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Faith in Lodi and the region Marriage, gay or straight, should bring us closer to enlightenment

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The Rev. Katsuya Kusunoki, Buddhist Church of Lodi


Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2013 12:00 am

Buddhism is a teaching for all sentient beings. There is not any discrimination at all in Buddhism.

I belong to the Buddhist Churches of America. Our school does not support any sexual discrimination. In 2004, the BCA minister's association made a resolution to support same-sex marriage.

Regarding the gender issue in Scouting, in February 2013, it was written, "The BCA minister's association in support of its long-term association with the Scouting Program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and in accord with the religious principles of Buddhism encourages BSA to remove all limitations of participation due to sexual orientation" (quoted from the Wheel of Dharma newspaper, April 2013, Page 6).

And more, our BCA Center for Buddhist Education holds a seminar titled "Over the Rainbow," where we are learning about the issues of being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Buddhism is a teaching to attain enlightenment. It is important for Buddhists to aim for enlightenment. Attaining enlightenment means to eliminate our attachments. We all are living with attachments.

No one can live alone. We meet somebody and live together, and then love blooms and reaches to marriage. Love makes our life happy and pleasurable; on the other hand, love also becomes the cause of our jealousy and hatred. Love is one of our attachments. I cannot make any judgment about whether love is good or bad, but it is certain that love is one of my causes of suffering.

Whether it is same-sex marriage or another-sex marriage, marriage involves love. Getting married means that people acquire an attachment. People who marry have to know and accept this fact.

My school is Jodo Shin Buddhism. It teaches us that it is important for Jodo Shin Buddhists to recite Buddha's name (Namoamidabutsu) and reflect upon ourselves as we are.

Our founder, Shinran's master Honen, said, "Reciting Buddha's name must be the core of your life. You should stay in a monastery if it is easier for you to recite Buddha's name. And you should get married and live with your spouse and family if it is easier for you to recite Buddha's name."

It is the most important thing for the Jodo Shin Buddhist follower to reflect upon our lives as they are and recite Buddha's name. It is OK to be married to another-sex person or same-sex person. It is also OK not to get married. The most important issue for us is to live while reciting Buddha's name and accept things as they are.

In this connection of marriage, I got married to my wife four years ago. I sometimes feel that she is fussy and picky. However, her comments and attitude make me deeply think about my life and correct my life as a Jodo Shin Buddhist. I can live my life while reciting Buddha's name because of her. The attachment of marriage becomes the cause of listening to Buddha's teaching for me.

The same can be true for all marriages.

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