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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:41 am 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Guys, just get married, then you'll naturally be inclined to celibacy.

*BA-ZING*

:good:
if my wife ever reads this i'm screwed :rolling:


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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:32 am 
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PorkChop wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Guys, just get married, then you'll naturally be inclined to celibacy.

*BA-ZING*

:good:
if my wife ever reads this i'm screwed :rolling:

Well that's a win-win isn't it ? :smile:


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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Simon E. wrote:
PorkChop wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Guys, just get married, then you'll naturally be inclined to celibacy.

*BA-ZING*

:good:
if my wife ever reads this i'm screwed :rolling:

Well that's a win-win isn't it ? :smile:

Hiyooo! :cheers:
(you wouldn't believe how long it took me to figure out how to spell Ed Mcmahon's catch phrase...)


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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:24 pm 
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freefromsamsara wrote:
Fu Ri Shin wrote:
The lust = desire = suffering equation has always been intuitively obvious to me, even before my exposure to Buddhist outlooks. The choice of "manifesting" one's sexuality has only ever seemed sensible and desirable to me within the context of a selflessness-cultivating and loving relationship. Anything short of that is far to akin to treating another person as a sex toy, in terms of my sense of ethics, and besides which it would just feel like an empty physiological reaction. Like Kool-Aid without sugar. Thankfully, I've never let social-cultural pressures get the better of me. People may do as they wish, but it bothers me that others with innately more healthy attitudes are probably getting sucked into the great and powerful hyper-sexual mindset. There's no real respect for diversity when it comes to "prudes" like myself.


and some in the forum still question why yogis would hide out in the mountains instead of freely mingling with the rest of humanity..

A very appropriate observation, though my comment wasn't meant to condemn household or family life. If the conditions/requirements are met in my life I'll gladly take on that lifestyle.

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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:26 am 
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Huseng wrote:
If lust is desire and desire is cause for suffering, why are continence and celibacy generally overlooked in the English speaking Buddhist world?

what a shocker, most practitioners are actually non practitioners

unless you are reaching new levels of vipashyana regularly, every 2 or 3 years, with empty space and subtle impermanence, then selflessness, then repeating it, then emptiness, then repeating it, then you are failing miserably as a "buddhist"


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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:10 pm 
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Ayu, 'This makes it difficult to say it like the Dalai Lama told... Many freethinkers will be bothered by his words"
As I see it the Dalai Lama is not just 'talking the talk' but actually living the teaching.


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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:15 pm 
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5heaps wrote:
Huseng wrote:
If lust is desire and desire is cause for suffering, why are continence and celibacy generally overlooked in the English speaking Buddhist world?

what a shocker, most practitioners are actually non practitioners

unless you are reaching new levels of vipashyana regularly, every 2 or 3 years, with empty space and subtle impermanence, then selflessness, then repeating it, then emptiness, then repeating it, then you are failing miserably as a "buddhist"


Interesting opinion.

My original point was that while in many places continence and celibacy are encouraged, in the English speaking Buddhist world they are not generally mentioned let alone discussed.

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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:35 pm 
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Someone just told me the other day that they see celibacy as the ultimate perversion :meditate:

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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:54 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
5heaps wrote:
Huseng wrote:
If lust is desire and desire is cause for suffering, why are continence and celibacy generally overlooked in the English speaking Buddhist world?

what a shocker, most practitioners are actually non practitioners

unless you are reaching new levels of vipashyana regularly, every 2 or 3 years, with empty space and subtle impermanence, then selflessness, then repeating it, then emptiness, then repeating it, then you are failing miserably as a "buddhist"


Interesting opinion.

My original point was that while in many places continence and celibacy are encouraged, in the English speaking Buddhist world they are not generally mentioned let alone discussed.


It should be though. Continence or celibacy is a wonderful practice that has benefits for both oneself and for those you come into contact with.


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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:08 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
If lust is desire and desire is cause for suffering, why are continence and celibacy generally overlooked in the English speaking Buddhist world?

In many Buddhist cultures laypeople will refrain from sex on specific days (the fasting days and on celebrations). The definition of sexual misconduct might even include having sex on these days. Dharma teachers will generally also teach the value of continence and curtailing lust.

Nevertheless, this seldom seems to enter into the discussion in the west. There are plenty of discussions on vegetarianism and the finer points of Buddhist philosophy, but neither continence nor celibacy are widely held as important and/or necessary. The Buddha is indeed on record stressing the need to overcome desire, one primary form of which is lust. Desire is one of the hindrances related to meditation.

Is it that a lot of western Buddhists approach Buddhism from a sexually liberal mindset where any suggestion of curtailing such things would be taken as a puritanical assault on their sexuality?


I think it is a matter of the immediate consequences. If you eat less meat there tend to be pretty immediate consequences, such that many people argue a vegetarian diet for health reasons. However, with sexuality when you give it up the consequences(for many people, not for everyone) are either not that obvious or are outright negative. In my case when I attempted complete sexual abstinence I was filled with a sort of hatred that was almost like a dark reflection of equanimity that nothing could fix.

Also, in regards to the finer points of Buddhist philosophy, I think that that is because for a lot of people, especially online, the finer points of philosophy are why they got into Buddhism in the first place.

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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:32 pm 
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If lust is desire, then lust must be desiring the flesh? Is there anything wrong with that? Well the outcome may well bring with it a dose of suffering. Of course we all know you can lust after mow-ney as well. Somewhere along the way most of us pair up with mixed success. Some couples have many goes at it, (lots of suffering) Others find some contentment in just one partner as long as they don't emotionally destroy one another then it's heralded a success. Couples who stay together through many decades are congratulated because they’ve somehow made it through the trials and errors! Of course there are always extreme examples of partnerships such as 'he cheated on her with her sister and she found out on Facebook and then cut off three of his fingers with a cleaver, they are still together! Yep.....there is hope!'
All of us are riddled with desire. Whether you think of yourself as a go-getter, not a bad sort, artistic or spiritual etc these are all concepts in the mind.
There are a few ripe ones that are burning with desire but that is the desire for liberation and they are rare to find.


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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:26 pm 
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Huseng wrote:

My original point was that while in many places continence and celibacy are encouraged, in the English speaking Buddhist world they are not generally mentioned let alone discussed.



it's an interesting question. The English speaking Buddhist world can be pretty heterogeneous so it's hard to point to one reason, rather than multiple reasons, and a part of it is generational as you've previously pointed out.

One way to look at it might be to see what role Buddhism itself plays in the English speaking/Western world. Religion, including Buddhism, serves a couple of roles within a society. One role would be to serve the spiritual needs of the individual. Another role would be to provide a pathway to achieving the spiritual goal of the religion (enlightenment, oneness with God, etc.). Religion also serves as a the moral and ethical backbone/authority of a society. In English speaking countries, the Christian Church has been the primary religion, especially as it comes to the everyday moral/ethical behaviors of the community. Within the churches, continence and celibacy are hugely encouraged and that permeates the fabric of the society. In the US, while we may look to Hollywood as the norm, for vast swaths of the country, Hollywood is looked at as the "other", especially within the institutions of the different churches.

Getting back to Buddhism, Buddhism is a foreign religion that has no societal responsibility to set the ethical and moral standards for the society ( this is different than saying Buddhism doesn't encourage these as much, or even more, than Christianity, Islam, etc.). That is, in the United States, or Canada, or England, the leaders and the populations of those countries aren't going to turn towards Buddhism to define what moral behavior is for the country. They turn to the Bible, to the teachings of Jesus, or the Old Testament.

This allows Buddhism in English speaking countries to focus on the spiritual needs and development of the members of their sanghas. We can then also look at the people from English speaking countries (or the West) and why they might be attracted to a foreign religion, one that most have not been enculturated to. The question is, what needs do they have that their own country's religion aren't meeting? Also, many are actively turned off by many elements of their culture's religion. Specifically when it comes to sex and morality, Christianity (and I use Christianity loosely here to stand in for the different sects and Islam, Judism, etc) can be seen as hypocritical and far less forgiving of the transgressions of sexual propriety over far more significant moral failings. An extreme example would be that it's far worse for a kid to masturbate than to join the military and go kill people in the Middle East. Or it's okay for us to invade countries and kill hundreds of thousands of civilians, but it's immoral if soldiers in the army are homosexual.

I think many people coming to Buddhism in English speaking countries don't want or need Buddhism to teach them morality or to preach to them a message that sounds familiar to them from their Christian upbringing. Even if you don't have a Christian upbringing, you are still exposed to it and confined by the teaches by the society at large.

I think the equation of lust = desire = suffering does come across, to an extent, as the moralistic teachings of Christianity. Just by framing the discussion of lust as sex serves this purpose. There are lots of different types of lust. Lust for power, for wealth, for fame, for an easy life. Apple releases a new iPhone and the lines stretch out the door and down the road for a quarter mile. Talk about desire.

It always fascinates me that celibate people (for instance the Dalai Lama, or Catholic priests, etc.) think that sex is an overriding end all and be all for people that are not celibate, or that sexual desires and wants supersede all other forms of desire, or that relationships just lead to suffering, more that just being stuck in Samsara leads to suffering. There are studies that show that married men live longer and healthier lives. There are many positive benefits to relationships. I look at my single friends and my married friends and on the whole, my unmarried friends appear less happy. I know that many of my single friends are not out having sex, and in some ways, have backed into celibacy. I also know, to an extent, that my married friends (married people in general) are not just devoting their lives to sex. In some ways, being married and having a source of sexual companionship reduces the need for sex. A thirsty person thinks of water. A hungry person thinks of food. A person with no sexual outlet thinks of sex. I recall that for someone to practice certain forms of mysticism (such as Kabbalah) he needed to be married and older, the idea being that a certain psychological stability was required for the practice.

Perhaps continence and celibacy isn't a main focus for those in English speaking country, because there are lots of other issues they need to deal with to progress on the path - and focus on sexuality wouldn't be a skillful means. I'd be curious what the large Buddhist sects are in the English speaking world? Zen? Tibetan Buddhism? There's probably also a difference between those sects that primarily serve ethnic communities (that came to Western speaking countries with immigrants) and those that serve native born English speakers. It would be interesting to know if there is a difference in how much discussion of continence and celibacy is done between Buddhist Sanghas that deal with the ethnic communities vs. those that are primarily outside of the ethnic communities.


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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:19 pm 
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Heh generally few my friends seem happy, everyone has too much stuff and too much ambition. Not that I can see other peoples causes, but if I had to hazard a guess as to why, I don't even know that sex would be anywhere near the top of the list. I see a ton of people around me who also have a strong lust for position, career advancement, and status for example - something that often they end up sacrificing much for.

Other than that random observation, :good: :good:

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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:18 am 
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While there are many good reasons to be celibate and holding the ten vows of a novice even for a short time definitely produces great merit, it's quite obviously not a requirement for realization. It simply provides a good situation for it to take place in. Sometimes it's harder to let go of lust if you are constantly fighting against it in your mind. I have met some men and women that became puritanical about sex in a very angry way largely because they weren't getting any. This can be very difficult if they become monastics as its not really genuine renunciation. Better to get laid well and properly, and THEN renounce. The best monks are not uptight at all. They have a sense of humour about sexuality.

Being averse to something is not the same as being free from it. As Yudron so eloquently explained, sex is really no big deal. Nothing to center your life around, for or against. It's the same thing with money as well-- sometimes those with the least money are the most fixated on it. This is one reason why tantra provides methods to attract partners and wealth: once you have it, it is much easier to see that it brings no lasting fulfillment.

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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:09 am 
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uan wrote:

I think the equation of lust = desire = suffering does come across, to an extent, as the moralistic teachings of Christianity.



Lust is cause for suffering in Buddhism though. At a deeper level it hinders entry into the dhyānas and consequently progress is halted.



Quote:
There are studies that show that married men live longer and healthier lives.


Maybe ordinary married men. Actually in my observations celibate monks tend to visibly age slower. You'll meet monks who are in their sixties but look a decade or two younger. Less stress and properly abstaining from sex actually has benefits to longevity.



Quote:
Perhaps continence and celibacy isn't a main focus for those in English speaking country, because there are lots of other issues they need to deal with to progress on the path - and focus on sexuality wouldn't be a skillful means.


I'd venture to say it just isn't widely discussed.

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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:25 am 
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Karma dorje, Well thats easily said! The poor, the down-and-out are inundated with ads from the corporationss and of course can't even think of expensive consumer goods, cause they're too busy trying to keep their head above water "Sometimes those with the least money are the most fixated on it" How about some rich geezer makes a bundle but no matter the amount , he's never satisfied and is driven to make more. Of course it's a sweeping statement but hey anything goes.


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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:03 am 
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greentara wrote:
Karma dorje, Well thats easily said! The poor, the down-and-out are inundated with ads from the corporationss and of course can't even think of expensive consumer goods, cause they're too busy trying to keep their head above water "Sometimes those with the least money are the most fixated on it" How about some rich geezer makes a bundle but no matter the amount , he's never satisfied and is driven to make more. Of course it's a sweeping statement but hey anything goes.


Neither extreme is healthy. The point is, it's easy at a deep level to still think that having money will solve your problems even if you think you know better. We are talking about practitioners-- they have various methods to increase prosperity, personal magnetism, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:29 am 
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karma Dorje,. "We are talking about practitioners-- they have various methods to increase prosperity, personal magnetism, etc" What level are you coming from? Affirmations, positive thinking, meditation? Just curious?


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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:55 am 
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Huseng wrote:
uan wrote:

I think the equation of lust = desire = suffering does come across, to an extent, as the moralistic teachings of Christianity.



Lust is cause for suffering in Buddhism though. At a deeper level it hinders entry into the dhyānas and consequently progress is halted.


Quote:
Perhaps continence and celibacy isn't a main focus for those in English speaking country, because there are lots of other issues they need to deal with to progress on the path - and focus on sexuality wouldn't be a skillful means.


I'd venture to say it just isn't widely discussed.


I'd accept it isn't widely discussed based on your observations (I wouldn't know personally), but you did also wonder why continence and celibacy wasn't more widely discussed. I thought I'd offer some possible reasons.


Huseng wrote:
uan wrote:

There are studies that show that married men live longer and healthier lives.


Maybe ordinary married men. Actually in my observations celibate monks tend to visibly age slower. You'll meet monks who are in their sixties but look a decade or two younger. Less stress and properly abstaining from sex actually has benefits to longevity.



It seemed we were discussing lay Buddhist. As for monks, I met an 80 year old lama in Labrang that positively was bursting with a physical vitality beyond many 20 year olds. I'm sure less stress and abstinence plays a role, but so do other things as well -- he was still doing 600 prostrations every day. His diet consisted of low fat, low calorie, natural foods. Not to mention his own daily practice of meditation and reciting sutras, etc. These also played a role. I think more than abstinence, it's how one's sexual energy is focused in their practice.

Given that, I'm not sure how many Westerners would think that the reason monastics seem to age slower was reducible to celibacy alone - and would probably see the reduced stress on them as being the most significant reason for how they looked.


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 Post subject: Re: If lust is desire...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:23 pm 
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greentara wrote:
karma Dorje,. "We are talking about practitioners-- they have various methods to increase prosperity, personal magnetism, etc" What level are you coming from? Affirmations, positive thinking, meditation? Just curious?


Vajrayana practices to increase lungta, wangtang and yang. Pema Chopel has mentioned these before on the thread about impoverished western students.

There are countless practices to help the serious practitioner with diminished prosperity, from the various forms of Jambhala, Kubera, Vasudhara to Ganapati and Mahalakshmi, etc. Any form of generosity like mandala offering, tonglen or volunteering at a local homeless shelter or nursing home.

Personal magnetism most famously can be bolstered by the practice of Kurukulla or Red Tara, but also by cultivating the four immeasurables.

There is nothing wrong with requesting, receiving and practicing these things with the intention to have the wealth and/or companionship you need to progress in your practice. Aside from liberation, it's why these skillful methods exist.

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