Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

A place for discussion of current events. Buddhist news would be particularly appreciated.

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:31 pm

JKhedrup wrote:I thought you were saying orifice penetration was not considered a Parajika disrobing offence if it involved two males, which is very clearly incorrect from the scriptures, that is why I was surprised any lama might hold that view.


That's really just the legal details of the act.

Dry humping another monk's thighs is clearly of the same magnitude as full penetration in my opinion.

Unfortunately with the Vinaya there are fine legal definitions for these acts, so you can get away with thigh humping (a saṃghāvaśeṣa assuming ejaculation occurs) just by confessing it. It might not even have to be confessed depending on the conventions. For instance, if you would rather disrobe than confess it, then you may confess it to yourself (at least according to one major article in the secondary Vinaya literature). However, to formally confess a saṃghāvaśeṣa requires it be done before ten pure bhikṣus, which seldom happens anymore.

In reality such people should be sent home, but then in a place like India or Bhutan that might not be an option. Moreover, it might lead to laity asking questions and slander. Don't ask, don't tell preserves the faith of some laity in the purity of monks. The administration might also lose out because their image as discipline masters could be tarnished. They would look incompetent if they sent home a number of young monks for sexual acts. Also, the families, probably benefactors, probably wouldn't appreciate having to receive back their boys.

It really is a complex situation. I'm glad I'm not a sangha administrator.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5919
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:36 pm

Yes so am I. It would not be an easy job.

And it is the unscrupulous who exploit holes in the precepts. But at the very least when there is an unequivocable clear parajika the least that can be done is expel the person from the monastery.

In the Tibetan tradition each monastery has its unique institutional rules too that must be followed, or the person can be expelled. So theoretically such loopholes could be addressed in the intitutional code even if they are not addressed in the Vinaya.
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: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Nilasarasvati » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:37 pm

The whole "vinaya enforcement is lax around homosexuality" theme is really interesting for me--especially when I think about Japan, where Bodhisattva Manjsuri supposedly introduced pederasty as a way for Monks to still have meaningful, intimate relationships without being tied to the worldly life of children, family, etc.

I mean if the vinaya in many Japanese schools was almost unrecognizably interpreted (compared to in India) with marriage and pederasty being popular lifestyles depending on the school/order, and yet still had great masters (can we deny that?)--what might Western implementation of the pratimoksa and Upasika vows look like?
User avatar
Nilasarasvati
 
Posts: 428
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 3:08 am
Location: Trāyastriṃśa. Just kidding. What a cool sanksrit word, huh?

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:38 pm

JKhedrup wrote:But to issue condoms officially is almost like saying such conduct is permitted,...
I disagree, to issue condoms officially is a mature recognition of the fact that sex betweens "monastics" occurs and an attempt to protect the monastic populace so that it is not decimated by HIV, STD's, etc... To not hand out condoms would be to unecessarily sentence people to death.
...or that we have basically given up on thinking that monks can restrain themselves from sex.
I believe that since some "monastics" are engaging in this behaviour they should A) be protected from disease by giving them condoms and B) expelled (if that is the "legal" consequence for the offence) from the monastic community. I do not see the issues as mutually exclusive.

I used to work for a needle and syringe exchange program. Taking drugs was illegal but giving clean needles and syringes was a manner in which to protect the users so that if they considered stopping using they didn't have to deal with all the other consequences AND it protected the general public by minimising the spread of certain diseases AND it minimised the long term costs to the public health service.

Some of the monks engaging in this behaviour may just be young and overly testosteroned, and later in their lives may regret their behaviour (not because of the nature of the behaviour, but because, apparently, they were monastics) and actually become top grade practitioners. Why condemn them to a life of debilitating illness for their youtfful antics?

In terms of the hepatitis, it is endemic, but in many of the large monasteries monks come from parts of Tibet where it is so widespread that it is very possible many contracted it from their mothers while in the womb- it is not necessarily a sign of sexual contact, it can also be contracted from toothbrushes, razors etc.
You are right here. Some forms of Hepatitis (Hepatitis C for example, which is the most widespread) can even be contracted from contaminated food.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 9623
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Clarence » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:43 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Clarence wrote:I know there are some Tibetan monasteries in India where the abbots give the 5 lay vows and allow the children to dress like monks but they are not real monks. Not even Getsuls.


Precepts don't make monks anymore than the robes do.


I agree but the same might apply for Bhutan.
Clarence
 
Posts: 584
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:19 pm

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:47 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:The Vinaya's exhaustive rules and strictures around every single sex act are so precise because the Buddha himself had to confront and proscribe all of these situations that arose...


I'm of the opinion a lot of the Vinaya is either a vague cultural memory of sangha conventions in the Buddha's time and/or fiction used to develop and enforce landed monasticism at a time when the sangha was transitioning from being largely decentralized mendicants to sponsored and heavily institutionalized clergymen/women. The literature clearly reveals a deep concern for how laity (i.e., benefactors providing coin) will perceive the sangha in superficial ways (like no eating elephant or vulture meat). A lot of the precepts are designed with this in mind. That's why anything perceived as impure, even putting your genitals against the stream of water, is covered in the literature. The main concern of the Vinaya is to preserve a pure image of the sangha.

There would have been rules in the Buddha's day of course, but they would have been common expectations laid upon all śramaṇas in Magadha. These became formal rules and then precepts which you formally received in a contrived lineage going back apparently to the Buddha. The Dharmagupta Vinaya has 250 while the Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya has 218 (which one is the truer version?). Later on the legal definition of "bhikṣu" was having all precepts in a given system. To adjudicate matters complex literature was devised to address such a wide array of possible circumstances and scenarios for breaking precepts.

It really is quite bewildering when you study it all.


Indrajala, I've heard that there is scriptural precedent in the Vinaya that The Buddha prohibited/discouraged people from becoming sramanera before a certain age or without the consent of their family, is that true? Or perhaps that it was expected that you had "left your home" in order to take refuge in the monastic sangha, which meant you had either run away or been allowed to go forth into adult life and make your own choices. Not dropped off with the Buddha because your parents couldn't afford to feed you when you were 4.


The Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya states that from the age of seven to thirteen a novice is to be called a "crow chasing novice" or "fly chasing novice". The minimum age in this case for ordination is seven.

However, I don't think a seven year old will decide they want to join the sangha.
Last edited by Indrajala on Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5919
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:50 pm

JKhedrup wrote:And it is the unscrupulous who exploit holes in the precepts. But at the very least when there is an unequivocable clear parajika the least that can be done is expel the person from the monastery.


Right, but banishing someone who you have social and even economic ties to is difficult if the greater community will frown on it, even if you yourself are just doing your duty and enforcing the common standard.

Having objective judges of sorts is one idea, but that adds an additional layer of complexity.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5919
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby spot dawa » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:51 pm

Almost twenty years ago, I was struggling greatly with whether or not to become a monk. Being gay, I thought it seemed risky; what if I ended up "falling in love" with another monk? I had not reached a state of great mental health or clarity at this time, so my yearning to become a monk was very emotional. I wanted freedom!

I did not even know what the "Buddhist position" (sorry) on homosexuality was, so I went to a university library and did some research.

A short time later, I was sitting at a table reading an account of how "sutra-style" writings had been composed in some monastery(ies) describing pretty graphically how to seduce and copulate with a boy. Written by some Zen monk! It was very embarrassing to me, though no one else was aware of my situation: I sat there with an erection, trying not to be aroused, trying to turn my mind from what I had read, back to the Dharma.

I knew right away, monasticism in that kind of setting was not something I could handle. I could never be certain that I was not secretly hoping to meet my future lover in such a place. But what I was certain about, was that this would be a miserable situation to find myself in, and also of course to put other people in as well. Out of love, I decided not to attempt to become a formal renunciate.

I laugh now at my former fear of "falling in love" with a monk! I am in love with everyone, crazy as each of us are. I do not supress my second chakra energies, but with an open heart and a joyful practice as a renunciate, those energies are ruled and moderated, pulled together by the heart. When I say I do not suppress those energies, I do not mean that I engage in sexual contact with anyone, but simply that my sexuality is not something I fear, pursue, or repress. My conduct is ethical, which would not be true, I can assure you, if I had had any offers of thigh sex in a monastery.

On one hand, being older (47 years old now) means that the hormonal issues have settled down in my body. But I am also very aware that my only protection from becoming again obsessed with sexual actions is not to cultivate those thoughts, but also not to deny their power or existence when they are present. Even as a middle-aged person, sexual addiction follows the mind as much as the body.

I am grateful to see this post and an open discussion of these issues. People with "romantic" ideas of living in monasteries or with monks should check them carefully. Self-control and ethics don't just come out of the walls magically, there nor anywhere else.
User avatar
spot dawa
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:14 am
Location: Arizona

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Jesse » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:07 pm

Lol, this is why celibacy just doesn't work. The human body isn't made to be celibate. You might as well starve yourself. :roll:
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Jesse
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 6:54 am
Location: Virginia, USA

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Nilasarasvati » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:13 pm

Ehhh I disagree. As hard as it is to fathom, there are individuals who are more asexual. As hard as it is to fathom, I do believe that some monks genuinely find a deep pacification of their lust and desire after a while...I just think they pay for it periodically with periods of frustration.

It sort of like fasting...eating only once a day can be a tremendous cause of joy and tranquility (on the physiological level)...but there are hunger pangs every once in a while.
User avatar
Nilasarasvati
 
Posts: 428
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 3:08 am
Location: Trāyastriṃśa. Just kidding. What a cool sanksrit word, huh?

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:17 pm

Lol, this is why celibacy just doesn't work. The human body isn't made to be celibate. You might as well starve yourself.


9 years of celibacy, over 8 years as a monk, and I haven't starved, gone mad or exploded yet. So I don't agree with your hypothesis. I also don't think Lord Buddha was a tyrant and he would not have prescribed celibacy for his monastic community if it was an impossible standard.

The one undesireable side-effect it a bit of a paunch, since I think the sense pleasure gets carried over to food instead by many of us.
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: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Jesse » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:22 pm

JKhedrup wrote:
Lol, this is why celibacy just doesn't work. The human body isn't made to be celibate. You might as well starve yourself.


9 years of celibacy, over 8 years as a monk, and I haven't starved, gone mad or exploded yet. So I don't agree with your hypothesis. I also don't think Lord Buddha was a tyrant and he would not have prescribed celibacy for his monastic community if it was an impossible standard.

The one undesireable side-effect it a bit of a paunch, since I think the sense pleasure gets carried over to food instead by many of us.


Peoples bodies differ, some people are capable, some are not. The question is if there is really any merit in celibacy, I think not. If it's simply done to reduce attachment and desire, then how is it any different from eating to survive?

Anyway, I just don't see much of a point in it.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Jesse
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 6:54 am
Location: Virginia, USA

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby spot dawa » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:31 pm

Jesse wrote:Lol, this is why celibacy just doesn't work. The human body isn't made to be celibate. You might as well starve yourself. :roll:


Nilasarasvati wrote:As hard as it is to fathom, there are individuals who are more asexual. As hard as it is to fathom, I do believe that some monks genuinely find a deep pacification of their lust and desire after a while...I just think they pay for it periodically with periods of frustration.


Although I am not formally a monk, and certainly not asexual, I am living a celibate life now. I do not experience periods of frustration. I am aware of my sexuality like I am aware of the rest of my body, but it does not cause me to suffer.

This has been a process, for me -- I did not suddenly take a vow, did not take any vows at all. But the last time I thought I should seek out sex "for health reasons" lol, I found that I no longer experienced it as a pleasure, but only as a source of potential problems for me and for others. So celibacy can work, and not just for asexual people.

Jesse wrote:Peoples bodies differ, some people are capable, some are not. The question is if there is really any merit in celibacy, I think not. If it's simply done to reduce attachment and desire, then how is it any different from eating to survive?

Anyway, I just don't see much of a point in it.


Merit in celibacy itself, probably not! But to reduce attachment and craving (and aversion and indifference) is not "simply done," it is a path. Cessation of craving is the Second Noble Truth: There is cessation. The path to cessation is not a sideline of Buddhism, it is The Path.
Last edited by spot dawa on Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
spot dawa
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:14 am
Location: Arizona

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:32 pm

But Lord Buddha and countless other masters from many spiritual traditions did, so I wouldn't dismiss it so easily.
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: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Jesse » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:39 pm

JKhedrup wrote:But Lord Buddha and countless other masters from many spiritual traditions did, so I wouldn't dismiss it so easily.


And many enlightened masters had families and children, by the same coin.

Merit in celibacy itself, probably not! But to reduce attachment and craving (and aversion and indifference) is not "simply done," it is a path. Cessation of craving is the Second Noble Truth: There is cessation. The path to cessation is not a sideline of Buddhism, it is The Path.


True, but you can satisfy your bodies needs without attachment.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Jesse
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 6:54 am
Location: Virginia, USA

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:46 pm

Sure but I am not telling people that having families "just doesn't work"despite the divorce rate and levels of adultery. Because for some people it does work.

Likewise I am not equating having a family as being something unnatural.

All I am asking is that you respect that your experience may not be everyone else's, so it's best not write something off that one doesn't understand.
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: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:51 pm

Jesse wrote:The question is if there is really any merit in celibacy, I think not.
So the Buddha prescribing celibacy for the sangha was what then??? :shrug:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 9623
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Jesse » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:53 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Sure but I am not telling people that having families "just doesn't work"despite the divorce rate and levels of adultery. Because for some people it does work.

Likewise I am not equating having a family as being something unnatural.

All I am asking is that you respect that your experience may not be everyone else's, so it's best not write something off that one doesn't understand.


I do respect it, I am simply stating my point of view. Just because I don't agree doesn't mean I don't understand, also.

gregkavarnos wrote:
Jesse wrote:The question is if there is really any merit in celibacy, I think not.
So the Buddha prescribing celibacy for the sangha was what then??? :shrug:


I would assume a method for cultivating detachment and sila.. perhaps one that works for many, but not all.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Jesse
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 6:54 am
Location: Virginia, USA

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby spot dawa » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:56 pm

Jesse wrote:True, but you can satisfy your bodies needs without attachment.


The reason that sex is not like eating is that if you do not eat, you will die. But if you do not have sex or masturbate, then as a male, your body will eject the built-up semen during sleep, restoring balance and health to the body. The body meets its own needs in this way.

If you are seeking to justify sex, it is due to your craving and not a need such as eating. That is not meant as a condemnation, only the real situation as it actually is.
User avatar
spot dawa
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:14 am
Location: Arizona

Re: Condoms Available to Monks in Bhutan

Postby Jesse » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:58 pm

spot dawa wrote:
Jesse wrote:True, but you can satisfy your bodies needs without attachment.


The reason that sex is not like eating is that if you do not eat, you will die. But if you do not have sex or masturbate, then as a male, your body will eject the built-up semen during sleep, restoring balance and health to the body. The body meets its own needs in this way.

If you are seeking to justify sex, it is due to your craving and not a need such as eating. That is not meant as a condemnation, only the real situation as it actually is.


I'm sorry but you are incorrect.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Jesse
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 6:54 am
Location: Virginia, USA

PreviousNext

Return to News & Current Events

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

>