Celibacy

A forum for discussion of Buddhist ethics.

Re: Celibacy

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:05 am

Bear in mind, attitudes to these matter have changed enormously in the last 50 years. Maybe such things as 'casual sex, masturbation' and so on, were not explicitly mentioned in the early texts, because the terms for them simply not exist, or they weren't considered subjects for discussion. But if you look at the traditional scriptures there are plenty of passages which decry 'lust and fornication' in exactly the same way that any other ol' time religions did. If you do a search for 'lust' on access to insight, there is no shortage of hits - this is the first one, there are pages and pages of similar quotes.

With sensual lust I burn.
My mind is on fire.
Please, Gotama, from compassion,
tell me how
to put it out.

[Ven. Ananda:]
From distorted perception
your mind is on fire.
Shun the theme of the beautiful
accompanied by lust.
See mental fabrications as other,
as stress,
& not-self.

Extinguish your great lust.
Don't keep burning again & again.


Develop the mind
— well-centered & one —
in the foul,
through the foul.
Have your mindfulness
immersed in the body.
Be one who pursues
disenchantment.
Develop the theme-less.
Cast out conceit.
Then, from breaking through
conceit,
you will go on your way

at peace.

Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:16 am

Jeepers, human beings (and not only) have been shagging and masturbating since genitals were invented. Now that was a hell of a long time ago! These activities only become an issue (or problematic) within certain social forms.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:29 am

Of course. What I said was the attitudes have changed. I think they've changed a lot more than you're aware of. You're taking a lot for granted, you have to learn to look through spectacles other than the ones you're comfortable wearing.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:42 am

Well, it seems to me that whenever somebody here looks at a scripture they seem to take off the "who is the audience the Buddha is teaching to" spectacles. Now while I agree 100% that lust is a mental poison that is mentioned endlessly (and warned against) throughout the canon, to laypeople and monastics alike, the rules against fornication (oh, what a dirty word) per se do not apply to laypeople. The abovementioned quote is from a teaching to Ananda, a monastic. People have sex for reasons other than lust. Sex with an appropriate partner (ie not one contraindicated by the teachings on right sexual activity) can be an expression of love, can be for the purpose of procreation (if heterosexual), can be... If you have a problem with having sex then maybe you should deal with your problem and not try to project it out onto the rest of the world? There is no reason to try to encourage feelings of guilt and shame, neither of these emotions are constructive anyway, in reference to any activity. No reason to cultivate these feelings, in yourself or others.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:46 am

Discussion on Yantra Yoga moved here
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:16 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Well, it seems to me that whenever somebody here looks at a scripture they seem to take off the "who is the audience the Buddha is teaching to" spectacles. Now while I agree 100% that lust is a mental poison that is mentioned endlessly (and warned against) throughout the canon, to laypeople and monastics alike, the rules against fornication (oh, what a dirty word) per se do not apply to laypeople. The abovementioned quote is from a teaching to Ananda, a monastic. People have sex for reasons other than lust. Sex with an appropriate partner (ie not one contraindicated by the teachings on right sexual activity) can be an expression of love, can be for the purpose of procreation (if heterosexual), can be... If you have a problem with having sex then maybe you should deal with your problem and not try to project it out onto the rest of the world? There is no reason to try to encourage feelings of guilt and shame, neither of these emotions are constructive anyway, in reference to any activity. No reason to cultivate these feelings, in yourself or others.


This is a discussion, in a Buddhist forum, in the 'ethical conduct' section. It was started by a contributor who was seeking advice and guidance on dependency on pornography. So that is the context. I don't think I am 'projecting' although I am obviously presenting a viewpoint. I haven't, and am not, criticizing sex or lovemaking or conjugal relationships. My main points have been about how attitudes have changed, and how we (moderns) take a lot for granted.

I am also averse to the suggestion that if you advocate a traditionalist view, then you are, therefore 'a slave to Christian morality', or are 'blaming or spreading guilt'. The fact that a discussion of the morality of pornography can't be had, without that accusation being made, says something.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:29 am

The other interesting thing to reflect on is that what I am proposing is actually 'shocking' in our social context. I think we react against the 'traditionalist' attitude in these matters, in exactly the same way that a 'traditionalist' would react to the 'modern' attitude: namely, shock. This is because we are acclimatized to a certain normative view. In the West it is very pro-choice, liberal, self-determined and unconstrained by traditional mores, and I don't think it hurts to actually try and stand back and understand the degree to which that is drilled into us by the culture we live in.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:40 am

jeeprs wrote:I am also averse to the suggestion that if you advocate a traditionalist view, then you are, therefore 'a slave to Christian morality', or are 'blaming or spreading guilt'. The fact that a discussion of the morality of pornography can't be had, without that accusation being made, says something.
The discussion (right now) is not about pornography (it's the second time that I am pointing this out to you), right now we are discussing ethical principles regarding sex and masturbation for laypeople. In regards to this subject the teachings are quite clear. The rest of the stuff being thrown around here for the past 2-3 pages (not just by you) is cultural baggage. It just so happens that the cultural baggage of the majority of westerners is Christianity (in one form or another).

As far as I am concerned pornography is nasty and pernicious. From my experience with people in the sex work industry it is all about abuse (emotional abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, economic abuse and substance abuse). Pornography depicts sex in a highly mechanical and unloving manner and gives many people (for whom pornography is the main form of sex education) a completely wrong idea about what sex can be about. But this is just my personal opinion (based on personal experience and lashings of moral indoctrination). I am not going to justify it as being Buddhist (or not), traditionalist (or not), etc... It doesn't interest me to do so in the slightest.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:20 am

Where that argument falls down is that there are apparently plenty of people engaged in porn who do so willingly and with no apparent adverse effects. One of the articles linked from page 2 of this thread is to research purporting to show that female porn performers are not, contra the received wisdom, 'damaged goods' but have adequate self-esteem, are well-adjusted and even have, and I quote, 'high levels of spirituality'. So the argument that porn is morally bad because it is exploitative or enslaves people or makes them miserable, founders on this point. I think from the viewpoint of ethical theory, if it's going to be criticized, it has to be because there is something intrinsically disordered about performing in it or consuming it, regardless of whether people like it or not. And that is what makes it such a difficult issue.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:40 am

Apparently, according to the specific report. My view is not based on some report, my view is based on my personal and professional encounters with workers in the sex industry. Now I do not deny that maybe, just maybe, there is a "happy hooker" somewhere out there, but I personally haven't come across one yet. So you will have to indulge me as I base my opinion on my personal experiences and not on some report by somebody, somewhere.

Anyway, like I said before, I am not here to make ethical and moral judgements, I am just reporting on what I have seen and experienced. What do your experiences tell you?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:37 pm

That it's a problem. That is how it occurs for me, and it is not because 'I don't like it'. If I didn't like it, it wouldn't be a problem. I would really rather like to drink scotch and enjoy the occasional bong, too, but in my book all of these things are adharma. I'm generally on the wagon, but you can't take anything for granted.... So obviously, as you're picking up, it is a conflict - and also I realize I'm sounding off, but you rarely get the opportunity to discuss it, which I am trying to do in a philosophical way. :thinking:
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Re: Celibacy

Postby In the bone yard » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:47 pm

Some people can get away with self-initiated emissions (SIE) and some cannot. Some people know it's wrong because in some way it makes them unhappy.
Some people let society dictate what's right and wrong...they don't have their own light or don't have the guts to try.

A true Vajrayana practioner on the path, (completion stage) purifies his or her desires to the point where SIE becomes a foreign idea.
A buddha is pure...the defilement of desire has become one of the 5 wisdoms.
The Buddha shouldn't have to state whether or not you can or cannot SIE. Because to become a Buddha is should be obvious you will not need SIE.
I don't understand why it has to be told or written down by the Buddha???


So I think for most SIE is okay but if one is looking at higher levels, toward the path of realization, one will have to engage in higher levels of purity.
To study and read high level Buddhism does not make me a high level practioner. As greentara pointed out, I can't expect to read 100 books on Tantra and call myself a realized being.

Most here don't really care about enlightenment and that's fine.
But people do take merit way too lightly and then they wonder why they achieve no results.

Common sense and logic is a human gift that too many people waste. True intelligence begins in logic.
Most people overthink and they call that intelligence...they forget the K.I.S.S. principle. And when somebody points it out to them then they say ohhhh yeaaaa.....

So that is all I wanted to say. :smile:
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:48 am

In the bone yard wrote:The Buddha shouldn't have to state whether or not you can or cannot SIE. Because to become a Buddha is should be obvious you will not need SIE.
I don't understand why it has to be told or written down by the Buddha???
To become a Buddha lots of things are unecessary.

Let me put it a different way:
So I think for most watching television is okay but if one is looking at higher levels, toward the path of realization, one will have to engage in higher levels of purity.
Sounds stupid doesn't it? To my ears the statement with SIE sounds equally daft.
But people do take merit way too lightly and then they wonder why they achieve no results.
So, apart from impure, masturbation is demeritorious as well? :shrug: Some scripture to back that one?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:08 am

The fact that you're equating sexual acts with 'watching television' debases the meaning of sexuality, doesn't it? You say that the prohibitions around casual sex are aimed at making people feel needlessly guilty, but maybe they're also about preserving the notion that sexuality is in some sense sacred, or at least very special, and that it ought not to be reduced to a form of casual entertainment. Do you think 'scriptural validation' is needed for that? I would regard it as common-sense.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:26 am

jeeprs wrote:The fact that you're equating sexual acts with 'watching television' debases the meaning of sexuality, doesn't it?
I am not equating anything with anything, I am merely pointing out the absurdity of the statement.
You say that the prohibitions around casual sex are aimed at making people feel needlessly guilty...
I said nothing of the sort. The discussion is in reference to masturbation. You have a nasty habit of not actually reading what you are apparently reading, either that or intentionally misreading in order to spark arguments where none exist.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Celibacy

Postby oldbob » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:47 pm

:namaste:

Many good, helpful and thoughtful posts.

:twothumbsup: :good: :good: :good:

Funny stories about celibates and sex:

http://tibetalia.com/tibetan-humour-aku-tonpa.htm

http://www.exoticindiaart.com/book/deta ... ng-NAC671/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drukpa_Kunley

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_de ... 0765972994

http://www.keithdowman.net/books/dm.htm

Perhaps there are many views which are appropriate in different circumstances.

What furthers the practice of one, is not appropriate for another.

What furthers your practice at one point in your life, is not appropriate in another.

Advice from Masters, which may or may not apply to you:

Masturbation is OK - Very old Burmese Meditation Master

No Addictions! - ChNNR

Sex is fine - Advice from her teacher, to a very beautiful European young lady in retreat in Nepal, with very long stinky blond dreadnaughts, who would leave her many month retreat practice to go out and find a lover so she could go back into retreat and do her practice without distraction.

Life is complicated.

Keep your eyes open.

viewtopic.php?f=77&t=13472&start=20#p176968

viewtopic.php?f=77&t=13472&start=20#p177023

So going back to the OP's question: perhaps this is really a personal matter to be discussed with a spiritual Master whom you trust.

So while it is good to ask for support on line, and to know that there are many solutions to the issue, perhaps what solution would be best to further your practice, is advice to be given to you from your Spiritual Teacher.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby greentara » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:40 am

jeeprs, "I am also averse to the suggestion that if you advocate a traditionalist view, then you are, therefore 'a slave to Christian morality', or are 'blaming or spreading guilt'. The fact that a discussion of the morality of pornography can't be had, without that accusation being made, says something"
I agree with you totally. Secularism is the new religion, the net is flooded by porn so where's all this supposed guilt? Most people revel and celebrate sex unashamedly. It's everywhere, it saturates the media, people talk and joke about it constantly. As far as I can see there's not much guilt around at all.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:20 pm

Agreed. People use sexual images to sell bottles of water these days.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Celibacy

Postby In the bone yard » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:31 pm

Greg,
Depends on what you watch! :jumping:

Seriously though...all I can ask is that you see the point of my post.

You have to be careful when you tell someone they can or can't do something, morally speaking.
I was brought up catholic so I know well the feeling of guilt.
It brought me almost 15 years of clinical depression.
Buddhism literally saved my life and made it worth living!

Only a worldly man (or a church ran by worldly people making moral rules) has the power to make another feel guilty.
I could never imagine a buddha (or the buddha) making another feel guilty or ashamed.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:17 pm

In the bone yard wrote:Only a worldly man (or a church ran by worldly people making moral rules) has the power to make another feel guilty.
I could never imagine a buddha (or the buddha) making another feel guilty or ashamed.
I agree with you 100%. It was not my goal to make people feel guilty or ashamed. I am sorry if it came across that way.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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