Buddhism and Sexuality?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom
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Richard Paul Johnson
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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby Richard Paul Johnson » Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:20 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Richard,

It is possible for stream entrants and once-returners to have sex, but not non-returners and arahanths. So 50% of the path to nibbana ie full enlightenment IS possible while being sexually active. I hope that answers your question to some degree- I don't understand how a person can be so into studying the teachings and not consider themselves as an adherent : maybe it is a need to conceptualise the entire teachings before dipping the toes.. :)

With metta


Im glad that Buddhism sees that progress on the path can be made while being sexually active. Hah, yeah, I want to be able to have a relatively good conceptual knowledge of the teachings before truly dipping the toes, I think its important to know what one is getting oneself into before moving to acting on it.

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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:27 pm

Hi Richard,

Yes, I was like that myself- lately I have come to see that previously learnt material was valid only for a certain 'depth' of practice and that it is not possible to 'pre-empt' higher insight- but as you say it is important to know (as much as possible) what one is getting in to!

With metta
With Metta

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Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:06 pm

iRichard Paul Johnson
The Bhikkhuni Controversy is not just a Thai one, it is across Theravada and also within Tibetan Buddhism, the Bhikkhuni line died out and it is a vinaya issue, something VERY IMPORTANT when it comes to the legitimacy of an ordination, which allows them participation in sanghakamma, to make out it is a sign of anything other than that is narrow to say the least. that is not saying some may not be bias against women but to assume it is a patriarchal corruption is misguided without knowing the origins of the problem or the current problems with it.
allot of the Bhikkhunis around today are originally ordained in the Dharmagupta line and although some may argue that they are not Theravadan Bhikkhuni they are still Bhikkhuni, the rest are through single ordination by bhikkhus originally - I think it only happened in Sri Lanka - which has issues due to the prohibition on Bhikkhus ordaining women within the vinaya, and according to tradition the Buddha never ordained women after the first few at most, it was then upto the bhikkhuni to carry on, with the Bhikkhu recognising the new Bhikkhunis, but this is a vinaya problem with no clear answer to resolve the problems currently faced and the vinaya regulations around this, and as this is not something which can easily be discussed the Bhikkhuni issue is not going to be gone over again here by myself.

Even though marriage is unimportant as the definition of marriage can change depending on where you are - the commentaries define four types of wives, I believe, with only one being what we would call a wife - sexual relations does not equate to being off the path, please have a look at the five precepts in particular the third, one can still have sex and meditate it is not banned for a practitioner unless they choose certain precepts but it is certainly not a spiritual endeavour also look up miccha samadhi or wrong concentration where the Buddha advised against sensuality as an object of meditation, thus making the tantric practices you have mentioned un-buddhist, hence the responses you have received initially.

The misunderstanding regarding the Dalai Lama is a common one, due to his fame & power in the tibetan tradition.

any more questions?
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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby Richard Paul Johnson » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:32 pm

Cittasanto wrote:iRichard Paul Johnson
The Bhikkhuni Controversy is not just a Thai one, it is across Theravada and also within Tibetan Buddhism, the Bhikkhuni line died out and it is a vinaya issue, something VERY IMPORTANT when it comes to the legitimacy of an ordination, which allows them participation in sanghakamma, to make out it is a sign of anything other than that is narrow to say the least. that is not saying some may not be bias against women but to assume it is a patriarchal corruption is misguided without knowing the origins of the problem or the current problems with it.
allot of the Bhikkhunis around today are originally ordained in the Dharmagupta line and although some may argue that they are not Theravadan Bhikkhuni they are still Bhikkhuni, the rest are through single ordination by bhikkhus originally - I think it only happened in Sri Lanka - which has issues due to the prohibition on Bhikkhus ordaining women within the vinaya, and according to tradition the Buddha never ordained women after the first few at most, it was then upto the bhikkhuni to carry on, with the Bhikkhu recognising the new Bhikkhunis, but this is a vinaya problem with no clear answer to resolve the problems currently faced and the vinaya regulations around this, and as this is not something which can easily be discussed the Bhikkhuni issue is not going to be gone over again here by myself.

Even though marriage is unimportant as the definition of marriage can change depending on where you are - the commentaries define four types of wives, I believe, with only one being what we would call a wife - sexual relations does not equate to being off the path, please have a look at the five precepts in particular the third, one can still have sex and meditate it is not banned for a practitioner unless they choose certain precepts but it is certainly not a spiritual endeavour also look up miccha samadhi or wrong concentration where the Buddha advised against sensuality as an object of meditation, thus making the tantric practices you have mentioned un-buddhist, hence the responses you have received initially.

The misunderstanding regarding the Dalai Lama is a common one, due to his fame & power in the tibetan tradition.

any more questions?


Indeed, I am not stating that the Bhikkuni controversy is just a Thai one, I know full of the problems that surround the female ordination in quite some depth. However, Tibetan Buddhism recently did major research into the Bhikkuni issue and, now ordains nuns and is taking action against the smidgeon of resistance in the Vajrayana school, some of the findings of that research can be found on this website http://www.congress-on-buddhist-women.o ... .php?id=21 , Ajahn Brahm ordained nuns after reviewing all the evidence, and after listening over and over again to the Thai orthodox engage in endless circular discussion, and what do the Thai orthodox do? They excommunicate him as opposed to engage in fruitful dialogue, its laughable, they actually think they have the power to remove someone from the Dhamma. its really a very simple issue, its not difficult at all. In the Thai tradition it is particularly bad, the general opinion that women cannot achieve enlightenment in the female form still prevails, the Thai orthodox Theravada have talked endlessly about bringing back Nuns, but yet they have done nothing. The legitimacy of an ordination is really very simple, woman wants to sincerely follow path in monastery, solution? Ordain her, it doesnt take the wisdom of a Buddha to be able to figure it out. There is bias against female ordination within Theravada orthodoxy, and it is due to patriarchal corruption and social norms taking hold as opposed to Buddhist teaching, and as I said before, corruption will eventually creep into any human institution, including the structures of Theravada Buddhism, including the institution of the Dalai Lama and many more.

The tantric practices do not make sensuality an object of meditation. That is one of the greatest misunderstandings of Buddhist Tantra.

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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:34 pm

Richard Paul Johnson wrote:The tantric practices do not make sensuality an object of meditation. That is one of the greatest misunderstandings of Buddhist Tantra.

Like I said I am not going over that here! although you obviously do not know all the facts, and only mentioned Thai Theravada not Theravada in general.
so what is the object of tantra then?
but if you are so keen on it why are you looking at Theravada.
Last edited by Cittasanto on Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby Alobha » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:28 pm

Richard Paul Johnson wrote:This total exclusion of sexuality seems to be a major source of alienation and disunity and confusion amongst the Theravadan Sangha.

The same could be said about watching TV or owning a car or a house. If people look for reasons to alienate themselves from others, they will always find something. It's up to you how much emphasis you put on these things. If people want to live in peace, it's more skillful to see the common ground. Sexuality is a very marginal point when you consider that we all sit in the boat of an existence that is subject to aging, illness and death. We all are subject to suffering and we all don't want to suffer.
If people feel alienated from the Sangha despite sitting in the same boat where it really matters - then it's a matter of their perception entirely.

if the lay community can practice Dhamma while being fully in the world etc?

It's very simple: Your actions yield results. Following sexual desires, desiring sex, indulging in the senses, desiring a pretty-looking sex-partner, craving for a partner or a relationship, craving for touching and feeling - all these things yield results. It's not bad, it's not good. Just results.
To what extent laypeople practice the Dhamma or not is up to them.

There generally is mutual acceptance and respect for different lifestyles in Theravada. It's not the case that monastics blame the laypeople for living their life. It's just that most laypeople know by experience how troublesome things like "Following sexual desires, desiring sex, indulging in the senses, desiring a pretty-looking sex-partner, craving for a partner or a relationship, craving for touching and feeling" are and how difficult it is to leave these matters behind. And what these things lead to.
Ehipassiko - investigate for yourself what works and what doesn't.

Btw I never heard of the "confusion" amongst the Theravada Sangha because of an exclusion of sexuality you talked about.
But I heard there are many claims and cases of sexual abusive relationships that evolved around tantric practices. Sex or tantric practices have never been taught as a way to Enlightenment by the Buddha and he knew and taught the entire path. If one insists on pursuing dubious practices not taught by the Buddha, it's certain that this is not part of the teachings of the Buddha one pursues but someone else's.

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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:31 am

daverupa wrote:First, sex is sensual pleasure - how can it be lauded?


Not true.

If someone ask you to have sex with a 80th years old nanny. Is that pleasure?
If someone ask you can have sex to a leprosy old lady. Is that pleasure?

Activity is not good, nor bad, nor neutral.

Why we want to impose a layer of concept on top of the activity?

Practicing the Dhamma while being fully in the world? That's like sitting down while standing up.


When you go to the office and work, if that is not dhamma practicing, what is that?
When the doctor is operating the patient, if that is not dhamma practicing, what is that?
When you do the accounting, if that is not dhamma practicing, what is that?

There is no use to sit on top of the mountain and be peace there by yourself. It is a shame actually. Useless to society.
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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:51 am

It is not hard to repeat these teachings, Halim, but most of us here still experience desire and lust and are working with it.

Tell me, how is it for you?
_/|\_

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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:57 am

Dan74 wrote:It is not hard to repeat these teachings, Halim, but most of us here still experience desire and lust and are working with it.

Tell me, how is it for you?


Although at this moment we cannot be free from all of that, we should not have this idea that sex is bad or sex is sensual activity or sex is negative.

Because if we have that mindset, it will cover us from reality.

We admit for example for me sex is sexual desire, but that is what I see now. However, we must have the right understanding about reality first - Reality is not like that, it is just what I see right now. Whether we can achieve that or not in this life time or in the next one, that is secondary.

Because the right view, no matter how ideal it is, has to become the pillar for us to achieve that.

If we always think sex is negative, how can we be free from this erroneous concept?
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:33 am

DarwidHalim wrote:
Dan74 wrote:It is not hard to repeat these teachings, Halim, but most of us here still experience desire and lust and are working with it.

Tell me, how is it for you?


Although at this moment we cannot be free from all of that, we should not have this idea that sex is bad or sex is sensual activity or sex is negative.

Because if we have that mindset, it will cover us from reality.

We admit for example for me sex is sexual desire, but that is what I see now. However, we must have the right understanding about reality first - Reality is not like that, it is just what I see right now. Whether we can achieve that or not in this life time or in the next one, that is secondary.

Because the right view, no matter how ideal it is, has to become the pillar for us to achieve that.

If we always think sex is negative, how can we be free from this erroneous concept?


Having a view that sex is negative is no less useful than having a view that sex is not negative.

Best to perceive how it is right now for me and deal with that, right?

The Buddha taught many times about the dangers of lust and sex is the prime conduit of lust. To say that there is nothing wrong with sex discounts the Buddha's teaching. Besides it is not the reality for most of us who are still in the grips of lust and who would take this view as a license to indulge and continue being slaves to our passions.

Instead it is better to attend carefully to what is happening. Is it wholesome? Is it skillful? Is in accordance with the Dhamma, with renunciation, with liberation? Attend closer and see it arise and dissipate. How is it?

This seems to me to be the way to deal with lust, to see into sex, rather than discuss whether it is good or bad. The teachings are quite clear, aren't they?
_/|\_

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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby daverupa » Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:57 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Activity is not good, nor bad, nor neutral.


:jawdrop:

AN 4.115 wrote:"Monks, there are these four courses of action. Which four? There is the course of action that is unpleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable. There is the course of action that is unpleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is profitable. There is the course of action that is pleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable. There is the course of action that is pleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is profitable.


AN 3.2 wrote:"Monks, a fool is characterized by his/her actions. A wise person is characterized by his/her actions. It is through the activities of one's life that one's discernment shines.

"A person endowed with three things is to be recognized as a fool. Which three? Bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct. A person endowed with these three things is to be recognized as a fool.

"A person endowed with three things is to be recognized as a wise person. Which three? Good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, good mental conduct. A person endowed with these three things is to be recognized as a wise person.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:20 am

Dan74 wrote:The Buddha taught many times about the dangers of lust and sex is the prime conduit of lust.


So, it is lust that we need to overcome.

Lust (the motivation) is the driving force for negativity, not the sex (the activity).

Without sex activity, we don't have Siddharta Gautama.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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Re: Buddhism and Sexuality?

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:43 am

daverupa wrote:
"Monks, there are these four courses of action. Which four? There is the course of action that is unpleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable. There is the course of action that is unpleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is profitable. There is the course of action that is pleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable. There is the course of action that is pleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is profitable.


This sutta doesn't reject the reality that activity alone is not good, nor bad, nor neutral.

You should continue to read that sutta, which says:

For a fool doesn't reflect, 'Even though this course of action is pleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is unprofitable.' So he does it, and thus the doing of that course of action leads to what is unprofitable for him. But a wise person reflects, 'Even though this course of action is pleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is unprofitable.' So he doesn't do it, and thus the non-doing of that course of action leads to what is profitable for him.


When you reflect something, you see your motivation.

If I lie, will I save him or not? (reflect please)
Even if it is unpleasant, if your motivation is to save him, that unpleasant becomes pleasant.

If I donate this robe, will I be proud or not? (reflect please)
Even if it is pleasant, if your motivation is poison, that pleasant becomes unpleasant.

Good action can turn to bad action.
Bad action can turn to good action.

So, what is good and what is bad?
If something is by nature good, how can it turn to bad?
If something is by nature bad, how can it turn to good?

That is the fact that action is not good, not bad, not neutral.

If the nature of action is always good, even you use bad motivation, it will be good.

If generosity is good, when you donate for the sake of your pride, that action has to be good.
This is foolish.

This nature has no self of good, no self of bad, no self of neutral.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!


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