Khyentse Rinpoche: Lesbians probably reach enlightenment first

By Darren Wee, Gay Star News, 3 February 2015

Famous Lama compares sexual orientation to liking different cheeses

Timphu, Bhutan -- A Bhutanese lama has said that homosexuality does not affect one's understanding of Buddhism and that lesbians probably reach enlightenment before anyone else.

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, who is known for his wit and sense of humor, made the comments in a YouTube video uploaded on 22 January, although it is not clear when the clip was recorded.

The filmmaker and writer said he wanted to talk about the 'interesting question of sexual orientation' and how it fits into Bhutan's Buddhist way of life.

'To see the truth is the most important [thing]; morality, discipline, even meditation, even so-called meditation as precious as it sounds, if your meditation is not making you see the truth, you are basically rotting your butt,' he said.

'So, what I want to say is that therefore your sexual orientation has nothing to do with understanding or not understanding the truth. You could be gay, you could be lesbian, you could be straight, we never know which one will get enlightened first.'

'Probably lesbians. We never know,' he said to laughter.

Rinpoche is head of the Dzongsar Monastery in Sichuan, China and responsible for the care and education of 1,600 monks in colleges across Asia.

He also compared sexual orientation to cheese preference.

'Some people like cottage cheese and some people like Swiss cheese. It’s a bit like that, really. And some people like both. And why not?' he said.

Rinpoche concluded his speech with an appeal to his Bhutanese audience to respect LGBTI people.

'Bhutanese think we are a great species on this earth, you know, we are very conservative. Time is changing, and we should be really tolerant,' he said.

'You should not be tolerating this, actually. You should be respecting it. Tolerance is not a good thing. If you are tolerating this, it means that you think it’s something wrong that you will tolerate. But you have to go beyond that. You have to actually respect this one.'