JKhedrup wrote:Thanks so much SD, that was going to be my point exactly.
For example, stepfathers have the highest rates of abuse of children. Most stepfathers are in sexual relationships with their wives, but still abuse children.
47% of sexually abused children are abused by family members, most of whom are in sexual relationships with other partners. If you argue celibacy causes child abuse, after looking at these statistics who could argue modern family structures cause child abuse as well.
Celibacy is not the reason for child abuse- it is simplistic and ill-informed to say so.
As for the bad behaviour of the monks around Boudha, that area is notorious for lax discipline. If you had spent time at Sera or Namdroling in South India, or Sakya Monastery in Dehra Dun, you'd have a very different picture.
With due respect Venerable, you should not use modifiers like "most". So most stepfathers abuse children. Really? Is that like 80% or 90%?
There's much more going on with abuse of children than mere sexual desire. It's like calling rape non consensual sex. Yet the current understanding of rape is that it has nothing to do with sex.
I've also seen statistics that show that the highest rate of sexual abuse in families are from families that can be categorized as the most religious or morally rigid. I could then extrapolate to say that people who are more morally rigid (fundamental) are hiding the very proclivities they say they are against - we see pastors who preach against homosexuality get caught with gay prostitutes, or we get conservative politicians who speak on the values of family get caught having affairs, and on and on.
But it serves no purpose in a conversation of how to move towards celibacy or whether celibacy is a good choice or bad choice, what are the pros and cons, etc. It's easy to go off into extremes and marginal situations that are not relevant, then we all get stuck talking essentially off topic without realizing it.
I think some of the negative reactions towards people who advocate celibacy stems from arguments that equate consensual sexual relationships with pedophilia and other abuses. In the US, we get similar logical constructs that equate homosexuality with bestiality and worse. Respect is a two way street. It's one thing to have a position of "your sexuality is normal and I celebrate your choice, my choice is to move beyond my sexuality" versus "I'm giving up sex because it's dirty and your sex and sexual desires are disgusting and degrading and you sleep with children." (Yes, I'm going over the top
For people in the west, for as long as the Catholic Church has been around, and then with Protestantism in its various forms, religion has bludgeoned us with "sex is bad" and "sex is dirty" and "you're going to hell if you have sex with your wife with the lights on" type of sermons.
Unfortunately, some advocates of celibacy come across as preachy and sermonizing. For them, celibacy is a moral choice, often the only moral choice with regards to sex. Just the framing of the way they talk about celibacy immediately puts someone who is not celibate, or looking to be celibate, into the position of being immoral. A person who is called immoral, especially for something that they don't think is wrong, will often respond defensively. In cases like this, the person advocating celibacy may not realize this for themselves, so when they get a negative reaction, they don't look within themselves as to how they may have created or furthered the negativity. (For Buddhist, that's one of the first things we're taught - if there's an issue, look towards yourself first.)
I actually see this quite a bit with some advocates of veganism. Some very militant vegans out there! Some of the most interesting debates I've seen are between those that are raw foodist and vegans who actually *gasp* cook some of their foods.
Personally, I find nothing wrong with people who want to pursue celibacy. I think there are some very tangible benefits to a celibate life style. There are some very tangible benefits to a healthy sexual life as well. At the same time, each can have their drawbacks. All very individual. I think the Buddhist value of the middle way comes in really handy when we talk about topics like this.