To first of all reply in response to the recent postings in this thread in general, I don't think anyone here implied that masturbation would lead to anything near "eternal damnation or hell" (because for one, no Buddhist school that I know of believes in eternal hell; just temporary (albeit loooong in some cases) hell-realm stays). I've only said that masturbation is negative, and that if one wants to get the most out of their practice, they'll probably want to keep their vows the best they can and also conserve Ojas or mDangs (Virility & Vital Energy/Radiance) in order to be able to more-positively fuel their Dharma practice. And, that a more powerful way to sublimate the sexual impulse is with 'Khrul-'Khor or Tsa-Lung practices—or at least Pranayama coupled with Hatha Yoga—for controlling the Winds (Srog/rLung), Drops (Thigle), and Channels (rTsa).
Zhen Li wrote:That's true. But there is an added social dimension with real people which takes up people's entire lives. Yes, I know there are people who's lives are taken up entirely with masturbation, but it's probably rare and not as socially acceptable as spending every night in a pick up lounge - which makes it far more likely to be unable to break out of the cycle of being sexually active.
Believe it or not most men and women don't usually enter sexual encounters with each other via bars & nightclubs so much. Women and men are more likely to become involved sexually with one another by meeting through other avenues such as social-circles, jobs, school, etc. including Dharma centers. But that's another topic. Anyway, perhaps it can depend on the individual to some degree when put the way you put it here^. Nevertheless, if one has a method that is powerful enough to coordinate one's Winds, Drops, and Channels despite all the ills of contemporary existence (i.e. getting bombarded by constant distractions & temptations, and pollution, chemicals, & radiation which disturb the Winds/Drops/Channels, etc.); then neither of the above scenarios (i.e. addiction to casual sex and/or masturbation) would become indulged in or distract one from their Dharma practice.
Yes, I accept this. And with a qualified Tantric Guru as one's guide, I think this is fine.
I agree, and the Bodhisattva vows require one to break precepts when the circumstances require it. I laugh trying to come up with examples for this topic though.
Secondary Bodhisattva Vows
Alexander Berzin, August 1997
(4) Not committing a destructive action when love and compassion call for it
Occasionally, certain extreme situations arise in which the welfare of others is seriously jeopardized and there is no alternative left to prevent a tragedy other than committing one of the seven destructive physical or verbal actions. These seven are taking a life, taking what has not been given to us, indulging in inappropriate sexual behavior, lying, speaking divisively, using harsh and cruel language, or chattering meaninglessly. If we commit such an action without any disturbing emotion at the time, such as anger, desire, or naivety about cause and effect, but are motivated only by the wish to prevent others' suffering - being totally willing to accept on ourselves whatever negative consequences may come, even hellish pain - we do not damage our far-reaching ethical self-discipline. In fact, we build up a tremendous amount of positive force that speeds us on our spiritual paths.
Refusing to commit these destructive actions when necessity demands is at fault, however, only if we have taken and keep purely bodhisattva vows. Our reticence to exchange our happiness for the welfare of others hampers our perfection of the ethical self-discipline to help others always. There is no fault if we have only superficial compassion and do not keep bodhisattva vows or train in the conduct outlined by them. We realize that since our compassion is weak and unstable, the resulting suffering we would experience from our destructive actions might easily cause us to begrudge bodhisattva conduct. We might even give up the path of working to help others. Like the injunction that bodhisattvas on lower stages of development only damage themselves and their abilities to help others if they attempt practices of bodhisattvas on higher stages - such as feeding their flesh to a hungry tigress - it is better for us to remain cautious and hold back.
Since there may be confusion about what circumstances call for such bodhisattva action, let us look at examples taken from the commentary literature. Please keep in mind that these are last resort actions when all other means fail to alleviate or prevent others' suffering. As a budding bodhisattva, we are willing to take the life of someone about to commit a mass murder. We have no hesitation in confiscating medicines intended for relief efforts in a war-torn country that someone has taken to sell on the black market, or taking away a charity's funds from an administrator who is squandering or mismanaging them. We are willing, if male, to have sex with another's wife - or with an unmarried woman whose parents forbid it, or with any other inappropriate partner - when the woman has the strong wish to develop bodhichitta but is overwhelmed with desire for sex with us and who, if she were to die not having had sex with us, would carry the grudge as an instinct into future lives. As a result, she would be extremely hostile toward bodhisattvas and the bodhisattva path.
Bodhisattvas' willingness to engage in inappropriate sexual acts when all else fails to help prevent someone from developing an extremely negative attitude toward the spiritual path of altruism raises an important point for married couples on the bodhisattva path to consider. Sometimes a couple becomes involved in Dharma and one of them, for instance the woman, wishing to be celibate, stops sexual relations with her husband when he is not of the same mind. He still has attachment to sex and takes her decision as a personal rejection. Sometimes the wife's fanaticism and lack of sensitivity drives her husband to blame his frustration and unhappiness on the Dharma. He leaves the marriage and turns his back on Buddhism with bitter resentment. If there is no other way to avoid his hostile reaction toward the spiritual path and the woman is keeping bodhisattva vows, she would do well to evaluate her compassion to determine if it is strong enough to allow her to have occasional sex with her husband without serious harm to her ability to help others. This is very relevant in terms of the tantric vows concerning chaste behavior.
As budding bodhisattvas, we are willing to lie when it saves others' lives or prevents others from being tortured and maimed. We have no hesitation to speak divisively to separate our children from a wrong crowd of friends - or disciples from misleading teachers - who are exerting negative influences on them and encouraging harmful attitudes and behavior. We do not refrain from using harsh language to rouse our children from negative ways, like not doing their homework, when they will not listen to reason. And when others, interested in Buddhism, are totally addicted to chattering, drinking, partying, singing, dancing, or telling off-color jokes or stories of violence, we are willing to join in if refusal would make these persons feel that bodhisattvas, and Buddhists in general, never have fun and that the spiritual path is not for them.
Yes it is, but my point is that sex is worse.
Then we agree to disagree.
This is true, but I think that Lewis is referring to proper sexual conduct, rather than sexual misconduct.
Better said I think, that he was emphasizing
proper sexual conduct. Even still, his words didn't imply that masturbation is not worse than casual sex.
I can't disrespect any lay person simply for having a committed relationship and having sex out of love. That's fine. The issue is that sexual misconduct can occur with real women, but not with masturbation, making it worse. I.e. You can actually cause harm to other people with sex, plus your own mind, whereas masturbation only causes harm to your own mind. Plus, there is the issue of greater social consequences and attachments to other people.
Like I'd said, in consensual sex, both partners usually enjoy it if neither has any intent to harm or humiliate; and there is also at least some exchange of Solar and Lunar energies, instead of the sterile loss of Ojas that comes with lone self-abuse.
I apologise if I made it sound as if women are an object. I am more or less talking from the hypothetical approach of someone who may possibly be engaging in either masturbation or sexual misconduct, in which case that person would likely view women as an object. This is what I understand as the one of the issues behind sexual misconduct, i.e., when we talking about women under the protection of parents (i.e. minors), they are not mentally or socially developed enough to make an adult consensual decision; this is more or less equivalent to rape or bestiality.
Well viewing women as objects during masturbation is more objectifying of women than is actual sexual contact between two living breathing humans who are both enjoying it (again, assuming that neither have any intent to harm or humiliate).
Also, I never said anything about those under protection of parents/guardians.
In any case, consensual sex with an eighteen year old for example—even one who is under the protection of parents/guardians—could hardly be compared with rape or bestiality.
I agree, from the Vajrayana perspective you are correct. Once again, we are presupposing it is proper sexual conduct, rather than misconduct. But even when one is philandering and indulging in debauchery, one's energies are hardly in balance, and more problems would arise than were that person to just release themselves in private.
Again, maybe we agree to disagree, that is assuming both partners in a casual sexual encounter actually enjoy it, and neither has any intention to harm or humiliate the other.
It's all upaya.
Yes, and some Upaya are more effective than others.
The issue is simply this: "The way I see it, if one is going to masturbate, then might as well go out and have some casual sex."
But I think that you may come to agree with me?
I still basically stand by what I wrote, given my above responses.