"Buddhism is a religion that has a special attraction for members of the l/g/b/t community in that its bedrock principles are tolerance, kindness and compassion, and homosexuality is not considered inherently wrong or sinful. Instead, the rules on sexual conduct apply to all equally, without regard to orientation. In Buddhism, especially as practiced in the West, there is no controversy about the role gay and lesbian people play in the religion.
Buddhist communities, known as sanghas, are generally welcoming of l/g/b/t persons and make no distinctions about them. For many in our community, this is a refreshing change from the attitudes frequently encountered in other religions. In other ways, Buddhism is also a different sort of religion than those in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Buddhists do not worship a creator God; the Buddha himself is not worshipped, but rather is considered an historical human being to be emulated. The Buddha also taught that followers of his philosophy should examine his teachings for themselves, and not take them on faith. For this reason, Buddhism is not a dogmatic religion but rather encourages re-evaluation of the teachings based on current conditions.
This allows the religion to be pragmatic and adaptable, while continuing to rest on the foundation of kindness, compassion and wisdom. It is also perfectly acceptable for members of other religions to maintain their original faiths while also participating in Buddhist philosophy and meditation practices.
The Rainbow Buddhists of Pittsburgh are a group of lesbians, gay and bisexual men and women who are active in the various schools and traditions of Buddhism in this region. We support each other and celebrate our fellowship, and can also act as a welcoming entry point for those interested in learning more about our religion. At our monthly meetings we usually have a talk on the dharma (Buddhist teachings), join together in a meditation practice, and also socialize and have refreshments. Anyone is welcome to join us, whether you are curious and want to learn more about Buddhism or already have an established practice.
Buddhism is about reaching a deep understanding of life, and having great compassion for all sentient beings. It sounds simple, but to actually put these principles to action in our lives takes discipline and training of the mind. To this end, many methods have been developed over the centuries. These may include sitting and walking meditations to improve mindful awareness of every moment, or the use of koans- a type of word riddle favored by some Zen practitioners. Tibetan Buddhists may use chanting with visualizations to purify their negative emotions and increase their capacity for positive ones. All of these practices are ultimately about increasing our focus in every moment, seeing the big picture around us rather than being self-centered, and then acting out in a way that is kind and compassionate. Since there are no hard and fast rules for us to blindly follow, we are charged with the responsibility in every moment of assessing a situation and figuring out what is the most compassionate thing to do. For this reason, training the mind to be aware of the moment, rather than anticipating the future or rehashing the past, is especially important to all Buddhists.
The Rainbow Buddhists present an opportunity for people in our community to learn more about Buddhism and the various meditation practices in a friendly, affirming atmosphere. Whether you have studied Buddhist philosophy and have a meditation practice, or are just curious and like to be around people who hold these spiritual values, you are welcome to join us at our monthly meetings."
Taken from the "Rainbow Buddhist Group" site.