Celibacy

A forum for discussion of Buddhist ethics.

Re: Celibacy

Postby uan » Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:45 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
uan wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote: When you are not allowed to watch film, theater, music, etc... then being distracted by these is just not an issue.


then again :) ... The lama in the video is Loppon Rechungpa (Nyingma).
I mean easier in the following way:

It's Saturday night and you are a vow holding monastic, do you:

a) Go out with some friends, to a venue of your liking, to imbibe the intoxicant of your choice and hopefully end up in bed for some causal sex.
b) Go out with your better half to a movie/restaurant, have a couple of drinks and go home to make love.
c) Stay at home with the spouse and kids, suffer through some children's movies before putting them to bed, put on a show of your choice and drink a couple of glasses of wine/beer before going to bed.
d) Stay at "home" and practice sadhana, then go to bed and practice sleep/dream yoga.

See how it is "easier"?


d) of course.

However, a person shouldn't need to be a vow holding monastic to make that choice. Vows shouldn't be viewed solely by what you are being denied, rather they should be a reflection of who you are. There are many types of vows. I'm married and have taken marriage vows. The vows reflect my deep love for my wife. I don't look at them as a series of things I can't do anymore, including: a) hooking up with that hot number I met at the beach; b) hanging out with my mates 24/7 when I'm not working; c) taking vacations on single cruises on my own.

I know many soldiers who have taken vows (oaths) to defend their country. But those vows/oaths followed what they already felt in their hearts. Their highest values were already to defend their country by carrying arms against enemies.

In that sense, there shouldn't really be a choice, because sadhana would be what you want to be doing, not something you "should" be doing. It would be more rewarding to you personally than going out to the pub for drinks and a roll in the sack afterwards. But, of course, that's easier to say than to do. We all waste time in one way or the other, for sure I'm as guilty of this as anyone!

But knowing where you are is very important, as well as knowing where you want to go (or perhaps where you think you should be?). On one level, we are where we want to be, at least to the extent that we prefer that to the effort it takes to be somewhere else.

So on the one hand, we as practitioners normally would/should find our practice the most enjoyable thing. On the other hand, I'd agree that there are times, when we know ourselves well, that applying an external "discipline" is the best course of actions. For myself, there are many things I can learn on my own in my professional life, but I find going to a class makes it easier to carve out the time needed for study.

I'd agree with Dan74 above, that life, just day to day, is an opportunity to practice. Every moment is sadhana.

Moving back to monastics, thinking only of my teachers, they are beyond needing the vows to make the right choices for what they should be doing. For younger, less spiritually advanced monks, the vows definitely can help in those moments of weakness, but the goal should be to eventually grow beyond needing them - we'd act in accordance with the vows without even thinking of them.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:55 am

uan wrote:d) of course.

However, a person shouldn't need to be a vow holding monastic to make that choice.
You missed the point, again. a, b and c are not even choices for a vow holding monastic. They don't have to consider them AT ALL, whereas for a lay practitioner they are viable options, and ones they choose many times. Yes, people shouldn't have to be "bound" by vows, but vows (and commitments) certainly help. If they didn't they wouldn't be such an important part of the Buddhist path.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Celibacy

Postby uan » Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:02 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
uan wrote:d) of course.

However, a person shouldn't need to be a vow holding monastic to make that choice.
You missed the point, again. a, b and c are not even choices for a vow holding monastic. They don't have to consider them AT ALL, whereas for a lay practitioner they are viable options, and ones they choose many times.


You present 3 false choices then say I missed the point because I didn't say you presented 3 false choices, even though I selected the right answer as a no brainer, implying the other 3 weren't really choices? Okay. That's one way to keep score if that is your intent.

But you did actually present 3 choices. Here's the thing - there's a difference between a dilemma and a temptation. The vows take away the dilemma, essentially, what is the right thing to do. But the vows don't take away the temptation. A monastic still needs to make the choice to do the right thing. So while 3 of the 4 choices are not really temptations for most monastics, regardless of their vows, they still require an actual choice.

There are also much more subtle temptations that a monastic faces. E.g., a good argument could be made that a monastic shouldn't post on an internet forum. We have a few who post here on the DW, and I'm sure there are others who post on other forums. There probably is some value to when they post, but as you have indicated, getting involved in online discussions can be a form of distraction "Instead of practicing I am sitting here having a fairly pointless discussion". So a monastic can do something that is allowed, under the guise of teaching or clarifying dharma, etc., but in reality, they could be violating one of their vows.

It's really not the vow itself that's important, it's the meaning of the vow. I'm reminded of the Zen parable of the Muddy Road:

Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.
Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

"Come on, girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"


Getting back to your response to me, at a deeper level, I thought your point was that you view vows as necessary for monastics because you yourself succumb (at times) to temptations and need some external prodding to keep your focus where you'd prefer it to be in an ideal world (and yes, I don't know you, but I am going off of what you stated, though I could be totally misunderstanding what you're staying):

Sherab Dorje wrote:There is more pressure to go out for beers, than to do a sadhana...I tend to arse around quite a bit before I can drum up the energy to practice so...For most of us, there are so many hours in the day when we are realistically able to devote ourselves to formal practice...Available time is not the issue. We have plenty of time to practice, but we spend most of it in wasting time. Which is what I am doing right now. Instead of practicing I am sitting here having a fairly pointless discussion, in the grand scheme of enlightenment, about what is conducive to practice!...Going to the beach (for example, as it is stinking hot today and I live a five minute walk from the sea) takes time, energy, etc... regardless of how relaxing it is. Actually, it is too relaxing. So when my better half says: "Let's go for a quick dip, just to cool off!" Well... And, unless you are a complete cad, you gotta make time for your partner too. Time that could be spent much more wisely, if one's real goal is enlightenment in this lifetime.


To that point, my response was twofold. One, that vows can be seen as affirmations, not just renunciations. The second point was that you don't need to have vows to make the same choices. What is needed are intentions. Going to the beach or out for a few beers is neither good nor bad. It's just whether they are actions that match your intentions. For example, if a person says that their goal in this life is to reach enlightenment, then that person's actions should match that. Reaching enlightenment in this lifetime is a worthy goal and deserves respect. But that's the not the only goal that deserves respect. Making an effort to progress on the path is also a worthy goal and deserves respect. Doing a bit better today than yesterday is too, etc.

Sherab Dorje wrote:Ex-monastics I have spoken to all readily admit that being a monastic makes life (and practice) infinitely simpler.


I think that's somewhat of a red herring. A person can still make the same, or very similar, choices whether they are in the monastery or not. They can choose a job that is inline with their dharma practice, or at least neutral. They can approach their work in the same manner as they would if they were in monastery, and then before and after work they can keep to a similar schedule as they would in the monastery.

In addition, I think my life is much simpler than how I've heard (and imagine) some of the lives that monastics lead. For instance, while he seems to be in a good place now, it sounds like it was an ongoing struggle with lack of support, etc. to get there.

I think the issue for some of these ex-monastics might be that their goals and/or intentions have shifted, or being outside the monastery has clarified what their true goals and intentions are. I know a lama whose guru didn't want him to take vows. At one point a few years back, the lama was wondering about life as a lay person. His guru encouraged him to leave the monastery and experience life back in his village. Within the year, the lama was back at the monastery with his guru. He still didn't ordain, but follows the vows (or more precisely, he follows his guru with 100% devotion).

Anyway, as you've said, this is all pointless discussion, I think we are actually pretty much on the same page, making the same point. We are just making our points a bit differently and coming from different life circumstances. We can choose to focus on the differences, but that doesn't mean we're fundamentally making different points.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:28 pm

uan wrote:You present 3 false choices then say I missed the point because I didn't say you presented 3 false choices, even though I selected the right answer as a no brainer, implying the other 3 weren't really choices? Okay. That's one way to keep score if that is your intent.
You missed the point again, but I give up in trying to explain it any further.
A monastic still needs to make the choice to do the right thing.
I agree, the difference is that none of the four options is a "right" or "wrong" choice for a non-monastic. They are all equally valid. That is why it is "easier" for a monastic: because a, b and c ARE wrong choices. It is a non-brainer for a monastic.
E.g., a good argument could be made that a monastic shouldn't post on an internet forum.
Using the Vinaya of your choice, please show me the argument for a monastic not posting on an interent forum.
...but as you have indicated, getting involved in online discussions can be a form of distraction "Instead of practicing I am sitting here having a fairly pointless discussion".
Eating food can also be a form of distraction. Does that mean monastics should not eat food?
So a monastic can do something that is allowed, under the guise of teaching or clarifying dharma, etc., but in reality, they could be violating one of their vows.
Show me the vow and I will agree with you.
It's really not the vow itself that's important, it's the meaning of the vow.
Nonsense. The vows were formulated in response to specific situations. The meaning is the same for all vows.
One, that vows can be seen as affirmations, not just renunciations.
Renouncing unwholesome behaviour is the same as affirming wholesome behaviour. So we are in agreement here.
Reaching enlightenment in this lifetime is a worthy goal and deserves respect. But that's the not the only goal that deserves respect. Making an effort to progress on the path is also a worthy goal and deserves respect. Doing a bit better today than yesterday is too, etc.
Sure. But frittering away this precious human existence on impermanent distractions (beers and beaches) seems like a real shame.
I think that's somewhat of a red herring.
No it's not, it was in response to the post before mine.
A person can still make the same, or very similar, choices whether they are in the monastery or not.

"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Celibacy

Postby uan » Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:37 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
A monastic still needs to make the choice to do the right thing.
I agree, the difference is that none of the four options is a "right" or "wrong" choice for a non-monastic. They are all equally valid. That is why it is "easier" for a monastic: because a, b and c ARE wrong choices. It is a non-brainer for a monastic.


It's also a no brainer for those professing an intention to attain enlightenment. As I said, it's all in relationship to what your intentions are. If a person states they want to attain enlightenment in this lifetime, but then chooses to go out, get drunk, and have some one night stands, then the person's intentions are wrong, or his actions.

That is also a no brainer.

E.g., a good argument could be made that a monastic shouldn't post on an internet forum.
Using the Vinaya of your choice, please show me the argument for a monastic not posting on an interent forum.


goes along with not watching tv, seeing movies, etc (which can be allowed if it is a dharma talk or some such).

...but as you have indicated, getting involved in online discussions can be a form of distraction "Instead of practicing I am sitting here having a fairly pointless discussion".
Eating food can also be a form of distraction. Does that mean monastics should not eat food?


Under some circumstances, yes.

So a monastic can do something that is allowed, under the guise of teaching or clarifying dharma, etc., but in reality, they could be violating one of their vows.
Show me the vow and I will agree with you.


From the Berzin Archive, the 46 Secondary Bodhisattva vows (which I imagine you were using as well?) http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/practice_material/vows/bodhisattva/secondary_bodhisattva_pledges.html?query=vows

Three Faulty Actions Detrimental to Training in Far-Reaching Joyful Perseverance

(3) Resorting to passing time with stories, out of attachment

The third obstacle hindering the growth of enthusiasm for helping others is wasting time in a meaningless fashion. This refers to telling, listening to, reading, watching on television or in the movies, or surfing the Internet for stories about sex, violence, celebrities, political intrigues, and so on.


It's really not the vow itself that's important, it's the meaning of the vow.
Nonsense. The vows were formulated in response to specific situations. The meaning is the same for all vows.


Show me the vow that was created against watching a movie? Or did they just put tv/film etc. into an existing vow? Again, look at number 3 above, Resorting to passing time with stories, out of attachment. It's the attachment that creates the issue. Not just the act of watching a movie or reading a story. Reading the Jakata tales would seem okay, but what if a monastic read it just for enjoyment?

The internet certainly is capable of wasting time, especially because often it looks productive, when it's not. Some postings may be valid, others may not be. I'm not the person to judge. You do realize it's not the action, but what's behind the action? And it's not what you or I see, but it's really the individual themselves, or their guru, that knows.

Reaching enlightenment in this lifetime is a worthy goal and deserves respect. But that's the not the only goal that deserves respect. Making an effort to progress on the path is also a worthy goal and deserves respect. Doing a bit better today than yesterday is too, etc.
Sure. But frittering away this precious human existence on impermanent distractions (beers and beaches) seems like a real shame.


Sure, then why do you do it?

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.





btw, I'm as guilty, if not more guilty, of frittering away time and my days. There is a definite disconnect between my intentions and my actions and I strive to bring those into alignment. But I'm under no illusion that anyone or any circumstances prevents me from doing that, except myself.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:16 pm

uan wrote:goes along with not watching tv, seeing movies, etc (which can be allowed if it is a dharma talk or some such).
So only if it is being used as a form of entertainment then.
From the Berzin Archive, the 46 Secondary Bodhisattva vows (which I imagine you were using as well?) http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/practice_material/vows/bodhisattva/secondary_bodhisattva_pledges.html?query=vows
Vinaya vows, we are talking about monastics. The Bodhisattva vows are not exclusively for monastics. ;)
Show me the vow that was created against watching a movie? Or did they just put tv/film etc. into an existing vow?
The vow about indulging in entertainment.
Sure, then why do you do it?
Ignorance, why else?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Celibacy

Postby uan » Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:52 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
The vow about indulging in entertainment.
[/quote]


Do you have a link to that? I thought there was a vow such as that, but couldn't find it in the list of 227 vinaya vows (I know there are more in some other traditions). It's one of the reasons I used the Bodhisattva vows (you did say vows from any tradition :), and those vows are probably more relevant on a Mahayana / Vajrayana forum).

I did find one minor offense that could be said to apply to some postings on Internet forums:

A bhikkhu who engages in or encourages a futile conversation, commits a dubbhāsita.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:25 am

uan wrote:Do you have a link to that? I thought there was a vow such as that, but couldn't find it in the list of 227 vinaya vows (I know there are more in some other traditions). It's one of the reasons I used the Bodhisattva vows (you did say vows from any tradition :), and those vows are probably more relevant on a Mahayana / Vajrayana forum).
It is in the Pratimoksha section of the Vinaya vows.

BTW, the Vinaya vows are taken by Mahayana and Vajrayana monks too.
The Prātimokṣa is traditionally a section of the Vinaya. The Theravada Vinaya is preserved in the Pali Canon, in the Vinaya Piṭaka section. The Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya is preserved in both the Tibetan Buddhist canon in the Kangyur, in a Chinese edition, and in an incomplete Sanskrit manuscript. Some other complete vinaya texts are preserved in the Chinese Buddhist canon (see: Taishō Tripiṭaka), and these include:

Mahīśāsaka Vinaya (T. 1421)
Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya (T. 1425)
Dharmaguptaka Vinaya (T. 1428)
Sarvāstivāda Vinaya (T. 1435)
Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya (T. 1442)
A Mahayana/Vajrayana monastic takes bodhisattva vows IN ADDITION to the Vinaya vows.
I did find one minor offense that could be said to apply to some postings on Internet forums:

A bhikkhu who engages in or encourages a futile conversation, commits a dubbhāsita.
Yes, well, now define a futile conversation... And anyway, how can one know a conversation is futile if they don't engage in it???

But, this thread is about celibacy, so let's keep it on track shall we?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:52 pm

uan wrote:Do you have a link to that? I thought there was a vow such as that, but couldn't find it in the list of 227 vinaya vows (I know there are more in some other traditions). It's one of the reasons I used the Bodhisattva vows (you did say vows from any tradition :), and those vows are probably more relevant on a Mahayana / Vajrayana forum).


This excerpt from the Uposatha Sutta should answer your question. The Uposatha is a day of special observance where monks recite the Patimokkha and laypeople may undertake the Uposatha precepts and live more austerely if they so choose. This applies to Theravada. I'm not sure how it works with Mahayana/Vajrayana.

Uposatha Sutta, AN 8.41 wrote:7. "Bhikkhus. Ariyan disciples in this Religion reflect thus:

"'All arahants, for as long as life lasts, have given up singing and dancing, the playing of musical instruments and the watching of entertainments, which are stumbling blocks to that which is wholesome. Nor do they bedeck themselves with ornaments, flowers or perfume.'

"All of you have given up singing and dancing, the playing of musical instruments and the watching of entertainments, which are stumbling blocks to that which is wholesome. You do not bedeck yourselves with ornaments, flowers or perfume. For all of this day and night, in this manner, you will be known as having followed the arahants, and the Uposatha will have been observed by you. This is the seventh factor of the Uposatha.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby uan » Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:41 am

thanks Mkoll and Sherab Dorje. Here's the list I was looking at, and I believe they are common to Mahayana and Vajrayana, which have additional vows, but I'm far from being knowledgeable in this area:

http://en.dhammadana.org/sangha/vinaya/227.htm

We could almost make a new thread to discuss the different vows and how they apply in modern life. But per SD, we should go :focus:

:anjali:
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Jetavan » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:54 pm

maxaroni13 wrote:Need support becoming celibate please help support me somehow I am addicted to pornography would love to be celibate just don't know how someone please provide prayers aspirations etc scriptural resources


"If you feel that you have very strong sexual desire or have a problem with your sexual energy, bring your awareness and attention to your yong quan, the center of the sole of your foot. Bringing your attention there will help regulate your desire. Chinese acupuncture uses this point to help people with extreme sexual energy...."

Jun, G. (2013). Essential Chan Buddhism: The character and spirit of Chinese Zen. Rhinebeck, NY: Monkfish Book Publishing Company, p. 123.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:03 pm

uan wrote:It's also a no brainer for those professing an intention to attain enlightenment. As I said, it's all in relationship to what your intentions are. If a person states they want to attain enlightenment in this lifetime, but then chooses to go out, get drunk, and have some one night stands, then the person's intentions are wrong, or his actions.


On paper it might work like that, but experience might suggest it isn't so.

I've met plenty of people who shun material pleasures and judge others for going out and getting drunk once in awhile, yet their minds are filled with desires for fame, status, power and public recognition. They're externally pure, but internally impure. Conversely, I know others who are externally "impure" (promiscuity, lots of alcohol and so on), but internally have few desires and are quite content with being unknown to the world and Buddhist community.



goes along with not watching tv, seeing movies, etc (which can be allowed if it is a dharma talk or some such).


To be honest I've seen how such proscriptions work out in real life and it never has impressed me.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:10 pm

Nemo wrote:My understanding is that Buddhist monasticism is simply how an enlightened individual would naturally act. If you are not spiritually mature enough to see that perhaps you should temper your comments so as not to seem wholly ignorant of the religion you profess to follow.


Indeed, an enlightened individual would make a proper financial contract and have it notarized by the appropriate authorities, just as the Buddha would have done.

Vinayavibhaṅga:

The Blessed One said: “Taking a pledge (ādhi/bhandhaka) of twice the value (dviguṇa), and writing out a contract (likhita) that has a seal and is witnessed (sākṣimat), the perpetuity is to be placed. In the contract the year, the month, the day, the name of the Elder of the Community (saṃghasthavira), the Provost of the monastery (upadhivārika), the borrower, the property, and the interest (vṛddhi) should be recorded. When the perpetuity is placed, that pledge of twice the value is also to be placed with a devout lay-brother who has undertaken the five rules of training.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby uan » Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:58 pm

Indrajala wrote:
uan wrote:It's also a no brainer for those professing an intention to attain enlightenment. As I said, it's all in relationship to what your intentions are. If a person states they want to attain enlightenment in this lifetime, but then chooses to go out, get drunk, and have some one night stands, then the person's intentions are wrong, or his actions.


On paper it might work like that, but experience might suggest it isn't so.

I've met plenty of people who shun material pleasures and judge others for going out and getting drunk once in awhile, yet their minds are filled with desires for fame, status, power and public recognition. They're externally pure, but internally impure. Conversely, I know others who are externally "impure" (promiscuity, lots of alcohol and so on), but internally have few desires and are quite content with being unknown to the world and Buddhist community.


I don't disagree at all. There are a lot of permutations, which basically boils down to each individual. Definitely not a one size fits all thing. But I do see it happen a lot, not just in Buddhism, but generally in life, where a person's outwardly stated intention and their actions are at odds.

In context of my statement above, Greg had mentioned that he would prefer to have more time to practice, but had social engagements that prevented him from doing so. I was basically saying he had a choice and he basically agreed (and the examples I used above were just the examples he had previously given). In some ways he's ahead of the curve because he's aware of it, whereas many of us have that type of disconnect but don't recognize it in ourselves.

goes along with not watching tv, seeing movies, etc (which can be allowed if it is a dharma talk or some such).


To be honest I've seen how such proscriptions work out in real life and it never has impressed me.


I think there is value to a certain extent, but making rules preeminent is folly, because for many following the rules becomes the goal, and the objective measure of achievement. I think what happens is similar to your example above, where there's too much emphasis on the external, which really doesn't correlate with the internal. So the real issue isn't about not watching tv, for instances, it's about attachment, it's about not prioritizing what you do, it's about mindfulness, etc.

As an aside, good to see you posting Venerable. :thumbsup:
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:22 pm

uan wrote:But I do see it happen a lot, not just in Buddhism, but generally in life, where a person's outwardly stated intention and their actions are at odds.


Indeed, you can basically write off the vast majority of Buddhism, past and present (and I'm not being sarcastic). The stated intentions of Buddhadharma are generally given lip service, but institutional actions generally aim towards self-preservation and associated activities. This is of course necessary if you're going to run an institution. Living like an ancient śramaṇa won't pay the bills or provide much of a base for a stable community.

Institutions and people come up with all kinds of ludicrous things in the name of the Buddha and his Dharma to propagate their own self-interests. This is the Buddhist Church in action. The requirement for celibacy incidentally is tied into this because it is economically pragmatic to have your clerics without dependents. I know what the original spirit behind renunciation was supposed to be, but in practice it isn't necessarily so relevant. In practice it is purity that sells the field of merit narrative, and celibate monks does the trick.


In context of my statement above, Greg had mentioned that he would prefer to have more time to practice, but had social engagements that prevented him from doing so. I was basically saying he had a choice and he basically agreed (and the examples I used above were just the examples he had previously given). In some ways he's ahead of the curve because he's aware of it, whereas many of us have that type of disconnect but don't recognize it in ourselves.


My honest feeling is that you need to relax and know when to take it real easy. As a scholar and translator I know that after several months of intensive intellectual work I find myself needing to do break away from it and just enjoy a lot of easy leisure time. Likewise, in retreat if you meditate too much you can end up with mental and physical problems if you're unprepared or not yet mentally fit enough for extended hours on the cushion, which I know from experience.

You can practice like your hair is on fire, but you might burn yourself out in that process.


So the real issue isn't about not watching tv, for instances, it's about attachment, it's about not prioritizing what you do, it's about mindfulness, etc.


If you look at those rules you can easily see it is just institutional concerns. It looks better when your sangha is forbidden from watching TV and hence won't accidentally talk about mundane things in front of paying laypeople. In actual practice it doesn't mean anyone is actually anymore wiser or more elevated as a result of being unable to enjoy in certain time wasting activities, or using a mobile phone for that matter.

Is it really about the well-being of the practitioners under someone's authority, or is it more just about keeping up appearances to keep the cash rolling in?
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Re: Celibacy

Postby dzogchungpa » Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:00 pm

Indrajala wrote:My honest feeling is that you need to relax and know when to take it real easy. As a scholar and translator I know that after several months of intensive intellectual work I find myself needing to do break away from it and just enjoy a lot of easy leisure time. Likewise, in retreat if you meditate too much you can end up with mental and physical problems if you're unprepared or not yet mentally fit enough for extended hours on the cushion, which I know from experience.

Slacker. :smile:
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Re: Celibacy

Postby uan » Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:27 pm

Indrajala wrote:
uan wrote:But I do see it happen a lot, not just in Buddhism, but generally in life, where a person's outwardly stated intention and their actions are at odds.


Indeed, you can basically write off the vast majority of Buddhism, past and present (and I'm not being sarcastic). The stated intentions of Buddhadharma are generally given lip service, but institutional actions generally aim towards self-preservation and associated activities. This is of course necessary if you're going to run an institution. Living like an ancient śramaṇa won't pay the bills or provide much of a base for a stable community.

Institutions and people come up with all kinds of ludicrous things in the name of the Buddha and his Dharma to propagate their own self-interests. This is the Buddhist Church in action. The requirement for celibacy incidentally is tied into this because it is economically pragmatic to have your clerics without dependents. I know what the original spirit behind renunciation was supposed to be, but in practice it isn't necessarily so relevant. In practice it is purity that sells the field of merit narrative, and celibate monks does the trick.


In context of my statement above, Greg had mentioned that he would prefer to have more time to practice, but had social engagements that prevented him from doing so. I was basically saying he had a choice and he basically agreed (and the examples I used above were just the examples he had previously given). In some ways he's ahead of the curve because he's aware of it, whereas many of us have that type of disconnect but don't recognize it in ourselves.


My honest feeling is that you need to relax and know when to take it real easy. As a scholar and translator I know that after several months of intensive intellectual work I find myself needing to do break away from it and just enjoy a lot of easy leisure time. Likewise, in retreat if you meditate too much you can end up with mental and physical problems if you're unprepared or not yet mentally fit enough for extended hours on the cushion, which I know from experience.

You can practice like your hair is on fire, but you might burn yourself out in that process.


So the real issue isn't about not watching tv, for instances, it's about attachment, it's about not prioritizing what you do, it's about mindfulness, etc.


If you look at those rules you can easily see it is just institutional concerns. It looks better when your sangha is forbidden from watching TV and hence won't accidentally talk about mundane things in front of paying laypeople. In actual practice it doesn't mean anyone is actually anymore wiser or more elevated as a result of being unable to enjoy in certain time wasting activities, or using a mobile phone for that matter.

Is it really about the well-being of the practitioners under someone's authority, or is it more just about keeping up appearances to keep the cash rolling in?


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Re: Celibacy

Postby Mkoll » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:11 pm

Indrajala wrote:
uan wrote:But I do see it happen a lot, not just in Buddhism, but generally in life, where a person's outwardly stated intention and their actions are at odds.


Indeed, you can basically write off the vast majority of Buddhism, past and present (and I'm not being sarcastic). The stated intentions of Buddhadharma are generally given lip service, but institutional actions generally aim towards self-preservation and associated activities. This is of course necessary if you're going to run an institution. Living like an ancient śramaṇa won't pay the bills or provide much of a base for a stable community.

Institutions and people come up with all kinds of ludicrous things in the name of the Buddha and his Dharma to propagate their own self-interests. This is the Buddhist Church in action. The requirement for celibacy incidentally is tied into this because it is economically pragmatic to have your clerics without dependents. I know what the original spirit behind renunciation was supposed to be, but in practice it isn't necessarily so relevant. In practice it is purity that sells the field of merit narrative, and celibate monks does the trick.


In context of my statement above, Greg had mentioned that he would prefer to have more time to practice, but had social engagements that prevented him from doing so. I was basically saying he had a choice and he basically agreed (and the examples I used above were just the examples he had previously given). In some ways he's ahead of the curve because he's aware of it, whereas many of us have that type of disconnect but don't recognize it in ourselves.


My honest feeling is that you need to relax and know when to take it real easy. As a scholar and translator I know that after several months of intensive intellectual work I find myself needing to do break away from it and just enjoy a lot of easy leisure time. Likewise, in retreat if you meditate too much you can end up with mental and physical problems if you're unprepared or not yet mentally fit enough for extended hours on the cushion, which I know from experience.

You can practice like your hair is on fire, but you might burn yourself out in that process.


So the real issue isn't about not watching tv, for instances, it's about attachment, it's about not prioritizing what you do, it's about mindfulness, etc.


If you look at those rules you can easily see it is just institutional concerns. It looks better when your sangha is forbidden from watching TV and hence won't accidentally talk about mundane things in front of paying laypeople. In actual practice it doesn't mean anyone is actually anymore wiser or more elevated as a result of being unable to enjoy in certain time wasting activities, or using a mobile phone for that matter.

Is it really about the well-being of the practitioners under someone's authority, or is it more just about keeping up appearances to keep the cash rolling in?

Or maybe restraint is something the Buddha praised as part of purifying one's mind and has nothing to do with (spiritual) economics or veneers.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby uan » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:48 pm

Mkoll wrote:Or maybe restraint is something the Buddha praised as part of purifying one's mind and has nothing to do with (spiritual) economics or veneers.


I'm reminded of the story of Huineg, and how he was selected to be the 6th patriarch of the Ch'an school, where the top student at the monastery, Shenxiu, wrote a poem and Huineng replied to it (I like the translation Joseph Campbell used):

Shenxiu's poem:

身是菩提樹, The body is the Bodhi-tree,
心如明鏡臺. The mind, a mirror bright.
時時勤拂拭, Take care to wipe them always clean,
勿使惹塵埃. Lest dust on them alight.

Huineng's reply:

菩提本無樹, The body is no Bodhi-tree,
明鏡亦非臺. The mind no mirror bright.
本來無一物, Since nothing at the root exist,
何處惹塵埃. On what should what dust alight?

I think there's a school of thought where the Dharma is about purifying the mind, and then there's a school of thought where there is no mind to purify.
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Re: Celibacy

Postby Mkoll » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:31 pm

uan wrote:I think there's a school of thought where the Dharma is about purifying the mind, and then there's a school of thought where there is no mind to purify.

You can replace "purifying one's mind" with "the Buddhist Path" or something so as not to get hung up on the phrase. That way, you can address my point.
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