How do monks put up with celibacy?

General forum on Mahayana.

How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:42 pm

I see the reason for the rule. Sexual activity leads to mental dullness and laziness. It's like an intoxicant, but which is the most subtle hindrance to mindfulness. Afterwards, you might take a nap and feel a bit better. But does anyone notice the effects after you take a nap and wake up? If you have undone the chains which bind you to kama-dhatu, it feels as though those chains are restored. So, you engage in sex, and once you have had a taste, then you are on the road to engage in other forms of sensual desire.

What do the Mahayana texts say about bodhisattvas and sexual restraint? I have noticed: If you practice self-restraint, from abstaining from sexual activity complete and (for men) from mental restraint during the moments leading up to orgasm, sex is much more enjoyable. With the "mental restraint," during orgasm, I'd use the admittedly crude analogy of a sling shot. This is useful for couples, I think, because I think that sometimes couples lose sexual interest in eachother merely because they have indulged in sex with eachother too much, to the point that it becomes boring. If they only engaged in the activity spontaneously, it would be great during the whole lifetime of their relationship.

Anyway, with other intoxicants, it's simply a matter of seeing the danger and cutting off the object: the friends who use the drug and\or the mental state of craving for it, through no longer self-identifying, "I am a cigarette smoker," for example. But with sex, how is this possible? It feels biological and there are beautiful women everywhere, and now that I rightfully practice Zen, it is easier for me to charm them (or at least attempt and fail many times, and statistical probability says eventually I will succeed! :lol:).

Is it possible to engage in sexual activity "mindfully"? It doesn't seem so. At least, not in the sense of avoiding attachment. One is merely mindful of the craving involved. It's not like with food, where you can eat something delicious and not develop craving, because you are merely dispassionately taking care of a biological need. Could sex be like this: a biological need?

I am not a puritan, by the way; don't misunderstand me. I'm not opposed to sex -- for laypeople, they can do whatever they want. But it seems like sexual activity unnecessarily clouds the mind. I'm not a monk, but I would like to understand that. :)
Individual
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:20 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:06 pm

IMHO celibacy is a form of sexual activity.

:sage:
Karma Dondrup Tashi
 
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 pm

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:44 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:IMHO celibacy is a form of sexual activity.

:sage:

Only if you are consciously dwelling on it, with misery.
Individual
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:20 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:23 pm

Individual wrote:What do the Mahayana texts say about bodhisattvas and sexual restraint?

In the context of sense pleasures the Mahayana sutrayana teaches what the Buddha taught in the suttas of the pali canon.

Kind regards


Edit: sorry ... I again have forgotten ... the "Mahayana" is too diverse. I am referring to the Mahayana as taught in the Lamrim Chenmo
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:11 pm

Individual wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:IMHO celibacy is a form of sexual activity.

:sage:

Only if you are consciously dwelling on it, with misery.


Misery? I think if celibacy makes you miserable you're doing it wrong.

:sage:
Karma Dondrup Tashi
 
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 pm

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:36 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:IMHO celibacy is a form of sexual activity.

:sage:


Could you elaborate?

Why sexual activity? IMO celibacy is a form of mindfulness.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:43 pm

TMingyur wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:IMHO celibacy is a form of sexual activity.

:sage:


Could you elaborate?

Why sexual activity? IMO celibacy is a form of mindfulness.

Kind regards


A celibate person will rapidly begin to become mindful of one thing in particular.

:rolling:
Karma Dondrup Tashi
 
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 pm

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:46 pm

Ah I see. You are not serious. So it seems your remark I asked you to elaborate on is also not serious.

Well I think dharma practice is too serious to make jokes about it.

I rejoice in all those who are celibate with a pure and virtuous mind.


Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:03 pm

I was perfectly serious.

If I am celibate I deal with sexual desire. I am am not celibate I deal with sexual desire. Both activities can become forms of mindfulness. There's no reason whatsoever to say that celibacy makes youo miserable any more than not being celibate.
Karma Dondrup Tashi
 
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 pm

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Ogyen » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:46 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:I was perfectly serious.

If I am celibate I deal with sexual desire. I am am not celibate I deal with sexual desire. Both activities can become forms of mindfulness. There's no reason whatsoever to say that celibacy makes youo miserable any more than not being celibate.


Interesting lateral thinking. You address exactly the non-dual essence of emptiness.

(Ogyen-speak translation to english: I'm impressed actually.)
Image Made from 100% recycled karma

The Heart Drive Word Press
Mud to Lotus

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy
User avatar
Ogyen
 
Posts: 446
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:36 pm

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Huifeng » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:10 am

Individual wrote:I see the reason for the rule. Sexual activity leads to mental dullness and laziness. It's like an intoxicant, but which is the most subtle hindrance to mindfulness. Afterwards, you might take a nap and feel a bit better. But does anyone notice the effects after you take a nap and wake up? If you have undone the chains which bind you to kama-dhatu, it feels as though those chains are restored. So, you engage in sex, and once you have had a taste, then you are on the road to engage in other forms of sensual desire.

What do the Mahayana texts say about bodhisattvas and sexual restraint?


They state pretty much that found in all Buddhist literature of the first 1000 yrs or so:
Sexual activity is an obstruction to rebirth even in the heavens, how much more so is it an obstruction to liberation and / or full awakening.

I have noticed: If you practice self-restraint, from abstaining from sexual activity complete and (for men) from mental restraint during the moments leading up to orgasm, sex is much more enjoyable. With the "mental restraint," during orgasm, I'd use the admittedly crude analogy of a sling shot. This is useful for couples, I think, because I think that sometimes couples lose sexual interest in eachother merely because they have indulged in sex with eachother too much, to the point that it becomes boring. If they only engaged in the activity spontaneously, it would be great during the whole lifetime of their relationship.

Anyway, with other intoxicants, it's simply a matter of seeing the danger and cutting off the object: the friends who use the drug and\or the mental state of craving for it, through no longer self-identifying, "I am a cigarette smoker," for example. But with sex, how is this possible? It feels biological and there are beautiful women everywhere, and now that I rightfully practice Zen, it is easier for me to charm them (or at least attempt and fail many times, and statistical probability says eventually I will succeed! :lol:).

Is it possible to engage in sexual activity "mindfully"? It doesn't seem so. At least, not in the sense of avoiding attachment. One is merely mindful of the craving involved. It's not like with food, where you can eat something delicious and not develop craving, because you are merely dispassionately taking care of a biological need. Could sex be like this: a biological need?

I am not a puritan, by the way; don't misunderstand me. I'm not opposed to sex -- for laypeople, they can do whatever they want. But it seems like sexual activity unnecessarily clouds the mind. I'm not a monk, but I would like to understand that. :)


Any willing participation, ie. basically other than rape, entails the arising of mental afflictions of lust and craving. That binds one to the desire realm. That may not be a problem if one's goal is mere rebirth as a human being, but if one seeks rebirth in the heavens, or liberation through any of the three vehicles, then sexual craving will make it simply impossible.
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Huifeng » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:13 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:IMHO celibacy is a form of sexual activity.

:sage:


Not necessarily.

There are three basic forms:
1. External celibacy, one does not engage in the activity, but may have the desire internally.
2. Celibacy through dhyana, where if one has reached this depth of mental development, one will not even have the internal mental craving. The potential is still there, however.
3. Celibacy through liberation, whereby even the potentials for such craving are totally and irrevocably removed.

Your other comment, above, "If I am celibate I deal with sexual desire" is only really applicable to the first type, but not the other two.
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:57 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:I was perfectly serious.

If I am celibate I deal with sexual desire. I am am not celibate I deal with sexual desire. Both activities can become forms of mindfulness. There's no reason whatsoever to say that celibacy makes youo miserable any more than not being celibate.


Thank you for this clarification. I agree with this wording that they can (but not necessarily do) become forms of mindfulness.

So you seem to have equated "deal with the object sexual desire in a mindful manner" with "sexual activity". I feel that this somehow misconstrues the usual application of the expression "sexual activity". But now that you have published your private definition that's fine.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Huifeng » Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:20 am

It's rather obvious that terms such as kāmamithyācāra = "sexual misconduct", that even when we drop out the "mithya" = "mis-", the fact that this is within the basic five precepts, shows that this refers only to external physical (and verbal) actions, and not to mental activity. Morality, as the first training, deals with such external physical and verbal actions. Mental activity being the basis for the second training, samadhi; and deeper mental seeds for the third training in prajna.

Of course, one could always be using other basic terms to refer to this. But in general, Buddhist systems classify this as external actions only. There is quite a step between "sexual activity" and "sexual desire", and it is a distinction that is worth making clear.
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby 5heaps » Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:40 am

in kalachakra tantra for example one of the vows is not to engage in sexual activity (its more particular then that but im just giving the general meaning). this is for everyone not just ordained people

this is in part due to the fact that worldly engagement in worldly bliss distracts one from one's own cultivated bliss. even worse, worldly bliss wastes the potential for uncontaminated bliss

I see the reason for the rule. Sexual activity leads to mental dullness and laziness.
its also just about being practical. competing for partners creates a lot of mental affliction (jealousy, pride, anger, etc) and wastes an extraordinary amount of time (ie. the duration of having a fresh intelligent mind during this life is very limited -- at a certain age making severe progress becomes highly difficult)
5heaps
 
Posts: 432
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:09 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Aemilius » Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:52 am

Buddhist path consists in Shila, Samadhi and Prajna, or Ethical Discipline, Meditation and Wisdom.
Once you have attained Shila, Samadhi and Prajna, you can ask the same question again.
You must not think that Bodhisattvas (that are mentioned in the Mahayana) are like ordinary persons who guided by their passions wander aimlessly in the wheel of rebirth.
svaha
User avatar
Aemilius
 
Posts: 1488
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:40 pm

Almost forgot...

Thanks, Venerable Huifeng. :)

5heaps wrote:its also just about being practical. competing for partners creates a lot of mental affliction (jealousy, pride, anger, etc) and wastes an extraordinary amount of time (ie. the duration of having a fresh intelligent mind during this life is very limited -- at a certain age making severe progress becomes highly difficult)

The Buddha rejected this somewhere in the Pali suttas.

He said something like, "Those who say old people must always be senile are wrong. It is only a matter of concentration."

I have read this with regards to the fixation of personality. Whereas young people's minds are malleable, they crystallize around the age of 25, 26. But a Buddhist who reflects on notself can have a malleable, dynamic mind throughout their entire life.
Individual
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:20 am

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Astus » Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:39 pm

from Dahui Zonggao's letter to Hsu Tun-chi, Swampland Flowers p. 33-35 wrote:When has it ever been necessary to leave wife and children, quit one's job, chew on vegetable roots, and cause pain to the body? Those of inferior aspiration shun clamor and seek quietude: thense they enter the ghost cave of "dead tree Ch'an" entertaining false ideas that only thus can they awaken to the Path. ... If you can manage not to forget the matter of birth and death while in the midst of the passions of the world, then even though you do not immediately smash the lacquer bucket (of ignorance), nevertheless you will have planted deep the seed-wisdom of transcendental knowledge (prajna). In another lifetime you will appear and save your mental power. You won't fall into evil dispositions: you'll overcome that sinking down into the defilement of passion.
As a gentleman of affairs, your study of the Path differs greatly from mine as a homeleaver. Leavers of home do not serve their parents, and abandon all their relatives for good. With one jug and one bowl, in daily activities according to circumstances, there are not so many enemies to obstruct the Path. With one mind and one intent (homeleavers) just investigate this affair thoroughly. But when a gentleman of affairs opens his eyes and is mindful of what he sees, there is nothing that is not an enemy spirit blocking the Path. If he has wisdom, he makes his meditational effort right there. As Vimalakirti said, "The companions of passion are the progenitors of the Tathagatas: I fear that people will destroy the worldly aspect to seek the real aspect." He also made a comparison: "It's like the high plateau not producing lotus flowers: it is the mud of the low-lying marshlands that produces these flowers."
If you can penetrate through right there ... your power will surpass that of us leavers of home by twentyfold. What's the reason? We leavers of home are on the outside breaking in; gentlemen of affairs are on the inside breaking out. The power of one on the outside breaking in is weak; the power of one on the inside breaking out is string. "Strong" means that what is opposed is heavy, so in overturning it there is power. "Weak" means what is opposed is light, so in overturning it there is little power. Though there is strong and weak in terms of power, what is opposed is the same.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4213
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Ogyen » Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:29 pm

As I'm not a monk, is there a lot to put up with in celibacy?

:heart:
Ogyen.
Image Made from 100% recycled karma

The Heart Drive Word Press
Mud to Lotus

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy
User avatar
Ogyen
 
Posts: 446
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:36 pm

Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby 5heaps » Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:47 pm

Individual wrote:He said something like, "Those who say old people must always be senile are wrong. It is only a matter of concentration."
that illustrates just what i said. if you dont practice while you have the opportunity to do so, how will you be able to practice when you cant?

things are notself, empty, constantly changing and dependent. as the causes and conditions sustaining our fresh mind run out we will lose even our trustworthy minds.

also its not about just avoiding senility, its about developing good qualities.
5heaps
 
Posts: 432
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:09 am

Next

Return to Mahāyāna Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 5 guests

>