How do monks put up with celibacy?

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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:52 pm

Huifeng wrote:Sexual activity is an obstruction to rebirth even in the heavens, how much more so is it an obstruction to liberation and / or full awakening.


Venerable,

I thought those with sexual/sensual desires could attain the desire heavens. The Pure Abodes, however, would remain out of reach.

LE
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:23 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Sexual activity is an obstruction to rebirth even in the heavens, how much more so is it an obstruction to liberation and / or full awakening.


Venerable,

I thought those with sexual/sensual desires could attain the desire heavens. The Pure Abodes, however, would remain out of reach.

LE

I can answer this, I think:

Those with strong sexual desires could attain the heavenly realms of the kama-dhatu (sensual desire realm), but not the rupa-dhatu (realm of form) or arupa-dhatu (formless realm).
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:08 pm

A possibly foolish thought:

Not sex nor celibacy, but mindfulness and proper intention.

"I have sex for all beings to have joy and to be free from this world"? Sounds silly, but it might be true.

If we have sex because we give in to sensual desires, that is foolish. But if we avoid sex because we fear or hate sensual desires, that is foolish too. In both states, there is ignorance-fueled rebirth. Like a Chinese finger trap. Two fingers -- two things together, self and world, and together they cause suffering. The thing which binds them together is craving. If you flee the world, it is just as unskillful as grasping for it. To remove the trap one must remove the craving. Something that's done when the fingers (self and world) are relaxed and something altogether independent from both (Nirvana) removes them. :)

A life of celibacy is called the "the holy life," in the early Buddhist texts, but the Tibetans (and perhaps some other Mahayanists?) recognize the potentially liberating aspects of sex too. Not just in secret tantric practices, but when you practice sex mindfully and without strange or wrong intentions. It's like this: A person might engage in sex, not out of desire, but because to avoid it would be an unnecessary burden. To engage in it is also a burden, but this burden is like doing dishes, raking leaves, taking out garbage. It is a chore, but when we are not obsessive, it can be joyful and beneficial, and if we are honest with ourselves we can see that we do these things for the comfort of the mind and body. Western medicine, for instance, has correlated regular sexual activity with longer life-span. And modern psychology recognizes, for instance, how masturbation can reduce depression and boost self-esteem (I'd say the same goes for sex too, so long as your partner is satisfied). :)
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Huifeng » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:42 am

Lazy_eye wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Sexual activity is an obstruction to rebirth even in the heavens, how much more so is it an obstruction to liberation and / or full awakening.


Venerable,

I thought those with sexual/sensual desires could attain the desire heavens. The Pure Abodes, however, would remain out of reach.

LE


Lazy,
Please note that I wrote "sexual activity is an obstruction", not "sexual desire".
There are forms of the sensual desire in the desire realm heavens, but they are not fully what one would call sexual in most modern usage. The relationships in these realms are described in terms of hold hands, gazing into each others' eyes, etc.
Any of the form realms heavens, from the Brahma realms upwards, are thus kind of right out of the scope.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Astus » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:14 pm

Ven. Seung Sahn in his "The Compass of Zen" talks about sex as "not good, not bad" (p. 72). He refers to the 36th teacher of Sudhana in the Avatamsaka Sutra who was a prostitute liberating people through sex. However, I've looked it up in the text but found nothing like that except for general "skilful means" teaching. Any idea what he could be referring to?
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:18 pm

Some more thoughts (as if the previous weren't enough?!) again, hopefully not evil:

With correct sex, orgasm does not diminish or can even become greater than what it was previous, because one engages in it in the correct way (plainly -- with as few fetishes as possible, preferably with a noble partner) and at the correct time (when the feeling of lust arises, sex causes the feeling to diminish, and nothing else would be neglected or be harmed). With this practice, sex can actually greatly enhance mindfulness and joy.

What incorrect sex, unskillful sex, the pleasure decreases and decreases, until eventually, there can be orgasms with little pleasure or even no pleasure at all, because the mental desire for sex is greater than the capacity of the body. So, one engages in sex at inappropriate times and the fetishes multiply, in order to find new ways of grasping onto sexuality. In this life, your fetishes will change and increase, becoming more perverted. In your next life, you can be a homosexual, bisexual, rapist, pedophile, or at the very least, have all sorts of strange innate fetishes: like sadomasochism, domination, wearing costumes ("furries"), etc.. Many of you might be quick to jump on that previous statement, arguing that equating homosexuality, etc., with sexual deviancy is misguided and bigoted, but you would fail to understand the point: It has nothing to do with judging these things as right or wrong; it's simply part of being human. The way people often treat even rapists and pedophiles with hatred is wrong; it's a sickness. I believe a similar process is what causes devas to fall: the gazing of eyes and holding of hands Ven. Huifeng mentioned -- these are subtle forms of sexual activity which, when indulged in unskillfully, lead to the gross activity humans refer to as sex. Human sex could be an effectual and complex proliferation of more simple and subtle sexual desires; for the devas, physical sex is like rape, incest, and pedophilia.

Hence, sexual activity can be a burden and abstinence is the "holy life," leading to a greater likelihood of heavenly rebirth.

And regarding skillful sex, monks have their own practices for dealing with this. If you are sworn to celibacy, knowing that orgasm is an act of defeat resulting in permanent disrobing, it is something you should take very seriously. Breaking celibacy vows would be an act of unskillful sex, with bad results. But it should be clarified that isn't necessary to be a monk or to be celibate in order to be a bodhisattva or even a great bodhisattva.

...In my humble opinion!
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:32 pm

Deleted post -- I misunderstood the point I was replying to! :oops:
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:43 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Ogyen » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:45 am

The question I asked, was perfectly serious, albeit slipped between the cracks of forum posting.

Is there much to put up with celibacy? Anything more to put up with in celibacy than in non-celibacy? It seems both could be stressful for their opposite reasons...

What strikes me most in what Ven. Huifeng writes and what Individual's replying with is that it is the actions that come out of our urges which are not to be confused with the urges themselves... But this does not address the question about whether sexual activity in itself is unwholesome because it emerges from craving?

Does it? Does all sexual desire emerge from craving? Does all sex emerge from sexual desire? Maybe they seem like obvious questions, but they're not obvious to me.

So it seems from what I'm reading here that the innate issue taken with celibacy for monks is to attempt to separate the action from the urge, thereby (I would think) making the urge (sexual desire) easier to look at and through for the monk. By imposing a restriction on sexual activity, one is freed from the responsibilities of sexual response, that is, one can look at through one's own sexual desire with a clearer mind... I'm broadstroking here, I know, not as refined in my understanding as you, but bear with me.

In the tradition I have the most exposure to, there are both monastic and non-monastic masters, the Ngakpa. For example, HHDL is a monk, monastic with vows and all. However, Padmasambhava was a Ngakpa and a Buddha. These spiritual masters can take a consort, though I'm sure they do not do so lightly. They bridge the lay and monastic life, while adhering to monastic standards in their discipline, they also can have children, and sexual life, though I'm not certain how sexual life is viewed by those masters+consorts. But of what I know, they practice moderation, mindfulness, just as the monastic community does.

So this confuses (in my mind at least) where the celibacy factor becomes the difference between awakening and not awakening... and I don't understand how one or the other leads to better transcendence of of craving as a whole. Is it a matter of what one stimulates the mind with?

Any explanation on the matter would really help clear some of the fog...

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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:15 am

Ogyen wrote:Does it? Does all sexual desire emerge from craving? Does all sex emerge from sexual desire? Maybe they seem like obvious questions, but they're not obvious to me.


Desire necessarily involves craving. You may apply this to any context.

Ogyen wrote:These spiritual masters can take a consort, though I'm sure they do not do so lightly. They bridge the lay and monastic life, while adhering to monastic standards in their discipline, they also can have children, and sexual life, ...

Actuall I cannot comment on this since I do not understand why one should have children and sexual life in the context of dharma. It is not that I say "Do not do that because it will definitely block your path" it is simply that it appears "strange" to me.

Ogyen wrote:So this confuses (in my mind at least) where the celibacy factor becomes the difference between awakening and not awakening... and I don't understand how one or the other leads to better transcendence of of craving as a whole. Is it a matter of what one stimulates the mind with?

I think that "celibacy" is not counted as "awakening factor"

"Kassapa, these seven factors for Awakening rightly taught by me, when developed and pursued, lead to direct knowledge, to self-Awakening, to Unbinding. Which seven?

"Mindfulness as a factor for Awakening rightly taught by me, when developed and pursued, leads to direct knowledge, to self-Awakening, to Unbinding.

"Analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, rightly taught by me, when developed and pursued, leads to direct knowledge, to self-Awakening, to Unbinding.

"Persistence as a factor for Awakening...

"Rapture as a factor for Awakening...

"Serenity as a factor for Awakening...

"Concentration as a factor for Awakening...

"Equanimity as a factor for Awakening rightly taught by me, when developed and pursued, leads to direct knowledge, to self-Awakening, to Unbinding.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


So in Mahayana with reference to Buddhahood (which is concidered to be beyond the "awakening" referred to in this quote) one would add Bodhicitta as 8th factor, most probably at the top of the list.


kind regards
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby 5heaps » Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:51 am

Ogyen wrote:So it seems from what I'm reading here that the innate issue taken with celibacy for monks is to attempt to separate the action from the urge
its more like trying to avoid the urge by avoiding contact with the things that act as conditions for its arising. the idea behind this is if you can lessen the urge for a while then you can meditate and study properly, and therefore, hopefully, bring a temporary cessation of the urge for some extended period of time.

a culmination of this would for example be attaining the actual 1st dhyana level. a person at this level, with their temporary cessations of mental afflictions pertaining to the desire, would appear to be a saint or like a person who has reached nirvana. they would have many excellent physical and mental qualities such exceptional patience, exceptional determination, exceptional confidence, little or no need for food, little or no need for sleep, physical pliancy, clairvoyances, etc.

obviously if a person is not making use of the lessening of the urge and their nonengagement with the act then they will become confused as to what purpose they serve.

advanced tantric practices are a whole nother matter. although it might appear like sexual activity from external observation, the actual activity is like 1% of the way it appears. the other 99% is something inconceivable since it relies on perfected states of single-pointed concentration and high realization of emptiness etc.
berzinarchives: Making Sense of Tantra - Part I: Basic Questions and Doubts about Tantra
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Astus » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:11 pm

Could finally identify the bodhisattva Ven. Seung Sahn might have been talking about. It's teacher 25, called Vasumitra and she liberates people from passion through passion. It is also a recurring teaching there to be in the world without being affected by the world, which is the concept of non-attachment to anything while acting for the welfare of all. Also noteworthy is the large amount of lay and female teachers present in Sudhana's journey.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:49 pm

TMingyur wrote:Actuall I cannot comment on this since I do not understand why one should have children and sexual life in the context of dharma. It is not that I say "Do not do that because it will definitely block your path" it is simply that it appears "strange" to me.


Yet probably the majority of Buddhists around the world fit that description. Do you think they are not real Buddhists?

Why do we have the Fourfold Assembly then? Just a scheme to extract money from the layfolk?

If there is no room for family life and sexual life within the context of dharma, then Buddhism becomes too exclusive to function as a religion, because most of humanity is simply shut out.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:19 pm

Lazy_eye

saying "it appears 'strange' to me" does not mean more than just "it appears 'strange' to me".

The "awakening factors" are listed above.

Kind regards

Lazy_eye wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Actuall I cannot comment on this since I do not understand why one should have children and sexual life in the context of dharma. It is not that I say "Do not do that because it will definitely block your path" it is simply that it appears "strange" to me.


Yet probably the majority of Buddhists around the world fit that description. Do you think they are not real Buddhists?

Why do we have the Fourfold Assembly then? Just a scheme to extract money from the layfolk?

If there is no room for family life and sexual life within the context of dharma, then Buddhism becomes too exclusive to function as a religion, because most of humanity is simply shut out.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:11 pm

TMingyur wrote:Lazy_eye

saying "it appears 'strange' to me" does not mean more than just "it appears 'strange' to me".


I think if you're going to make such a statement you have a responsibility to explain it.

If you find the behavior of certain Buddhists "strange", then there must be a discrepancy between their understanding of dharma and your understanding of dharma.

It's good to have such misunderstandings cleared up, so we can all understand dharma a little better.

LE
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:40 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Lazy_eye

saying "it appears 'strange' to me" does not mean more than just "it appears 'strange' to me".


I think if you're going to make such a statement you have a responsibility to explain it.

If you find the behavior of certain Buddhists "strange", then there must be a discrepancy between their understanding of dharma and your understanding of dharma.

It's good to have such misunderstandings cleared up, so we can all understand dharma a little better.

LE


You seem to project too much into that appearing strange to me.

It is not my cup of tea and therefore I cannot understand how it can be the cup of tea of others.

Is this dharma enough?

Kind regards
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:22 pm

TMingyur wrote:You seem to project too much into that appearing strange to me.

It is not my cup of tea and therefore I cannot understand how it can be the cup of tea of others.

Is this dharma enough?

Kind regards


Ok buddy, thanks for clarifying.

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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:28 pm

Huifeng wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:IMHO celibacy is a form of sexual activity.

:sage:


Not necessarily.

There are three basic forms:
1. External celibacy, one does not engage in the activity, but may have the desire internally.
2. Celibacy through dhyana, where if one has reached this depth of mental development, one will not even have the internal mental craving. The potential is still there, however.
3. Celibacy through liberation, whereby even the potentials for such craving are totally and irrevocably removed.

Your other comment, above, "If I am celibate I deal with sexual desire" is only really applicable to the first type, but not the other two.


Venerable thank you.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Astus » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:44 am

Huifeng wrote:They state pretty much that found in all Buddhist literature of the first 1000 yrs or so:
Sexual activity is an obstruction to rebirth even in the heavens, how much more so is it an obstruction to liberation and / or full awakening.


How do you compare that to what the Kosa (vol 2, p. 465) says? Just happened to read this section and thought about your comment.

69b-d. There are six gods who taste pleasure; they unite through coupling, an embrace, the touch of hands, a smile, and a look.

The CaturmaharSjakayikas, Trayastrimsas, Yamas, Tusitas, Nirmanaratis and Paranirmitavasavartins are the gods of Kamadhatu. The higher gods are not in Kamadhatu.
The Caturmaharajakayikas and the TrayastrimSas live on the ground; thus they unite by coupling, like humans; but they appease the fire of their desire through the emission of wind, since they do not have any semea The Yamas appease the fire of their desire by embracing, the Tusitas by the touch of hands, the Nirmanaratis by smiling, and the Paranirmitavasavartins by looking at each other. Such is the doctrine of the Prajfiapti.
According to the Vaibhasikas (Vibhasd, TD 27, p. 585b27), these expressions of the Prajnapti, "embracing," "touching of the hands," etc., do not indicate the mode of union—for all the gods couple—but the duration of the act. The more ardent the desire by reason of the more pleasurable object, so much shorter is the duration of the union.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Ogyen » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:25 am

Astus wrote:Could finally identify the bodhisattva Ven. Seung Sahn might have been talking about. It's teacher 25, called Vasumitra and she liberates people from passion through passion. It is also a recurring teaching there to be in the world without being affected by the world, which is the concept of non-attachment to anything while acting for the welfare of all. Also noteworthy is the large amount of lay and female teachers present in Sudhana's journey.


Do you have a sutra or reference material handy? This has sparked my curiosity.

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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Ogyen » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:29 am

TMingyur wrote:
Ogyen wrote:Does it? Does all sexual desire emerge from craving? Does all sex emerge from sexual desire? Maybe they seem like obvious questions, but they're not obvious to me.


Desire necessarily involves craving. You may apply this to any context.

Ogyen wrote:These spiritual masters can take a consort, though I'm sure they do not do so lightly. They bridge the lay and monastic life, while adhering to monastic standards in their discipline, they also can have children, and sexual life, ...

Actuall I cannot comment on this since I do not understand why one should have children and sexual life in the context of dharma. It is not that I say "Do not do that because it will definitely block your path" it is simply that it appears "strange" to me.

Ogyen wrote:So this confuses (in my mind at least) where the celibacy factor becomes the difference between awakening and not awakening... and I don't understand how one or the other leads to better transcendence of of craving as a whole. Is it a matter of what one stimulates the mind with?

I think that "celibacy" is not counted as "awakening factor"

"Kassapa, these seven factors for Awakening rightly taught by me, when developed and pursued, lead to direct knowledge, to self-Awakening, to Unbinding. Which seven?

"Mindfulness as a factor for Awakening rightly taught by me, when developed and pursued, leads to direct knowledge, to self-Awakening, to Unbinding.

"Analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, rightly taught by me, when developed and pursued, leads to direct knowledge, to self-Awakening, to Unbinding.

"Persistence as a factor for Awakening...

"Rapture as a factor for Awakening...

"Serenity as a factor for Awakening...

"Concentration as a factor for Awakening...

"Equanimity as a factor for Awakening rightly taught by me, when developed and pursued, leads to direct knowledge, to self-Awakening, to Unbinding.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


So in Mahayana with reference to Buddhahood (which is concidered to be beyond the "awakening" referred to in this quote) one would add Bodhicitta as 8th factor, most probably at the top of the list.


kind regards


:thinking:

*sigh* ...ok.
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