is masturbation sexual misconduct?

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floatingbubbles07
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is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by floatingbubbles07 »

I've been doing some research as well as talking to my mom, who is a devout Buddhist. Although I read online that the Dalai Lama says that masturbation and oral sex are sexual misconduct, I also read that he said they can be "enjoyable and harmless" for society. I was thinking about getting baptized for Buddhism, but I don't think I can stand not masturbating and I need some answers. My mom also said that she's heard from at least 1 monk that masturbation is not sexual misconduct. Can someone help me out and give me some answers on whether or not masturbation, oral sex, and gay sex are sexual misconduct? That would be great, thanks.

P.S. Sorry if this is a weird question. I have a strong belief that I won't get any answers if I don't ask questions and I'm in need of answers right now.
amanitamusc
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Re: is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by amanitamusc »

floatingbubbles07 wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:04 am I've been doing some research as well as talking to my mom, who is a devout Buddhist. Although I read online that the Dalai Lama says that masturbation and oral sex are sexual misconduct, I also read that he said they can be "enjoyable and harmless" for society. I was thinking about getting baptized for Buddhism, but I don't think I can stand not masturbating and I need some answers. My mom also said that she's heard from at least 1 monk that masturbation is not sexual misconduct. Can someone help me out and give me some answers on whether or not masturbation, oral sex, and gay sex are sexual misconduct? That would be great, thanks.

P.S. Sorry if this is a weird question. I have a strong belief that I won't get any answers if I don't ask questions and I'm in need of answers right now.
It depends on who you ask.
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Grigoris
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Re: is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by Grigoris »

The Buddha never defined masturbation as sexual misconduct.
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shaunc
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Re: is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by shaunc »

If it makes you feel any better, I've always considered it as a hobby.
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Könchok Thrinley
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Re: is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

Depends who you ask. Buddha never defined it that way for lay people. However some mahayana writers such as Gampopa did among other things. However that seems to be more about historical context. Some of the stuff does not make much sense in modern times when we have our own rooms and privacy. So I would say that it is not a sexual misconduct.
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Steel
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Re: is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by Steel »

If you a ask a strict conservative theravadin they might say it is misconduct. A liberal Mahayani on the other hand would probably say it is not. I don't think the Buddha himself said it was misconduct but could be wrong.
Bundokji
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Re: is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by Bundokji »

The ability to masturbate shows how the mind/self/clinging aggregates have no ultimate truth to them. Instead of thinking about it from doctrinal perspective, think of it in terms of opportunity cost, you are limited in time and energy. Humans can do better than seeking sensual pleasure, that does not make sensual pleasure a taboo or a sin.
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant
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Aemilius
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Re: is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by Aemilius »

Guide To Buddhism A To Z:
"Masturbation (sukkavissaññhi) is the act of stimulating one's own sexual organs (sambàdha) to the stage of orgasm (adhikavega). In the Kàma Såtra male masturbation is called `seizing the lion' (simhàkàranta). Some people during the Buddha's time believed that masturbation could have a therapeutic effect on the mind and the body (Vin.III,109), although the Buddha disagreed with this. According to the Vinaya, it is an offence of some seriousness for monks or nuns to masturbate (Vin.III,111) although the Buddha gave no guidance on this matter to lay people. However, Buddhism could agree with contemporary medical opinion that masturbation is a normal expression of the sexual drive and is physically and psychologically harmless, as long as it does not become a preoccupation or a substitute for ordinary sexual relations. Guilt and self-disgust about masturbating is certainly more harmful than masturbation itself."
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tingdzin
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Re: is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by tingdzin »

Don't worry about asking this question. There usedto be masturbation threads on this forum regularly, but they seem to have tapered off. People getting older, I guess.
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Sonam Wangchug
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Re: is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by Sonam Wangchug »

For Monastics it is one of the thirteen remainders, vow transgressions where only some of the vow remains. As opposed to something like the four defeats, where the vow would be completely broken.
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seeker242
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Re: is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by seeker242 »

For a monk, yes. For a layperson, no. However, that doesn't mean it's good. I just means it's not bad enough to be called a broken precept.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: is masturbation sexual misconduct?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

The Buddha said to rely on yourself, that you must rely your own efforts in order to achieve liberation from samsara.
Why should sex should be any different?
:D :D :D

Buddhism doesn’t use strict, absolute ‘do’s and ‘do not’s.
Instead, we are advised to avoid negative actions of body, speech, and mind. Thus, an action might be positive in one sense, and negative in another, even simultaneously.

But what is a ‘negative action’?

Ultimately, a negative action is that which steers you away from the path to liberation. You can think of this like a train heading on the railroad towards a destination. If the train has to stop, or starts going in the opposite direction, or gets sidetracked, it will take longer to reach its destination, and if it continues to travel away from its destination, it will never reach it.

And if you think of a train track as a mathematical number line, (negative numbers to the left of zero, positive numbers to the right of zero) then it’s easy to think of one’s actions as being “positive” or “negative”. If the actions lead you in one direction, they are positive. Going in the other direction is negative.

To determine whether one’s actions are positive or negative, within the Buddhist context (thus, “misconduct” vs. “right conduct”, skillful vs. unskillful, mindful vs. mindless, and so on) you can refer to the “three poisons”, attraction (greed, desire, etc.), repulsion (Anger, hatred, etc.), and neutral (ignorance, indifference) as a guide in examining the action. In this way, you examine your motivation.

Since avoiding sexual misconduct is a precept or vow, then after determining whether the action in question is positive or negative, one then applies four criteria:
The intention to do it, the doing of the action itself, being glad one has done it, and an intention (or at least leaving open the likelihood) of doing it again.

If we consider the action (masturbation) specifically, it is essentially an act of self gratification. In this sense, it is no different than any other action one may engage in simply for the pleasure one derives from doing it. In this sense it is no different than watching TV or eating an ice cream cone or whatever.

On the one hand, you can see it as misconduct because your time would be better spent in meditation or study. In that sense, it is diverting your attention away from whatever dharma practice you could be busy with otherwise.
On the other hand, having a need for sexual release may also be distracting you from meditation, your mind may be difficult to relax because you feel a strong urge for sexual stimulation. In that case, maybe it’s better to just do it.
In this regard, it depends which hand you are using! :tongue:

Likewise, if the alternative to self-gratification is an action in which you are intrusive towards other people (that can mean a lot of different things), then pleasuring yourself is preferable to creating a negative situation for others.

However, since the action involves both body and mind, you should also guard your thoughts. If you fantasize situations where someone is suffering, this will leave a negative imprint in your mind, so, the result, as far as the mind is concerned, in terms of habitual patterns in the mind, is the same as if it were a real action and not just a sexual fantasy.

...
Be kind.
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