Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

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MatthewAngby
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Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by MatthewAngby » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:25 am

Hello, so I was looking at quite a few posts on Dharmawheel and saw some things ( controversial ) about sex. For me, I don’t think sex is that bad or impure as humans would conceptualise it to be because it can be compared to eating / desiring our favourite food. It would, I feel , be put as part of craving ( which I know is not good for Buddhist pratice ) . It is good to reduce it , but I do not think that it is appropriate to say that it is impure. If it is impure , then what happens to craving for delicious food and acting on the craving to eat delicious food - ( is it impure or VERY sinful/bad?).

And yes , another thing about immoral sex. What is immoral and moral in each of our minds? To me, because I know my mind is rather eccentric , I feel that pre marital sex is ok, provided the child would accept it too and not be forced into it - after all, the child would too become an adult one day. However as I know , most people would hate pre marital Sex and conceptualise it to be immoral. So , does immoral sex lead us to the hell of wailing ? If so, then do you know what? Today, suppose Everyone thinks that having sex with your Wife is immoral ( in another universe from us ) , then , if we perform the act of having sex with our wives , will we , as “ Immoral sex offenders “ , be sent to the hell of wailing?

Immoral and moral to me are just mere concepts, way of thinking , and very subjective in terms of the human mind itself. Therefore , what is immoral sex and moral sex , that I do not know.

Please tell me if what I have wrote has some quite few correct points, if you feel I am wrong, please do tell me too. I have pondered over this question for a Long time.

Thank you!

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Vasana
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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by Vasana » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:07 am

Type in 'sexual misconduct' to see discussions on here on the topic of what defines sexual misconduct in a Buddhist context.

I can't really address your individual points at the moment so all I will ask is that you familiarise yourself with what the teachings actually say instead of speculating.

You can start here;

viewtopic.php?t=22635

And here,


https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-s ... erspective
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:25 am

Immoral and moral to me are just mere concepts, way of thinking...
That’s much more characteristic of ‘living in modern culture’ than anything in Buddhist cultures. Sure Buddhists aren’t moralistic in the same way as Biblical cultures are, but they generally value traditional values. And there’s a huge gap between how modern culture understands these matters and how any traditional culture does.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

Miroku
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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by Miroku » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:44 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:25 am
Immoral and moral to me are just mere concepts, way of thinking...
That’s much more characteristic of ‘living in modern culture’ than anything in Buddhist cultures. Sure Buddhists aren’t moralistic in the same way as Biblical cultures are, but they generally value traditional values. And there’s a huge gap between how modern culture understands these matters and how any traditional culture does.
But Buddhist cultures are not always 100% percent based on Dharma. If Dharma came to ancient Greece then homosexuality would most probably be still fairly okay there and part of the culture. In many buddhist cultures there are things which were never part of Dharma, for example all forms of poly relationships in Himalayan region and those cultures are as Buddhist as they can get. So what are those traditional values? One man one woman? One man several women? Several men one woman? Is no anal sex or oral sex part of traditional buddhist culture? And why should we care what they think about sex and not look at sutras first and what our teachers think?
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by Mantrik » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:53 am

Until we can reproduce without it, and without the urge to do so, such questions seem only relevant to those who take vows promising not to engage in it for one reason or another, or where matters of exploitation are concerned.
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by Bristollad » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:01 pm

MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:25 am
And yes , another thing about immoral sex. What is immoral and moral in each of our minds? To me, because I know my mind is rather eccentric , I feel that pre marital sex is ok, provided the child would accept it too and not be forced into it - after all, the child would too become an adult one day.
It seems strange to me that you are equating sexual behaviour with children (or between children) with pre-marital sex. As far as I'm concerned, sexual behaviour with children by an adult is almost always coercive (rare exception - where two people are almost of the same age but fall either side of the offical age of consent). And sexual behaviour between children is also not to be encouraged because there are problems medically (in terms of physical maturity, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases) and psychologically.

But if this seems a difficult important issue to you, ask your teacher's advice and check out the link to the Alex Berzin page linked above
Vasana wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:07 am

And here,

https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-s ... erspective

MatthewAngby
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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by MatthewAngby » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:09 am

Bristollad wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:01 pm
MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:25 am
And yes , another thing about immoral sex. What is immoral and moral in each of our minds? To me, because I know my mind is rather eccentric , I feel that pre marital sex is ok, provided the child would accept it too and not be forced into it - after all, the child would too become an adult one day.
It seems strange to me that you are equating sexual behaviour with children (or between children) with pre-marital sex. As far as I'm concerned, sexual behaviour with children by an adult is almost always coercive (rare exception - where two people are almost of the same age but fall either side of the offical age of consent). And sexual behaviour between children is also not to be encouraged because there are problems medically (in terms of physical maturity, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases) and psychologically.

But if this seems a difficult important issue to you, ask your teacher's advice and check out the link to the Alex Berzin page linked above
Vasana wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:07 am

And here,

https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-s ... erspective
Oh, sorry, I didn’t know it would cause health problems, I just thought people hated it because it was “wrong”. But I read some of the website, it seems to me like a cultural influence to be really honest - I’m not sure if I am right.

For the case of raping a person, would u consider this example such as this? Raping a person means for your own benefit only generally speaking. So what about tiger moms who forces their children to get good grades because they want to show off their children grades to others ? I’m sure most of the people would say, well , it’s for the child’s own benefit. But tiger moms , could be like the rapist, stressing the child / victim and causing harm to them mentally and physically. I mean you would say rape is immoral , impure , sinful ... but what about those tiger moms? Are they not the same? Why do people conceptualise anything with sex as a vile act and condemn it generally? And why do people have different thinking when it comes to studies , to the point where the child is mentally hurt? It all seems like people’s thinking about sex is really very... I dare say, biased. I’m not saying rape is fine , but just take this example , and see that in the same way, it could be counted as impure and vile and sinful.

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:06 pm

MatthewAngby wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:09 am
For the case of raping a person, would u consider this example such as this? Raping a person means for your own benefit only generally speaking. So what about tiger moms who forces their children to get good grades because they want to show off their children grades to others ? I’m sure most of the people would say, well , it’s for the child’s own benefit. But tiger moms , could be like the rapist, stressing the child / victim and causing harm to them mentally and physically. I mean you would say rape is immoral , impure , sinful ... but what about those tiger moms? Are they not the same? Why do people conceptualise anything with sex as a vile act and condemn it generally? And why do people have different thinking when it comes to studies , to the point where the child is mentally hurt? It all seems like people’s thinking about sex is really very... I dare say, biased. I’m not saying rape is fine , but just take this example , and see that in the same way, it could be counted as impure and vile and sinful.
I would like to think you are making an argument for the sake of arguing, and not really reflecting on what you write.

Do you really not see the difference between rape and compelling one's child to study?

Trying to erase distinctions in the name of some misguided and deformed spiritual ideal is really destructive. Don't do that to yourself, seriously. To put it another way, don't choose to be stupid.
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

Bristollad
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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by Bristollad » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:28 pm

Matthew wrote: but what about those tiger moms? Are they not the same? Why do people conceptualise anything with sex as a vile act and condemn it generally?
No, tiger moms are not the same as rapists. Being made to do your homework is not the same as being raped.
Sexual relationships are not vile, rape is.

shaunc
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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by shaunc » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:41 pm

In most countries sex with children and rape are covered by the law. It's got nothing to do with any religion.

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by Miroku » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:57 pm

Jesus what is happening? Seems like lately people don't see a difference between rape, bad touch and apparently forcing someone to do a homework. Wonder what my lesbian friend raped by a group of guys would think 'bout that (I am being real it happened). There really is not anything that hard. If you enjoy the sex and the other person does too and the person gave you a consent and is not screaming or kicking or just enduring the whole process and is awake then yeah sex is fine or at least neutral otherwise it is better to jerk off.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by DiamondMeru » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:10 am

Sexual relations with a minor is always rape even if coerced because it is not the child’s desire, it is the sickness of lust and craving that leads to a lack of empathy and self-control. If you are truly an ethical person you control your selfish desires so as to not harm a child, minor or even an animal. To control oneself is very much Right Conduct and learning to meditate on lust can release it in a good way. Sex is natural and if repressed can lead to aggression, and sadism of which psychologists believe is the problem for the pedophile priests who repress their desires rather than express it in healthy ways. Buddhism gives one the tools to meditate on lust and free yourself of desire for wrong sexual conduct that harms others.

MatthewAngby
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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by MatthewAngby » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:56 am

Bristollad wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:28 pm

No, tiger moms are not the same as rapists. Being made to do your homework is not the same as being raped.
Sexual relationships are not vile, rape is.
Tiger moms would often force their children to the point of extreme tiredness, stress and pressure. I do not mean to be rude but this is where I compare it to rape - the pressure and stress on the victim / much like the child itself in the case of the tiger mom.
Miroku wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:57 pm
Jesus what is happening? Seems like lately people don't see a difference between rape, bad touch and apparently forcing someone to do a homework. Wonder what my lesbian friend raped by a group of guys would think 'bout that (I am being real it happened). There really is not anything that hard. If you enjoy the sex and the other person does too and the person gave you a consent and is not screaming or kicking or just enduring the whole process and is awake then yeah sex is fine or at least neutral otherwise it is better to jerk off.
But you said forcing someone to do a homework. I am sure most kids would like some time off of their studies ( especially if they have tiger moms ) . However the tiger mom would literally beat the child and force the child to do his / her homework. And the reason? Some tiger moms just want to show off their children to others ( Benefit for themselves only). In the case of rape, the attacker is also compelling and beating the victim to have sex with him / her so that he gets benefit for himself only too. Therefore I see not really much difference between the two. Both will lead to emotional trauma in the future. Believe me, school and the pressure they do on u has given me a PTSD in studies. Literally everytime I see a school paper , I will get anxiety and severe stress and if there is no one around , I’ll cower and kneel and shout. ( I’m not even kidding ). Sure, some of you will say that perhaps I need a doctor but sure it is that studies has given me emotional trauma , not to mention the other kids who have tiger moms.
Last edited by anjali on Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: to correct quoting issues

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by Bristollad » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:58 am

MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:25 am
For me, I don’t think sex is that bad or impure as humans would conceptualise it to be because it can be compared to eating / desiring our favourite food.
MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:25 am
And yes , another thing about immoral sex. What is immoral and moral in each of our minds? I feel that pre marital sex is ok, provided the child would accept it too and not be forced into it - after all, the child would too become an adult one day.
MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:25 am
Immoral and moral to me are just mere concepts, way of thinking , and very subjective in terms of the human mind itself. Therefore , what is immoral sex and moral sex , that I do not know
These were the points you raised, not the stress of being made to study. What is seen as immoral in one society may be different to what is thought to be immoral in another. The article on Study Buddhism you were referred to discusses the historical development and trends in buddhism about that. However, forcing or coercing or persuading a child to endulge in sexual behaviour is not right conduct according to any buddhist tradition. Why? Because it is based upon selfishness, because it is callous, because it causes immediate harm and longterm suffering, because it increases craving and hatred.
Think of the stress and pain of being beaten and forced to study, now imagine that magnified by a 100 or a 1000. That would still not be equal to the suffering of a sexually exploited child. Cease to do that which increases suffering for oneself or others, learn to do that which increases the wellbeing of oneself and others, spiritually practise to reduce the influence of the three poisons on your behaviour and thoughts, and to generate compassion for oneself and others.

MatthewAngby
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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by MatthewAngby » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:11 am

Bristollad wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:58 am
MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:25 am
For me, I don’t think sex is that bad or impure as humans would conceptualise it to be because it can be compared to eating / desiring our favourite food.
MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:25 am
And yes , another thing about immoral sex. What is immoral and moral in each of our minds? I feel that pre marital sex is ok, provided the child would accept it too and not be forced into it - after all, the child would too become an adult one day.
MatthewAngby wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:25 am
Immoral and moral to me are just mere concepts, way of thinking , and very subjective in terms of the human mind itself. Therefore , what is immoral sex and moral sex , that I do not know
Why? Because it is based upon selfishness, because it is callous, because it causes immediate harm and longterm suffering, because it increases craving and hatred.


I would like to say that I am not arguing for the sake of arguing ( for the other viewers ), but I am arguing because I personally feel that some things we say are right or wrong are hyprocritical. Well , on the thing u just said here, isn’t it comparable to a prideful and competitive tiger mom? The tiger mom wants the children to get good grades to make her prideful ( selfishness ) , it causes long term suffering for the child ( i have said in my previous post ). It increases the mothers craving for her child to get Super awesome good grades , it increases the mothers and child hatred to one another ( the child is oppressed by his or her mom and the mom is angry because the child is suppsojhly not “ hard working “ enough ). Of course , the suffering of this two may range far apart , but still , the suffering of getting forced to study is I would dare say , like suffering in the animal realm ( like you are a cattle ).

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by Vasana » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:47 am

Matthew, just to clarify, you're still quite young, right?
if you're stressed about the pressure your mum puts on you perhaps you could explore it in a new thread about parental pressure. With respect, comparing parental pressure to rape take just makes it sounds like an anxty adolescent outburst to me.

Why not compare homework pressure stress to the stress of gruesome physical and mental torture too? Why not include mutilation, murder and so on? These are also stressful experiences aren't they? Do you not see that not all actions are comparable in scope or consequence just because they share the same characteristic of stress?

Our bodies evolved the fight-or-flight response to keep us safe from real dangers like predators or dangerous people we had to be aware of. The body generally treats modern stresses in the same way as it would stresses to our physical survival. This does not mean doing too much homework is like being chased by a crocodile does it? Feeling the stress of being late to class or work is not the same as a threat to our survival but our bodies don't distinguish the type of danger, they just respond to stimuli and trigger the body's survival mechanisms.

Equating one stressful event with another is sometimes appropriate but not in your comparison. Can you see that?
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by MatthewAngby » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:32 am

Vasana wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:47 am
Matthew, just to clarify, you're still quite young, right?
if you're stressed about the pressure your mum puts on you perhaps you could explore it in a new thread about parental pressure. With respect, comparing parental pressure to rape take just makes it sounds like an anxty adolescent outburst to me.

Why not compare homework pressure stress to the stress of gruesome physical and mental torture too? Why not include mutilation, murder and so on? These are also stressful experiences aren't they? Do you not see that not all actions are comparable in scope or consequence just because they share the same characteristic of stress?

Our bodies evolved the fight-or-flight response to keep us safe from real dangers like predators or dangerous people we had to be aware of. The body generally treats modern stresses in the same way as it would stresses to our physical survival. This does not mean doing too much homework is like being chased by a crocodile does it? Feeling the stress of being late to class or work is not the same as a threat to our survival but our bodies don't distinguish the type of danger, they just respond to stimuli and trigger the body's survival mechanisms.

Equating one stressful event with another is sometimes appropriate but not in your comparison. Can you see that?
Okay now I’m really confused. So if it causes stress to another being regardless of whatever sitaution because of our own selfish intentions , then why still do it? I mean your reply to mine is really powerful , but still I am confused why some things are considered okay in society when it causes stress , but another thing is not considered okay when it too causes stress. Can you tell me why it is like this ?

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by justsit » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:27 pm

MatthewAngby wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:32 am
Vasana wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:47 am
Matthew, just to clarify, you're still quite young, right?
if you're stressed about the pressure your mum puts on you perhaps you could explore it in a new thread about parental pressure. With respect, comparing parental pressure to rape take just makes it sounds like an anxty adolescent outburst to me.

Why not compare homework pressure stress to the stress of gruesome physical and mental torture too? Why not include mutilation, murder and so on? These are also stressful experiences aren't they? Do you not see that not all actions are comparable in scope or consequence just because they share the same characteristic of stress?

Equating one stressful event with another is sometimes appropriate but not in your comparison. Can you see that?
Okay now I’m really confused. So if it causes stress to another being regardless of whatever sitaution because of our own selfish intentions , then why still do it? I mean your reply to mine is really powerful , but still I am confused why some things are considered okay in society when it causes stress , but another thing is not considered okay when it too causes stress. Can you tell me why it is like this ?
Because the comparison you're describing - rape vs. being yelled at by your mom - is different by a huge margin. Yes, both are "stressful" but the degree of stress is completely different.

Physical invasion of another person's body without their consent is in no way equivalent to having parental pressure. Rape victims are traumatized for life; they may get a STD, become pregnant, be stigmatized/ostracized by their family, friends, and community, develop alcoholism/drug addiction as a means to cope; will likely have dysfunctional sexual relationships or perhaps never be able to bear children. Rape is a violent, life altering event, in a very negative way.

Do you understand the difference?

Some stresses are "okay" because they produce good results. A parent pushing a child to do well in school is done with the intention of producing a good result for the child. Society accepts this because the intent is positive and the result is positive. Or a parent takes a child for vaccinations - yes, there is pain and brief suffering, but the intention is positive (keep child healthy) and the result is positive (child immune to disease). When it goes too far and traumatizes the child, then the parent is pushing too hard. Stresses that intentionally cause pain and suffering, though, are generally "not okay."

Most ethical issues in life are not clearly black and white, but many shades of gray. Understanding these nuances comes with time and maturity.

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by MatthewAngby » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:45 pm

justsit wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:27 pm
MatthewAngby wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:32 am
Vasana wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:47 am
Matthew, just to clarify, you're still quite young, right?
if you're stressed about the pressure your mum puts on you perhaps you could explore it in a new thread about parental pressure. With respect, comparing parental pressure to rape take just makes it sounds like an anxty adolescent outburst to me.

Why not compare homework pressure stress to the stress of gruesome physical and mental torture too? Why not include mutilation, murder and so on? These are also stressful experiences aren't they? Do you not see that not all actions are comparable in scope or consequence just because they share the same characteristic of stress?

Equating one stressful event with another is sometimes appropriate but not in your comparison. Can you see that?
Okay now I’m really confused. So if it causes stress to another being regardless of whatever sitaution because of our own selfish intentions , then why still do it? I mean your reply to mine is really powerful , but still I am confused why some things are considered okay in society when it causes stress , but another thing is not considered okay when it too causes stress. Can you tell me why it is like this ?
Because the comparison you're describing - rape vs. being yelled at by your mom - is different by a huge margin. Yes, both are "stressful" but the degree of stress is completely different.

Physical invasion of another person's body without their consent is in no way equivalent to having parental pressure. Rape victims are traumatized for life; they may get a STD, become pregnant, be stigmatized/ostracized by their family, friends, and community, develop alcoholism/drug addiction as a means to cope; will likely have dysfunctional sexual relationships or perhaps never be able to bear children. Rape is a violent, life altering event, in a very negative way.

Do you understand the difference?

Some stresses are "okay" because they produce good results. A parent pushing a child to do well in school is done with the intention of producing a good result for the child. Society accepts this because the intent is positive and the result is positive. Or a parent takes a child for vaccinations - yes, there is pain and brief suffering, but the intention is positive (keep child healthy) and the result is positive (child immune to disease). When it goes too far and traumatizes the child, then the parent is pushing too hard. Stresses that intentionally cause pain and suffering, though, are generally "not okay."

Most ethical issues in life are not clearly black and white, but many shades of gray. Understanding these nuances comes with time and maturity.
You just cleared that away for me. Perhaps samsara is just suffering we have to acccept for now. And I am comparing it because I am angry with the world. Perhaps that is the reality of samsara - suffering, wherever it is. But thank you sir for helping me understand. 🙏🏼

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Re: Is sex( “Immoral “ ) inherently bad or neutral?

Post by Vasana » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:29 pm

MatthewAngby wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:45 pm

Perhaps samsara is just suffering we have to acccept for now. And I am comparing it because I am angry with the world. Perhaps that is the reality of samsara - suffering, wherever it is. But thank you sir for helping me understand. 🙏🏼
That's a wise and mature attitude to have :smile:
But it's also one that needs regular cultivation to really be unshakeable when we encounter situations we don't like. Here is a teaching on this topic from Ven. Thubten Chodron that I personally found useful. You may also find it useful.
  • Patience is the attitude that enables us to remain undisturbed in the face of harm or disagreeable situations. There are three kinds of patience:

    Patience of not retaliating
    Patience of voluntarily enduring suffering
    Patience of practicing the Dharma

    Since we have already discussed the patience of not retaliating, we will now focus on the remaining two.
    The second one, the patience of voluntarily enduring suffering is when we meet unpleasant situations in our life, when things don’t turn out the way we want, like getting sick, or being in a car accident, and we are able to just live with them.

    How do we do that? One way is to remember the nature of cyclic existence and really let it sink into our heart. Usually we say, “Okay, yeah, yeah, suffering is the nature of cyclic existence … (but I wonder how you get out of it?)” We have not really accepted the first of the four facts that the noble ones have seen as true—that there are a lot of undesirable experiences that constitute the very nature of our existence. As long as we are under the influence of afflictions1 (ignorance, anger and attachment) and we create actions of karma by means of those, we are going to experience unpleasant results repeatedly.

    [...]Buddhism takes the “should” out of it and says, as long as there is the cause, there is the result. This is the definition of what cyclic existence is—undesirable experiences. So as long as we still have the causes, such as ignorance and karma in our mindstream, then to expect anything else than this result is fanciful thinking.

    [...]Accepting reality also does not necessarily mean being passive. We must examine each situation and act accordingly. But often we do one of two things: sometimes we can influence a situation but we just roll over and don’t; at other times we cannot influence a situation and we knock our head against the wall trying to. This is where a lot of wisdom needs to be developed, through trial and error, standing back and assessing situations instead of immediately jumping in and reacting. I personally find this way of thinking very helpful. Rather than getting discouraged in the face of pain and suffering, we acknowledge and accept them. “We’re in cyclic existence. To expect anything different is ignorant and hallucination.”

    Determination to be free

    To take that one step further—this is precisely why the Buddha talked about the determination to be free. When we hear all these teachings about the determination to be free, and the different kinds of undesirable samsaric experiences, we say, “Oh, yes! There are eight sufferings and six sufferings and three sufferings,” listing them all out. But then when one of those comes into play in our life, we say “But this can’t happen; it is not supposed to be like this.”

    This is precisely the time when we begin to see that those lists we studied are not mere intellectual things. They are descriptions of what our life experiences are. The Buddha pointed those things out because by noticing them, it helps us develop a very strong effort to free ourselves from them. There is no other way to achieve liberation except by developing the determination to be free. This is not possible without understanding the suffering nature of cyclic existence.

    So when we encounter unpleasant situations, we say, “This is exactly what the Buddha referred to in the first noble truth. This suffering does not happen by accident nor is it due to some injustice. I have to look at it because this is what I want to be free of.” This is a really different way of looking at things. I think this is something that as Westerners, maybe Easterners too, we really have to wrestle with a lot..
http://thubtenchodron.org/1993/12/endur ... ng-dharma/
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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