Health Impact of Celibacy

General forum on Mahayana.

Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:30 am

Konchog1 wrote:My understanding is that there is no lie. Tantra is about turning poison into medicine. It's about using everything a tool for Enlightenment. So it's like this:

Ordinary people: sex is good
Shravakas and Mahayanists: sex is bad
Tantrikas: sex can be good

Each level builds on the previous. Thus, one can't skip from Ordinary understanding to Tantric understanding without risking confusing ordinary and Tantric sex.

So Dzongsar Rinpoche and so forth aren't lying, they're presenting the Mahayana pov first, to prepare people for the Tantric view.

I could be wrong though.

From what I understood: Aren't the methods of Vajrayana (such as karmamudra and jnanamudra,) for bringing the myriad afflictions of the three poisons, onto the path of transformation (in this case ordinary lust?)

As for the goal of Vajrayana: Is it not the cessation of ignorance, aggression and craving? :shrug:

EDIT: Sentence structure.
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Jnana » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:26 am

Adamantine wrote:For us who follow the Vajrayana tradition....

This isn't a Vajrayāna sub-forum, it's a general Mahāyāna sub-forum. Therefore, it's appropriate here to present the Sūtrayāna paths and stages which emphasize renunciation in order to develop form realm śamatha as a prerequisite to attaining the path of seeing.

Adamantine wrote:In the Dzogchen tradition in particular....

This isn't a Dzogchen sub-forum either. Of course, there are passages from dzogchen texts which criticize saṃsāric conduct and accord with Sūtrayāna teachings on the subject, such as the excerpt already quoted from Longchenpa's Great Chariot in the context of developing meditation. The themes of the quotations offered by Longchenpa in that excerpt are common in the Mahāyāna sūtras and treatises, as are extensive criticisms of the householder life, and explicit statements on the impossibility of attaining buddhahood as a householder. Sūtra passages explaining these same themes are also quoted in Śāntideva's Śikṣāsamuccaya as being representative of the Mahāyāna.
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Yudron » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:55 am

I think you have a good point, Jnana. I often don't notice what sub-forum I am in because I come in to the site through via the list of unread posts.
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:13 am

Well, this is officially your original post Yudron, did you intend it in this subforum or did you begin it elsewhere and it was moved?

Either way Jnana, Yudron began the thread asking about health benefits and long life as a result of celibacy or celibacy as a detriment to this: specifically referring to and asking about medical studies. I thought that was an interesting topic.

Usually in a thread we defer to the Original Post and it's intent when discussing if it has been sidetracked, etc.
If it is in the wrong forum, a mod should consider moving it.

However, the thread took a turn from the OP to a dogmatic declaration about celibacy being the only true approach to Dharma practice. If Yudron is OK with that this is fine, but considering that Vajrayana and Dzogchen are also types of Mahayana practice (which is naturally why it is here in a Mahayana Buddhist forum in the first place) it is not out of place to refute Huseng's dogmatic statements by simply asking him to respect that there are other valid expressions of Mahayana Dharma. I do not disagree that promotion of celibacy is one important way that the Dharma is approached and expressed, but it is not the default Mahayana method as I explained in my previous posts. I cited Mahayana vows (bodhisattva vows) and aspirations (six perfections) as well as Vajrayana and Dzogchen views, for the record. :smile:
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:21 am

Jnana wrote:Of course, there are passages from dzogchen texts which criticize saṃsāric conduct and accord with Sūtrayāna teachings on the subject, such as the excerpt already quoted from Longchenpa's Great Chariot in the context of developing meditation.


Longchenpa wrote extensively, from various yanas views. But when we look to his conduct, we find he fathered a son and daughter. What's more Thinley Norbu Rinpoche was his tulku, and we have already discussed the ngakpa community of profoundly devoted practitioners whom he gathered around himself.
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Yudron » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:52 am

Oh yeah... I started this thread!

As I recall, I wanted there to be a general "health" forum, instead of an "alternative health" forum, to put it in. But, I put it in Mahayana because if I put it in the Vajrayana section it would exclude people from other traditions from taking part in the discussion. I'm okay with it being derailed from the topic, because I think we established that there is not much scientific evidence behind the claims people make about celibacy being good or bad for one's health.

I want to stress in any discussion about sexuality and Dharma, I am not addressing completion stage practices. Nor will I discuss our tantric samayas as regards sexuality. I personally feel these are inappropriate topics for an on-line forum.

We who do longer Vajrayana retreats do have the experience of extended periods of celibacy, so often there is a lot more talk about sex among yogis and yoginis than there is action... that is true. How one handles one's sexuality between retreats is a deeply individual decision that one makes based on one's own constitution, and (in a best case scenario) in consultation with one's teacher. In our community, I have observed that the lamas value a strong relationship between two practitioners, as a support for practice... in a really practical human way. Lamas sometimes even play matchmaker for both their Tibetan and their Western students.

:hug:

In general, when it comes to systems of human support for practitioners, some lamas (especially those who have themselves been monks in the past) see less hypocrisy in a simple relationship between two loving adults than in the Tibetan monastic system.
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Jnana » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:54 am

Adamantine wrote:However, the thread took a turn from the OP to a dogmatic declaration about celibacy being the only true approach to Dharma practice. If Yudron is OK with that this is fine, but considering that Vajrayana and Dzogchen are also types of Mahayana practice (which is naturally why it is here in a Mahayana Buddhist forum in the first place) it is not out of place to refute Huseng's dogmatic statements by simply asking him to respect that there are other valid expressions of Mahayana Dharma.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that this issue is controversial here on a pluralistic Buddhist forum. There's reason to believe that some of the claims and methods of the Vajrayāna have often generated controversy wherever it has co-existed with other Buddhist traditions and communities. And historically, in many parts of Asia where the Vajrayāna was introduced it didn't exactly win the day (e.g. Sri Lanka and most of East Asia).

Adamantine wrote:I do not disagree that promotion of celibacy is one important way that the Dharma is approached and expressed, but it is not the default Mahayana method as I explained in my previous posts. I cited Mahayana vows (bodhisattva vows) and aspirations (six perfections) as well as Vajrayana and Dzogchen views, for the record.

Yes, and that's all fine and good. Various perspectives have been voiced, and that makes for an informed discussion. Nevertheless, the Sūtrayāna has generally been understood as a path of renunciation, even in Indo-Tibetan traditions. And Huseng's views on this issue are not aberrations. Rather, they are quite commonly shared by many practitioners from various East Asian traditions, as well as others of a more conservative disposition. And they are explicitly stated as such in numerous Mahāyāna sūtras and treatises.

Adamantine wrote:Longchenpa wrote extensively, from various yanas views. But when we look to his conduct, we find he fathered a son and daughter. What's more Thinley Norbu Rinpoche was his tulku, and we have already discussed the ngakpa community of profoundly devoted practitioners whom he gathered around himself.

Yes, indeed.
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:31 am

And Huseng's views on this issue are not aberrations. Rather, they are quite commonly shared by many practitioners from various East Asian traditions


I think they are shared by many in the more monastically oriented traditions as well, such as Gelug and Karma Kagyud. My teachers have always stated it is generally held that one should be on the path of seeing before taking a consort, and that even then there are ways around taking a consort to reach the same attainments.

Why are they cautious about this? Not because they don't believe these practices work, but simply because they think there is a great danger of people who aren't qualified trying to engage in them. I mean, if I told you that fantastic sex could lead to enlightenment don't you think I'd get a lot of people signing up for my courses? When the tantric path of union is practiced properly it leads to attainments. But when practiced improperly it can simply be a religious cover for what basically amounts to hedonism.

It reminds me of a centre where I was volunteering a few years ago. They advertised a course "Introduction to Tantra". Nothing lurid, in fact, it was going to be about action tantra, in preparation for a White Tara empowerment that was being offered by a lama later that year. Some basic background, psychology maybe some easy visualizations. The phone was ringing off the hook for the next three days. Many of the people who called asked me questions like "How long can you go with tantra?" Others were breathing heavily on the phone.

I think tantra needs to be cherished and respected in the West, because of our already overly sexualized culture where even to sell a water bottle it will show a woman with her top off, there is a great danger that tantra instead of an exalted practice could become an excuse for lack of self-control.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:44 am

I do not disagree that promotion of celibacy is one important way that the Dharma is approached and expressed, but it is not the default Mahayana method as I explained in my previous posts.I cited Mahayana vows (bodhisattva vows) and aspirations (six perfections)


I was worried I missed something when you mentioned bodhisattva vows. How do you feel these vows indicate that celibacy is not a Mahayana practice? In fact, several of the vows in the Bodhisattva class are for the protection of monastics-to me this indicates that one trying to uphold the Bodhisattva vows should cherish the monastic community:

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... edges.html

Such as:
(7) Disrobing monastics or committing such acts as stealing their robes

This downfall refers specifically to doing something damaging to one, two, or three Buddhist monks or nuns, regardless of their moral status or level of study or practice.

8) Committing any of the five heinous crimes

The five heinous crimes (mtshams-med lnga) are (a) killing our fathers, (b) mothers, or (c) an arhat (a liberated being), (d) with bad intentions drawing blood from a Buddha, or (e) causing a split in the monastic community.
Moreover, the term sangha in this heinous crime refers specifically to the monastic community. It does not refer to "sangha" in the nontraditional usage of the term coined by Western Buddhists as an equivalent of the congregation of a Dharma center or organization.

13) Turning others away from their pratimoksha vows

Pratimoksha, or individual liberation vows (so-thar sdom-pa), include those for laymen, laywomen, probationary nuns, novice monks, novice nuns, full monks, and full nuns. The objects here are persons who are keeping one of these sets of pratimoksha vows. The downfall is to tell them as a bodhisattva there is no use in keeping pratimoksha, because for bodhisattvas all actions are pure. For this downfall to be complete, they must actually give up their vows.

In terms of the six perfections, one of then is ethics or morality. The monastic vows are a precious practice than allows one to cultivate morality, so I also don't see how citing the six perfections supports your assertion.

Celibacy is praised in many of the Mahayana Sutras and Shastras.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:14 am

JKhedrup wrote:I was worried I missed something when you mentioned bodhisattva vows. How do you feel these vows indicate that celibacy is not a Mahayana practice?


Dude. Is there a noise filter over my posts or something?

#1 I said:
asking him to respect that there are other valid expressions of Mahayana Dharma.


and #2 I said, in the same sentence you quoted me
I do not disagree that promotion of celibacy is one important way that the Dharma is approached and expressed, but it is not the default Mahayana method


How do these statements lead you to ask me
How do you feel these vows indicate that celibacy is not a Mahayana practice?


I never said, implied, or even ever remotely thought anything of the sort!

I was saying it is not __THE ONLY__ expression of the Mahayana.

In the vein of the shastra Huseng himself quoted, I cited Bodhisattva vows because there is a specific one that points out that the outer vows of external conduct are superseded by the wish and ability to benefit others, even at the expense of one's own karmic consequence. So one vow is explicitly to not refrain from engaging in any of the seven non-virtuous acts if the circumstances require it to benefit beings. You and Huseng may counter that this is only in the case of a very highly realized Bodhisattva already on the bhumis.. and I am not so sure about that. The vow's intent is not to have us constantly conducting ourselves in this way, but if the circumstances arise and it is very certain that these actions will benefit others then they are permissible. This clearly
is not an absolutist path, which considers one action always "good" and one always "bad", but one based on view and motivation in the context of specific circumstances as they arise. As you must know, this is the basis of "skillful means" and much of tantric thought arises from this.

Of course, I understand your position as your lineage is one that prides itself on a type of pure sutric conduct. However, I ask the same from you as from Huseng: which is to simply accept with openness that there are other (perhaps equally valid) interpretations of these subtle points, and rich lineage traditions that are constantly churning out realized beings despite a lack of stringent adherence to celibacy.

As a contemporary Gelug I imagine one of your root teachers is HH the Dalai Lama. (If I am wrong, I apologize). Now while HH is a pure monk, he practices the terma of Lerab Lingpa as one of his heart practices, afaik. Lerab Lingpa was a Ngakpa yogi who had children. Likewise, HH studied Dzogchen with HH Dudjom Rinpoche, whose tradition I follow and whose children and grandchildren continue to benefit the Dharma and sentient beings in profound and vast ways. Us disciples of these great beings are generally not encouraged (or discouraged) to be celibate. I think it may behoove you to respect the various views on this issue, and to read my posts more carefully. :namaste:
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:28 am

As a contemporary Gelug I imagine one of your root teachers is HH the Dalai Lama. (If I am wrong, I apologize). Now while HH is a pure monk, he practices the terma of Lerab Lingpa as one of his heart practices, afaik. Lerab Lingpa was a Ngakpa yogi who had children. Likewise, HH studied Dzogchen with HH Dudjom Rinpoche, whose tradition I follow and whose children and grandchildren continue to benefit the Dharma and sentient beings in profound and vast ways. Us disciples of these great beings are generally not encouraged (or discouraged) to be celibate. I think it may behoove you to respect the various views on this issue


Of course HH Dalai Lama is one of my teachers. And I have heard him time and time again advocate the importance of monastic practice in many of his teachings I've attended in Dharamsala. I myself practice from time to time a Guru Rinpoche ritual I received from Khamtrul Rinpoche- a lay master- but I don't see how this erases any of the points about the importance of monasticism.

HHDL is fond of quoting this verse, that you'll also find on his webpage:

Lord Buddha himself says in the Vinaya Bases:

Wherever there is a gelong, a holder of the vinaya, that place is luminous; that place is illuminated. See that place as not devoid of me. I also abide unperturbed in that place.


Of course, I understand your position as your lineage is one that prides itself on a type of pure sutric conduct. However, I ask the same from you as from Huseng: which is to simply accept with openness that there are other (perhaps equally valid) interpretations of these subtle points, and rich lineage traditions that are constantly churning out realized beings despite a lack of stringent adherence to celibacy.


Where in this thread did I say that realization is impossible without celibacy, or indicate that lay practice couldn't lead to enlightenment? Have you read my posts?

While it is true I may not have read your preceding post closely enough before responding,where did I disrespect any of the views on this issue, or criticize ngakpa or lay practice?

In fact, I think it is you who are trying to buffer your position by equating my advocacy of the monastic form with some kind of Gelug triumphalism, which is unfair.

One of the lamas from whom I have taken transmission, Garje Khamtrul Rinpoche, is a lay person. I have never criticized lay practice, it seems to me that some see any advocacy of monasticism as an affront to non-monastic practice, this is not the case.

I also mentioned Rigpa's monastic Sangha and Sogyal Rinpoche's remarks on its importance very purposefully to demonstrate that an advocacy of monasticism is neither sectarian nor puritanical- as a well known Lay Nyingma master promotes it.

I posted several important quotations on this subject from HH Penor Rinpoche, a great Nyingma master who was chosen to be chief representative for the lineage for many years, there was no response to that.

Namkha Rinpoche in Switzerland, who is also an upholder of the Dudjom Tersar, told me that both ngakpa and monastic Sanghas are important, and that the survival of dharma depends on both, not one or the other.

And as I've stated in many threads, I have several teachers in the Gelug tradition, but also in the Karma Kagyu tradition, and Khamtrul Rinpoche who is Nyingma master. Despite being a layperson, Khamtrul Rinpoche has built a large monastery to house monks and his grandson is ordained as a monk.
Last edited by JKhedrup on Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:57 am

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, quotes on monastic ordination:

You should all develop some appreciation toward such a way of life. That way, even if you are unable to become ordained, if you appreciate this way of life, it leaves an imprint to be able to be ordained in the future. In the case of the vows, and of them there are vows for the lay person, the vows of the monks are treated as more important, of which the vows of the bhikshu are treated as the most important. Whether it is the practice of the bodhisattva path or the practice of the tantric path, the vow of a bhikshu is said to be the supreme and the most important.
...Buddha himself commented that: “Wherever there are these basic Vinaya practices, then I can rest and relax.”


http://imisangha.org/digitalmedia/artic ... ddha-relax

People may question my agenda here, so let me lay it out. I am not trying to convince people that monasticism is necessary for spiritual advancement, only that is can be a valuable assist to that aim.

I am not advocating that lay teachers cannot be realized, as should be clear from those who have read my posts in this thread and elsewhere on the forum.

I am not advocating this way of life for everyone.

My fear, though, is that this tendency of Westerners to dismiss monasticism as unnecessary will lead to this tradition degenerating and disappearing in the world. If this were to happen, according to the teachings of Lord Buddha, the dispensation would indeed be in danger.

Another fear I have has less to do with the survival of monasticism and is more connected with people thinking that somehow working full time and practicing in the morning and evening is enough, and full time practitoners (whether monastic or lay) don't really need to be supported, because I work and practice, why can't you?

We can see that for the survival of any lay or monastic lineage there need to be people who are devoted full time to practice. For that to be possible there needs to be a little bit of support. If no one supports full-time practitioners I firmly believe the power of the lineages will be diluted.

The alarming trend I see in Western Buddhism in general, not just Vajrayana, is that whatever little support there is for full-time practitioners (monastic or not) is slowly being whiddled away as time goes by- perhaps due to the cultural conditioning of the "Protestant Work Ethic" I don't know. If there are no full time practitioners it does not bode well for Buddhism. We see that when support for this erodes naturally you have less qualified lineage holders, masters in the true sense of the word. And Vajrayana depends on realized masters as the very life-blood of the transmission.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:40 pm

JKhedrup wrote: I myself practice from time to time a Guru Rinpoche ritual I received from Khamtrul Rinpoche- a lay master-


Great! Then you are fully aware of the different modes of practice and their importance for those of different inclinations.

but I don't see how this erases any of the points about the importance of monasticism.


It doesn't and no body said it did! Where are you getting this from?

Where in this thread did I say that realization is impossible without celibacy, or indicate that lay practice couldn't lead to enlightenment?
I don't think I accused you of this. However, I made some posts directed at Huseng's very vocal position in this regard, and you responded to my posts and not in a supportive way.. it certainly appeared you were misreading my posts and aligning yourself with his position.


In fact, I think it is you who are trying to buffer your position by equating my advocacy of the monastic form with some kind of Gelug triumphalism, which is unfair.
No, but given the context of the thread thus far, to bring up the Gelug POV about the dangers of union practice again and the risks for even those on the bhumis, etc. before a long post on the importance of monasticism seemed particularly odd since nobody was promoting union practice for the unqualified and nobody was saying or implying that monasticism was not extremely important for the Dharma! (Jeez, Nobody is sure a real noob)

One of the lamas from whom I have taken transmission, Garje Khamtrul Rinpoche, is a lay person. I have never criticized lay practice, it seems to me that some see any advocacy of monasticism as an affront to non-monastic practice, this is not the case.
Nope. No affront at all. I think everyone is in full agreement here that monasticism is extremely important. However, the issue is an overarching prescription of celibacy for all serious practitioners. Even monasticism is a good example of why this can be problematic: it is common knowledge that there is a pervasive problem in the monasteries of sexually frustrated monks preying on young boy monks. There are all kinds of excuses too about how this isn't really sexual misconduct.. unbelievable! These people would be much better served
coming to terms with their sexuality in lay life. Some young monks ( and tulkus !) have very difficult
childhoods due to these problems and some may even abandon the dharma. These are real problems and
real dangers. This is the degenerate age and lay, yogi, ngakpa and monastic sanghas all need to support one another in
every way to keep the essence of Dharma alive in this world.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:57 pm

Yudron wrote:Oh yeah... I started this thread!

As I recall, I wanted there to be a general "health" forum, instead of an "alternative health" forum, to put it in. But, I put it in Mahayana because if I put it in the Vajrayana section it would exclude people from other traditions from taking part in the discussion. I'm okay with it being derailed from the topic, because I think we established that there is not much scientific evidence behind the claims people make about celibacy being good or bad for one's health.

I want to stress in any discussion about sexuality and Dharma, I am not addressing completion stage practices. Nor will I discuss our tantric samayas as regards sexuality. I personally feel these are inappropriate topics for an on-line forum.

We who do longer Vajrayana retreats do have the experience of extended periods of celibacy, so often there is a lot more talk about sex among yogis and yoginis than there is action... that is true. How one handles one's sexuality between retreats is a deeply individual decision that one makes based on one's own constitution, and (in a best case scenario) in consultation with one's teacher. In our community, I have observed that the lamas value a strong relationship between two practitioners, as a support for practice... in a really practical human way. Lamas sometimes even play matchmaker for both their Tibetan and their Western students.

:hug:

In general, when it comes to systems of human support for practitioners, some lamas (especially those who have themselves been monks in the past) see less hypocrisy in a simple relationship between two loving adults than in the Tibetan monastic system.


Btw, :good:
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:34 pm

Even monasticism is a good example of why this can be problematic: it is common knowledge that there is a pervasive problem in the monasteries of sexually frustrated monks preying on young boy monks. There are all kinds of excuses too about how this isn't really sexual misconduct


Such monks are charlatans and should be banished from the monasteries. It is of course naieve to assume that in an environment where adults are charged with the care of young children abuse never happens. This is true in all such situations- whether boarding school, boy scouts etc.

I should say though that for example Sera Mey is trying to implement a new policy, with HHDL's blessing, not to allow monks under 16 to join the monastery unless their parents are living in the nearby settlement (max 40 mins by road in Bylakuppe). I don't know what this means for tulkus.

But I don't think in the West this is so much of an issue as we don't have monasteries here. More of an issue is teachers who under the guise of "consort practice" have sex with young women, who often end up feeling used, and then when the stories are made public it shames Buddhism.

There are also cultural considerations. For example in the context of consort practice in Tibet it would not have been unheard of for an elderly lama in his 50s or 60s to take a 15 year old consort. Whether right or wrong, in Western society this would be seen as highly suspect and it would bring Vajrayana into disrepute if it became public knowledge. There are already several Western feminist scholars of religion who claim that women are simply passive partners in practice that are more about sex than enlightenment.

I am not saying this view is correct, but it could be just as damaging to Buddhism as tales of child abuse in the monasteries.

to bring up the Gelug POV about the dangers of union practice again and the risks for even those on the bhumis, etc.


This is not just a Gelug POV I have heard it stated quite plainly by several masters in the Kagyu tradition as well.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2324
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:46 pm

Adamantine wrote:However, I ask the same from you as from Huseng: which is to simply accept with openness that there are other (perhaps equally valid) interpretations of these subtle points, and rich lineage traditions that are constantly churning out realized beings despite a lack of stringent adherence to celibacy.


Well, that's an article of faith: "Constantly churning out realized beings." I hope that's true, but I won't take that on faith.

Triumphalism is an unconvincing argument.
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:59 pm

Adamantine wrote:The Vajrayana path simply boils down to Guru Yoga, and the advice of the Guru is the ultimate authority. You may not accept this, but it would be considerate of you to accept that this is the path of practice of many of your Dharma brothers and sisters and to treat them and their path with the respect that they try to treat you and yours.



I have issued no insult to you. I'm simply raising basic questions that need to be answered. Deferring to Guru Yoga is not a logical response to what I have outlined above:


The brahmalokas in the rūpa-dhātu are attained by way of abandoning and being free from desire (desire for sex and food). That's only the first dhyāna. Mastery of the first dhyāna requires abandonment of desires. If you don't master the first dhyāna, how could you achieve the other three, or reach the ārūpya-dhātu?

As Nāgārjuna teaches, dhyāna enables the mental fitness through which one realizes emptiness. It logically follows that abandonment of desires and associated behaviors is necessary in order to cultivate real dhyāna, which in turn is necessary for realizing emptiness and thereafter personal liberation followed by aiding other beings in liberation.

In other words, to really get anywhere you need to abandon desire for things like sex and food. That means celibacy and being abstemious.



I would voice the same concerns to anyone.

If you cannot respond and rationally answer my assertions above, and still insist that sexuality is a support to practice, then best keep silent about such contentious things rather than airing them publicly because really that should just be between you, your partner and your Guru.

There is a reason why Vajrayāna used to be secretive.
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby YogaDude11 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:08 pm

So far in this thread everyone is quoting scripture and posting interpretations and opinions. Maybe people should share their experience with celibacy, that might be more useful.
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:14 pm

Time and again I hear in this thread the (rather uninformed) view from promoters of celibacy that marriage is some sort of extended sex party, some even saying that ordinary couples are different only in degree to sex addicts. By the same logic one can say that one who takes food once a day is only different in degree from a glutton or that someone taking a glass of wine with dinner is only different in degree with alcoholics.

The fact of the matter is for most committed married practitioners, sex is an almost insignificant part of one's life. Very little time is spent obsessing over it or engaging in it, particularly compared to the countless hours one spends serving one's partner and children, cooking for them, instructing them, listening to their problems and offering advice, meditating with them, etc. This is not lost time! This is the practice in daily life.

To say "Well Padmasambhava, Saraha, Machig and others were special beings, we are not like them" is unfortunate. Neither are we like Shantarakshita or Gampopa, but that does not stop us from practicing the path that they prescribe. What matters is the path we are engaged in under the supervision of our gurus. All the rest is irrelevant.

Sexual desire is not so simple to excise from one's life by mere abstinence. If it was, all eunuchs would be arhats. It is a struggle regardless of the path one chooses.
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Re: Health Impact of Celibacy

Postby Sherlock » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:15 pm

Malcolm answered a similar question of yours long ago. Another relevant post here

With regard to consort practice and Dzogchen:
The great Nyingmapa master, Longchenpa, on the other hand, wrote that such practices were for people who had a lot of lust who needed something to until they got over it and that that such practices where just a diversion in reality -- not invalid, just a diversion and a possible distraction to the direct path of Dzogchen.
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