Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

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pemachophel
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by pemachophel » Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:40 pm

Sherab-la,

I don't think you can say Mandharava and Yeshe Tshogyal were Guru Rinpoche's "wives." They were karmamudras -- from what we know, the main two among many. So I don't think you can say Guru Rinpoche was a polygamist which means having multiple wives.

Sorry if this is quibbling over semantics, but, as afar as I know, Guru Rinpoche was never married.

:namaste:
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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Karma Dorje
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Karma Dorje » Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:19 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:Yes, I don't think sex, per se, is considered problematic in Vajrayana. That is why celibate monasticism is not the ONLY means to liberation (like in the Theravada, for example where one HAS TO take monastic vows or else they lose their opportunity to achieve Arhat status).

As for the Guru Rinpoche quote on conduct being "as fine as flour": Guru Rinpoche was not a celibate monastic. He had two wives (ie he was a polygamist) and from all accounts liked to "get it on" with dakinis. So... :shrug:
Karmamudra is not sex, it's yoga. Ordinary sex is not liberative.

Virupa could drink beer all day long. Is alcohol problematic for the practitioner? Of course. That doesn't mean either sex or alcohol must be rejected, but it doesn't mean samsaric business as usual either.
"Although my view is higher than the sky, My respect for the cause and effect of actions is as fine as grains of flour."
-Padmasambhava

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Grigoris
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:36 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:Karmamudra is not sex, it's yoga.
It is sexual yoga.
Ordinary sex is not liberative.
Really? And here's me thinking that ordinary mind is the problem.
Virupa could drink beer all day long. Is alcohol problematic for the practitioner? Of course.
Well, it wasn't problematic for the specific practitioner (and a few others I won't care to mention) so one cannot generalise to say that it is problematic for all practitioners. It is also an integral part of some Vajrayana practices. So it would be false to say that alcohol, per se, is problematic. Otherwise you would be falling into the trap of proscribing essential characteristics onto a dependently arisen phenomenon.
That doesn't mean either sex or alcohol must be rejected, but it doesn't mean samsaric business as usual either.
This is the second time you are accusing me of saying business as usual is fine, where have I actually said that? Let me answer for you: nowhere!
"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 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:36 pm

pemachophel wrote:Sherab-la,

I don't think you can say Mandharava and Yeshe Tshogyal were Guru Rinpoche's "wives." They were karmamudras -- from what we know, the main two among many. So I don't think you can say Guru Rinpoche was a polygamist which means having multiple wives.

Sorry if this is quibbling over semantics, but, as afar as I know, Guru Rinpoche was never married.

:namaste:
Polyamorous then, is that better? :smile:
"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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Queequeg
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Queequeg » Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:03 pm

I've been pondering what "sex per se" could possibly be. Then I'm told of "alcohol per se". I can't say I've had either, and I think I've had a fair amount of each.

I think they exist in the same category of things as turtle fur coats and rabbit antlers. Maybe in the imaginations of children who have only seen half naked women in beer ads.

I read somewhere something to the effect that emptiness divorced from dependent origination is merely philosophy. I think some similar critique can be made of dharmas divorced from acknowledgment of their dependently originated reality.

All dharmas are qualified. Buddhism 101. Its what makes liberation possible. Buddhism 401.

But then, I don't know Vajrayana, which people tell me is post graduate level Buddhism. Reality seems to be different at that level. I'll step out and let you tantrikas work this out.

K. I'll stop being a jerk now.

I'll try.
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 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:25 pm

Queequeg wrote:I've been pondering what "sex per se" could possibly be. Then I'm told of "alcohol per se". I can't say I've had either, and I think I've had a fair amount of each.
Well, that's the point I've been trying to make all this time really, isn't it?
K. I'll stop being a jerk now.

I'll try.
Glad to hear that! :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 Queequeg » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:15 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Queequeg wrote:I've been pondering what "sex per se" could possibly be. Then I'm told of "alcohol per se". I can't say I've had either, and I think I've had a fair amount of each.
Well, that's the point I've been trying to make all this time really, isn't it?
K. I'll stop being a jerk now.

I'll try.
Glad to hear that! :tongue:
Haha.

OK. But seriously, what is this " sex per se"? For me it conjures an image of stick figures bumping into each other.
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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Nemo
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Nemo » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:58 pm

Generally I would say it is better to have one excellent spouse than two middling ones. Poly is an excellent way to get around the work/home life balance. With two working and one home with the kids you can have a very good life. The singular one needs a high sex drive though.

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by DGA » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:16 am

Nemo wrote:Generally I would say it is better to have one excellent spouse than two middling ones. Poly is an excellent way to get around the work/home life balance. With two working and one home with the kids you can have a very good life. The singular one needs a high sex drive though.
Relationships don't work when the partners are incompatible sexually (big differences libido, &c). One may float the idea that the householder bodhisattva is GGG.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savage_Love#GGG" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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dzogchungpa
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by dzogchungpa » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:27 am

Jikan wrote:One may float the idea that the householder bodhisattva is GGG.
I think we may have a new pāramitā on our hands.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by DGA » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:27 am

Yeah, I don't want to reignite another contentious debate around celibacy by making that comment. I just think that if you're going to be in a sexual relationship, and you're a Buddhist, you really ought to reflect carefully with your partner on what you're up to, and to have an attitude of generosity, compassion, honesty, and self-respect about it. If monogamy works, then great, but what's the use in BS-ing yourself or anyone else over it should it prove totally unworkable?

Really, so many of the Buddha's teachings are about being a grownup. Get over your hangups and be a grownup about these things, you know?

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:40 am

Queequeg wrote:OK. But seriously, what is this " sex per se"? For me it conjures an image of stick figures bumping into each other.
Some traditions, schools or religions consider sex itself as a negative activity. Even during sex for reproductive purposes (when allowed), they take steps to ensure that the sexual partners (obviously married) minimise all physical contact. In this case we see that sex, in of itself (per se, that is) is considered a negative activity. It is not even the desirous aspect of sex that is considered negative (which is normally the lay Buddhist take, in most Buddhist traditions), the act of having sex itself is considered negative.
"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 Redfaery » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:08 pm

I know Japanese Buddhism had a really interesting and conflicted attitude towards sex. Polygyny was the norm in society. The sexual mores of the Heian period look really lax when compared to China. Women, for example, weren't officially punished for adultery. Their husbands might leave them, and they would certainly be gossiped about, but that was it. So there are lots of stories of the Buddhas and Boddhisattvas using sex as an expedient means to lead more worldly monks to take things seriously. My favorite is the story of a handsome young venerable convinced that he can get inside this beautiful young woman's kimono, but she keeps putting him off - she really is impressed by learning you see, and he can't even recite the Lotus Sutra from memory! So he gets down to business and studies his butt off, with that horribly worldly intention of scoring. And he becomes a great scholar and learns to respect this woman for what she's done for him, and when he returns for his "reward" it is revealed that she's the Buddha Kokuzo, who was just answering his prayers!
NAMO SARASWATI DEVI
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Redfaery » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:04 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:It is when we try to apply Abrahamic moral codes that "issues" apparently develop.
Just a point: I actually agree with you overall, but I think blaming hangups on ritual sexual practice over "Abrahamic moral codes" is a bit of a stretch. Sacred sex is pretty much universally a hot-button issue. The Hindus had their own hangups regarding Tantra and ritual sex that had nothing to do with Judeo-Christian conditioning.
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Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - GANDHI
I am a delicate feminine flower!!!!

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:51 pm

Redfaery wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:It is when we try to apply Abrahamic moral codes that "issues" apparently develop.
Just a point: I actually agree with you overall, but I think blaming hangups on ritual sexual practice over "Abrahamic moral codes" is a bit of a stretch. Sacred sex is pretty much universally a hot-button issue. The Hindus had their own hangups regarding Tantra and ritual sex that had nothing to do with Judeo-Christian conditioning.
When I made the comment about Vajrayana not being so hung up on the negativity of sexual relations, I didn't mean just ritual sex. Actually, ritual sex didn't even cross my mind.

I'm not talking about sacred sex or Tantric sex. So let's face it: Abrahamaic traditions have some pretty serious hang-ups regarding sex. Hang-ups that were dealt some serious blows during the sixties and seventies, but they still linger. Now, with the neo-con resurgences in most western countries, and especially in the US, these hang-ups are coming to the fore again. I can't see why we would be afraid to admit to that?
"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 Redfaery » Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:11 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:I'm not talking about sacred sex or Tantric sex. So let's face it: Abrahamaic traditions have some pretty serious hang-ups regarding sex. Hang-ups that were dealt some serious blows during the sixties and seventies, but they still linger. Now, with the neo-con resurgences in most western countries, and especially in the US, these hang-ups are coming to the fore again. I can't see why we would be afraid to admit to that?
Not afraid to admit it. Remember, I'm a lesbian who was raised Catholic and told that sex was wicked, and then sent to a fundamentalist school where I was told I was an abomination for my sexual orientation. I don't disagree. I just wanted to point out that it's not just the Abrahamic religions that have hangups about sex.
NAMO SARASWATI DEVI
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - GANDHI
I am a delicate feminine flower!!!!

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:26 am

Jikan wrote:Really, so many of the Buddha's teachings are about being a grownup. Get over your hangups and be a grownup about these things, you know?
:twothumbsup:
Kim

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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:15 am

Redfaery wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:I'm not talking about sacred sex or Tantric sex. So let's face it: Abrahamaic traditions have some pretty serious hang-ups regarding sex. Hang-ups that were dealt some serious blows during the sixties and seventies, but they still linger. Now, with the neo-con resurgences in most western countries, and especially in the US, these hang-ups are coming to the fore again. I can't see why we would be afraid to admit to that?
Not afraid to admit it. Remember, I'm a lesbian who was raised Catholic and told that sex was wicked, and then sent to a fundamentalist school where I was told I was an abomination for my sexual orientation. I don't disagree. I just wanted to point out that it's not just the Abrahamic religions that have hangups about sex.
I agree, but the majority of us here are from Western Christian countries, so our opinions are more likely to be formed by our contact with Abrahamic religions than Zoroastrian or Druze philosophy (for example).
"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 Redfaery » Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:26 pm

That is indeed true....I take your point. :namaste:
NAMO SARASWATI DEVI
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - GANDHI
I am a delicate feminine flower!!!!

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Queequeg
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Re: Polygamy / Polyandry & Buddhism

Post by Queequeg » Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:13 pm

“Language is the liquid / That we’re all dissolved in / Great for solving problems / After it creates the problem”
-Modest Mouse
Sherab Dorje wrote:
Queequeg wrote:OK. But seriously, what is this " sex per se"? For me it conjures an image of stick figures bumping into each other.
Some traditions, schools or religions consider sex itself as a negative activity. Even during sex for reproductive purposes (when allowed), they take steps to ensure that the sexual partners (obviously married) minimise all physical contact. In this case we see that sex, in of itself (per se, that is) is considered a negative activity. It is not even the desirous aspect of sex that is considered negative (which is normally the lay Buddhist take, in most Buddhist traditions), the act of having sex itself is considered negative.
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.

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. To say that both are unproblematic is problematic to say the least. If that's indeed what Vajrayana holds, its problematic from basic Buddhist analysis.

Anyway, its clear now that you have a comparison of the views on sex among non-Buddhists and Vajrayana Buddhists in mind. The views of tirthikas are irrelevant here. But since you are bringing up the views of tirthikas as a contrast to Vajrayana...

Actually, I wonder how familiar you are with this broad category of views that generally falls under the umbrella of Abrahamic religion. I'm not sure how familiar you are with Judaism, the granddaddy Abrahamic religion, being that Abraham was a Jew. In my understanding of it based on growing up in New York around Jews and marrying a Jew, I can say pretty confidently, Jews like their sex and don't have Abrahamic hang-ups about it.
In Jewish law, sex is not considered shameful, sinful or obscene. Sex is not a necessary evil for the sole purpose of procreation. Although sexual desire comes from the yetzer ra (the evil impulse), it is no more evil than hunger or thirst, which also come from the yetzer ra. Like hunger, thirst or other basic instincts, sexual desire must be controlled and channeled, satisfied at the proper time, place and manner. But when sexual desire is satisfied between a husband and wife at the proper time, out of mutual love and desire, sex is a mitzvah.
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jso ... m/sex.html

Sex is a mitzvah! Sure, there are qualifications to that, but all sex is always qualified. That's the nature of human activity - always qualified.
Sherab Dorje wrote:Now, with the neo-con resurgences in most western countries, and especially in the US, these hang-ups are coming to the fore again. I can't see why we would be afraid to admit to that?
Another example of your tendency to simplify matters into hard and fast categories.

Actually, in the US, there are other trends with regard to the subject of sex that seem to project into the future. We will see, of course. If you're paying attention, though, 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.

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.
Last edited by Queequeg on Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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