Huseng wrote:Yes, I've thought about that, too. The hierarchy in business suffocates creativity. You get plenty of sturdy cogs in the wheel, but that doesn't foster innovation. In fact in such a culture people are afraid to speak out for fear of stepping on toes and being punished for it. In religion especially the leadership will be prone to running on outdated ideas and hence things either plateau or just go downhill, and there's no way to prevent decline.
An absence of hierarchy does wonders for creativity and innovation.
“Men must want to do things of their own innermost drives. People, not commercial organisations or chains of command, are what make great civilizations work, every civilization depends upon the quality of the individuals it produces. If you overorganize humans, over-legalize them, suppress their urge to greatness — they cannot work and their civilization collapses.”
“Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?”
This current study examined the effect of a 3-week period of sexual abstinence on the neuroendocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm. Hormonal and cardiovascular parameters were examined in ten healthy adult men during sexual arousal and masturbation-induced orgasm. Blood was drawn continuously and cardiovascular parameters were constantly monitored. This procedure was conducted for each participant twice, both before and after a 3-week period of sexual abstinence. Plasma was subsequently analysed for concentrations of adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, prolactin, luteinizing hormone and testosterone concentrations. Orgasm increased blood pressure, heart rate, plasma catecholamines and prolactin. These effects were observed both before and after sexual abstinence. In contrast, although plasma testosterone was unaltered by orgasm, higher testosterone concentrations were observed following the period of abstinence. These data demonstrate that acute abstinence does not change the neuroendocrine response to orgasm but does produce elevated levels of testosterone in males.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/117 ... t=Abstract
Konchog1 wrote:These data demonstrate that acute abstinence does not change the neuroendocrine response to orgasm but does produce elevated levels of testosterone in males.
Karma Dorje wrote: I have known monks that took their vow out of a sense of anger and hurt that women weren't interested in them, for example. It was ultimately an act of aggression against themselves, one indeed giving back his vows at the first flush of real interest from women.
Huseng wrote:Karma Dorje wrote:
I am simply saying that when outward circumstance doesn't favour it, we need to look to the essence rather than the outward form.
... and meanwhile are justifying your family life and a lack of support for monasticism, moreover your own claims that sexual desire isn't really a problem:The long and the short of it is that getting laid is no big deal, really. Craving sex is another matter altogether, like any other kind of craving. Tṛṣṇā is *not* equivalent with sexual desire, and one can crave it as surely by abstaining from it as indulging it. Let's leave aside using bliss as an upaya. A simple married life can be very conducive to Dzogchen practice. There is no need to run down the married life to speak of how wonderful ordination is.
This is contrary to what the Buddha himself taught. Married life is the bane of practice, which is why the Buddha, among many others, suggested that serious practitioners abandon the home life.
What you are advocating here sounds like self-justification for desire and married life. You are putting yourself on par with renunciates.
It is a very common quality to justify what we enjoy. It is like the addict who comes up with various reasons as to why their lifestyle is alright.And these are the same people you want to sponsor your monastic lifestyle?
I've not asked for anything. I earn my money fair and square like any other working joe at the moment.The reality is, many of us have been practicing along with raising families for nearly as long as you have been on the planet.
Chimpanzees can raise a family, too. Raising a family is nothing to be proud of really. Having children is a demonstration that one is bound by desire, and a lack of disgust for saṃsāra. These are qualities unbecoming of someone on the path. It might be bitter to swallow that, but nevertheless that's the nature of life and saṃsāra.We are raising a generation of children with profound understanding of the importance of the teachings and the importance of acting with loving kindness.
I commend you for it, too. However, your dismissal of monasticism is still problematic. Having kids raised as Buddhist is one thing, but in secular societies with an increasing disdain for anything called religion, I imagine the efforts might only go so far.The simple reality is that right now the lay traditions are more successful because they are more in tune with life in the West.
Yes and no. Part of the fact is that people are morbidly addicted to sex and relationships, and do not want to give any of it up. It is considered abnormal to even speak of curtailing such desires as a means towards liberation. Lay traditions as you call them are, as I would observe, often divorced from a lot of key teachings from the native Asian traditions from whence they stem from. It isn't so much of being in tune with prevailing conditions, but just a reflection of deep problems running through western cultures perhaps.Look at the all of the great masters of the many traditions who were not celibate monks: the eighty-four mahasiddhas, Marpa, Milarepa, Khyungpo Naljor, the Sakya royal families, all of the many great married Nyingma masters, etc.
Right, but most of us are not like Milarepa. Most of us are pretty low level ordinary bodhisattvas at best.
I'm fine with lay practitioners as I am one. I'm simply saying that your dismissal of monasticism is part of the problem that Ven. Khedrup has lamented encountering all too often.
The knee-jerk reaction against celibate traditions in western culture is a serious concern because, after all, the Buddha did teach that liberation is not possible unless one abandons sexual activities and desire.
a) You are confounding sexual desire with love. b)You are being heterosexist.purestsoul wrote:Let me reveal a secret. The more a couple is in love, the more sex which this couple has, the greater the good times which exist between a man and woman, the greater the karmic bonds between that man and woman.
Karma Dorje wrote:Huseng wrote:Imperfect as the vessel may be, Buddhist institutions, made up primarily of monks and to a lesser extent nuns, have been responsible for transmitting Buddhist traditions from generation to generation for the last twenty-five centuries. What you propose here sounds rather arrogant and individualistic to me. The outward form of celibacy and monastic living is a hell of a lot more reflective of renunciation than a bunch of middle class people reading Dharma books in Starbucks while doing their practice on the weekends in expensive retreat centers.
Wow, and you call my suggestion arrogant? And these are the same people you want to sponsor your monastic lifestyle? This is the sort of disdain you feel your celibacy entitles you to? How unfortunate. The reality is, many of us have been practicing along with raising families for nearly as long as you have been on the planet. We are raising a generation of children with profound understanding of the importance of the teachings and the importance of acting with loving kindness. We have contributed tremendous amounts of money to teachers, their monasteries, retreat centers, schools and hospitals. All of this is necessary if we are ever to have sustainable monastic institutions in the West.
Both monasteries and lay traditions have passed on the Dharma successfully in many countries. The simple reality is that right now the lay traditions are more successful because they are more in tune with life in the West. Until there is a really secure base of lay support, we may never get the monastic institutions that they have in India and Tibet. Not unless you can manage to make Buddhism the state religion in a Western country.
However, that doesn't mean everything is on hold until the monasteries are here. Look at the all of the great masters of the many traditions who were not celibate monks: the eighty-four mahasiddhas, Marpa, Milarepa, Khyungpo Naljor, the Sakya royal families, all of the many great married Nyingma masters, etc. There are many role models, regardless of your outward circumstance. If you are inspired to be a monk, great! If you are inspired to be a married ngakpa, wonderful! Both to me are equally wonderful if the motivation and diligence is the same
gregkavarnos wrote:a) You are confounding sexual desire with love. b)You are being heterosexist.purestsoul wrote:Let me reveal a secret. The more a couple is in love, the more sex which this couple has, the greater the good times which exist between a man and woman, the greater the karmic bonds between that man and woman.
JKhedrup wrote:And these are the same people you want to sponsor your monastic lifestyle?
I know that this is directed at H. but I'd like to address this attitude and statement. People somehow have this impression that Western monks and nuns expect support, and moreover aren't willing to do anything to receive it. Perhaps my story will help counter this myth.
I have never asked a layperson for a cent in my 8 years of monastic life. If people wish to give to me, I accept but often for example end up sponsoring pujas and initiations at Sera and making offerings to my teachers. My savings are enough that I could maybe sustain 2 weeks of hospital care in India if I were to fall seriously ill. I have never been comfortable fundraising for myself and have gone on faith that if people find my work useful, they may help a little bit. (Fortunately as a translator this happens from time-to-time, but not every often). A small monthly stipend from the centre and the fact that Geshe la (unlike most teachers) always gives me a little bit of the offerings he received during teaching events I translate, cover my basic needs.
I want to address this sort of statement in the context of my story. Those of you from E-sangha are perhaps familiar with it.
Since middle school I had the wish to be a monk but my teacher advised me to finish an undergraduate degree at university first, which I did. Then at the age of 23, using money that I had earned working at Chapters (a bookstore) while a student, I flew to India for the first time to stay 6 months at Sera at my teacher's urging. I decided that becoming a monk was indeed what I wanted to do, flew back to Canada, and worked for another 6 months as an Office assistant, serving cofee at Starbucks and doing other menial adminstrative jobs for friends to save up enough money.
I returned to Sera but at that time could not get a long visa,but having finally taken ordination, after 6 months returned again. Once again I was not able to get a visa to stay long term in India. I spent the summer in robes in an office, working at a travel company that took care of the arrangements of foreigners studying English in Canada. I encountered a lot of open hostility from several co-workers and managers although initially told that my robes were no problem.
The last visit to India I pretty much lost all hope of being able to learn Tibetan if I had to spend the rest of my life doing 6 months in 6 months out. When I returned to Canada the third time my parents who had been initially supportive of my ordination saw that no support was forthcoming and began to worry for my future. They said if I continued to stay at their home, I should think about returning to lay life as there was obviously no support for me in the Buddhist community. Obviously if I had to pay rent in an expensive city like Toronto there was no way I was going to be able to save for a plane ticket and expenses in India. And if I wanted a better paying job, I would have to live in Canada year round as that would have been the only way to build up a career.
At the end of my rope, I considered disrobing. The funny thing is, I was criticized with venomous words by several laypeople. "We would have supported you and always thought highly of you." I found this funny because they knew well my situation all those years, saw me in a positive light as I had been with my teachers since the age of 14, but never indicated they'd be willing to help until I was in a difficult predicament. Though several people offered help, none of them came through in the end.
Deciding that I really couldn't disrobe, a kind nun at a Chinese temple offered me a job working in their bookshop. From there I went to a Chinese Mahayana monastery where I was very unhappy but stayed for 7 months, eventually leaving and going to Thailand. In Thailand the community was very supportive and provided me all the requisites of life, and I served the community at temples both in Thailand and New Zealand.
The Thai Lao community in New Zealand was not rich. But recognizing my sincerity, the work I did with their kids, and my willingness to submit to monastic discipline, when I said I wanted to study further they gave me money for a plane ticket to wherever I wanted to go. I never asked, they just gave from their heart. And these were poor refugees.
Only then did things finally come together for me. My teacher Khensur Rinpoche told me I should try, "one last time" to do something with my Tibetan. FPMT offered sponsorship to study the Translator's course, my parents offered a plane ticket and I was able to learn enough Tibetan in two years to become an interpreter.
After finally experiencing just a little support, I am able to be of service to the lay community, translating teachings of our precious Geshe not only in Holland and France but all over Europe (and hopefully this summer in the US and Canada as well). In addition, I serve as the attendant and often cook for Geshe la. I cook dinner several times a week here, do fundraising for monks in Sera Jey and Sera Mey, help out with odd jobs around the institute, and have corresponded with several prisoners interested in Buddhism. I even volunteer on a Buddhist discussion forum .
I am only able to serve in this way because a small number of laypeople decided to take a risk and support Western Sangha. The amount was small- because it was a few people it really didn't hurt anyone financially to give a little, but I think the result was more than worth it.
I have never asked for a free lunch, support, even one rupee. I have faith that if I continue to serve, I probably won't be out on the street.
Many other Western monks and nuns feel the same.
Adamantine wrote:Huseng, I don't think the encouragements to not be limited by external vows of conduct were merely meant for already realized beings. They are intended for people who have both felt aversion for the suffering of samsara, and the accompanying heartfelt feelings of renunciation-- as well as some degree of foundation in sincere aspirational bodhicitta. They are provocations for those of us who have the courage to try to take these beyond a conventional safe approach towards practice and grasping to our own individual liberation . . . It is encouragement to go beyond what is safe, even risk going to the lower realms-- if it may benefit others. Even considering this, even if we don't yet have the capacity-- is meritorious.. and it is the opposite to discourage others from this approach or to act like it is not possible for our self or others. It is not hard to recognize when we are acting out of one of the 5 poisons and when compassion is our guide. The signs are evident.
You are correct in citing some Vajrayana teachers who publicly try to instill caution regarding some of the tantric practices of union yoga. It is true that it may require a high level, a higher level than you or I are at, to practice them properly.
But I am not intending to regard completion stage practice as the only reason or justification to have a sexual life as a practitioner. For instance, some people will not overcome their lust or sexual desire by avoiding it, or abstaining from it. This may fill their minds more with lust in the form of fantasy and longing. Some require the fulfillment and experience of it in order to see the impermanence of it's rewards and the futility of seeking any lasting solace there. Some may have a genuine sincere desire to offer a precious human rebirth to another, as an expression of their cultivation of the paramita of generosity. Some may perfect their paramita of generosity through the selfless giving that is required of a parent. A qualified Guru will know what the hang ups and motivations of their disciples are and advise accordingly.
Some may receive instructions from their Gurus in ways to work with their sexual life at the level that they are able to, without it being at the very high level of a great tsa-lung master. There are actually many levels of approach and practice that are possible, and in Vajrayana it is all about one's own personal Guru's instruction. What Thrangu Rinpoche says doesn't really matter to me. What matters to me is what my own Guru instructs. After all, Thrangu Rinpoche is a monk. Why would I expect him to know much about the path of a Ngakpa?
I don't glorify my own capacity or experience in any way. But I do have immense faith in my teachers. If any one of them ever recommended I be celibate or even take gelong vows I would seriously consider it, I may even be relieved. But this is not the path they have prescribed. 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.
Hogwash. If sexual desire and love were the same thing then prostitues would be the most emotionally satisfied people in the world. They are not.purestsoul wrote:Sexual Desire
I love this person's body.
I love this person's heart and soul.
Trust me: you don't (and neither do I).Trust me, I understand all there is to know about sexual desires and love.
Adamantine wrote: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 meI 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 meHow 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.
gregkavarnos wrote:Hogwash. If sexual desire and love were the same thing then prostitues would be the most emotionally satisfied people in the world. They are not.purestsoul wrote:Sexual Desire
I love this person's body.
I love this person's heart and soul.Trust me: you don't (and neither do I).Trust me, I understand all there is to know about sexual desires and love.
JKhedrup wrote: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.
Define love, then we can analyse where the dissonance exists.purestsoul wrote:Sexual desires is all about love but love is not always about sexual desires.
SN 1.69 PTS: S i 40 CDB i 132
Iccha Sutta: Desire
translated from the Pali by
With what is the world tied down?
With the subduing
of what is it freed?
With the abandoning
of what are all bonds
With desire the world is tied down.
With the subduing
of desire it's freed.
With the abandoning
of desire all bonds
are cut through.
Karaniya Metta Sutta: Good Will...As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings.
With good will for the entire cosmos,
cultivate a limitless heart:
Above, below, & all around,
unobstructed, without enmity or hate.
Whether standing, walking,
sitting, or lying down,
as long as one is alert,
one should be resolved on this mindfulness.
This is called a sublime abiding
here & now.
Not taken with views,
but virtuous & consummate in vision,
having subdued desire for sensual pleasures,
one never again
will lie in the womb.
Karma Dorje wrote: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.