Astus wrote:Among all the quotes you cited didn't say there is "compassionate sex" only in the one by Berzin.
The way I see it, marriage is a kind of contract between two people. It covers things such as emotional and physical needs, the maintenance of a home, raising children, achieving prosperity, etc. It's important to have harmony in a marriage and that means that both partners should basically agree on the goals of the marital endeavor.
If one party decides unilaterally to opt out of sexual intimacy, then he or she is cheating the other out of their marital rights. We have to be a little careful about using the term "addiction" because it comes close to defining sexuality as a sin or inherently bad. A baby is, in a sense, addicted to milk and mama. Would it be compassionate to deprive it of these?
As Ven K. Sri Dhammananda puts it:
Sex by itself is not "evil," although the temptation and craving for it invariably disturbs the peace of mind, and hence is not conducive to spiritual development. In the ideal situation, sex is the physical culmination of a deeply satisfying emotional relationship, where both partners give and take equally.
We might also consider that the spouse is not necessarily a Buddhist, or that either party might not have reached the point where they feel ready to let go.
Now so what is the compassionate thing to do? Probably to introduce the dharma into the household while maintaining the five precepts. It might happen that both husband and wife can practice together and eventually reach the stage where they can overcome the "addiction" to sense pleasures. Priorities can change, especially if there is a lot of spiritual practice by both parties.
In other situations, it might become necessary to defer one's liberatory goals. If that's unacceptable, divorce is surely preferable to trapping one's spouse in a disharmonious union.
The question is: can lust be realised as empty? Certainly, everything is empty. Emptiness doesn't mean non-existence, just one is not bound by it, one doesn't think it is self-existent. Can we deduce from this that lust may not cause suffering? I don't think so, as there is a causal relationship according to the second noble truth. Can suffering be empty? Of course. Thus lust can be not lust and suffering not suffering. So did Vimalakirti have wife and kids while being alone and celibate. Good stuff, eh? So much for lay people...
Those are very interesting questions!