Adultery and Being a Buddhist

A forum for discussion of Buddhist ethics.
User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6363
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by Queequeg » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:29 pm

I don't know in other traditions, but in East Asia, in confessional practices, you're supposed to arouse a sense of shame and regret. The idea is that you're trying to feel bad about what you did, really feel and understand it, own it, so to speak.

Then, of course, in the process you realize its all empty.

I think its a different sort of guilt and shame than you have in a Christian context, though. That eye in the sky taking inventory of everything you've done, judging you. "Tsk tsk tsk, he's abusing himself again."

Cause and effect, being morally neutral, its easier to get on, perhaps. There's no judgment, just acknowledgment that "you reap what you sow." Instead of feeling guilty about screwing up, you just feel regret, like when you distractedly leave the coffee on the roof of the car and drive off. "Doh."

("I put my penis somewhere it wasn't such a good idea to put it. Doh." "Why are you harshing? Its all empty, baby.")
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

User avatar
_R_
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:34 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by _R_ » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:31 pm

Punya wrote:
Sexual misconduct is a big deal in Buddhism, just in case someone wants to claim it's only Western Christian / Judeo culture that gets uptight about it....
The issue with bringing in western Christian / judeo culture is guilt and blame.
How we intrepet what is sexual misconduct, is also influeced by our culture. For example, anal sex is considered sexual misconduct in Tibet, but here it propably won't apply. And what I've seen, for west africans it's totally acceptable to have a mistress. That's one of the many reasons why I brought up the whole worm box of culture.

Anyway, we don't know the whole story, so we shouldn't be so eager to throw judgements nor impose guilt on anybody. Things hardly ever are black and white.
I'm the best.

User avatar
Kunga Lhadzom
Posts: 1469
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:01 am

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by Kunga Lhadzom » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:37 pm

Punya wrote:The issue with bringing in western Christian / judeo culture is guilt and blame.
Oy Vey !!! I'm so emeshed in it, i honestly didn't realize i was doing that !!!! (Now i understand ) :bow: :bow: :bow:

I'm as hard on myself as i am with others...thank you Punya :heart:

Sorry ChrisK for being so hard on you. I just really wanted you to see how F@@ked up i got from being in a relationship with someone that cheated on me....unlike you, that loves 2 women...the guy i was with, is a sex addict, that saw hookers for 26 years (the whole time i was in a relationship with him).


:toilet:
The Universe flowing through my veins...stars falling from my eyes......rocks rolling in my head...lemon juice dripping down my chin....

https://drunklotus.blog

Punya
Posts: 1216
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:50 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by Punya » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:44 am

I don't know in other traditions, but in East Asia, in confessional practices, you're supposed to arouse a sense of shame and regret. The idea is that you're trying to feel bad about what you did, really feel and understand it, own it, so to speak. 
I don't know about other traditions either but my understanding is that when HH the Dalai Lama first came to the west someone had to explain to him about the western concept of guilt. It was quite foreign to him. Also, one of my teachers (from the Tibetan tradition) has given us very specfic advice on this and I don't think the word shame would fit with what he was saying either. So strong regret yes, own it yes, but guilt and shame no. I wonder whether the shame concept is more prevalent in Eastern cultures and therefore in SE Asian Buddhism.
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
~Chatral Rinpoche

Punya
Posts: 1216
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:50 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by Punya » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:31 am

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:
I'm as hard on myself as i am with others...
Me too. :smile:
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
~Chatral Rinpoche

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6363
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by Queequeg » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:29 pm

Punya wrote:I wonder whether the shame concept is more prevalent in Eastern cultures and therefore in SE Asian Buddhism.
That's a good question. My experience is in Japan, and I'm only half so never got the full dose of group dynamics that goes on. In my observation, the shame is within basically a Confucian social context. So, Korean friends and some non-mainland Chinese friends have this sensibility baked in. One thing Communism seems to have done, for better or worse, is purge a lot of Confucian sensibilities out of people.

But back to East Asian Shame - Its not shame in a Christian religious sense. Its shame in a social sense, existing on a spectrum of shame-honor. Its shame in the sens of embarrassment, that you become the object of social condemnation. It can be severe - making one an outcast. I think the weight of these social pressures has dissipated in big cities, though. Anonymity tends to have that relieving effect.

My limited experience in Tibetan communities, I didn't sense the same social pressures. I definitely sensed the boundaries of social structures, but people are definitely more relaxed and free. The exception was a girl I met who was high born and seemed to have strong ideas of identity which limited her. But, that's high born in any society. They've got to keep up the pretensions of their upper classes.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6363
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by Queequeg » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:44 pm

I do feel regret for being so heavy on this OP.

In case he reads this, I'd amend my comment to him as follows:

It will pass. And in the meantime, get on the Buddha path because there's nothing else to do.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

User avatar
javier.espinoza.t
Posts: 921
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am
Location: Chile

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:23 pm

ChrisK wrote:Many years ago I started practicing Buddhism, in it's most basic form. I dropped away from it after multiple deployments to Iraq because I felt conflicted with being a Buddhist and fighting in a war. At any rate, I am retired from the military now and I feel Buddhism calling me back, but I have another issue. As I start back on my journey of Buddhism I have another conflict which goes against my Buddhist beliefs. I am cheating on my wife, whom I love, and I'm in love with another woman. Now I know a lot of people will say you cannot love two people but I disagree. I disagree and I know for a fact that you can, because I do. I can love each woman because each woman give me different things I need and I love them because they are two different people. Now, as a Buddhist I am suppose to avoid suffering and causing harm to others and in saying that I would like opinions or maybe some guidance. So, if I'm suppose to avoid harming others how do I tell one I'm in love with another woman or how do I end the other relationship, which I refuse to call an affair because it's much more than that? The "other" woman knows I'm married and is willing to share me and is also willing to make sure no one finds out about us. I must also add this info because it makes me more aware of not hurting the "other" woman. The "other" woman is fighting Lymphoma and ending anything at this time would be too harsh and hurtful because she depends on me for comfort and companionship. I would truly like some input on this issue. Thank you.
you passed through war, through hell itself, saw and lived intense suffering, so it's normal that you want to live "at the maximum". But, what you are doing now on is of most utterly important to your mental and emotional equilibrium, so please, be carefull.

i believe the problem is of another kind, rather than ethical.

try to find peace, quietness, and then maybe you can find a real answer.

best regards.

User avatar
ChrisK
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:50 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by ChrisK » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:15 pm

I have to say I truly appreciate everyone's input and or advice. Even the advice that is kinda hard to hear. So I have another question related to this situation. If I maintain both relationships does this make me a bad Buddhist? Can I be a good Buddhist and commit adultery?

User avatar
ChrisK
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:50 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by ChrisK » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:17 pm

"i believe the problem is of another kind, rather than ethical.

try to find peace, quietness, and then maybe you can find a real answer.

best regards."

Thank you very much Brother

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6363
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by Queequeg » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:35 pm

ChrisK wrote:I have to say I truly appreciate everyone's input and or advice. Even the advice that is kinda hard to hear. So I have another question related to this situation. If I maintain both relationships does this make me a bad Buddhist? Can I be a good Buddhist and commit adultery?
Sorry for being a .... fill in the blank.

All other issues aside, I don't think "good" and "bad" qualifiers are applicable.

The question is rather, "will the manner in which I conduct myself be conducive to practice or an obstacle?"

I imagine maintaining alternative narratives in life tends to make things like examination of self moderately more complex.

I'll shut up now.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

Jeff H
Posts: 887
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:56 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by Jeff H » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:40 pm

ChrisK wrote:I have to say I truly appreciate everyone's input and or advice. Even the advice that is kinda hard to hear. So I have another question related to this situation. If I maintain both relationships does this make me a bad Buddhist? Can I be a good Buddhist and commit adultery?
Glad you're still here.

QQ is exactly right, so the point is to start your practice. You can get a wide range of opinions on a forum, but not coherent spiritual direction at the outset.

You need to dip in and find out what Buddhism is for you. That doesn't mean make up what you want it to be. It means you find a personal connection and establish the appropriate level and direction for you. Find a teacher, a center, a Buddhist friend, take a course, read some general books.

You might try His Holiness the Dalai Lama'a The Four Noble Truths. It's a small book about Buddha's first teaching.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

boda
Posts: 1928
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:40 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by boda » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:43 pm

ChrisK wrote:I have to say I truly appreciate everyone's input and or advice. Even the advice that is kinda hard to hear. So I have another question related to this situation. If I maintain both relationships does this make me a bad Buddhist? Can I be a good Buddhist and commit adultery?
If being a good Buddhist means following the Nobel Eightfold Path, then I guess the answer is no. But by that criteria most aren't good Buddhists, so you'd basically be average.

User avatar
ClearblueSky
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:27 am

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by ClearblueSky » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:18 am

ChrisK wrote:I have to say I truly appreciate everyone's input and or advice. Even the advice that is kinda hard to hear. So I have another question related to this situation. If I maintain both relationships does this make me a bad Buddhist? Can I be a good Buddhist and commit adultery?
There are no "bad" Buddhists, there's just Buddhists still suffering from ignorance (most of us). My advice is keep practicing Buddhism, and look at this situation separately. I almost think it's too heavy to "mix" them, especially if you do not have a long practice background. In other words, take a deep breath and realize you have only a few options:

1.Continue as is with both women secretly.
2.End the relationship with one woman or the other.
3.End the relationship with both.
4.Tell your wife what's happening, and negotiate from there. Maybe she'll leave you, or maybe she wants an open relationship too, who knows.

If it's hard to decide perhaps talk to some friends or a therapist. But don't stop being Buddhist, if anything you want to be a MORE perfect Buddhist in every other way you can. I wish you the best of luck. Though there will be karmic consequences, you are in a common situation, and are not a bad person. I'm sure you know this is not ethical to lie, but I'm sure you are suffering with this as well, and I hope you can work things out in whatever way's best.

User avatar
_R_
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:34 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by _R_ » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:32 am

ChrisK wrote:I have to say I truly appreciate everyone's input and or advice. Even the advice that is kinda hard to hear. So I have another question related to this situation. If I maintain both relationships does this make me a bad Buddhist? Can I be a good Buddhist and commit adultery?

You should read "what makes you not a buddhist" by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. You can google up excerpts of the book. In my opinion, a good practioner is the one who does his practice every day. And you are the best witness of your own actions.
I'm the best.

joy&peace
Posts: 1005
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by joy&peace » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:49 pm

As mentioned - the best thing you can do is take several days, meditate, that will help with clarity.

Here is one significant point -- Truthfulness is one of the most important things, if not The most...

Buddha said once in a scripture, - and I am paraphrasing, so it's not a direct quote - but along the lines of -- For him who would break truth - what sin would he not do?

So, in this, being truthful is considered higher than even the other values - and being untruthful opens up the door to the others.

I know I've written about this with emphasis - as have others -

So -- -- Chris K - I know I wrote in my earlier posts - a lot.

Try to understand -- you simply must Stop.

Now -- I know you are asking strangers and such -- but, trust me -- clear you heart....

Try to understand the deeper levels perhaps --

There are the rules of morality -- I won't list them, just to say they are there -- But, without an understanding, rules are meaningless.

So what are the reasons for this concept -- Do not commit adultery?

OK. So - adultery is a complex topic -- as are human beings in general, and all human endeavors.

I won't give you the specific answers -- but rather leave the question to consider.

Not really sure how to end this -- I have no anger or condemning,

But with all my heart encourage you to stop this --

For basically countless reasons; which I won't give,

But just encouraging you to calm, clear, meditate,

And please stop doing this -- which can destroy lives,

damage hope, and do so much else --

Instead seek and take up Dharma,

sincerely and with determination.

Sincerely,
J
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

User avatar
gescom
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:31 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by gescom » Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:34 am

Maybe in future moderators could possibly move a thread like this that's quite personal in nature into the 'personal experiences/help required' section of the forums? Just to avoid anyone being judged too harshly. Or if a thread is heading in that direction. Just an idea.
So I have another question related to this situation. If I maintain both relationships does this make me a bad Buddhist? Can I be a good Buddhist and commit adultery?
It's about cherishing others more than yourself. I know I fail at this way too much. Keep doing the best you can I suppose.

The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas is a helpful condensed guide: http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-mas ... dhisattvas

User avatar
Nemo
Posts: 887
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by Nemo » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:23 pm

I had an affair that turned into being married to both of them. Was also in the military at the time.We all lived together and raised a kid. Lasted about 5 years. Looking back and talking to them I can say they were never happier. One realizes society wants to tell people to behave a certain way sexually and like the psychos here believe if you break the rules you must be endlessly punished and publicly censured. Don't tell me what to do with my body. I am honest and I like what I like. You don't get to trap me just because society tells you there is only one kind of relationship that is OK. I decide what is OK.

I suppose as personal advice I would say maybe if neither meets your expectations perhaps you should dump both and look for a single person who meets more of your needs. That is hard because with two partners you can have it all sometimes. The career focused go getter and the stay at home mom. One who is tough and independent another who is artistic and spiritual but not well suited to conflict. It's a lot of work though and the neighbors get a bit jealous. Thinking one person has to meet all your relationship needs seems a bit codependent and creepy to me. The big red flag is how genuinely psychotic people act when dumped. Wars of hatred and cutting each other down that last for years are not acceptable. They only hurt both parties and are the opposite of a healthy relationship. If you do that giving other people relationship advice is pretty ironic.

User avatar
Nemo
Posts: 887
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by Nemo » Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:59 pm

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:Last night I watched this movie (on Netflix )
I thought it was revelent. Sexual misconduct is a big deal in Buddhism, just in case someone wants to claim it's only Western Christian / Judeo culture that gets uptight about it....

ADULTERERS :

https://youtu.be/l6l4sRaIm3g
Seriously, you think this movie is good relationship advice. You are so wounded you morally equate threatening murder with having sex with someone else. You need to stop living in revenge fantasies. Image

joy&peace
Posts: 1005
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: Adultery and Being a Buddhist

Post by joy&peace » Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:56 pm

.
.
.
Namaste,

Nemo !


Humbly , it's a good idea to not insult others - some people do, however, it's really a mistake -


Like, even Trump and Hillary, who are in the public eye and thus receiving a lot of - real kindness and real unkindness, one might say - and a million things in between -

I would treat them with the same kindness as any -- or let's say -- even. . . . a really down-and-out person, or - someone who is really hurting, and really hurts others --

I would treat them with kindness, and faith - because it is the way to move forward. ;) :D


So - in this post above, would like to ask you to clarify --


"like the psychos here believe" -- is referring to whom, specifically?


Many thanks,
J.

Namaste.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

Post Reply

Return to “Ethical Conduct”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests