Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:39 pm

The classic date is (I think for most people) is to call,pick your up date, go to a romantic dinner, have a interesting conversation,then go for a walk somewhere in the park or a beach -etc- then you say "bye call me" whatever that actually means -then wondering if that person you dated is going to call or not. I don't think dating is an ascetic endeavor
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:59 pm

Treehuggingoctopus, like I've mentioned before, I'm almost 100% sure that Keith Dowman is authorized by his teachers to teach Dzogchen (maybe even by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche as well?).

And his book Sky Dancer is a translation of a specific Terma, so I take it that semen-retention is the Anuyoga view of the Terma and the of Terton who unveiled it.

(Again, the Dzogchen view seems to be a little different)

Although I forgot which Terma, and who was the Terton; so I'll have to go back to click on the link to the said book, of which I posted in my previous post here.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby asunthatneversets » Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:30 am

Andrew108 wrote:Yes true my desire to attain liberation is mere words. Running after goals like liberation just makes me tired.
O.k true story time. Friend wanted to do 3 year retreat. Friend had a girlfriend. Girlfriend got pregnant before friend started retreat. Friend decided to do retreat. Friend left girlfriend to bring up baby by herself. Friend has rejected baby because of buddhist conditioning and his desire to attain liberation. Friend does lots of retreat. Still hasn't gained liberation. Baby misses having an involved father.
So look and you can see that the messy world of relationships can be valuable for your practice. Why? Above all why? If you hold on to concepts about a person then you are not on the path. If you are able to breakdown your constructed view of a person and what they are like and everyday see them in a fresh way then you are self-liberating concepts about that person and you are doing something yogic - you are on the path. You are practicing by looking at the illusory nature of the person you are attracted to. Baby is doing well because you don't hold onto concept 'baby'. Girlfriend or husband are doing well because you don't hold on to the decisions you've made about what they are really like. Everyday is a fresh opportunity to practice understanding the illusory nature of the appearance of family and friends and at the same time you are able to love. It's great.
But if you want to wear the coat of quotes and condition yourself then that's your business - may be there will be some value in that.


That's wild. Your friend exhibits a grave misunderstanding of the teaching there. I agree with you on your view of relationships.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Nemo » Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:10 am

It could not be more obvious what the Buddha thought about relationships.

He founded a celibate monastic order.

Karma Yoga for house holders is delusional bullshit. Yogis or monks are rarely qualified.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:53 am

Lol I make fun of a typo, and then make one myself in doing so. :oops:


Correction:



Yes, householders should avoid it at all costs!



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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby SooYiMongSeng » Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:58 pm

Nemo wrote:It could not be more obvious what the Buddha thought about relationships.

He founded a celibate monastic order.

Karma Yoga for house holders is delusional bullshit. Yogis or monks are rarely qualified.


That can't be correct-- Buddha didn't create a monastery as a model for the world, did he? how else would the world continue without procreation... he never created a system for reproducing on that basis..?

Buddha -must- have understood that romance between individuals is necessary even if procreation may be its ultimate end... (that whole process is a journey of high respect in itself much like any other aspect of life, right?? (I may be wrong in the eyes of some individuals)

Do you mean "Kama" Yoga when you say "Karma Yoga?"

Because, I do Karma Yoga for my monastery every month which includes painting the barn, stripping the rotten wood off the garage, and other yard work :p

I'm just a bit confused... please clarify if I am incorrect.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:34 pm

Hi SooYiMongSen

I knew that Nemo meant "Karmamudra"; I was just bein' a smart-aleck.

Anyway, H.H. the Dalai Lama himself has spoken quite openly about Consort Practice, Karmamudra, Sexual Yoga, etc.; so I don't know why so many people seem to think it should still be kept so secret anymore. :shrug:

It's a different, or say shall we say a new, age now; and not everybody can prepare themselves as celibate monks and nuns for years.

Vajrayana, especially Dzogchen, has many expedient means for progressing quickly enough to learn such practices.

For example, since the Vajra Wave of Yantra Yoga is given in a publicly-available book by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche himself; I think it's fine to say that in a recent open webcast teaching he said that if we engage in such sexual practices, that if we perform the Vajra Wave after, we can correct any mistakes we might have made in the practice so that we don't have any problems with our energy (Nadis, Vayus, Prana, Bindu, Chakras, etc.).

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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Nemo » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:21 am

SooYiMongSeng wrote:
Nemo wrote:It could not be more obvious what the Buddha thought about relationships.

He founded a celibate monastic order.

Karma Mudra for house holders is delusional bullshit. Yogis or monks are rarely qualified.


That can't be correct-- Buddha didn't create a monastery as a model for the world, did he? how else would the world continue without procreation... he never created a system for reproducing on that basis..?

Buddha -must- have understood that romance between individuals is necessary even if procreation may be its ultimate end... (that whole process is a journey of high respect in itself much like any other aspect of life, right?? (I may be wrong in the eyes of some individuals)


He did not need this illusory world to continue. My understanding of the vows for monks were the way an enlightened person would act naturally. It is also telling that there are no Buddhist marriage ceremonies.

I tried the monastic life. After a few years I didn't like poverty, no sex and being told what to do all the time. Romantic relationships have not helped my practice. At best they are an enjoyable distraction. At their worst just look at any of your friends divorces.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby SooYiMongSeng » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:31 am

Your testimony reminds me of being en route to a destination city on a road trip. Either you take the quickest way with the intent of following interstate highways and the most direct route or, you get lost and have to use your orientation that leads you through some windy path and even some unpaved ones.

I feel I learn the most from relationships, personally. They are of course also a situation that brings me the most suffering, as well. This of course does not mean I'll enter in a relationship continuously and fool-hearted. Every time I come back to an opportunity to enter one, it's always a new opportunity to analyze and try my best to understand myself.

Maybe it's best I not expand or shrink that idea in any way --- maybe this is the way I can apply dharma in my own personal life.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Indrajala » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:50 pm

SooYiMongSeng wrote:That can't be correct-- Buddha didn't create a monastery as a model for the world, did he? how else would the world continue without procreation... he never created a system for reproducing on that basis..?


It is impossible for all humans to join the sangha at once, so to assume Buddhist monasticism is a self-terminating system resulting in human extinction is incorrect.


Buddha -must- have understood that romance between individuals is necessary even if procreation may be its ultimate end... (that whole process is a journey of high respect in itself much like any other aspect of life, right?? (I may be wrong in the eyes of some individuals)


In the Buddha's day, as it was throughout most of civilization's history, relationships were arranged by third parties and usually with economic interests in mind.

Romance isn't necessary for reproduction. Historically most people procreated for other reasons.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Challenge23 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:07 pm

From my experience it is all about time.

We only have 24 hours in a day. Now, you can get some benefits from putting at least 20 minutes a day of those 24 hours into practice. Now, what to do with those other 23 hours and 40 minutes?

At least six hours of that has to go into sleep for most people. There are super highly attained types that can whittle that down but for most people it stays pretty constant.

So you now have around 17 hours 40 minutes left. Unless you are super wealthy or a monastic you'll most likely spend around 9 hours a day getting the resources to survive. This includes getting to work, working an 8 hour day, and coming home.

Don't forget eating and bathing which I would say averages out to at least 40 minutes a day.

So you have around 8 hours a day left to do everything else you want to do. There are some people who say that you should not only spend that 8 hours in practice but also not work and sleep less so you can get back the 9 hours working and some of the six hours you sleep(that's the monks, by the way). Others say that you should take the time you are using to do non formal practice stuff and use that as practice and just bump up how much you practice to an hour a day.

My advice to you is to write down what you spend your time doing every day and see where you can "reclaim" time that you are using doing things that aren't really helpful. Watching TV or surfing the internet tends to be a place where a lot of time can be trimmed I've found. If you find that a whole lot of time is spend in romantic relationships, perhaps it might be wise to look at more skillful ways to conduct those relationships. This skillful way for you might be not being in said relationships. It might be learning about communication or learning more about how to choose people to become involved with. I can't say. That is for you to figure out.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Anders » Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:24 pm

I think to take Bodhisattva vows is to acknowledge we will have relations with others and endeavour to support and nurture others, just as we receive nurture and support.

I think romantic relationships can be one type of these. Certainly, a spiritual element is what I look for. If it doesn't involve me learning and growing from it, I generally don't want to commit too much. There is lots of good stuff that can be learned from relationships. People who are rarely in them in particular can learn a lot from it. But I think they are also dispensible.

The sex thing is neither here nor there for me. We're humans, we have the drive, it's an expression of intimacy. It's also an expression of affliction and I am fine with that. If I get to a point in life where I can see for myself that this is holding me back somehow, I'll consider celibacy. Like with most Buddhist teachings, I don't see the merit in holding myself to an arbitrary standard just because it feels like I should. People who try and excuse themselves with karma yoga etc are imo just playing into the same trap. The Buddhadharma is an offering we can take up, not a commandment.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:45 pm

Anders wrote: I don't see the merit in holding myself to an arbitrary standard just because it feels like I should.


This is exactly right.

The point of "rules" that the Buddha gave had different specific reasons, but they all come from the same purpose.

What do you suppose that purpose is?

Sometimes people look at the story of Sakyamuni, and they think they have to leave their family or give up everything that they like. But they don't really understand why. The point isn't to give up the world, but to give up attachment to the world. Give up attachment, and then go out and enjoy life. eat good food, have sex, watch a movie. Just don't expect any of those things to bring lasting happiness.

Things in and of themselves are emptiness. It is the attachments we project on the things we experience which bind us to samsara. For Prince Siddhartha, he needed to abandon the royal life. But for somebody else, maybe the young single male who imagines himself as the lone Buddhist wanderer or whatever, who is totally absorbed in that head trip, maybe he needs to quit clinging to such romantic theater and get married.

Sometimes you can't really find the stillness until you start shaking things up a bit.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Kunga Leshe » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:55 am

to answer the original question of this thread-

it's difficult. i rarely (by today's standards) have sex and have spent less than 3 years of my life in relationships, and i am 36 years old. before acting, i look closely at my motivations for wanting sex, intimate relationships, reasons for being attracted to someone, and so on, and it usually puts things into perspective for me, gives me some degree of detachment from the desires. i just am not genuinely interested when it comes down to it. i will find reasons for my desires if i dig deeply enough, and that will free me up. i will admit that sometimes it's very difficult to shake the feelings, and i may get stuck with a bit of a crush on someone for a few months, but i know it's based on deluded thinking and emotions, so i will not pursue it. it can be very frustrating knowing that you don't really like someone for any variety of reasons, but to still be unable to get them out of your mind. every now and then i will put forth the effort to find a short term sexual partner, but this is usually just to "relieve pressure" as it were, and it does work out pretty well for me.

it certainly requires some discipline and backbone to resist getting involved with someone, out of loneliness, social pressures, etc. but when i look at the people i know who have lots of sex with whomever, or are always in this relationship or that, or even the ones who stay together for years, i have noticed that they definitely have their own sets of problems that come with their chosen lifestyles. the perceived comfort and stability often becomes a source of confusion and anxiety in practice. many people like to talk to me about their problems, admittedly i like to listen to them, and i often hear really crazy stories from the more sexually active/relationship oriented people that involve things we don't see in public. lots of frustrations, disagreements, trickery, wild emotional displays, just a general driving each other crazy and commiseration. not all, of course, but it's very common. very, very common. it seems to consume a LOT of time and energy, and these people really look to be 'selling their souls' to these experiences. i've been through it myself before, it accompanied all my relationships. i have determined that i enjoy a peace of mind that is much more difficult to attain when living that way; i have no one to worry about and no one bothers me about my comings and goings.

that being said, i do learn from interacting with women in an intimate way. i learn about myself and others, human psychology in general. i do stupid things, make mistakes, etc, it does have the power to bring things to the surface that i otherwise don't encounter, and there is certainly value in that. eventually i will see that when i do get what i'm after, it wasn't what the fantasy i promised myself. it becomes more about simply seeing things for what they are and appreciating them in that capacity.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Spirituality » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:12 pm

SooYiMongSeng wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:Just to chime in here. My take is that relationships are extremely valuable. I couldn't imagine wanting to give them up. I think being open to them is the point. The joys and the sorrow are what make life special. Enjoy life. Enjoy the fact of it. Enjoy someone who enjoys the same things as you do.


I'm in very much of an agreement with this idea. I feel the greatest thing is that we can learn from our partners as if they are our familiars... or as our "mirrors." They become a major part of our reality.... and in that...after reflection and retrospect maybe a very significant and influential guru in our life?

Wow, all of you are very very brilliant. What a blessing to read all this great material from you all. My many thanks. :namaste:


I don't have much experience with relationships, however personally I do think it's not a good idea to give them up unless you really have a realization that that is what you need to do.

I do think that relationships should be committed: the father in retreat story doesn't sound healthy at all, totally irresponsible in fact. It's so much against basic Bodhicitta, in our western context anyhow, that it's no wonder dad didn't become enlightened. After all, ethics comes first on the path.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Ogyen » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:50 pm

Romantic relationships? Sure... why not? What doesn't kill you, will make you stronger (stranger?)... Like all of life's aspects, they are important to learn about WHO you are at some point in your development. I'd recommend at least one to anyone who has ever had an attraction to another human being. After all, how can you grow your lotus if you don't grow down into the mud?

Buddha did not say yay or nay absolutely, how could he? He was too wise for that.. didn't he say, Nay for this type of path (monastics), yay for this other type of path (lay)? After all, the human species must continue... no? And does having a partner exclude you from awakening? I think not... People will fall in love, people will pair-bond, grow and realize as they need to. Much beauty also comes out of that in forms of art, culture, and great truths - see the likes of Rumi and Kahlil Gibran on love and romantic relationships... that's some pretty profound stuff...

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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Kunga Leshe » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:27 pm

Ogyen wrote: After all, the human species must continue... no?


I don't think so.

It's empty...so it's definitely won't.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Skywalker » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:17 am

Like it or not, you cannot escape relationships unless you go live as a hermit in a cave. As far as romantic relationships go, this is a very interesting subject. One can abstain from romantic relationships.

Myself I don't believe something just because the Buddha said it, but I investigate it myself and usually end up agreeing with the Buddha.

First of all, romance is delusion. It is the ego that falls in love or lust or infatuation. Folks confusing romance with love. Second of all, romance is natural, and natural isn't bad. If we are not satisfied with the natural, we should go in the right direction. We should not become unnatural, but rather we should become supernatural. In the sense of transcending not suppressing. One can only transcend what one understands thoroughly.

Now, celibacy is strange. People say you need a qualified teacher to meditate or do some Buddhist practices, however I never had a problem with anything except celibacy. Celibacy didn't work out for me not because I couldn't give up lust or needed to ejaculate or whatever but because it made me like a cactus. I had my guard up and became afraid of intimacy because I was afraid it would lead to sex. I ended up lying to myself that all beautiful women were shallow and vain. I became very judgemental and actually not very happy at all. I became isolated. I know that I was probably not doing it right.

So how to reconcile these two? I feel that one should not hold back from relating with people. In fact, one should be as open as possible, accepting as wide spectrum of people as possible. One way is to be the friendly celibate monk. Another way is to only enter relationships that are healthy and grounded in the dharma, with as little expectations as possible on the partner. If you can keep relating and not compulsively turning your partner into a possession. giving your partner total freedom. Having your heart be an open hand. If you see the beauty in someone, and you honor that beauty in a natural way, or have a deep connection with someone and honor it without turning the partner into an object, but a reflection of the buddha. Not trying to change them at all, not trying to possess them at all, not expecting anything at all. If your partner has all the freedom you would give to your best friend. If your partner wants to leave, to thank them and bless them and to let them go.

I have a teacher who puts a relationship into the bardo model. Falling in love, the honeymoon phase is the clear light of death. Then once the relationship settles into a routine, enters time, the conceptual mind starts trying to wrap itself around the experience and there is the bardo of the peaceful deities. Then due to karma and obscurations the relationship might turn ugly and enter into the bardo of the wrathful deities.

Then one may end the relationship and seek rebirth in another relationship. This model has its limitations regarding relationships however it has a good point and that is to recognize the beloved as a mirror of the clear light and for both to remain together in relationship yet totally free and liberated to be in love. Not that the other fulfills you, but you both are already fulfilled and sharing that together is more natural and holy than isolating yourself. And also that it isn't necessary to have a compulsive desire to have a relationship. One can recognize the mind of clear light in or out of relationships. And the compulsive desire to either be single or attached are both obstacles to just entering the stream.

P.S. I think that intimacy and affection are sacred and holy.
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby greentara » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:55 am

Ogyen, Rumi met met the wandering dervish Shams al-Din of Tabriz, I "What I had thought of before as God, I met today in a person." This meeting transformed him from a religious teacher into a mystical poet with longing and devotion for the Eternal Beloved. I didn't get the picture that Rumi was interested in romantic relationships, rather he adored and venerated his teacher 'Shams' and most of his poems are about union with god' or the absolute which he called 'the beloved'
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Re: Buddha on Romantic Relationships - Personal Empirical Observ

Postby Skywalker » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:41 am

Rumi and Shams were persecuted for their relationship which was considered by the locals to be "gay". Whether or not it was romantic or not will never be known for sure, but it could be very likely. One time some redneck villagers surrounded Shams to beat him up or maybe even kill him. Shams shouted out "There is NO God but Allah!" and there was a flash of light, the rednecks fell down unconscious and when they awoke all that was left of Shams was his robe, his fingernails, and his hair. Nobody ever saw Shams again.
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