Johnny Dangerous wrote:In terms of taking words literally, simply following the 3rd precept is pretty easy, I have actually done that my whole sex life, prior to even being a Buddhist. So obviously, what i'm asking goes beyond just "the basics" of literal interpretation, since to follow Buddhas historical suggestions for layfolks on the subject actually is not too taxing.
The first precept is not to kill (or torture) humans. That's not very taxing either. Isn't it important anyway? Most often keeping the five precepts and avoiding the ten wrong actions are difficult only in a given situation. What is actually karmically binding is not even the action itself but the intention and the attachment behind that (an important difference between Jainism and Buddhism). So, the third precept is good as it is, and it is about avoiding doing bad things, being free from the three lower realms.
Going beyond the basics can be done in various ways. To simplify, let's use the classic set of "avoid bad, do good, purify mind". Avoiding bad is keeping the third precept, and it can be extended with further restrictions (new and full moons, place, time, etc.), but it seems to me personally that those added rules are often more cultural than a logical consequence of the teachings, so we could as well switch them to our own cultural superstitions that we already abide by. To do good in terms of sex is likely to be about kindness and putting others in front of ourselves, giving up self-interest. In other words, being loving and caring. The most interesting part is purifying mind. This is about being aware and in control of our emotions and thoughts. It helps tremendously in accomplishing the first two points, and gives us a degree of freedom. Although Ajahn Brahm advertises jhanas by saying that it's better than sex, for the non-celibates, meditation makes sex better, as it helps removing the distractions from our mind and strengthens openness and focus.
I'll also be frank here, i'm interested in this question particular from the viewpoints of people (maybe with a few years under their belts) who have had normal, or abnormal sex lives, and how they view this stuff as regards their Buddhist practice.
As I see it, like with every other activity, one should incorporate sex into one's practice of embodying the bodhisattva virtues and perfections. I believe it is a problem to consider sex something extraordinary and special, while actually there are very few things that are more common among humans, like talking and hugging.