By John-Henry Westen
  November 2, 2007 ( - While it is little known and seldom heard, Buddhism, like Catholicism opposes homosexual acts as "sexual misconduct".
  With all the North American media giving attention to the Dalai Lama during his current visit and his upcoming visit with Pope Benedict XVI, it is a good time to draw attention to his views on homosexual relations.  The media harp on the Pope’s views on homosexuality, yet have remained relatively silent on a very similar position held by the leader of the world’s Buddhists.
  In an interview with the Vancouver Sun in 2004, the Buddhist leader was questioned about homosexuality to which he replied, "For a Buddhist, the same sex, that is sexual misconduct."
  The Dalai Lama elaborated, "they use the mouth and the anus, this is sexual misconduct in Buddhism."  He also noted that the restrictions on sexual activity applied even outside the homosexual context to heterosexual and even married couples.  "Even as (sic) a heterosexual context. Even if one uses one’s own hand this is sexual misconduct. So if you are a genuine believer, then you must avoid this," he said.
  The stance is very similar to that of the Catholic Church which similarly forbids homosexual sex, and even within heterosexual marriage insists that sexual acts remain open to life thus forbidding anal and oral sex and masturbation where ejaculation occurs outside the vagina.
  There is a key difference however in the approach of the two religions regarding sexuality.
  Buddhism, according to the Dalai Lama, has one set of beliefs for its members and a totally different set of beliefs for non-members.
"I have two letters, one letter is as a religious believer, I think that we should follow according to one’s holy teachings," explained the Buddhist leader. 
"If you are a non-believer," he continued, "then two persons male or female, they get maximum joy through this technique, they do not create violence, (laughs). One thing I would like to express, sometimes due to that kind of behaviour there is discrimination in jobs, or within the family this creates some problem purely based on that sexual reason, - if people discriminate based on sexual orientation, that is extreme and it is wrong. Whether same sex marriage is OK or not is dependent upon each country’s law."
  Questioned by Sun reporter Douglas Todd on whether same sex ‘marriage’ was a big deal, the Dalai Lama replied, "Even the whole concept of marriage is particular to a particular society and their unity, so whether or not homosexual couples should be accorded a marriage status, should really be dealt within that particular community and country."
  Therein lies a stark difference with Catholicism as successive Popes (and other Christian leaders who teach traditional Christian moral principles) have not spoken of sexual teachings as restricted to Catholics or other Christians, but for the good of all humanity.
  The Popes thus propose God’s plan for human sexuality as a reality stamped in the human heart, the human psyche and the human soul regardless of religious belief or non-belief.
  The Catholic Church teaches the fact that the sexual act is a beautiful, healthy and even holy thing when it is carried out within marriage between a man and a woman who give themselves to each other freely, totally, faithfully and are open to the gift of new life.
  The heartbreak of broken relationships, adultery, and divorce; the addiction to pornography, masturbation and other aberrant sexual practices; the pain of sexually transmitted diseases; and the horror of rape and sexual abuse all point to the disastrous consequences of thwarting God’s plan for human sexuality.
  Why Buddhists do not extend their teachings on sexuality to non-believers is a puzzle.  It begs one to question whether the Dalai Lama considers Buddhism’s teachings to be the healthiest road for human sexuality.

  If yes, the teachings should be proposed to the world as such.  If not, then why would Buddhists be asked to practice them?