How do monks put up with celibacy?

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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Ogyen » Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:32 am

Huifeng wrote:
This leads to a very common line in Chinese Buddhism:

先以欲勾牽,後令入佛智。
First lead them with the hook of desire, Then cause them to enter the Buddhas wisdom.

Though usually sexual desire is not the main idea, probably tasty vegetarian delights are more par for the course!


mmmm... tasty vegetarian delights.... mmmmm....

I can see chinese buddhism hooking me with tasty treats...
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:33 am

"I will teach you a Dhamma discourse on bondage & lack of bondage. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said: "A woman attends inwardly to her feminine faculties, her feminine gestures, her feminine manners, feminine poise, feminine desires, feminine voice, feminine charms. She is excited by that, delighted by that. Being excited & delighted by that, she attends outwardly to masculine faculties, masculine gestures, masculine manners, masculine poise, masculine desires, masculine voices, masculine charms. She is excited by that, delighted by that. Being excited & delighted by that, she wants to be bonded to what is outside her, wants whatever pleasure & happiness that arise based on that bond. Delighting, caught up in her femininity, a woman goes into bondage with reference to men. This is how a woman does not transcend her femininity.

"A man attends inwardly to his masculine faculties, masculine gestures, masculine manners, masculine poise, masculine desires, masculine voice, masculine charms. He is excited by that, delighted by that. Being excited & delighted by that, he attends outwardly to feminine faculties, feminine gestures, feminine manners, feminine poise, feminine desires, feminine voices, feminine charms. He is excited by that, delighted by that. Being excited & delighted by that, he wants to be bonded to what is outside him, wants whatever pleasure & happiness that arise based on that bond. Delighting, caught up in his masculinity, a man goes into bondage with reference to women. This is how a man does not transcend his masculinity.

"And how is there lack of bondage? A woman does not attend inwardly to her feminine faculties... feminine charms. She is not excited by that, not delighted by that... does not attend outwardly to masculine faculties... masculine charms. She is not excited by that, not delighted by that... does not want to be bonded to what is outside her, does not want whatever pleasure & happiness that arise based on that bond. Not delighting, not caught up in her femininity, a woman does not go into bondage with reference to men. This is how a woman transcends her femininity.

"A man does not attend inwardly to his masculine faculties... masculine charms. He is not excited by that, not delighted by that... does not attend outwardly to feminine faculties... feminine charms. He is not excited by that, not delighted by that... does not want to be bonded to what is outside him, does not want whatever pleasure & happiness that arise based on that bond. Not delighting, not caught up in his masculinity, a man does not go into bondage with reference to women. This is how a man transcends his masculinity.

"This is how there is lack of bondage. And this is the Dhamma discourse on bondage & lack of bondage."

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



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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Huifeng » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:29 am

Ogyen wrote:
Huifeng wrote:
This leads to a very common line in Chinese Buddhism:

先以欲勾牽,後令入佛智。
First lead them with the hook of desire, Then cause them to enter the Buddhas wisdom.

Though usually sexual desire is not the main idea, probably tasty vegetarian delights are more par for the course!


mmmm... tasty vegetarian delights.... mmmmm....

I can see chinese buddhism hooking me with tasty treats...


And after the sesame paste nooddles and tofu ...
... and some almond tea, ...
... it's Madhyamaka from Jizang for dessert!
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:56 pm

Astus wrote:
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.


As far as I can remember a similar explanation of the six classes of kamaloka devas appears in Surangama Sutra ( the Charles Luk translation).

I have sometimes wondered how would evolutionary view of sex be compatible with buddhism? I mean sex as an evolutionary mechanism that is shared by humans, plants and animals. The purpose of this mechanism is reproduction of one's species.
In the course of time there have appeared various non-reproductive uses of sexual organs, both among human and animal species.
How does the sexual non-activity prescribed by buddhism affect human evolution ?
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Luke » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Tilopa wrote:It's not that everyone must become celibate right now or that spiritual progress is impossible if you are sexually active but as you say at some point one has to choose. Why? A prerequisite to final realization is single pointed concentration (samatha) which can't be achieved if one is engaged with objects of desire. That's why I said 'if one wants liberation or enlightenment' celibacy is necessary.

Guru Rinpoche had consorts, as did many other Indian mahasiddhas, so you can't be correct.

Monastic vows can be a great aid to attaining enlightenment, but they aren't a prerequisite for enlightenment, at least not according to Tibetan Buddhism.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:23 am

Luke wrote:Guru Rinpoche had consorts, as did many other Indian mahasiddhas, so you can't be correct.

Monastic vows can be a great aid to attaining enlightenment, but they aren't a prerequisite for enlightenment, at least not according to Tibetan Buddhism.


It is not about vows but about celibacy.

And since this is the general Mahayana forum I feel entitled to say that "Guru Rinpoche" is no counter argument at all against the teachings of the Buddha as far as sensual desire is concerned.

The crucial point is really "desire".

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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Tilopa » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:43 am

Luke wrote:
Tilopa wrote:It's not that everyone must become celibate right now or that spiritual progress is impossible if you are sexually active but as you say at some point one has to choose. Why? A prerequisite to final realization is single pointed concentration (samatha) which can't be achieved if one is engaged with objects of desire. That's why I said 'if one wants liberation or enlightenment' celibacy is necessary.


Guru Rinpoche had consorts, as did many other Indian mahasiddhas, so you can't be correct.

Monastic vows can be a great aid to attaining enlightenment, but they aren't a prerequisite for enlightenment, at least not according to Tibetan Buddhism.


Mahasiddhas like Guru Rinpoche are very special beings who have already achieved a high level of realization before taking a consort and we shouldn't mistakenly think their practice is in any way ordinary sexual intercourse. But we should ask ' how did they become such great yogis' and more importantly 'how can we become like them' and it's not by being sexually active that's for sure. We might not need monastic vows but to develop the levels of meditative concentration and subsequent attainment that will qualify us for higher tantric practice then at some point celibacy will definitely be necessary.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Astus » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:06 am

Tilopa wrote:Mahasiddhas like Guru Rinpoche are very special beings who have already achieved a high level of realization before taking a consort and we shouldn't mistakenly think their practice is in any way ordinary sexual intercourse. But we should ask ' how did they become such great yogis' and more importantly 'how can we become like them' and it's not by being sexually active that's for sure. We might not need monastic vows but to develop the levels of meditative concentration and subsequent attainment that will qualify us for higher tantric practice then at some point celibacy will definitely be necessary.


It appears to me from the mahasiddha stories that lot of them were ordinary people and not as special as Padmasambhava. In the book "Masters of Mahamudra" we find people from all ways of life, including kings, artists, peasants, craftsmen and renunciates. They all had their own obsessions. On the other hand, these too are about being free from desire. What these stories point out is that emptiness and the realisation of emptiness are all pervasive and not restricted to outer forms, so it is not a necessity to take up a certain way of life. I'd say this is a colourful way of expressing the saying "defilements are bodhi". Also this partially answers the original question about dealing with celibacy and leaving behind sexual desire.
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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 ground » Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:23 am

Astus wrote:In the book "Masters of Mahamudra" we find people from all ways of life, including kings, artists, peasants, craftsmen and renunciates. They all had their own obsessions. On the other hand, these too are about being free from desire. What these stories point out is that emptiness and the realisation of emptiness are all pervasive and not restricted to outer forms, so it is not a necessity to take up a certain way of life. I'd say this is a colourful way of expressing the saying "defilements are bodhi". Also this partially answers the original question about dealing with celibacy and leaving behind sexual desire.


I think one should be clear as to one's reference.

There are many books but what does this provide evidence for?

If one refers to the Buddha then everything else is excluded.

It is a matter of choice and reliance. It is a matter of what one takes refuge to.

Considering the Buddha and his close Mahayana followers there is no doubt about how to assess sexual desire.

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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby spiritnoname » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:51 pm

Sex vs. concentration

Concentration wins, monks that don't meditate well eventually give up, but monks with good meditation stay.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:33 am

spiritnoname wrote:Sex vs. concentration

Concentration wins

When it comes to supramundane concentration, I'd agree. Of course nothing can stop supramundane concentration. But MUNDANE concentration?

Mundane Concentration vs. Sex: Uhhh..... uhhh.... omg... uhh... just don't... stop...

Somebody with an awesome sex life isn't going to take meditation over sex, unless they're like Gautama, going off on an emotional trip about the universality of suffering.

spiritnoname wrote:monks that don't meditate well eventually give up, but monks with good meditation stay.

And I would guess that laypeople who have amazing sex lives don't generally become celibate monks.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:21 am

Individual wrote:
spiritnoname wrote:monks that don't meditate well eventually give up, but monks with good meditation stay.

And I would guess that laypeople who have amazing sex lives don't generally become celibate monks.


And I would guess that they would even not want to sincerely practice the buddhist path if they found something you call "sex life" "amazing".


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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:19 pm

TMingyur wrote:
And I would guess that they would even not want to sincerely practice the buddhist path if they found something you call "sex life" "amazing".

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One can enjoy something and even at times find it "amazing" while still being aware of its transitory and unsatisfactory nature. We could say this not only about sex, but about any number of samsaric thrills: a movie, for instance.

Indeed, I don't see how it's possible to have consensual sex and not enjoy it to some degree, unless it's really bad sex.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:29 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Indeed, I don't see how it's possible to have consensual sex and not enjoy it to some degree,


And this is what you would call "amazing"?

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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:45 pm

TMingyur,

"Amazing" is just an expression used to describe some particularly intense enjoyment. What else could it be?

An amazing sunset, an amazing quiche, an amazing performance by Faye Wong in her latest concert tour, the amazing Na Pali coast, an amazing high wire act.

All can be quite bliss-inducing. And impermanent.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:03 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:"Amazing" is just an expression used to describe some particularly intense enjoyment. What else could it be?

Yes. As you say it stands for perceiving an "intense enjoyment" which is but of "transitory and unsatisfactory nature" (your own words).

So I would agree with "transitory and unsatisfactory nature" and conclude that it is not worthwhile to go after that, not worthwhile to seek relationsships and attach importance to all the other accompanying distracting phenomena.

And exactly the setting of priorities this way or the other way is what makes the difference.


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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:29 pm

Agreed, TMingyur, but the conclusions different people draw from the transience and ultimate unsatisfactoriness of phenomena will vary depending on depth of insight into the Four Noble Truths and the nature of cyclical rebirth.

Without profound insight, it doesn't automatically follow that because phenomena are transient, they should be abandoned. From an ordinary-person point of view, actually, that seems like an odd conclusion.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:30 am

Lazy_eye wrote:Without profound insight, it doesn't automatically follow that because phenomena are transient, they should be abandoned. From an ordinary-person point of view, actually, that seems like an odd conclusion.

Here one really should avoid to generate the impression that anything like a sort of "moral obligation" or similar would be involved. It would actually be bondage to think a way like "If one practices buddhism then one has to abandon ..." or thinking a way like "If I abandon this then I will achieve that" Such kind of thinking is bondage. I think the way it should be is that after initial small even merely intellectual "insight" into the transient and unsatisfactory combined with faith the practice itself should enhance disenchantment with the transient and unsatisfactory through being the cause of "real" contentment and satisfaction that is independent of the transient and actually unsatisfactory.

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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby spiritnoname » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:52 am

hmm,.. so you guys might think otherwise,.. but I think if you have a good meditation teacher and you follow the training with no serious afflictions, after a week you should have meditation better than sex. I don't think it's that hard, sex is a coarse pleasure, it really can't compare. After a monk or lay person has competency in meditation, I don't think sex is much of a temptation at all.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Ogyen » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:04 am

spiritnoname wrote:After a monk or lay person has competency in meditation, I don't think sex is much of a temptation at all.


I have a sense that this is true, as I've directly experienced a dramatic (but gradual) lessening of all my cravings in the past 2 years just meditating as a lay person. If I had the life of a monk, it might take a lot less time to achieve the same lessening due to the more intense practice of the monk's lifestyle.

Interesting thought. Makes sense to me. :heart:
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