The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

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Pårl
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The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Pårl »

[Mod note: this topic has been split from this old topic:]
https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.p ... 34#p550334
[Please don't bump up topics older than a year, if possible.]



Probably an unhelpful answer and a bit of an obvious statement: irrespective of your belief system, your own basic sense of wrong/right would probably kick in. And that's going to be a personal thing, and not to steal words from the DSM-V, is also on a spectrum.

One thing that intrigues me, is how gender and culture might influence this. Would a female find this more or less worthy of the label "sexual misconduct" than a male? Or vice versa? Would progressive cultures where Mahayana Buddhism is popular have a different view (e.g. people from California, Nordic people...?

What happens if you say twice a week you are a secular buddhist on bodily function grounds?
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Sādhaka »

Not sure about “secular Buddhism”; however Tibetan Medicine mentions the following possibly applicable to your question: Twice an week in the spring, twice an month in the summer, twice an week in autumn, and that everyday in the winter is okay.

The above seems to be from the perspective of bodily function, and advice for the average layman. Also, sex is assumed here, not masturbation. And, if anyone wants to say that the two are the same, well then they don’t have direct experience of the difference between the energetic exchange that happens with sex vs masturbation; the latter of which your mileage may vary.

This debate has been going on on these forums for years and years, some citing various interpretations of Abhidharma & and monastic codes, etc., with varied opinions & mental gymnastics coming from both sides of the debate.

IMO, as with anything one may do in any given moment, as a Dharma practitioner you may want to ask yourself if what you’re doing is creating karmic traces; as the goal here is to stop creating more of them…. I mean can sense pleasures be enjoyed without creating karmic traces? According to the Dharma, sure. However on the issue of the sexual topic in particular, the Buddhist saying is that it is like licking honey from a razor blade: If you’re not prepared in the correct way, it is risky.
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Malcolm »

Sādhaka wrote: Tue Jun 07, 2022 3:10 pm And, if anyone wants to say that the two are the same, well then they don’t have direct experience of the difference between the energetic exchange that happens with sex vs masturbation
The only thing specified in the texts is ejaculation, not the manner of ejaculation.

Energetic exchange is a bunch of new age woo woo invented by Western fantasists who've confused Taoist concepts with Buddhist yoga.

I have translated literally dozens of texts on karmamudra, not one of them mentions anything like "energy exchange."
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Pårl »

So is this analogous to "it's ok to have one beer with a friend" provided it produces positive, happy results for both parties, and provided you do not become intoxicated? Not sure what scientifically "energy exchange" refers to in this case: energy can neither be produced nor destroyd; it merely transforms from one state to another. Newton, I think?
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Soma999 »

Life is not confined in text. Sensitive persons clearly feel what happens during sexual intercourse on an energetic point of view.
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

That’s really trusting intuition in a naive way. Especially with something like sex, various attitudes are deeply ingrained due to social conditioning from an early age. Assuming “it must be right because I feel it” is almost juvenile, and does not seem like a wise approach to me.
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Sādhaka »

Soma999 wrote: Thu Jun 09, 2022 12:55 pm Life is not confined in text. Sensitive persons clearly feel what happens during sexual intercourse on an energetic point of view.

Thank you, that’s pretty much exactly what I wanted to say.

Anyone who has direct experience there doesn’t need to read a book to see that what I’d said above is true.

Of course the English word ‘energies’ is often abused by new-age-ish types (although personally I’d never refer to anything as ‘woo woo’). However to reference the texts that Malcolm has translated mentioned in this thread; even if “energies” aren’t mentioned there, I’m sure that there is mention of ‘essences’ or similar.
Last edited by Sādhaka on Thu Jun 09, 2022 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Ayu »

Maybe it would be a good idea, if you'd find a better fitting word than 'energy'.
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Soma999 wrote: Thu Jun 09, 2022 12:55 pm Sensitive persons clearly feel what happens during sexual intercourse on an energetic point of view.
Sensitive persons feel what happens during sexual intercourse on a sensitive point of view.

Energetic persons feel what happens during sexual intercourse on an energetic point of view.

Everyone else during sex
simply enjoys the point of view.
EMPTIFUL.
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Pårl »

I seem to recall a comment once made "right tool, right place". I think would thus land the whole ethical question squarely on the shoulders of the would be practioner. I note that there many medical professionals and psychologists that agree that it's an important part of discovering your own sexuality and it's technically harmless. If the activity is something that doesn't sit well with your own sense or morality - Buddhist or otherwise - there's the answer to the question.

For single adults, not wishing to be promiscuous, there seems to be little alternative,

Well that's my 2 cents.
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by RyeGuy »

Moderation for everything, I think also applies here. It can be an addiction, just like anything else, especially if paired with pornography which has a lot of harmful implications once exposure to as it surely affects how you see those you are sexually attracted to. I haven't researched this, but I think pornography is harmful for its effect on perceiving actual in person consentual interactions.

Regardless, I'm not sure if complete absolution is entirely healthy either, but I don't have any hard science or other insight to inform this feeling. I wonder though, for monastics, isn't it problematic to cut it off entirely? I had attempted period of absolution when I felt it became too much of an impulse and was at risk for impeding upon general use of time, but then nocturnal emissions starting occurring. If you are cutting off physical self-stimulation, what about when it's released naturally in a cycle, and also tied with dreams of desire? Is it less harmful then? Does this taper off with time if your body acclimates to not being released habitually? Lust is still a main hindrance from me and I try to ponder these ideas for guidance as my Buddhist practice is for laymen and does not address these issues, and I don't think I would want it to as I'm generally wearing of rules for rules sake.

It is cultural, as mentioned above. Take Zen in Japan for instance, where even some monastics still marry and have children.
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

Yeah, moderation is for sure the key. Just take a look at the scores of "celibate" people that end up abusing others sexually or are just frustrated and pain in the butt to be around.

However, given that we live in the 21st century in the West with an access to the internet I think the first question about masturbation we should ask is concerning pornography. Is pornography acceptable for lay practitioners? Is it even moral, really? As the recent developments incase of Pornhub and others taking down amateur videos show, there is a plenty of abusive material out there on the clear web. Is even professional pornography actually ethical? Is supporting such businesses through ad revenue skillful for an upasaka?

Not to mention the probable influence on dopamin centers in the brain.

Damn, I have tunred into a prude. But I am more concerned with this now as I am wondering if healthy moderate sexual activity is even possible when porn is permitted. Personally I think it is the same case like alcohol. Some can have a few drinks and not lose sense of moderation, others just cannot stop themselves.
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For those who do non-virtuous actions,
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Mirror »

Könchok Thrinley wrote: Tue Jun 14, 2022 8:58 am Yeah, moderation is for sure the key. Just take a look at the scores of "celibate" people that end up abusing others sexually or are just frustrated and pain in the butt to be around.

However, given that we live in the 21st century in the West with an access to the internet I think the first question about masturbation we should ask is concerning pornography. Is pornography acceptable for lay practitioners? Is it even moral, really? As the recent developments incase of Pornhub and others taking down amateur videos show, there is a plenty of abusive material out there on the clear web. Is even professional pornography actually ethical? Is supporting such businesses through ad revenue skillful for an upasaka?

Not to mention the probable influence on dopamin centers in the brain.

Damn, I have tunred into a prude. But I am more concerned with this now as I am wondering if healthy moderate sexual activity is even possible when porn is permitted. Personally I think it is the same case like alcohol. Some can have a few drinks and not lose sense of moderation, others just cannot stop themselves.
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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Pårl »

It's nice to see that "common sense" seems to be the prevailing view. That's my view too. Having a "black or white" attitude about something like this is more likely to lead to extremist or dangerous behaviours. The old adages "the lesser of evils" or "harm limitation" seem to apply here.

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Re: The own basic sense about masturbation as misconduct

Post by Inedible »

If you were to explore masturbation and conclude for yourself that the cost outweighs the benefits, it would be natural to stop. For this to happen, you can't start with that conclusion first and try to prove it second. It has to be a genuine exploration. If you just stop, but not for good reason, there will be resistance and it will persist. I'd also suggest that if you see this as necessary that having lots of other ways of handling stress and catching it early would be useful.
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