Celibacy

A forum for discussion of Buddhist ethics.

Re: Celibacy

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 09, 2014 1:28 pm

If you think philosophically about it, it isn't hard to see the connection between sexuality and the round of birth and death. I mean, it's so obvious it doesn't even have to be spelt out. The reason everyone is so loath to criticize 'healthy sexuality' is because in our culture, the drive to procreate is regarded as the very life force itself. Sexual freedom and self-expression are held in enormous esteem; for many people that is simply what 'freedom' means. And without denying that everyone ought to be free to express themselves however they see fit, from a philosophical perspective, you have to exercise discernment, and see how easy it is to simply become driven by the will to procreate - life's endless urge to keep being born.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Andrew108 » Fri May 09, 2014 2:00 pm

It seems that you are saying there is something wrong with life. That life is sign of failure.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 09, 2014 4:18 pm

Wayfarer wrote:If you think philosophically about it, it isn't hard to see the connection between sexuality and the round of birth and death. I mean, it's so obvious it doesn't even have to be spelt out. The reason everyone is so loath to criticize 'healthy sexuality' is because in our culture, the drive to procreate is regarded as the very life force itself. Sexual freedom and self-expression are held in enormous esteem; for many people that is simply what 'freedom' means. And without denying that everyone ought to be free to express themselves however they see fit, from a philosophical perspective, you have to exercise discernment, and see how easy it is to simply become driven by the will to procreate - life's endless urge to keep being born.



So you think that the desire for sex is not different from the desire to procreate...?
I would suggest that the link is rather more tenuous than you imagine. :smile:

Hence a multimillion pound/dollar contraception industry.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Gwenn Dana » Fri May 09, 2014 6:42 pm

This discussion somehow makes it clear that the goal must be life staying on, and defilements going off, not life going off.
Not "wanting" to return is about ceasing want. Wanting to "not return" is just as bad.

When you make a cosmology out of it, some weird things happen in some minds.

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Re: Celibacy

Postby Zhen Li » Fri May 09, 2014 8:13 pm

greentara wrote:Sex is not bad of itself, its simply that lust and desire disturb the mind. Anyone who thinks about the subject deeply has to admit that the mind is affected.. To gloss over the issue with ideas that sound free wheeling and breezy does not address the underlying issue and seems to lack any sort of serious reflection.
I have also read and watched trash movies and books but realise they are not conducive to meditation and stilling the mind. Heartfelt devotion to a teacher or teaching is a great help.

I find this kind of meaningless. Isn't this like saying murder is not bad of itself, it's simply that anger and hatred disturb the mind. If you have intercourse, not only can you damage your OWN spiritual progress, but you can damage the other participant's. So it's solipsistic to believe that even if you can control your lust (and you can't fundamentally have sex without lust, unless it's unintentional, i.e. some woman sits on a man's nocturnal erection), you never know if the other person can.
Gwenn Dana wrote:So the problem is not arousal (bodily sensation). The problem is creating stories on it. So if there are two arousals, and there is consent, so why not. Then there is not more to that. If there is arousal, but there is attachment or aversion, then better let the defilements subside or problems will come.

Otherwise one could just as well say "eating is not good for the mind."

Arousal is psycho-physical. If you're not mentally aroused, you won't get a physical reaction with your genitals. If you are mentally aroused there is desire. The comparison with eating is useless, since you can become indifferent to good tastes and eat without it disturbing the mind, whereas you can't get physical arousal without mental arousal as a pre-requisite (except when asleep).
Dan74 wrote:Apparently there was traditionally plenty of anti-sex sentiment in Japanese Buddhism and monks sometimes carried little batons on their alms rounds to beat their erections, in case they happened.

They also invented the asinine concept of a woman-forcefield around monastery mountains. Perpetuating the myth that a woman would be incapable of entering the mountain due to it's magic.
Andrew108 wrote:If masturbation led to an inferior birth then there wouldn't be many humans left. Everyone masturbates at some point in their life after pubity. And why not?

Because it perpetuates the sexual desire you will have for your future mother or father when you are being in between death and birth.
Gwenn Dana wrote:This discussion somehow makes it clear that the goal must be life staying on, and defilements going off, not life going off.

Neither on, nor off, nor both, nor neither. The question as to where the fire goes when it is extinguished does not apply.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Jesse » Fri May 09, 2014 8:46 pm

Zhen Li wrote:
greentara wrote:Sex is not bad of itself, its simply that lust and desire disturb the mind. Anyone who thinks about the subject deeply has to admit that the mind is affected.. To gloss over the issue with ideas that sound free wheeling and breezy does not address the underlying issue and seems to lack any sort of serious reflection.
I have also read and watched trash movies and books but realise they are not conducive to meditation and stilling the mind. Heartfelt devotion to a teacher or teaching is a great help.

I find this kind of meaningless. Isn't this like saying murder is not bad of itself, it's simply that anger and hatred disturb the mind. If you have intercourse, not only can you damage your OWN spiritual progress, but you can damage the other participant's. So it's solipsistic to believe that even if you can control your lust (and you can't fundamentally have sex without lust, unless it's unintentional, i.e. some woman sits on a man's nocturnal erection), you never know if the other person can.
Gwenn Dana wrote:So the problem is not arousal (bodily sensation). The problem is creating stories on it. So if there are two arousals, and there is consent, so why not. Then there is not more to that. If there is arousal, but there is attachment or aversion, then better let the defilements subside or problems will come.

Otherwise one could just as well say "eating is not good for the mind."

Arousal is psycho-physical. If you're not mentally aroused, you won't get a physical reaction with your genitals. If you are mentally aroused there is desire. The comparison with eating is useless, since you can become indifferent to good tastes and eat without it disturbing the mind, whereas you can't get physical arousal without mental arousal as a pre-requisite (except when asleep).
Dan74 wrote:Apparently there was traditionally plenty of anti-sex sentiment in Japanese Buddhism and monks sometimes carried little batons on their alms rounds to beat their erections, in case they happened.

They also invented the asinine concept of a woman-forcefield around monastery mountains. Perpetuating the myth that a woman would be incapable of entering the mountain due to it's magic.
Andrew108 wrote:If masturbation led to an inferior birth then there wouldn't be many humans left. Everyone masturbates at some point in their life after pubity. And why not?

Because it perpetuates the sexual desire you will have for your future mother or father when you are being in between death and birth.
Gwenn Dana wrote:This discussion somehow makes it clear that the goal must be life staying on, and defilements going off, not life going off.

Neither on, nor off, nor both, nor neither. The question as to where the fire goes when it is extinguished does not apply.


If you have intercourse, not only can you damage your OWN spiritual progress, but you can damage the other participant's


Neither sex, nor masturbation harms your "Spiritual Progress". Sex is as natural as eating. It is indeed intent which shapes our karma, not acts in and of themselves. Sex propagates our species and allows for your 'precious human rebirths'. Don't be so damned ridiculous, if there's no-one out there having sex, I imagine you'll find it quite hard to practice Dharma.

I'm not sure why people feel the need to make such claims, why don't people just admit the truth. "Sexuality makes me uncomfortable".
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Zhen Li » Fri May 09, 2014 8:53 pm

Jesse wrote:Neither sex, nor masturbation harms your "Spiritual Progress". Sex is as natural as eating. It is indeed intent which shapes our karma, not acts in and of themselves.

I am so sorry that you must have sex to continue living day to day, just like eating, that must be a very inconvenient predicament you have there. But for most people, they're just like most cars, which aren't like the bus in Speed, and can stop without blowing up.

It is also amazing that you are able to separate intention and the mind from your deeds. You must teach me how to do that, because in the dependent origination I am familiar with, that doesn't quite work.
Jesse wrote:Sex propagates our species and allows for your 'precious human rebirths'. Don't be so damned ridiculous, if there's no-one out there having sex, I imagine you'll find it quite hard to practice Dharma.

Sure, I would have been so damned ridiculous if I suggested it is in any way possible for there to be a world in which no one had sex.

I certainly am glad I never claimed that. :sage:
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Jesse » Fri May 09, 2014 9:04 pm

Zhen Li wrote:
Jesse wrote:Neither sex, nor masturbation harms your "Spiritual Progress". Sex is as natural as eating. It is indeed intent which shapes our karma, not acts in and of themselves.

I am so sorry that you must have sex to continue living day to day, just like eating, that must be a very inconvenient predicament you have there. But for most people, they're just like most cars, which aren't like the bus in Speed, and can stop without blowing up.

It is also amazing that you are able to separate intention and the mind from your deeds. You must teach me how to do that, because in the dependent origination I am familiar with, that doesn't quite work.
Jesse wrote:Sex propagates our species and allows for your 'precious human rebirths'. Don't be so damned ridiculous, if there's no-one out there having sex, I imagine you'll find it quite hard to practice Dharma.

Sure, I would have been so damned ridiculous if I suggested it is in any way possible for there to be a world in which no one had sex.

I certainly am glad I never claimed that. :sage:


No you claimed Sexual acts harm our spiritual progress, which makes no sense and is quite ridiculous, otherwise it's like saying your mother may be reborn as a fly, or hungry ghost for giving you life, in which you are able to practice dharma to your hearts content. Such a shameful spiritual act. :roll:

It is also amazing that you are able to separate intention and the mind from your deeds. You must teach me how to do that, because in the dependent origination I am familiar with, that doesn't quite work.


For example, If I accidentally step on a bug, the intent is very different from killing a bug because I'm angry. The intents are very different, same act.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Zhen Li » Fri May 09, 2014 10:02 pm

Jesse wrote:No you claimed Sexual acts harm our spiritual progress, which makes no sense and is quite ridiculous, otherwise it's like saying your mother may be reborn as a fly, or hungry ghost for giving you life, in which you are able to practice dharma to your hearts content. Such a shameful spiritual act. :roll:

Firstly life isn't given, only the body. You'll be reborn regardless of whether a body is created in one place or another. Secondly, making babies isn't a spiritual act. I don't really know where you're getting these ideas. Maybe it's some Abrahamic inheritance of "be fruitful and multiply."
Jesse wrote:
It is also amazing that you are able to separate intention and the mind from your deeds. You must teach me how to do that, because in the dependent origination I am familiar with, that doesn't quite work.


For example, If I accidentally step on a bug, the intent is very different from killing a bug because I'm angry. The intents are very different, same act.

Yes, and I said specifically that if one is aroused nocturnally and a woman sits on your erection, that doesn't entail mental arousal, because the blood is simply flows up and down the body creating tumescence to keep it fresh. If you are awake however, and you desire someone, and get aroused, then clearly that will give rise to attachment. The issue is simple. Contact gives rise to feeling, it is positive or negative or neutral. Noticing and neither being drawn towards or pushing away when noticing the feeling doesn't give rise to desire, but being drawn gives rise to desire for further contact, and pushing away gives rise to desire for cessation of contact.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Jesse » Fri May 09, 2014 10:13 pm

Firstly life isn't given, only the body. You'll be reborn regardless of whether a body is created in one place or another.


If you say so. It must be nice to be so sure of yourself.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Zhen Li » Fri May 09, 2014 10:35 pm

Well, I believe in rebirth. I thought this was a Buddhist forum after all. :shrug:
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Jesse » Fri May 09, 2014 10:44 pm

Zhen Li wrote:Well, I believe in rebirth. I thought this was a Buddhist forum after all. :shrug:


Not all Buddhist believe in rebirth, though many do. I simply ascribe to the position - I don't believe in anything I can't prove or have first-hand knowledge of.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Gwenn Dana » Fri May 09, 2014 11:47 pm

As long as there is no notion of a soul that travels mystically to another body ...
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Zhen Li » Fri May 09, 2014 11:54 pm

Well Jesse, formerly you did state with seeming certainty that my mother gave me life. So it seems you made up your mind.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sat May 10, 2014 12:21 am

Gwenn Dana wrote:As long as there is no notion of a soul that travels mystically to another body ...

Why does it matter how someone conceptualizes it? I cannot think of a model for rebirth that cannot be considered "mystical", as indefinable as that is.

Jesse wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:Well, I believe in rebirth. I thought this was a Buddhist forum after all. :shrug:


I simply ascribe to the position - I don't believe in anything I can't prove or have first-hand knowledge of.

I don't see a difference between belief and subscription. but whatever makes you feel objective. For me its "I don't believe, I assume".


Dan74 wrote:
Myoho-Nameless wrote:I do appreciate the lack of anti sex sentiment in Japanese Buddhism...


Apparently there was traditionally plenty of anti-sex sentiment in Japanese Buddhism and monks sometimes carried little batons on their alms rounds to beat their erections, in case they happened.


It is hard to generalize an entire culture, yes, but from what I know the ancient Japanese viewed sex as perfectly normal and natural and good. There was a Shinto influence here, similar perhaps to shadows of pagan influence in western culture, which I think could be tapped into by us modern people. Personally I think sex and self stimulation thereof should only be considered "bad" if it is causing suffering. Otherwise its harmless and possibly healthful in fact. Though ordained people could benefit from avoiding marriage probably, but that goes without saying from someone like me who believes marriage is an outdated institution and that nobody, gay or straight, should bother with.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Then again I am a Nichiren Buddhist, and we find nirvana within samsara. Putting so much energy trying to extinguish desire defined by not having it, is not only impossible, but contradictory as wanting to achieve that in the first place, is a desire. so yeah, my POV here I guess would not be "typical". I do not think Buddhism should become anti sex. And there is technically a difference between not marrying and having a family, and avoiding sex, especially as this thread was started, porn. Though if a person has a genuine addiction, that IS a problem. But controlling sex in Buddhism for the laity probably has more to do with controlling and upholding the family unit in traditionalist terms, something else no longer needed, than it does with "spiritual progress". Though going through periods of sustained abstinence could produce other benefits. Such as discipline.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Gwenn Dana » Sat May 10, 2014 12:48 am

Myoho-Nameless wrote:
Gwenn Dana wrote:As long as there is no notion of a soul that travels mystically to another body ...

Why does it matter how someone conceptualizes it? I cannot think of a model for rebirth that cannot be considered "mystical", as indefinable as that is.


This conceptualization comes with belief. Belief doesn't reach beyond concepts. If you need mystic, you need to trust in "some unknown forces". Then we're in the realm of fairy tale stories.

But you will probably be able to pull out a Sutra from some remote place that states even that.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Sat May 10, 2014 1:15 am

I don't really see that as important....
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Zhen Li » Sat May 10, 2014 1:56 am

Not everything works within the logical framework of empiricism, or even is discursive, which presupposes that all being discussed is that which must be put into words.

Sorry if you don't think this makes any sense, but I find it helps to make the world richer than it otherwise might seem. On Certainty, by Ludwig Wittgenstein.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Gwenn Dana » Sat May 10, 2014 10:00 am

As long as you don't get lost in the riches everything is fine.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby JKhedrup » Sat May 10, 2014 11:08 am

What I find funny is that the very same people who advocate "sexual freedom" don't respect the choice of some to work towards "freedom from sexuality".

Thus you find these days it is less shocking to have open relationships and polyamory than have a person who just isn't interested in "cultivating" their sexuality and prefers to invest energy in different things.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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