How do monks put up with celibacy?

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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:12 am

Astus wrote:
kirtu wrote:Right but strong samadhi suppresses desire at least for a time.


This could also be said about satisfying a desire, after eating one is not hungry for a while.


No it's quite different. Using your analogy after sex, desire wouldn't arise for a while and that's just not necessarily true.

Strong samadhi will suppress desire in general but esp. sexual desire (samadhi will also suppress hunger for a while depending on the circumstances).

And as I've said in my last post, if the case is as many of you have agreed upon, there's no point in lay people engaging in so many complicated and difficult practices unless they become like hermits. So either one is fine with working on accumulating good karma for a better birth or becomes a renunciate. Third option being only aspiring for birth in the Pure Land. This view makes most of current Western Buddhism pointless and mistaken and also cries for establishing a widespread monastic order.


Except that we see some realization amongst Zen laypeople at least. Likely there is realization at some level happening in the common Mahayana and the Theradava. On top of that Vajrayana practices are very powerful and can result in transformation. Adding to that even if there is no realization per se the so-called "complicated and difficult" practices (depending on what they are of course) can still transform a layperson significantly. The problem with these kinds of statements is that we see no proof because we aren't privy to the inner life of people other than us. But we can see how people are transformed over time.

Monasticism is said to be necessary for the continuation of the teachings. But I would suggest that dedicated non-celebate laylife is an absolutely valid path beyond merely striving for rebirth in the Pure Lands (i.e. people can bring bodhisattvic activity to the world around them).

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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:13 am

Astus wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Meditation is not necessarily a "complicated and difficult practice". However what is complicated in the context of housholders is Vajrayana.


But why bother if one can simply stick to buddha-remembrance and thus be assured of liberation in the next life?


The Mahayana I am following does not say this.


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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:00 am

So let's make two Mahayanas, then.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:04 am

Individual wrote:So let's make two Mahayanas, then.


The number of Mahayana exegeses is vast.


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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:29 am

Infinitely vast. Therefore, nothing can be added or taken away. :)
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:38 am

To get back to the topic at hand. If you think of sexual kamma as planting and re-planting seeds, orgasm seems to be a crucial point in the process -- like when a farmer harvests his crop and all he is left with is empty land. Orgasm is like the "empty land," like the idea of being completely, totally free from sensual desire even though you're really not. Because clearing the land is just the basis for a new crop to be planted. Death is used by Tibetan Buddhists, I think, in the same way: Death, too, is like the orgasm, like the empty land being cleared away. And yet death is just the foundation for the next rebirth.

Therefore, in some sense sexual activity can be used by a yogi, but in another sense it is the epitome of sensual desire and an unskillful activity that monks and those seeking higher rebirth ought to avoid. Desire for sex is something that causes devas to take rebirth as humans, I think, and abstinence is a very powerful force for heavenly rebirth, although obviously very difficult to carry out.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Aemilius » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:37 am

Individual wrote:To get back to the topic at hand. If you think of sexual kamma as planting and re-planting seeds, orgasm seems to be a crucial point in the process -- like when a farmer harvests his crop and all he is left with is empty land. Orgasm is like the "empty land," like the idea of being completely, totally free from sensual desire even though you're really not. Because clearing the land is just the basis for a new crop to be planted. Death is used by Tibetan Buddhists, I think, in the same way: Death, too, is like the orgasm, like the empty land being cleared away. And yet death is just the foundation for the next rebirth.

Therefore, in some sense sexual activity can be used by a yogi, but in another sense it is the epitome of sensual desire and an unskillful activity that monks and those seeking higher rebirth ought to avoid. Desire for sex is something that causes devas to take rebirth as humans, I think, and abstinence is a very powerful force for heavenly rebirth, although obviously very difficult to carry out.


How do you understand "abstinence"? If some one experiences orgasm through other means is it still abstinence ?
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:32 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Individual wrote:To get back to the topic at hand. If you think of sexual kamma as planting and re-planting seeds, orgasm seems to be a crucial point in the process -- like when a farmer harvests his crop and all he is left with is empty land. Orgasm is like the "empty land," like the idea of being completely, totally free from sensual desire even though you're really not. Because clearing the land is just the basis for a new crop to be planted. Death is used by Tibetan Buddhists, I think, in the same way: Death, too, is like the orgasm, like the empty land being cleared away. And yet death is just the foundation for the next rebirth.

Therefore, in some sense sexual activity can be used by a yogi, but in another sense it is the epitome of sensual desire and an unskillful activity that monks and those seeking higher rebirth ought to avoid. Desire for sex is something that causes devas to take rebirth as humans, I think, and abstinence is a very powerful force for heavenly rebirth, although obviously very difficult to carry out.


How do you understand "abstinence"? If some one experiences orgasm through other means is it still abstinence ?

What do you mean by "other means"? Do you mean orgasm without physical stimulation; orgasm arising spontaneously of itself or solely from concentration? In that case, it is physical abstinence, but not mental abstinence.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Aemilius » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:44 am

Individual wrote:
Aemilius wrote:
Individual wrote:To get back to the topic at hand. If you think of sexual kamma as planting and re-planting seeds, orgasm seems to be a crucial point in the process -- like when a farmer harvests his crop and all he is left with is empty land. Orgasm is like the "empty land," like the idea of being completely, totally free from sensual desire even though you're really not. Because clearing the land is just the basis for a new crop to be planted. Death is used by Tibetan Buddhists, I think, in the same way: Death, too, is like the orgasm, like the empty land being cleared away. And yet death is just the foundation for the next rebirth.

Therefore, in some sense sexual activity can be used by a yogi, but in another sense it is the epitome of sensual desire and an unskillful activity that monks and those seeking higher rebirth ought to avoid. Desire for sex is something that causes devas to take rebirth as humans, I think, and abstinence is a very powerful force for heavenly rebirth, although obviously very difficult to carry out.


How do you understand "abstinence"? If some one experiences orgasm through other means is it still abstinence ?

What do you mean by "other means"? Do you mean orgasm without physical stimulation; orgasm arising spontaneously of itself or solely from concentration? In that case, it is physical abstinence, but not mental abstinence.


I was thinking of different things, according to buddhism, atleast in its tantric knowledge, there are certain states of mind that are similar: orgasm, sleep, fainting and death. In these the mind experiences what is called "energy (or prana) entering the central channel (avadhuti)", it also true of concentrated states of mind. These mental states are similar to orgasm, or orgasm is similar to them. It happens also when an artist is very concentrated in the creative process or in the performing arts in an act of intensive performance. This is well-known too, and in accordance with the tantric view and practice. This is not always the case however, must be emphasized, and there is faked "artistic intensity", etc...
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:55 pm

Aemilius wrote:I was thinking of different things, according to buddhism, atleast in its tantric knowledge, there are certain states of mind that are similar: orgasm, sleep, fainting and death. In these the mind experiences what is called "energy (or prana) entering the central channel (avadhuti)", it also true of concentrated states of mind. These mental states are similar to orgasm, or orgasm is similar to them. It happens also when an artist is very concentrated in the creative process or in the performing arts in an act of intensive performance. This is well-known too, and in accordance with the tantric view and practice. This is not always the case however, must be emphasized, and there is faked "artistic intensity", etc...

It would be very odd for a person to experience sexual arousal or release from meditating or doing artwork. When they say they are similar I think what is meant is that they are similar in terms of the subtle body and concentration of energy, but not similar in terms of the gross body and mundane thoughts & feelings, like the experience of physical pleasure. Art and meditation can be reflections of sub-conscious libido, but are not the same thing as conscious sexual desire and fulfillment.

To answer your original question: What is called "abstinence," is refraining from conscious sexual desire and fulfillment. But one could also refer to refraining from subconscious sexual desire and fulfillment (if possible?) as a form of abstinence as well. Almost anything that could be said of conscious sexual desire could equally be said of subconscious libido, although it is not necessarily skillful to say so, nor is it necessarily skillful to abstain from conscious and subconscious sexual desire and fulfillment. For the average person, conscious sexual desire is enough of a burden; concerning themselves with the subconscious sexual desire would be just another burden. For the superior person, all sexual desire -- conscious, subconscious, and whatever might be beyond -- is cut off entirely. Any entertaining of that desire is only the context in which wisdom is accumulated. When there is the final accumulation of wisdom and "sattva," is removed from "bodhisattva," leaving only bodhi, in that case sex and art are no longer necessary. In the meantime, they can be necessary.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:04 pm

Forgive me in that I haven't read the entire thread, but in case it has not already been stated, perhaps there is an assumption in the question.

Maybe we should ask : 'Do monks put up with celibacy?'

Some do, some don't. Same with nuns.

There are many records which show this, not all Buddhist of course.

I don't think it is likely to differ much across religions and cultures, but may differ according to individual circumstances, age at which they entered a monastery, previous sexual encounters, sexual preferences, opportunity, etc.

One does not need to be celibate for life in order to become enlightened. How long must one be so for a spiritual benefit to be gained? Buddha became celibate after having sexual experiences. Lamas are not all celibate - that doesn't seem to deny them enlightenment. Is it hugely important or relatively insignificant in the context of overall practice?

This being the case, I wonder if there is any research into the most beneficial duration of celibacy, the extent to which it aids or impedes spiritual progress, the most beneficial age at which to start etc.

Finally, in the case of monastic celibacy, is there evidence evaluating to what extent spritual progress is due to celibacy and monasticism as separate factors?
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:49 pm

I think we will find no such studies.

As a aside years and years ago certain middleeastern (rare) areas, had men due to dietary deficiency not really sexually mature beyond the ages normally one would do so. Some never.

Sex at a early adolesence is absolutely necessary of some sort I would expect, self other or both in what we consider to be a normal body.
AS another aside a common add on the financial visual media for some drug to enhance sex.... has the man useing the product proudly exclaiming happily that he has sexual urge....always!! followed with a smiling very happy spouse.
I at my older age and particular nature find that abhorant and a wasted life. Imagine always having that desire present......hell it would be to my view, as to be posessed always by any desire.

So what is normal and what is not?
I suspect at certain ages it would be essential. At other ages....not at all, very young and the elderly.
Why the priority to this thing is my question? Why if one has not the urge would one want to incite the urge? If happiness of spouse is the concern it seems spouse should have some other concerns as priority in a mature relationship. It being one part only of relationship.

But all that aside.....sex due to its particular nature and result can have as result a window of sorts to something other than self. For most it is just a glimpse. I suspect that glimpse is why we want to engage, but it cannot be prolonged by sexual means. That consumer of drug will not be permenantly in that space but only for a very few seconds regardless of how many times he engages.

So a lot of work for a few seconds of not self. There are other more efficient and prolonged means to that state.
A tool....tantra sure...but only very rarely for the very advanced.

Will a realized person be having sex....I'd assume no. Why? They are in the state of nonself, entered for a brief second or two in sex by us.

So monks putting up....at certain ages I'd expect. At other ages I'd expect other things are more important.
A relationship to celibacy amount of time and enlightenment....I don't think so. There are many paths as the manasiddhis attest enought to me be able to say safely there is much variance to this thing. Celibacy is not of primary sort.
Monks only are not enlightened nor become such. Some do some do not. Historic Tibet speaks directly to that but it may be found in many other Buddhist traditions as well.

To my opinion it is generally mot that one disengages sex and then becomes enlightened, it is with loss of sense of self and other, the discriminating aspect of consciousness which is its driver, becomes a other directed focus. So sex becomes nothing. It has no mover for engagement.Tantra....the blank spot may perhaps be lengthened(though not permenantly) and be thusly studied and learned from. The same as death or a great sickness. With study of the blank spot one may draw certain deductions and experiental inferals such as there is no self and that all is caused in nature. So it may be of use. The act itself cannot be prolonged enough to make a permenant change. It can only be prolonged enough to enable us to study it. And when used enough to be thusly studied furthur use...of no use.

That is my opinion though I am a uneducated layperson.

Sex I have had. Other than as spiritual tool I think it is greatly overrated.There is nothing inherantly desireous in the human body male or female. There is no feeling of pleasure that studied is not the same exact nature as the feeling of pain. I would suspect it has limited benefit to pursue either.
Bad or good producer of enlightenment or not....no I don't think so. No more than if I bang my finger in a door stop doing so and find enlightenment. It is no more significant. The addons to it....that may deter.
So monks generally do not engage. Some do most don't.
Last edited by ronnewmexico on Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ground » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:00 pm

Why is it that such threads do not end but continue through "endless" repetitions? :)


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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:02 pm

TMingyur wrote:Why is it that such threads do not end but continue through "endless" repetitions? :)


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Incremental rebirth maybe.

Aske me again in a few more posts. :)
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:20 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:I think we will find no such studies.

As a aside years and years ago certain middleeastern (rare) areas, had men due to dietary deficiency not really sexually mature beyond the ages normally one would do so. Some never.

Sex at a early adolesence is absolutely necessary of some sort I would expect, self other or both in what we consider to be a normal body.
AS another aside a common add on the financial visual media for some drug to enhance sex.... has the man useing the product proudly exclaiming happily that he has sexual urge....always!! followed with a smiling very happy spouse.
I at my older age and particular nature find that abhorant and a wasted life. Imagine always having that desire present......hell it would be to my view, as to be posessed always by any desire.

So what is normal and what is not?
I suspect at certain ages it would be essential. At other ages....not at all, very young and the elderly.
Why the priority to this thing is my question? Why if one has not the urge would one want to incite the urge? If happiness of spouse is the concern it seems spouse should have some other concerns as priority in a mature relationship. It being one part only of relationship.

But all that aside.....sex due to its particular nature and result can have as result a window of sorts to something other than self. For most it is just a glimpse. I suspect that glimpse is why we want to engage, but it cannot be prolonged by sexual means. That consumer of drug will not be permenantly in that space but only for a very few seconds regardless of how many times he engages.

So a lot of work for a few seconds of not self. There are other more efficient and prolonged means to that state.
A tool....tantra sure...but only very rarely for the very advanced.

Will a realized person be having sex....I'd assume no. Why? They are in the state of nonself, entered for a brief second or two in sex by us.

So monks putting up....at certain ages I'd expect. At other ages I'd expect other things are more important.
A relationship to celibacy amount of time and enlightenment....I don't think so. There are many paths as the manasiddhis attest enought to me be able to say safely there is much variance to this thing. Celibacy is not of primary sort.
Monks only are not enlightened nor become such. Some do some do not. Historic Tibet speaks directly to that but it may be found in many other Buddhist traditions as well.

To my opinion it is generally(excepting tantric application) not that one disengages sex and then becomes enlightened, it is with loss of sense of self and other, the discriminating aspect of consciousness which is its driver, becomes a other directed focus. So sex becomes nothing. It has no mover for engagement.Tantra....the blank spot may perhaps be lengthened(though not permenantly) and be thusly studied and learned from. The same as death or a great sickness.



Thank you for a considered reply. :)


I have heard from some older men that the fading of sexual capability and desire is a wonderful release from a fetter. If meditation is able to achieve a release from this desirous attachment then the result may be a cause for celebration. However, there is an important difference - being physically incapable of sex is very different from eliminating desirous attachment when still sexually capable.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:28 pm

Oh really?

To my opinion the circumstance of sexual desire presents as a normal part of our progression of being human. However how we accept and learn from these changes is the importance in the understanding not the specific of a ability lost found gained or lesser.

That one continues to think in a certain way that was constricted by a physical necessity, when released from that constraint one may assume the lesser and greater do apply.
If one when released from a fetter then finds that fetter a thing better left behind.....the fetter and its loss no longer exist for that person.

So no I firmly disagree with the contention stated.

As a aside of sorts.... in today world of pharamachology there is no normally constituted person that is past the state of being able to have sex. If the desire to do so is there. The mind if you know the average persons mind.....continues to desire sex even when not physically possible but to cheap to purchase the drugs...That is my observation of the average.

I have no need for thank you...refute my point.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:42 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:Oh really?

To my opinion the circumstance of sexual desire presents as a normal part of our progression of being human. However how we accept and learn from these changes is the importance in the understanding not the specific of a ability lost found gained or lesser.

That one continues to think in a certain way that was constricted by a physical necessity, when released from that constraint one may assume the lesser and greater do apply.
If one when released from a fetter then finds that fetter a thing better left behind.....the fetter and its loss no longer exist for that person.

So no I firmly disagree with the contention stated.

As a aside of sorts.... in today world of pharamachology there is no normally constituted person that is past the state of being able to have sex. If the desire to do so is there. The mind if you know the average persons mind.....continues to desire sex even when not physically possible but to cheap to purchase the drugs...That is my observation of the average.

I have no need for thank you...refute my point.


A rather blunt last sentence. I will respond but not to your 'instruction', which I will interpret as a polite request.

The example I gave was of men who were grateful for losing both desire and capability so your point does not address mine, other than to agree with it.

I do refute, however, that all 'normally constituted'' men are all capable of sex with pharmacological help, even though you do not define what you mean. Age trumps Viagra , I believe. ;)
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Individual » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:05 pm

Yeshe wrote:Forgive me in that I haven't read the entire thread, but in case it has not already been stated, perhaps there is an assumption in the question.

Maybe we should ask : 'Do monks put up with celibacy?'

Some do, some don't. Same with nuns.

You should be clear what you mean by monks. If they are Bhikkhus who rightly follow Vinaya, then they put up with celibacy. If they are Tibetan Lamas or Japanese Buddhist priests, they may or may not be celibate. It is good to clearly distinguish these two because the Buddha said that the corruption of the Sangha results directly from the corruption of Vinaya. For all Buddhist monks to pick and choose whether to be celibate, and for them to still be called monks, would be a corruption.
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:17 pm

Individual wrote:
Yeshe wrote:Forgive me in that I haven't read the entire thread, but in case it has not already been stated, perhaps there is an assumption in the question.

Maybe we should ask : 'Do monks put up with celibacy?'

Some do, some don't. Same with nuns.

You should be clear what you mean by monks. If they are Bhikkhus who rightly follow Vinaya, then they put up with celibacy. If they are Tibetan Lamas or Japanese Buddhist priests, they may or may not be celibate. It is good to clearly distinguish these two because the Buddha said that the corruption of the Sangha results directly from the corruption of Vinaya. For all Buddhist monks to pick and choose whether to be celibate, and for them to still be called monks, would be a corruption.


I was clear, and I also explained that lamas may not be celibate monastics, so I'm note sure why you ask again. Some do and some don't.

To use their ordination status in differentiation would require data we do not have. However, there are records of 'corruption' within Tibetan Budhism, for example, where fully ordained monks have used young boys as sexual 'consorts' and also more modern stories of sexual exploitation including, for example, the transmission of AIDS. (In the latter case I would prefer only to reveal details via PM.)
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Re: How do monks put up with celibacy?

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:28 pm

These are perhaps serious allegations..."[b]However, there are records of 'corruption' within Tibetan Budhism, for example, where fully ordained monks have used young boys as sexual 'consorts' and also more modern stories of sexual exploitation including, for example, the transmission of AIDS. (In the latter case I would prefer only to reveal details via PM.)"[/b]I don't state such things exist and or do not exist, but why only specifically Tibetan Buddhism? And then why are claims made and allergations stated but certain ones kept private?
It seems if claims are publically made such should be rightfully made public in entireity?

Or is this just a gossipy item?
If such I will completly disregard.....if not I must consider it fully, not just certain revealed parts. As I draw my practice from Tibetan Buddhism source.
.
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