Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

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Queequeg
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Queequeg » Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:30 pm

One more comment, and then I'll yield the floor.

I think where you're going with your comments about sex being unproblematic is a little bit inaccurate.

In most Mahayana, anyway, the True Aspect of all dharmas is pure. All activity is fundamentally pure - ie. without marks. However, when reality is obscured by delusions these signless things can become evil - or good or neutral, for that matter. Its a bit of a stretch and misleading to then say, speaking conventionally, that sex is per se not problematic. For a deluded person for whom activity is suffused with wrong views, all activities, even "good" ones can be problematic. More so for something that holds such great potential for perpetuating and exacerbating delusions.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:01 pm

Queequeg wrote:Part of the problem here, and its the same problem since your initial response to my comment - you have a tendency toward the broad, categorical statements. As I've pointed out, we can't really talk about dharmas without balancing in mind their conventionality. In Buddhist discourse, we can only talk about "sex, per se", as a convention, and convention is by definition problematic even as we resort to it as an expedient.
Nonsense. Everyday conversations always utilise broad categorical statements. It would be ridiculously unwieldy to have to define every single phenomenon based on its specific instance. Today it is raining. It may be raining lightly or it may be raining heavily. We don't need to go out and measure the number of raindrops falling per second, within a certain area, in order to say if it is raining lightly or heavily. I look out the window: it is raining lightly. That's more than enough information to ascertain as to whether an umbrella is needed or not. But again, I think that by engaging the subject in the manner you recommend you run the risk of losing sight of the forest for the trees. I may be engaging in over-simplification, but your method will lead to an excessive complexification of the matter.
Sex simpliciter is a logical impossibility; a false view. Dharmas are always qualified. The compulsive sex of a nymphomaniac is as representative of sex as the sex of an enlightened yogi.
It is true enough to say that they are both engaging in sex. That does not mean they are engaging in the same type of sex, for the same reasons. For simplicities sake, and to ensure the utility of a conversation, we usually go by the norm. Neither of the examples you gave are representative of the "norm" regarding sex.
Actually, in the US, there are other trends with regard to the subject of sex that seem to project into the future. If you're paying attention, one by one, laws that precluded same-sex marriage have been either reversed by legislatures or struck down by the courts. Even these laws in the most conservative states are getting struck. The trend is clearly toward the codification of the acceptance of sex, in its variety, as a fact of life. Sure there is a vocal minority complaining about all the sex everyone is having, but they're far from the majority. And many of the most vocal are proven hypocrites suggesting there is something else going on with their public pronouncements, whether its their own hangups about their sexuality and overcompensation in dealing with it, or just plain old political advantage.
Same sex marriage merely places (forces?) same sex relationships into the monogamic schema. A heterosexual woman, for example, is still referred to as a slut when she has libertine tendencies. I believe that the legitimacy (through marriage) of homosexual relationships is about as much a step forward, as allowing homosexuals to serve in the military. Yes, it signals a legitimisation (by the state) of homosexuality via recognition of the non-harmful nature of homosexual activity, but for some of us the state is the problem and not the solution. :smile: Not to say that as a "band-aid" measure it is not effective, but...
The point is, and this is something we all need to work on, the only thing absolute about absolute statements is that they will lead to problems before they lead to resolutions. Sex is a subject that suffers because of all the absolute statements that tend to be made about it. If Vajrayana's approach to sex is something other than madhyamika, it's bound to end in problems. Fortunately, I don't think your expressed views on the subject are representative of the rest of your fellows.
What I was trying to say with my original statement, is that in the Vajrayana nobody is going to turn around and say to you: if you are about to enter the state of an Arhat but you have not taken monastic vows, your head will explode. There is no hang-up about monasticism (and by extension: sexual activity) to that degree.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:14 pm

Queequeg wrote:One more comment, and then I'll yield the floor.

I think where you're going with your comments about sex being unproblematic is a little bit inaccurate.

In most Mahayana, anyway, the True Aspect of all dharmas is pure. All activity is fundamentally pure - ie. without marks. However, when reality is obscured by delusions these signless things can become evil - or good or neutral, for that matter. Its a bit of a stretch and misleading to then say, speaking conventionally, that sex is per se not problematic. For a deluded person for whom activity is suffused with wrong views, all activities, even "good" ones can be problematic. More so for something that holds such great potential for perpetuating and exacerbating delusions.
So essentially you are in agreement with me: it is not sex which is the problem, it is the motivation for engaging in (or the driving force behind) sexual activity that is the problem. Sex is (essentially) as problematic as eating chocolate cake (ie it depends on the amount of whipped cream involved). :tongue:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by LastLegend » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:01 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Queequeg wrote:One more comment, and then I'll yield the floor.

I think where you're going with your comments about sex being unproblematic is a little bit inaccurate.

In most Mahayana, anyway, the True Aspect of all dharmas is pure. All activity is fundamentally pure - ie. without marks. However, when reality is obscured by delusions these signless things can become evil - or good or neutral, for that matter. Its a bit of a stretch and misleading to then say, speaking conventionally, that sex is per se not problematic. For a deluded person for whom activity is suffused with wrong views, all activities, even "good" ones can be problematic. More so for something that holds such great potential for perpetuating and exacerbating delusions.
So essentially you are in agreement with me: it is not sex which is the problem, it is the motivation for engaging in (or the driving force behind) sexual activity that is the problem. Sex is (essentially) as problematic as eating chocolate cake (ie it depends on the amount of whipped cream involved). :tongue:
No problem, just add some chains and hand cuffs to put some control over the situation. :lol:
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:18 pm

LastLegend wrote:No problem, just add some chains and hand cuffs to put some control over the situation. :lol:
I like the way you think! ;)
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Karma Dorje » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:03 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:So essentially you are in agreement with me: it is not sex which is the problem, it is the motivation for engaging in (or the driving force behind) sexual activity that is the problem. Sex is (essentially) as problematic as eating chocolate cake (ie it depends on the amount of whipped cream involved). :tongue:
This is a given. For any volitional activity, the motivation is paramount. My point about sex being problematic is that it is almost always motivated by craving for pleasure which is one of the eight worldly dharmas we should give up. Now obviously we just do our best and there is no point in getting neurotic about it, but very few Vajrayana practitioners are really keeping presence while having sex, or are attempting to. It's simply a worldly activity that is perpetuating samsara.

There are obviously other elements of emotional neediness and craving in sexuality that are not typically felt towards food, no matter how much whipped cream is involved. This is not to say that sexuality can't be brought into the path. I just wanted it to be clear in this thread that simply being a Vajrayana practitioner does not negate the significant dangers of desire.
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:07 pm

Karma Dorje wrote: I just wanted it to be clear in this thread that simply being a Vajrayana practitioner does not negate the significant dangers of desire.
Or the significant dangers of any of the other mental poisons!
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Queequeg » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:11 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:I think that by engaging the subject in the manner you recommend you run the risk of losing sight of the forest for the trees. I may be engaging in over-simplification, but your method will lead to an excessive complexification of the matter.
Not necessarily. I think I addressed this already, and my suggestion is, I think, the well established one: You proceed with conventions with the problematic nature of conventions implicitly acknowledged. If and when you find that the resort to convention raises a problem, you are ready, willing and able to relinquish the convention and move on. Its one of those capacities of the flexible mind that we are told is a benefit of spiritual growth. As I heard Bob Thurman comment when the Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed, "The Buddha does not mind." I on the other hand, was distressed at what I took to be an offense against me personally as a Buddhist. Clearly, I am not Buddha, while Bob is further along.
Same sex marriage merely places (forces?) same sex relationships into the monogamic schema. A heterosexual woman, for example, is still referred to as a slut when she has libertine tendencies. I believe that the legitimacy (through marriage) of homosexual relationships is about as much a step forward, as allowing homosexuals to serve in the military. Yes, it signals a legitimisation (by the state) of homosexuality via recognition of the non-harmful nature of homosexual activity, but for some of us the state is the problem and not the solution. :smile: Not to say that as a "band-aid" measure it is not effective, but...
I don't know if this is accurate or not, but in professing to be so sex positive, you're actually coming across as hostile towards people who elect for monogamy.

Nobody is forcing anyone into marriage, and aside from the odd prosecution for bigamy against non-mainstream mormons taking child wives, polygamy and polyandry are not prosecuted in the US. Certainly, no one is getting prosecuted for polyandrous arrangements or casual sexual partnering. Slut shaming maybe is a problem among adolescents and young adults, but nobody in the grownup world is getting on people's cases for their sex lives. Seriously, the vast majority of us are too busy living to worry about who our fellows are buggering Your example is mostly just a hypothetical and therefore mostly pointless.

Recognizing gay marriage is HUUUUUUUUUGE. Its way more than gays in the military. Marriage is a bundle of rights and privileges that are extremely valuable and useful for people to order their lives. It is an incredible concession given people's attitudes about it just 5 years ago. I at one point, like a lot of people actually, was in favor of civil unions and not marriage for gays. That changed after a conversation with a good friend who is gay. He made the point that civil union would place gay love in an inferior position to hetero love, and therefore having that legal distinction would perpetuate stigmatization of gays. When he put it like that, I changed my mind. I personally am sympathetically happy when my friends find love. I have a tremendous love in my life that brings indescribable joy - I wish comparable joy for everyone, however they come to it.

Anyway, gay marriage: Sometimes, my friend, you don't have to be a perpetual cynic and you can do more than just offer grudging approval. Sometimes, you ought to recognize when as a society we take such a huge step forward in recognizing each other's humanity. This, hopefully, is history - one of those benchmarks future historians will point to as an achievement toward acceptance and embrace of life in its myriad forms.

As far as the state goes, social anarchy is a nice ideal. But until that utopia materializes, peace must be maintained, bad guys suppressed, contracts enforced, hospitals and schools built and maintained, essentials like safe food and water distributed (as well as all these things that enable us to realize more and more of our potential as human beings - like this nifty internet that lets you and I communicate across immense distances more or less instantaneously), all of which in turn enables us to more perfectly practice Dharma... Some of us grownups feel responsible for making sure all that is there. Some of us just complain and worse.
What I was trying to say with my original statement, is that in the Vajrayana nobody is going to turn around and say to you: if you are about to enter the state of an Arhat but you have not taken monastic vows, your head will explode. There is no hang-up about monasticism (and by extension: sexual activity) to that degree.


I gotta say, there was no indication of all that in your comment, and the context of my comment wouldn't have helped. My entire comment was in tentative terms, I never characterized sex as "prohibited" or "proscribed" or anything like that. You created the problem by making assumptions. Not to make my particular tradition part of the issue, but I wouldn't make comments about sex being a categorical no-no - "klesa=bodhi" is fundamental feature of my school.
Sherab Dorje wrote:So essentially you are in agreement with me: it is not sex which is the problem, it is the motivation for engaging in (or the driving force behind) sexual activity that is the problem. Sex is (essentially) as problematic as eating chocolate cake (ie it depends on the amount of whipped cream involved). :tongue:
Notwithstanding your egocentric characterization of me being in agreement with you, yes, we are in agreement. I suspect there never was disagreement, but again, you mistook an off hand sarcastic comment of mine and it escalated. The record is there above.

Language is the liquid...
Karma Dorje wrote:My point about sex being problematic is that it is almost always motivated by craving for pleasure
For men, anyway, sex without craving for pleasure is an impressive feat, pharmaceutical aids notwithstanding.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Redfaery » Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:11 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:Same sex marriage merely places (forces?) same sex relationships into the monogamic schema. A heterosexual woman, for example, is still referred to as a slut when she has libertine tendencies. I believe that the legitimacy (through marriage) of homosexual relationships is about as much a step forward, as allowing homosexuals to serve in the military. Yes, it signals a legitimisation (by the state) of homosexuality via recognition of the non-harmful nature of homosexual activity, but for some of us the state is the problem and not the solution. :smile: Not to say that as a "band-aid" measure it is not effective, but...
Y'Know....marriage is a legal institution, too. It comes with legal perks. Tax stuff. Hospital rights. Stuff that the government does FOR MARRIED PEOPLE. Gay people don't usually get that, because...well, for a long time people like me haven't been able to get married.
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:43 am

Queequeg wrote:Notwithstanding your egocentric characterization of me being in agreement with you, yes, we are in agreement. I suspect there never was disagreement, but again, you mistook an off hand sarcastic comment of mine and it escalated. The record is there above.
As long as you admit "I" am right, I don't really care how you phrase it! :tongue:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:49 am

Redfaery wrote:Y'Know....marriage is a legal institution, too. It comes with legal perks. Tax stuff. Hospital rights. Stuff that the government does FOR MARRIED PEOPLE. Gay people don't usually get that, because...well, for a long time people like me haven't been able to get married.
You won't see me disagreeing, just, as I said before: it is a band aid measure. Personally I see no reason at all why the state should either ratify or reject ones personal (sexual) life. It's a solution, of sorts, within the bounds of current legal convention. That's all I am saying.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by DGA » Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:57 am

Any form of sex-positivity would have to recognize monogamy and celibacy, if taken consciously volitionally & responsibly, as as legitimate form of life-expression as polyamory or furry-fandom or whatever else people may with their bodies*. If monogamy lifts your luggage, then...

phpBB [video]


*full disclosure: I've been in the same relationship since 1995, so I guess I fall in this category of sex-positive people who practice monogamy and respect the decisions of celibate persons

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Redfaery » Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:41 pm

I agree with this. People have widely varying sexual needs. Some are satisfied with monogamy, some really do need more than one relationship, and some (like me) aren't really interested in sex and can do without it. There are even others who are flatly averse to sexual intercourse, and that's just fine too.
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by rory » Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:10 am

As someone who actually is gay, a lesbian, I was, in the beginning, deeply uninterested in the cause for same-sex marriage. What interest do I have in upholding a patriarchal institution? Ugh! But it's far more important than that, it's about the public seeing us a regular people, families, who are no different than they are. I don't have a 'lifestyle' I'm just a woman who happens to be only attracted to other women. Full stop. I'm part and parcel of the human race. So in this respect same-sex marriage has been huge, and also I know many women who have children, fight in the military, lived together for years, yet somehow it's okay to deny them the $ benefits the state gives to m/f couples? Most people understand this is just wrong.

The discussion for the post part has been so utterly male-centric, with the exception of Queequeg ( yes we Jews are sex-positive) and Redfaery. Women for the most part desire a single partner, 'polyandry' isn't on their radar and we yearn for intimacy not sex with a 'hot stranger' - the common male fantasy. Of course substituting intimacy for sex leads to its own issues of desiring and grasping but they are different....

gassho
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The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:00 am

"We Jews are sex positive".

Yeah, all the stuff in Leviticus about menstruation and dirtiness of women is practically women's lib. :shrug:

Rory, for someone who has gone out of her way to point out sexism or repressive attitudes in Buddhism circles ( not a bad thing), you shouldn't be so blind to it in Judaism, as it it most certainly there, though I agree that most mainstream modern Judaism seems to take a more positive view than say, more rigid forms of Islam or Christianity. If you don't think there are gender oppression issues, or generallly weird views of women and their bodies in Hasidic or Orthodox communities for instance though, IMO you are simply incorrect..

I also think you are taking some big liberties talking about what kinds of fantasies, and the general preferences of women - which obviously, are quite a broad range of things.

Honestly the one place where I tend to find traditional Buddhist commentary mostly unhelpful is modern gender and sexual politics, the categories are so different now, context is so different. Personally, I have no issues with Polyandry or Polygamy, any more than I would with any other setup between consenting adults who aren't hurting each other (any more than ANY relationship involves hurting each other that is).
sherab dorje wrote: You won't see me disagreeing, just, as I said before: it is a band aid measure. Personally I see no reason at all why the state should either ratify or reject ones personal (sexual) life. It's a solution, of sorts, within the bounds of current legal convention. That's all I am saying.
Agreed 100%!
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by dzogchungpa » Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:19 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:"We Jews are sex positive"...
JD, we Jews are a remarkably homogeneous group, so, of course, rory speaks for all of us.
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by rory » Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:35 am

I was brought up a Reform Jew and sex is seen as natural. Orthodox Judaism does have purity issues, for both men and women, if you menstruate or ejaculate, you are ritually impure, there is a similar mentality in Shinto about ritual impurity but it doesn't mean women or men are bad. It's leagues away from Christianity which regards sex as wrong. It's its own thing. I really don't care but if people are going to talk do support your claim here is a link:

Here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22152700" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; sex manual for ultra orthodox jews (they're the weird end of the spectrum)

Anyway as long as people are consenting, do as you please.
gassho
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Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Queequeg » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:21 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Leviticus
There's also books like Song of Songs. And certainly lots of begetting. And many heroic women.

There's always a tat for a tit.

Bad taste?

Bad taste.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by pemachophel » Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:59 pm

Johnny,

"Honestly the one place where I tend to find traditional Buddhist commentary mostly unhelpful is modern gender and sexual politics, the categories are so different now, context is so different."

I understand what you are saying. However, what if the Buddhist teaching that we are in the nyug-mai du, the "time of dregs"/degenerate time is true? IOW, that all or most of the modern changes in the world, society, our ideas, and mores are the result of increasing ignorance and kleshas. That these changes are not positive progress but rather further degeneration fueled by delusion. From that POV, the "traditional Buddhist commentary" may not be so wide of the mark. In fact, it may be spot on.

Something to consider.

:namaste:
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:16 pm

pemachophel wrote:Johnny,

"Honestly the one place where I tend to find traditional Buddhist commentary mostly unhelpful is modern gender and sexual politics, the categories are so different now, context is so different."

I understand what you are saying. However, what if the Buddhist teaching that we are in the nyug-mai du, the "time of dregs"/degenerate time is true? IOW, that all or most of the modern changes in the world, society, our ideas, and mores are the result of increasing ignorance and kleshas. That these changes are not positive progress but rather further degeneration fueled by delusion. From that POV, the "traditional Buddhist commentary" may not be so wide of the mark. In fact, it may be spot on.

Something to consider.

:namaste:
When I read the stuff (as an admittedly vaguely remembered offhand example) that Nagarjuna writes about women and wives, or that Buddhagosa writes about homosexuality...it really doesn't read like anything but the conservative sexual and gender views of their respective times. Am I supposed to simply give these more credence due to "oh well its the degenerate age, so all modern ideas are by definition incorrect, and all older ideas more correct"? Not a convincing argument, at all if indeed it's similar to what you are saying.

Would you apply this same form of reasoning to all aspects of modernity outside the realm of sexuality? Is the end of slavery in the US, taken on it's own merits..a sign of the degenerate age?

More specifically, in such a case..which is an aspect of the degenerate age, slavery, fights to end slavery, or both? If the answer is both, you might as well just not talk about any kind of views, at all. Even in Samsara, even in the degenerate age, we have to choose what we can reason is the least harmful thing.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

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