Dealing With Desire

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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby oushi » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:09 pm

Malcolm wrote:
wisdom wrote:
In essence the Mahayana approach goes beyond accepting and rejecting objects of the senses as inherently good or bad...


Well, no, it doesn't — Mahāyāna regards sense objects as negative, something to be rejected.

Well, no, it doesn't. Of course, you can construct such a view out of all the available teachings, but you can also construct totally opposite view out of them...
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Lhug-Pa » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:20 pm

I'm sure that Malcolm can give a much better answer.... Here I think that in the context of the Paramitayana (the Path of Purification), Equanimity refers to meditating on the fact that everyone is equal in that like ourselves, they all want to have happiness and avoid suffering (and also that all have in our past lives been, at one time or another, a friend, an enemy, and a stranger), even though sense-objects are still generally considered negative.

As a side-note, for reference/context:

Hinayana/Shravakayana/Pratyekayana/Pratimoksayana - The Path of Renunciation

Mahayana/Paramitayana - The Path of Purification

Vajrayana/Tantrayana - The Path of Transformation

Mahasandhi-Yana - The Path of Spontaneous or Self Liberation
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby wisdom » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:31 pm

Actually i think i see what you mean. Even if emptiness and equanimity is free of accepting and rejecting there is still the underlaying intention to refrain from certain activities and hence reject them. Even though a case may arise where it is beneficial for another to do them, one doesnt do it except to be of benefit otherwise doing them constitutes a break of ones vow.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:34 pm

wisdom wrote:With this view in mind, having realized emptiness, even if a Bodhisattva were to sleep with a woman, or enter into a relationship with her, and have children with her, their path would be unaffected, their equanimity would be undisturbed, and they would understand it all as a play of illusion leading towards ultimate benefit for all sentient beings. The main thing is that a Bodhisattva would never do this for personal worldly goals or to fulfill some worldly desire. They would never be under the delusion that such things bring lasting happiness, but they would also not necessarily reject them out of hand as detrimental to their path.
Are Bodhisattvas exclusively male are they?
This is the fearlessness of the Bodhisattva path. Realizing emptiness, Samsara looses its teeth and the Bodhisattva fearlessly reincarnates into the world again and again. There are wandering Bodhisattvas, and Bodhisattvas who live on mountain tops, and Bodhisattvas who live in cities, Bodhisattvas who own businesses, Bodhisattvas who are sailors. The possible manifestations are endless, the cause is singular (the vow, the desire to benefit others).
Bodhisattvas who are renunciates...
"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: Dealing With Desire

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:39 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:Defeatism is to insist on the primacy of an outmoded model in spite of all evidence to the contrary. What if you threw a war and nobody came?
You can be 100% sure that Mara and his buddies will turn up. So what do you figure your chances of taking them on will be, armed with a hard-on, a bottle of beer and a switchblade? I know who I would be betting on, regardless of how small the return will be! ;)
"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: Dealing With Desire

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:44 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:Defeatism is to insist on the primacy of an outmoded model in spite of all evidence to the contrary. What if you threw a war and nobody came?
You can be 100% sure that Mara and his buddies will turn up. So what do you figure your chances of taking them on will be, armed with a hard-on, a bottle of beer and a switchblade? I know who I would be betting on, regardless of how small the return will be! ;)


You don't need to be armed at all. In fact, if you think that there is something to defend you have already lost.

No matter how much you tidy up your room, it will still be in samsara.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Astus » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:48 pm

Malcolm wrote:
wisdom wrote:In essence the Mahayana approach goes beyond accepting and rejecting objects of the senses as inherently good or bad...
Well, no, it doesn't — Mahāyāna regards sense objects as negative, something to be rejected.


This is from a Theravada teacher (who was also a Vinaya specialist),

"For the really earnest student, the more sensations the better. But many meditators shrink away from sensations, they don't want to deal with them. This is like the naughty schoolboy who won't go to school, won't listen to the teacher. These sensations are teaching us. When we know sensations then we are practicing Dhamma."
(Venerable Ajahn Chah: Living Dhamma)

The doctrine that "affliction is enlightenment" (煩惱即菩提) is well known in East Asian Mahayana schools like Chan and Tiantai. In Vajrayana they say that the sutra path is renunciation, the tantra path is transformation and the dzogchen path is self-liberation (e.g. here). And here is what a Chan master said,

"There are many methods in practicing Buddhism. The Lesser Vehicle practices “eradicating afflictions.” The Great Vehicle (Mahayana) “transforms afflictions.” In the Ultimate Vehicle “afflictions are bodhi.” Each method is centered on the mind. In the end, they all enable sentient beings to attain unsurpassed complete enlightenment."
(Grand Master Wei Chueh: From Bodhi Mind to Ultimate Enlightenment)

Although there are different traditions they are aware of the various methods that can be used in order to deal with desire, anger and ignorance. In a single teaching the Buddha gave five different methods to deal with unskilful thoughts, and these techniques could be matched with the above three: Vitakkasanthana Sutta (MN 20).
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:50 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:My problem with these types of conversations though, is deciding whether or not it is even constructive to engage in them; because I don't know if what I say will be conducive to others getting better informed, or if it will only result in me trying to condition people who have already apparently made up their minds.
So you are saying that we are uninformed and you have come here to set us (uninformed dimwits) straight? Gee, thanks!
The only way chaste-celibacy could really even work for anyone, is for those who are able to go—like in the days when the Buddha Shakyumuni was teaching as a Nirmanakaya manifestation—live in the forests and mountains (very little human-contact, able to meditate all day without any distractions, very clean fresh air which in itself could help to naturally sublimate the sexual energies, etc.).
You do know that the sangha members were in daily contact (except during the monsoonal retreat) with householders during their alms rounds?
...such as Trul Khor or 'Khrul 'Khor, Yantra Yoga, Tummo, Tsa-Lung, etc.
You do realise that the cloistered individuals you are talking about are taught these techniques.
This is one big example of why Sutrayana alone is unrealistic for those who can't retreat to the forests to meditate, i.e. because Sutrayana doesn't have swift enough methods for transmuting the very subtle, yet very powerful sexual aspect of the Thigle/Bindu, Srog/Prana, and Tsa/Nadis.
A second ago you were harping on about the problems in Bhutanese monastaries, you do realise that they teach Vajrayana in Bhutanese monastaries? So they are taught transmutation practices yet... What are you saying? The practices don't work?
"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: Dealing With Desire

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:52 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:You don't need to be armed at all.
Really, so all those practices we are taught... :shrug:
No matter how much you tidy up your room, it will still be in samsara.
Emptiness arising as the enemy.
"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: Dealing With Desire

Postby jeeprs » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:59 pm

Ought not to loose sight of the fact that sexual desire is ruthlessly exploited by the so-called 'sex industry' and also by millions or billions of individuals to assuage their own sense of emptiness - not in the Buddhist sense. It is an old truth that when desire for sexual gratification is severed from a responsible and loving relationship then it easily becomes the habitual pursuit of physical thrills. That is the problematic aspect of 'desire' for me, not some romanticized longing. And I'm absolutely confident that those kinds of pursuits are poisonous to any form of spiritual life - but we're sorrouded by it, at any moment in the cyber-age, it is one click away.
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:02 pm

Astus wrote:This is from a Theravada teacher (who was also a Vinaya specialist),

"For the really earnest student, the more sensations the better. But many meditators shrink away from sensations, they don't want to deal with them. This is like the naughty schoolboy who won't go to school, won't listen to the teacher. These sensations are teaching us. When we know sensations then we are practicing Dhamma."
(Venerable Ajahn Chah: Living Dhamma)
Interestingly, both Lama Yeshe (Introduction to Tantra) and Nietzsche (his Notes) say much the same thing. The best practitioners are those who feel the most passion and the most desire. People who are larger than life as it were.

jeeprs wrote:Ought not to loose sight of the fact that sexual desire is ruthlessly exploited by the so-called 'sex industry' and also by millions or billions of individuals to assuage their own sense of emptiness - not in the Buddhist sense. It is an old truth that when desire for sexual gratification is severed from a responsible and loving relationship then it easily becomes the habitual pursuit of physical thrills. That is the problematic aspect of 'desire' for me, not some romanticized longing. And I'm absolutely confident that those kinds of pursuits are poisonous to any form of spiritual life - but we're sorrouded by it, at any moment in the cyber-age, it is one click away.
Quite right. Here's what I do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG__d_dQkXI
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:04 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:You don't need to be armed at all.
Really, so all those practices we are taught... :shrug:


...are a means of letting go. If you take Mara as something external for you to fight against, all those practices are for naught.

No matter how much you tidy up your room, it will still be in samsara.
Emptiness arising as the enemy.


You seem to see enemies everywhere.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby kirtu » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:53 pm

Malcolm wrote:Prove what, that this is not a good time for paths of renunciation?

With logic and reason or text? Or both.

As for the first, [though you simply wont agree even when presented with a vast amount of evidence] in this day and age, the Sangha of Bhikṣus has basically come to the point where it is basically badge wearing and politics, and is completely irrelevant in the world we live in, outside of offering pastoral service to ethnic Buddhists (in ever declining numbers).

And of course there are numerous tantras that declare the path of renunciation of desire objects is no longer effective.


Please note that our friend Malcolm is being very careful with his terms: "the path of renunciation of desire objects" - IOW the Sravaka path (although in another posting he also seems to include the common Mahayana). Then - "is no longer effective." Who can disagree? We no longer see hundreds and thousands of Arhats anymore. Of course it's not as effective as it was in the past. This is true. Afflictions are gross and overwhelming. However, for some people the path is still effective. And the reintroduction of Buddhism to the West necessarily involved Theravadin and common Mahayana monks. The question of effectiveness is one that Malcolm has been addressing for many years. Large numbers of people are not attaining Arhatship or higher Bodhsattvahood. This is undeniable. But these are also paths for many people and effective for them (even if they don't attain Arhatship or higher Bodhsattvahood).

What about the reintroduction of the Gomin path (lifelong lay renunciates). Or even one day vows or serious Nyungne practice? This begins to get a little tricky. Malcolm can't just reject Nyungne practice because it is lower tantra (except that from memory he might also reject lower tantra practice). But for some people these are necessary practice paths (necessary for the individual).

Not everyone can just leap into the sky. Some try and find they need some other support. Others need a more graudual path to being with.

The very nature of renunciation changes somewhat from yana to yana but renunciation is still a component even of higher tantra. Beware prattle about higher tantra that talks about transformation of sense objects in a simple minded fashion. Of course sense objects are not the problem. But you cannot attend orgies and just transform everything into the view of deities copulating. That's maric (unless after sex with you people really do abandon desire totally and embrace Dharma - if that's the case then keep up the good work! :tongue:).

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:18 am

oushi wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
wisdom wrote:
In essence the Mahayana approach goes beyond accepting and rejecting objects of the senses as inherently good or bad...


Well, no, it doesn't — Mahāyāna regards sense objects as negative, something to be rejected.

Well, no, it doesn't. Of course, you can construct such a view out of all the available teachings, but you can also construct totally opposite view out of them...


Well, yes it does, and anyone sufficiently educated in Mahāyāna knows this.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:27 am

Malcolm wrote:As for the first, [though you simply wont agree even when presented with a vast amount of evidence] in this day and age, the Sangha of Bhikṣus has basically come to the point where it is basically badge wearing and politics, and is completely irrelevant in the world we live in, outside of offering pastoral service to ethnic Buddhists (in ever declining numbers).


Yes and no. I agree that the bhikṣu lifestyle based on strict adherence to the Vinaya is archaic and obsolete in a lot of countries, but then it was designed and implemented during the shift towards landed monasticism where a primary concern was maintaining an image of purity in front of benefactors. This is contrast to the early sangha which was less organized and largely made up of wandering mendicants. Vinaya literature is from a relatively later period of time in Buddhism's development as Bronkhorst has demonstrated. It tends to reflect highbrow Indian notions of purity, like the severe prohibition on garlic. The Sarvāstivādavinaya Saṃgraha states,

    If treating [an illness] with garlic, neither the sangha bedding nor lavatory should be used. One does not enter in among the sangha. One does not prostrate to the Buddha or circumambulate caityas. If a laymember comes, one does not teach the Dharma. Even if requested one should not go. One should reside in a room on the periphery [of the monastery]. When the treatment of medicine is completed, one remains settled for a further seven days to wait for the odor to disperse. Washing the body and clothes making them pure, the place one stayed in is to be purified by smearing it with cow dung.”


This is complete nonsense of course. If you read the main Vinaya texts as well you see baffling rules, adjudication cases and sneaky ways of getting around the rules. The Dharmagupta Vinaya's report of a monk raping a female monkey is clearly fiction, as is a lot of the literature. Some of it was a cultural memory of events that happened in the Buddha's day (like the democratic karma proceedings).

However, reforms, which are generally not appreciated by a lot of more traditional bhikṣus themselves, have been made. Any attempt at updating or revising the Vinaya is often met with firm opposition, especially by bhikṣu institutions which stand to lose their authority if people bypass them and go straight into renunciation without their consent and formal ordination procedures (self-ordained monks were a problem in China and Japan). Early on you see power struggles which suggest worldly politics -- like the stated belief a lay arhat dies within a day if they don't join the sangha. That gave the formal sangha a monopoly on living arhats.

Still, the Japanese organically developed monastic systems suitable to their environment and social circumstances, which is why they dropped the Indian Vinaya in favour of their own models. Saichō didn't entirely drop the Vinaya, but he clearly saw it as unnecessary and prescribed a formal Dharmagupta ordination only as a bureaucratic necessity. Otherwise, following the Brahma Net Sūtra includes the basic śramaṇa lifestyle: celibacy, non-violence, moral living (no theft, killing, stealing, etc.) and mental training. You don't need to water down your orange juice in the afternoon to make it kosher or smear your room with cow dung after having consumed garlic. You just need to be a good person and remain celibate and single. That's the essence of the four main bhikṣu precepts, and the Buddha himself gave consent for his disciples to drop away the "minor rules".

In recent years Thich Nhat Hanh has developed his own system of precepts suitable to the modern day:

http://www.mindfulnessbell.org/order_of_interbeing.php

So, adhering to archaic Indian models of discipline and purity is irrelevant to the modern day, yes. I agree. However, the śramaṇa lifestyle is still useful. If you live in a temple, celibacy makes sense because having a family is not convenient. If you're practising dhyāna, then celibacy makes even more sense because you are attempting to transcend the desire realm initially. Not having to deal with relationships and accidental pregnancies is wise if you would like to devote your life to contemplation and practice. An ordinary joe in his house could do this, sure, but as a monk you don't need to worry so much about paying the rent.

So the śramaṇa lifestyle is still quite applicable and useful. I say śramaṇa here and not bhikṣu because the latter entails living as a beggar, which outside of Theravada countries is seldom to be seen, even amongst Chinese monks who preach the Vinaya as key yet overlook a lot of the key points (medicine meal is an example). A śramaṇa is still a renunciate, just with the flexibility to adapt to circumstances. So, when you say...

    ...the Sangha of Bhikṣus has basically come to the point where it is basically badge wearing and politics, and is completely irrelevant in the world we live in, outside of offering pastoral service to ethnic Buddhists (in ever declining numbers)


I'm inclined to agree and suggest changes should be made to make it relevant. However, as we know, Vinaya fundamentalists are adamantly opposed to making changes and updating things. Some of Thich Nhat Hanh's nuns lament that they're not actually recognized as legitimate nuns by other organizations.


And of course there are numerous tantras that declare the path of renunciation of desire objects is no longer effective.


It is still effective for me and many of my renunciate friends.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:29 am

Karma Dorje wrote:Applying antidotes is just housekeeping in a dream.


So you believe Śākyamuni Buddha was mistaken?
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:01 am

Indrajala wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:Applying antidotes is just housekeeping in a dream.


So you believe Śākyamuni Buddha was mistaken?


I believe that he presented teachings of both provisional and definitive meaning.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:37 am

Karma Dorje wrote:I believe that he presented teachings of both provisional and definitive meaning.


Sure, but if you're addicted to alcohol, sex and other sense pleasures, they applying an antidote and becoming free from such passions is only conducive to fostering ease of mind.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby jeeprs » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:54 am

A witty and perceptive Catholic perspective on The Sin of Lust

Say what you like about Anger, Sloth, Envy, and the rest of the low-tech capital vices: they’re not really what most of us first reach for in that Deadly Sin grab bag. No, we all know who’s the real preening diva among these serpents, just whose big topaz eyes paralyze us fastest. Let’s face it: Lust is everyone’s secret favorite Deadly Sin, the “it” vice of the capital list.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:26 am

Karma Dorje wrote:...are a means of letting go. If you take Mara as something external for you to fight against, all those practices are for naught.
I don't remember saying Mara is external and I am sure that even renunciates are aware of the fact that the object of renunciation is internal too.
You seem to see enemies everywhere.
Sorry for not being clearer:
EMPTINESS ARISING AS AN ENEMY
Lesson 70
When you look at the mind in order to investigate its true
nature and thereby discover that it does not really exist, you
might think, "Since all phenomena are nothing but emptiness,
what is the use of acting wholesomely with body, speech
and mind. Wholesome and harmful actions, as well as cause
and effect of actions, all this does not exist in the least:'
This grasping that there is nothing to reject or counteract is
called destructive talk. Since this is wrong view and action,
one speaks of the error of emptiness arising as enemy. In
the Mulamadhyamakakarika it says: "Unintelligent beings
destroy themselves with a wrong view of emptiness. It is like
wrongly holding a poisonous snake or wrongly practicing a
magic formula."
Intelligent beings understand that nothing really exists,
without being contaminated by the fault of viewing emptiness
as nothingness. They are aware of the unfailing pnnciple
of the relative level, where the law of cause and effect of
wholesome and harmful actions and interdependent origination
is effective in the unhindered dynamic expression
of appearances. Even if their realization is as vast as space,
they are extremely conscientious in their conduct and train
to unite the two levels, being concerned about auspicious
coincidence. They train themselves on the path of union of
view and conduct without ever moving out of emptiness. One
may argue, "But was it not explained before that one should
be without rejection and acceptance?" Yes, that was explained
to dissolve the grasping at rejection and counteracting. This
present explanation takes into consideration the relative
aspect and is supposed to prevent beginners who take these
concepts too literally, to get into destructive talk.


Mahamudra - The Ocean of True Meaning by Karmapa Wangchug Dorje p227

This is from the book that my lama will be giving the transmission from, beginning this year!
Maybe it is not such a good idea to send me to the retreat? :tongue:
"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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