sex and romance

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Miesco
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sex and romance

Post by Miesco » Sat Jan 17, 2015 2:52 pm

How come, if sex and romantic relationships (e.g. marriage) will clearly cause misery as romantic relationships are one of the biggest material attachments, do some buddhists (including teachers) participate?

Huseng
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Re: sex and romance

Post by Huseng » Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:00 pm

If you have wisdom, you don't suffer.
If you have compassion, you stick around samsara.

If you have both, you stick around samsara quite content.

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Astus
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Re: sex and romance

Post by Astus » Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:02 pm

There are a number of answers for that out there.

1. Ideology and practical application rarely match.

in Buddhist terms:
- this is the Dharma ending age where few people can truly achieve liberation
- the path is only for a few exceptional beings

2. There is always a better ideology.

in Buddhist terms:
- bodhisattvas only manifest as worldly people with families to save beings
- desire is the path of a true practitioner

3. No ideology is the best ideology.

in Buddhist terms:
- desire is enlightenment
- it's all just illusion
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Konchok Namgyal
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Re: sex and romance

Post by Konchok Namgyal » Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:20 pm

Particularly in tantra, all of the poisons/ pleasures are used to enhance practice.

While it is true that love, romance, marriage generally are believed to be hindrances to attainment, the opposite is true when you view tantrikas .
The pleasures/poisons are transmuted into very powerful, useful things that accelerate the path.


I wont go into all of this as there is much information available about the subject.
Recognize that your mind is the unity of being empty and cognizant, suffused with knowing. When your attention is extroverted, you fall under the sway of thoughts. Let your attention recognize itself. Recognize that it is empty. That which recognizes is the cognizance. You can trust at that moment that these two – emptiness and cognizance – are an original unity. Seeing this is called self-knowing wakefulness. ~ Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

smcj
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Re: sex and romance

Post by smcj » Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:19 am

Particularly in tantra, all of the poisons/ pleasures are used to enhance practice.
I don't think that's quite right the way it is written. The poisons remain poisonous. Through Vajrayana techniques they are transmuted into wisdoms. Without the transmutation they are still damaging.

The gist of what you said was right. Basically I was just expanding on what you meant by "get used". Sorry to be nit-picky.
https://soundcloud.com/user-730689343/chenrezig-puja
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

uan
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Re: sex and romance

Post by uan » Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:57 pm

Miesco wrote:How come, if sex and romantic relationships (e.g. marriage) will clearly cause misery as romantic relationships are one of the biggest material attachments, do some buddhists (including teachers) participate?

have you ever been married? :rolling:

We tend to project onto others from our own conceptual minds and reify experiences that we have no knowledge of and assume that experience and the meaning of that experience are the same for all people who share a few common external features.

In addition, we tend to judge people by whether they are tracking, by some external measures we create in our own minds, to gain enlightenment in this lifetime or in the bardo immediately afterward. The truth is, for pretty much every single person, that is just not going to happen. Yes, some people here will disagree. I'm not saying the number is zero, but it's very small. There are 7 billion people on the planet. If 1% reach enlightenment in this lifetime, that's 70 million people. Is it .1%? That's 7 million people. .01% That's 700,000 people. I have no clue what the number is, but I'm sure it's pretty small - or else I'd never hear that phrase that gets brought up so often -- "the dharma ending age"...

Samsara, a person's place on the path, karma, etc. are a bit more complex than we often make them out to be. Unless you can see with opened eyes, you just don't know.

Does being single free us to be better practitioners? Not necessarily. Even folk who are single and totally focused on progressing spiritually can get hung up and go totally off the rails.

Sure there's an initial buzz and excitement with a relationship. But there's a saying that's very true "wait until the honeymoon is over". Marriage can be various things a various times. One of the things it can be is a great source of stability, which allows for a lot of spiritual growth.

Often, especially in Asia, to help learn compassion, one is taught to look at people as their mothers or fathers, as everyone has been that at some point for each other in some lifetime. And everyone has had a father or mother (though, there are some who've been hugely abused by their mother or father). So for some, that is a great way to think about compassion and extend it to others. To other people, it's just the opposite.

For me, since I became a father, the better metaphor is to think of everyone as your child. You love your child no matter what - they say they hate you, they strike out at you, they go through a hard time, they do some awful thing, to you or to others, and what remains is your love for them, no matter what.

There's a tremendous lesson and dharma learning opportunity from being a parent. So too with being a spouse. A successful marriage requires giving up a lot of the "I". It's caring for someone else. It's being able to be yourself with another person, someone who knows you better than you know yourself. Lots of very beneficial aspects to a healthy marriage.

In Buddhism, sex isn't a bad thing. We're taught to refrain from sexual misconduct, not from sex. If you are in a healthy relationship with another person, sex becomes less and less of an issue/distraction. My wife and I were once encouraged by one of her teachers, a very high lama, to have a second child because he could divine who was waiting to take rebirth in that child. For various reasons we decided not to, and sometimes regret that. One thing he never told us was to refrain from sex, or suggest we should separate so we could truly pursue the dharma, etc. He even told her to use being a mother as the foundation of her practice during that time.

It's interesting, at one time, it was legislated by rabbis that only married men over forty and were scholars of the torah should be allowed to practice Kabbalah. It was believed they had the maturity and character needed to practice in a healthy way.

The point is, don't take some bits and pieces of the dharma or the rules for monks and nuns and judge people by those measures. Focus on your own practice and wish for all others to have the causes and conditions to free themselves from suffering. Each person starts where they are at. They may achieve enlightenment in this lifetime, in the next, or in 10 million lifetimes. It's all good.

smcj
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Re: sex and romance

Post by smcj » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:10 pm

There are 7 billion people on the planet. If 1% reach enlightenment in this lifetime, that's 70 million people. Is it .1%? That's 7 million people. .01% That's 700,000 people. I have no clue what the number is, but I'm sure it's pretty small - or else I'd never hear that phrase that gets brought up so often -- "the dharma ending age"...
I prefer a phrase that puts a positive spin on the situation; "the precious human rebirth".
https://soundcloud.com/user-730689343/chenrezig-puja
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

uan
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Re: sex and romance

Post by uan » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:32 pm

smcj wrote:
There are 7 billion people on the planet. If 1% reach enlightenment in this lifetime, that's 70 million people. Is it .1%? That's 7 million people. .01% That's 700,000 people. I have no clue what the number is, but I'm sure it's pretty small - or else I'd never hear that phrase that gets brought up so often -- "the dharma ending age"...
I prefer a phrase that puts a positive spin on the situation; "the precious human rebirth".

Same here, but I also prefer a more positive spin on not achieving all the fruits of the path in this lifetime. We should have compassion, starting with compassion for ourselves. We strive, we fall short. That's okay. Too many people get focused on the failure.

Here's an analogy, let's say we were on a forum of entrepreneurs. Then someone comes on and says, hey, a person can become wealthier than they are now, but there's pretty much zero percent chance anyone here will become the richest person in the world. Doubtful anyone of us will even become a billionaire. Doubtful even a millionaire. But we'll be better off than when we started. Maybe the next Carlos Slim or Bill Gates is here. If so, awesome! If not, that's okay too.

Would that be a negative spin? Hey, what do you mean I won't become the richest person in the world? Are you saying I shouldn't even try? Why are you so negative.

But the thing is, Bill Gates didn't start out to be the richest person in the world. He started out to make his small computer start up company successful. And to build it. Becoming the richest person was a side effect to his efforts. It wasn't the goal.

Sometimes taking the unrealistic off the table and not holding people to unrealistic standards, is a good place to start. There's a lesson in the fact that Shakyamuni gave up severe asceticism, ate some food and achieved enlightenment. The middle way and all.

It's great we have this precious human rebirth, but it's there to be used, not worshipped or kept protected. Here's a story - a long while ago my brother bought both of us beautiful lambskin bomber jackets. They were really nice. I wore mine all the time. I was wearing it when I met the woman who became wife. In fact, one of the things that initially attracted her to me, was that jacket. I wore that jacket so much, it became worn out. On the other hand, my brother, who loved his jacket so much, he wore it once, then he carefully hung it up in his closet, in a jacket cover, protected from the elements. He never wore it and over the years, while he would criticize how my jacket became more and more worn and damaged, his was still as pristine as the day he bought it. As he got older, he gained a bit of weight, and now he can't even wear the jacket. But it remains in his closet.

We have this life to use. We try, we practice, but we are not perfect, we will get banged up. But that's what life's there for. It's a vehicle to get us where we need to go.

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Re: sex and romance

Post by Rakz » Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:36 am

"Marriage is like a never ending dinner with desserts in the beginning"

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Konchok Namgyal
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Re: sex and romance

Post by Konchok Namgyal » Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:20 pm

Marriage is definitely a practice in wisdom, patience and generosity........
Recognize that your mind is the unity of being empty and cognizant, suffused with knowing. When your attention is extroverted, you fall under the sway of thoughts. Let your attention recognize itself. Recognize that it is empty. That which recognizes is the cognizance. You can trust at that moment that these two – emptiness and cognizance – are an original unity. Seeing this is called self-knowing wakefulness. ~ Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

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Zen Mantra
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Re: sex and romance

Post by Zen Mantra » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:41 pm

Indrajala wrote:If you have wisdom, you don't suffer.
If you have compassion, you stick around samsara.

If you have both, you stick around samsara quite content.
Well said. :thumbsup:

Saoshun
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Re: sex and romance

Post by Saoshun » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:10 pm

Hormones and biological mechanism. Spiritual practice of any kind is about to not settle on these mechanism as they are limited. Stomach empty = one problem, stomach full = milion problems, you get it? Trying to fulfill desire to be unlimited thru limited means are circles, samsara.

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Concordiadiscordi
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Re: sex and romance

Post by Concordiadiscordi » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:07 am

Konchok Namgyal wrote:Marriage is definitely a practice in wisdom, patience and generosity........
Not always so...
"The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen."
- Tommy Smothers

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Challenge23
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Re: sex and romance

Post by Challenge23 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:55 pm

Miesco wrote:How come, if sex and romantic relationships (e.g. marriage) will clearly cause misery as romantic relationships are one of the biggest material attachments, do some buddhists (including teachers) participate?
In order for my answer to make sense I have to make two things clear.

1. I don't think sex and marriage are innately bad in and of themselves as much as they just take up time and attention that can be used for practice. True, you can become attached to sex and romance but considering that you can get attached to tea and cucumber sandwiches I can't say that is a unique thing.
2. It takes a very specific type of person to be able to do absolutely nothing outside of the bare minimum of non-practice things than practice.

With that said in my opinion it is because they can get the time needed to do practice from other areas. If you don't party, watch television, play video games, etc., then you would have freed up enough time to be able to maintain a married life and practice. And/or if you pick a wife/husband that isn't really that needy then you can free up even more time.

Of course, you might ask, "Why do anything at all? Why not just do nothing but practice?" To which I would answer that not everyone is cut out for that. If I had a dollar for every sincere dharma student who got burned out from doing exactly that I would be able to fund my teacher's suggestion of ringing the United States with stupas and still have enough left over to live comfortably for the rest of my days.
IN THIS BOOK IT IS SPOKEN OF THE SEPHIROTH & THE PATHS, OF SPIRITS & CONJURATIONS, OF GODS, SPHERES, PLANES & MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THEY EXIST OR NOT. BY DOING CERTAIN THINGS CERTAIN RESULTS FOLLOW; STUDENTS ARE MOST EARNESTLY WARNED AGAINST ATTRIBUTING OBJECTIVE REALITY OR PHILOSOPHICAL VALIDITY TO ANY OF THEM.

Wagner, Eric; Wilson, Robert Anton (2004-12-01). An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson (Kindle Locations 1626-1629). New Falcon Publications. Kindle Edition., quoting from Alister Crowley

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Loren
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Re: sex and romance

Post by Loren » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:51 pm

Challenge23 wrote:[..] considering that you can get attached to tea and cucumber sandwiches I can't say that is a unique thing.
Or even drinking coffee at the Cabaret Voltaire.
Thank You and Ok!

aka Lorem

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Re: sex and romance

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:10 am

Miesco wrote:How come, if sex and romantic relationships (e.g. marriage) will clearly cause misery as romantic relationships are one of the biggest material attachments, do some buddhists (including teachers) participate?
Karma. Your question presumes that people.operate under a type of free will that Buddhism afaik does not acknowledge as reality. Whether or not we are skillfully dealing with the karma is another question. The earlier statements about tantra are true too of course...but really, acting as if whether or not to have relationships is some kind of binary choice for most practitioners is about like believing anyone can be a millionaire.

So yeah, karma. You work with what you've got.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Dan74
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Re: sex and romance

Post by Dan74 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:15 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Miesco wrote:How come, if sex and romantic relationships (e.g. marriage) will clearly cause misery as romantic relationships are one of the biggest material attachments, do some buddhists (including teachers) participate?
Karma. Your question presumes that people.operate under a type of free will that Buddhism afaik does not acknowledge as reality. Whether or not we are skillfully dealing with the karma is another question. The earlier statements about tantra are true too of course...but really, acting as if whether or not to have relationships is some kind of binary choice for most practitioners is about like believing anyone can be a millionaire.

So yeah, karma. You work with what you've got.
:good:

To expand, if I may, there is a natural order of priorities on a spiritual path, which is not always the same, I think. So a romantic relationship can actually be great practice at a certain stage, if approached in the right way, in cultivating generosity, patience and compassion. Perhaps at a later stage, one naturally lets go of the romantic connection, I don't know. But even in Pali texts, the Buddha spoke differently about it when speaking to the monks and to lay followers since the purpose was also different. We should be careful not to conflate the teachings. Yes, attachment to sensuality is a fetter - this is a teaching common to Mahayana and Theravada, but while attached, we can apply ourselves to bring awareness to the actions, cultivate the wholesome and refrain from unwholesome actions. As we develop more clarity, insight will arise and we begin to see it as it is. Eventually sensuality is relinquished or only picked up when appropriate, I think.

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