Navigating Youth Transitions as a Buddhist: Privilege, Reflexivity and Sexuality

Sarah-Jane Page, Andrew Kam-Tuck Yip


This article focuses on how young Buddhists (aged between 18 and 25, living in the UK, who typically had not been raised Buddhist) utilised reflexivity as a strategy to navigate youth transitions. Participants’ decision-making was premised on Buddhist ethics of avoiding harm, cultivating compassion, and embracing diversity. They scrutinised their actions to ensure they positioned themselves ethically in their everyday lives, particularly regarding sexuality. This reflexivity had a positive impact at the individual level, enabling them to construct a coherent biographical narrative. Yet, analysing this through the sociological lens of advantage and disadvantage, we posit that these accomplishments were facilitated by certain classed privileges. Their Buddhist identity was cultivated because of, rather than in spite of, their existing privileged location in the social strata, resulting in a consolidation of their already-privileged biographies. Our arguments are based on an in-depth mixed-method project which encompassed questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and video diaries.


Buddhism; sexual diversity; youth; reflexivity; sexual misconduct; privilege

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The JGB is indexed in Wikidata, Scopus, ATLA Religion Database, ProQuest, EBSCO, eGranary Digital Library, the DOAJ, and ERIH PLUS. The works published in this journal are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  ISSN 1527-6457