Thailand is one of the most devoutly Buddhist countries in the world. The primary religion is Theravada Buddhism which is practiced by about 95% of all Thais. Muslims are the second largest religious group, constitutes about 5% of the population (CIA, 2012).

Teachings of the Buddha

Theravada Buddhism focuses on the original teachings of the Buddha.
In Theravada Buddhism, there are two main ways of life: the life of the monk and the life of the lay person.The Buddha was neither supportive nor against marriage between members of the same gender.

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Buddhist monks are expected to live lives of celibacy, meaning abstinence from any type of sex. There is no explicit rule prohibiting those with a homosexual orientation from monastic life. However, in the Vinaya, the Buddha is recorded as opposing the ordination of those who openly expressed cross-gender features or strong homosexual desires and actions. The Buddhist sacred texts do contain a great deal of instances of loving relationships between unmarried men, which some believe to have homoerotic overtones. No sexual contact is mentioned in these instances, however.
  • The Buddha was more tolerant of lesbianism than male homosexuality. Nuns who were caught in lesbian practices were not expelled from the order. They must confess to the fellows about their practice, and then the offense will be redeemed (Vin. IV, 261) (The Buddhist Channel, 2005).
Lay Buddhists (those who live outside the monastery) are expected to adhere to Five Precepts, the third of which is a vow "not to engage in sexual misconduct." Sexual misconduct has traditionally been interpreted to include actions like coercive sex, sexual harassment, child molestation and adultery. As Homosexuality is not explicitly mentioned in any of the Buddha's sayings recorded in the Tripitaka, most interpreters have taken this to mean that homosexuality should be evaluated in the same way as heterosexuality, based on the above principles.
The principle of universal compassion does not allow Buddhists to judge other people based on the nature of what they are, which practice is considered discrimination. Thus, homosexual people should not be discriminated against; they are humans who deserve all the rights and dignity endowed upon them as members of human race (Religion Facts, 2012).



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The Law of Karma

The Law of Karma is more popular among Thai Buddhists than philosophical and advanced scriptural studies in Buddhism (Religion Facts, 2012).
According to their explanations, all homosexuals and sexual deviants were once offenders of the Third Precept (prohibiting sexual misconduct), at least in their past lives, and they must pay off their past sins in their present life. Therefore, they deserve all that society gives to them. This belief system creates strong conservative values in Theravada Buddhist culture. Some Buddhist laws that prohibit openly gay men to enter monkhood.
Buddhists are not supportive of gay rights and homosexual marriage.
They have condemned homosexuality, ousted monks accused of homosexual acts, and banned Kathoey from ordination. As one BBC article April 27, 2009, Senior monk Phra Maha Wudhijaya Vajiramedh is very concerned by flamboyant behavior of gay and transgender novices such as the wearing of make-up and tight or revealingly tight robes, carrying pink purses and having effeminately shaped eyebrows. Phra Vajiramedhi acknowledged that it was difficult to exclude them from the monkhood - so he introduced Thailand's & Buddhism's "good manners" curriculum - the country's first (BBC News, 2009).
Click to view the article--'Etiquette guide' for Thai monks’










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BBC News (2009) ‘'Etiquette guide' for Thai monks’, [Online], Available: __http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8020311.stm__ [17 November, 2012].
The Buddhist Channel (2005) Religion and same-sex marriage, [Online], Available: __http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=70,1429,0,0,1,0__
CIA (2012) The World Factbook, [Online], Available: __https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/th.html__ [17 November, 2012].
Religion Facts (2012) Homosexuality and Buddhism, [Online], Available: __http://www.religionfacts.com/homosexuality/buddhism.htm__ [17 November, 2012].