Smutty Buddhas

2010 October 15
by Tanya McGinnity

A few weeks ago I went to the Montreal Nalandabodhi Centre for a showing of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s video “Heart to Heart”– a talk he gave to the LGBT community of the New York Shambhala Centre. I’ll post some notes I had taken from the talk in another post, but first wanted to recount a little story.

Our little group watched the video then settled in to lunch a bit. Our discussion turned to sex and I mentioned that I just read Brad Warner’s book and was found it inspiring that someone in the community had enough cojones to write about rarely discussed topics such as abortion, polyamory and pornography.


It was like I totally harshed the vibe of the kitchen party and sucked all of the decency and morality out of the room.

I scrambled to come up with something that involved the words “mindfulness” or “compassion” as a way to save face and appear to be an upstanding young Buddhist who was able to control her wicked devil tongue.

Maybe I was possessed. Some kind of hungry sex ghost snuck in and got all “Paranormal Activity” in me.

Are we Buddhists more puritanical than the Christians that proclaim that sex is a natural way to express God’s love? Does anyone have any experiences to share on this?

If you are in Montreal, join me and some other smutty Buddhas for Brad Warner’s two talks.

•October 26, 2010 (Tues) – 12 Noon Luncheon at Allen Memorial Hospital (McGill University)

•October 26, 2010 (Tues) – 7pm Casa Del Popolo 4873 boul. St. Laurent Montreal, QC

Brad will no doubt discuss things that will put your prayer shawls in knots and make you shake your mala beads at him (either in distain or in support).

5 Responses
  1. October 15, 2010

    “It was like I totally harshed the vibe of the kitchen party and sucked all of the decency and morality out of the room.”

    Nice. I feel like I do that all the time when I meet with my sangha. During sesshin this fall I dropped the harshness hammer on everyone when were asked to speak our minds about the practice.

    You open my gates and you can expect a few demons to come out.



  2. October 17, 2010

    as a smutty yogi, i will do my best to be at brad’s casa del popolo talk! thanks for the heads up about this. hope to see you there!

  3. October 18, 2010

    I am a smutty yogi Buddhist and I spent the weekend at a Zazen retreat led by Brad Warner at the Interdependence Project here in NYC – and I second your emotion that it’s great to hear a Buddhist talk openly and frankly about how sexuality and desire works with our modern practice.

    If you haven’t heard him talk about this stuff DEFINITELY check him out in Montreal!


    • Tanya McGinnity permalink*
      October 18, 2010

      Great to hear that Jerry. I’m looking forward to hearing if the ID project publish any podcasts from Brad’s talks.

      Did you check out Ponlop Rinpoche’s talk to the NY Shambhala LGBT group “Heart to Heart”? He gives lots of great advice on working with relationships – regardless of what form they take.

      There are a few brave enough to speak candidly about mindfulness between the sheets!

  4. October 18, 2010

    I think the problem with our Puritanism is that we’re always Westerners first. I’ve been a practicing Buddhist for 11 years, but I’ve been an American for 36. The fact that we’re raised in this hemisphere means that many ideas about sexuality simply seep into us as we grow up. Even Brad mentioned it in one of his talks. He spoke about the fact that he wasn’t raised in a religious environment at all, yet those Puritanical ideas are still buried inside him. It’s just something else we have to get over, like greed and delusion.

    I have to admit that the always-adolescent, rebellious side of me loves the fact that Brad shakes up the world of silly American Buddhism. We think we know so much and then he storms in and points out that everything we know just may be bullshit. I hope he keeps it coming.

Comments are closed.