, or wanton libertine often bi or pansexual.
- How many past lives? There is no counting the number of many past lives living beings have endured in this dismal and abysmal "continued wandering on" that is samsara, the Cycle of Birth and Death. If one were to gather up all the bones from past births in physical form on Earth, the pile would be larger than the highest mountain. The amount of blood shed as beings reborn in dense form only to be beheaded as animals and criminals exceeds the amount of water in the great oceans. The Buddha gives many similes hinting at the incomprehensible number of rebirths already endured.
For example, they may have been molested, traumatized, or otherwise abused setting them on a perilous trajectory of sexual misconduct, prostitution, disease, child molesting, bestiality, sexual addiction, treachery, drug abuse, and so on.
There was certainly a time when homosexuality was unthinkable. However, what is neglected in most discussions, is that what is "homosexual" changes. Our modern American definition does not have an equivalent. The Western world does not agree what this term means even now. This country does not agree on what it means from location to location, and our definition changes over time.
While this may be hard for many readers to fathom, because after all we are talking about modern America, others may be sympathetic to the fact that behavior in prison, jail, same sex schools, slumber parties, during prepubescent experimentation, early developmental phases, or drunken episodes follows different rules.
Most Americans probably do not think simple same sex attraction is "perverted." But that is only a recent development. Male homosexuality is often treated as worse or more offensive than equivalent female behavior. Various reasons are given for this, but all of these are social constructs not "natural" categories.
We applaud girl-on-girl kissing; does that mean it is not homosexual (lesbian) or not "perverted." It used to be.
With males, the case is more ludicrous. In prison, in various cities, and in the minds of many Americans, "homosexuality" is not as much about states (behavior) so much as traits (character). So one could engage in gay activities and not consider oneself gay.
For example, the one on top is "straight" and "masculine" and "virile," whereas the bottom (recipient) is "bent" and "effeminate" and "weak." The absurdity -- our hypocrisy -- is that attributions flip depending on the act, in this case going from intercourse to oral sex.
Pandaka is most frequently translated as "eunuch." But eunuch in India, even today, does not mean what eunuch means to European and North American ears.
- One of the few books that covers this sensitive topic is Buddhism, Sexuality, & Gender edited by Ignacio Cabezon