Marriage really isn't a special opportunity - all of samsara can be used in our minds for good or ill. It will be made of what you will, but in the end it really is a samsara and at that, a samsara highly conditioned by culture and circumstance - it's not some cosmic romantic be all and end all to one's life.
As for tantra, you wouldn't be asking about how to approach the matter from a tantric perspective on this board would you? You'd ask your guru. Would you not?
You can't just do worldly stuff after having heard of skill in means for the first time, and explain it away with some rationalistic logic: it's something which comes after ages of cultivation. Just read all the crazy stuff you'd have to go through first in the Jatakas.
People who reject marriage because they recognise that it's not all its cracked up to be aren't being afraid of sexuality. Actually, this was one of Spiro's ideas which I think fundamentally is flawed. The idea that all actions which are somehow heterodox to societal norms are actions that are rooted in some kind of sexual fear or sexual mental complex is also a notion which is really highly conditioned by culture and circumstance (namely, Vienna around 1900 if you catch my drift). To reduce rationalised renunciation to fear, is really not a very Buddhist approach (if I may be so bold as to suggest such a thing, which I don't think is a very outlandish claim).
When you look at doing worldly things as a skill in means, or as a mechanism in the toolbox of tantra, one's mindset must be pure already - otherwise you're just making excuses.
Since this is exactly what I said in a previous post, i'm having a hard time sussing out what you are trying to say with any of this.Marriage really isn't a special opportunity - all of samsara can be used in our minds for good or ill. It will be made of what you will, but in the end it really is a samsara and at that, a samsara highly conditioned by culture and circumstance - it's not some cosmic romantic be all and end all to one's life.
Well, what we are talking about operates outside of Tantra, as there are plenty of married lay Buddhists not doing Tantra..simple ideas like using family life as an opportunity for the perfections are one example. Secondly, yes, anything i'm interested in knowing about I ask teachers about...what does that have to do with anything though?
This is sort of a funny statement on a subject of Buddhist practice, as presumably, for those that practice the things we are talking about, or have the affinity for them..this is not the "first time" for anything. Are you saying people need to spend their life on Hinayana doctrine or what? I understand that Hinayana is of course the foundation..but I can tell you none of my teachers have told me to give up my marriage for practice, and seem to encourage using one's life situations and family as practice - and this is strictly from a Mahayana/sutra teaching point of view I believe.You can't just do worldly stuff after having heard of skill in means for the first time, and explain it away with some rationalistic logic: it's something which comes after ages of cultivation. Just read all the crazy stuff you'd have to go through first in the Jatakas.
It is not true of all of them of course, but I'll bet it is true of some. Please don't take my comments as a black and white statement, as I have the utmost respect for, and wonderful experience with monastics. I was talking anecdotally mostly about celibate laypeople i've known in regard to neuroses about sex, not monastics. Thought obviously, monastics also still have plenty of challenges with celibacy i'm sure.
Another somewhat cryptic statement, because generally..you either learn to work with them, or you don't. It's not like there is a lot of choice for many of us, i don't get to wake up to a world free of 'worldly things" in my life, nor do I have the option to leave my worldly life..however good or bad I am at it, it is what I have to work with. And again, one doesn't even need to strictly talk about Tantra with this.When you look at doing worldly things as a skill in means, or as a mechanism in the toolbox of tantra, one's mindset must be pure already - otherwise you're just making excuses.
Actually, I think the only real way to think about these forms of viewing the world differently, beyond merely thinking positively and optimistically about the world, is in Tantra. For instance, viewing the world as a mandala and oneself as the deity.
But precisely what are the techniques, the nitty gritty, the bare bones, of how you engage in skill in means
Zhen Li wrote:Please do, and explain how it works in the context of marriage. I won't pretend to be able to read your mind, or know what you're referring to in the sutras.
Afterall, it's the point of the thread isn't it?
Please do, and explain how it works in the context of marriage.
Moreover, what about justifying marriage using Dharma? Is there a point at which these justifications are internalised such that they really are transformative?
He wore the white clothes of the layman, yet lived impeccably like a religious devotee. He lived at home, but remained aloof from the realm of desire, the realm of pure matter, and the immaterial realm. He had a son, a wife, and female attendants, yet always maintained continence. He appeared to be surrounded by servants, yet lived in solitude. He appeared to be adorned with ornaments, yet always was endowed with the auspicious signs and marks. He seemed to eat and drink, yet always took nourishment from the taste of meditation. He made his appearance at the fields of sports and in the casinos, but his aim was always to mature those people who were attached to games and gambling. He visited the fashionable heterodox teachers, yet always kept unswerving loyalty to the Buddha. He understood the mundane and transcendental sciences and esoteric practices, yet always took pleasure in the delights of the Dharma. He mixed in all crowds, yet was respected as foremost of all.
Tenzin & Söpa wrote:dharmagoat wrote:Tenzin & Söpa wrote:Not having any human relationships at all is a sign of fear.
Not necessarily. I can attest to that.
Hi dharmagoat, I'd be grateful if you could further elaborate.
Johnny Dangerous wrote:I never argued that marriage was unique or better than any other opportunity, I only argued that from some perspectives, it isn't worse.. so I can't really answer your question.
If someone else feels that marriage provides a unique opportunity, then maybe they'd have an answer for you. ...
I don't think Dharma needs to be used to justify one's life circumstances, which is a waste of time anyway, change them or manage them..why bother with justification, but it sure does come in handy working with them.
reddust wrote:Most of you know my story so you may understand why developing healthy relationships is so important to me. I grew up in a horribly abusive home as a child and that carried over into my adult life. Buddhism helped me let go of my aversion I had developed regarding humans and human relationships. Marriage and the relationships involved are my way of letting go of aversion I had towards human beings including myself. For those of you who have picked other paths, a vow is a vow, that's all I am going to argue on this.
Zhen Li wrote:
So, fundamentally there's not much to say about marriage in your opinion -- it's more or less neutral. All right, I do think that this is correct on an individual level. I think that on a macro level, marriage comes along with drugs and swearing, it's just tied up in a nice package, as being a particularly samsaric phenomenon. Like drugs and swearing, the individual intention and right view is fundamentally what matters, but on average they are negative. I'm sure you'll agree with me on this one, right?
Zhen Li wrote:reddust wrote:Most of you know my story so you may understand why developing healthy relationships is so important to me. I grew up in a horribly abusive home as a child and that carried over into my adult life. Buddhism helped me let go of my aversion I had developed regarding humans and human relationships. Marriage and the relationships involved are my way of letting go of aversion I had towards human beings including myself. For those of you who have picked other paths, a vow is a vow, that's all I am going to argue on this.
See, this is quite interesting. But do you think it is an individual case? Or does this mean that marriage as a whole is something people should aim for?reddust wrote:I don't know if I am the only one who is married and integrated the Dharma into their daily lives and experienced positive fruits. I am willing to bet my eye teeth there are many just like me. I am not that special but I think marriage is special. It's a vow to care for someone no matter how tough life gets. This resonates with my bodhisattva vow. However that does not mean one puts up with abusive behavior in self or other. I would never condone living with someone who is hateful and physically abusive. In general my husband and I can work together because we have the same goals even if we come from different traditions. We sat down many times and talked this over before we promised to care for each other as man and wife. Living with someone brings up all sorts of hidden conditioning, which can then be addressed correctly, used as a tool to see deeply into one's own conditioning.
Regarding the question of marriage.... Human's are social creatures. You can see this with children who are neglected at birth, no touching, eye contact, mirroring emotions, the child fails to thrive, many die. I feel we do not drop this need for nurturing relationships as adults. So maybe marriage isn't a good word to use unless you decide to have children and own property and you need a contract to protect the people in that relationship. If you look back throughout human culture, we partner up, form small groups and tribes. Marriage can mean so many things, I look at it as a vow you don't take lightly, to live together and care for someone other than yourself. Do I think marriage is for everyone? If you want to get married, I do not think the state, authority, religious figure should have any say in the matter. A free people can make up their own mind whether they want to marry or not.
Since the more general parts of your explanation involve the nature of the environment of a nun, speaking generally then, do you think that the same argument could be said for Buddhist men?reddust wrote:You would have to ask Sunim
As for how you use marriage to let go of aversion, did you see a transformation in yourself after marriage which makes you say this? I'm interested in how it makes you feel. Do you think men can feel the same thing in marriage?reddust wrote: I started practice while in a very abusive first marriage, I saw transformation of very old fears and behavior, the conditioning dissolved from extensive retreat work and I no longer needed to be in an abusive relationship. I divorced, went to college at 40 years old and several years later met my second husband. I had worked very hard to let go of old conditioning and from that work I became a kind and caring person, attracting kind and caring people. I have seen much transformation all the way through my practice. Marriage to a kind wise caring person has given me the freedom, saftey and space to see clearly old conditioning from betrayal bonding (We all suffer from this conditioning) that must still be let go of so I can walk as a free person, that has been my main practice. I don't think this is gender specific because my husband has experienced much the same kind of growing up, so to speak, as I have.
Thank you, I got a gratitude attack writing it I want to hug my Dharma teachers and my husband now!Tenzin & Söpa wrote:Beautiful post, reddust, thanks for taking the time to share your story.
dharmagoat wrote:I choose to live on my own and have very few friends, not out of fear of relationships or social inadequacy, but because I prefer to spend my time alone in order to have the opportunity to do the things that I consider interesting and important, but have never appealed to friends or partners in the past. Although I (usually) actively avoid romantic relationships, I am always willing to make new friends, but because I rarely find myself in social situations, this seldom happens.
Becoming middle-aged and moving to the country has made this lifestyle more of a natural choice. A marriage-like relationship would now feel unnatural to me, even an extreme.
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