Celibacy

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Celebacy

Postby bodom » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:52 pm

But remember the Buddha's example. He was married, had a child, and abandoned them as he went to the forest.


So you believe the only viable option for householders to reach awakening is to abandon lay life? The Buddha didn't see it that way. The eightfold path is certainly not restricted to monastics.

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The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Celebacy

Postby Ytrog » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:55 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
bodom wrote:Why are you separating the two? The Buddha included duties towards a spouse as part of Dhamma practice:
:anjali:



It is good to act in a proper way to those around you. That is part of Dhamma.

But remember the Buddha's example. He was married, had a child, and abandoned them as he went to the forest. He did teach them, and countless other people what He has awakened to.


He didn't, however, prescribe his example as something we should all necessarily follow. He had to use guile, secrecy and special powers to escape from the palace in direct violation of his father's wishes -- behavior that, for most of us, might amount to a breach of sila. Later, as a teacher, he required prospective monks/nuns to obtain parental permission, and in the case of married women, spousal permission.


It probably was a breach of sila. Sometimes it's necessary to breach it in order to prevent even greater evil or to enable greater good. Lying to someone who asks where somebody is while you know he asks it to be able to kill that person is a breach of sila too. It would prevent a greater evil (the killing) however.
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


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Re: Celebacy

Postby Shonin » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:05 pm

Alex123 wrote:But remember the Buddha's example. He was married, had a child, and abandoned them as he went to the forest.


My wife and child would suffer tremendously if I left them. Even in the unlikely event that my actions resulted in me becoming fully enlightened, I doubt that they would let me teach them. I wouldn't sacrifice them for my own shot at full enlightenment.

My family life is my forest.
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Re: Celebacy

Postby Alex123 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:18 pm

bodom wrote:So you believe the only viable option for householders to reach awakening is to abandon lay life?


Probably not until certain level. Though It does seem to me to involve at least some conflict of interest.
"dust to dust...."
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Re: Celebacy

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:31 pm

Ytrog wrote:
It probably was a breach of sila. Sometimes it's necessary to breach it in order to prevent even greater evil or to enable greater good. Lying to someone who asks where somebody is while you know he asks it to be able to kill that person is a breach of sila too. It would prevent a greater evil (the killing) however.


Yes, i agree. These are somewhat "out of the norm" situations, though, wouldn't you say? The Buddha didn't teach people, as a rule, to violate sila or to disrespect their obligations. Ethics are usually a good guide, and many who breach them in the name of a "greater good" are deeply deluded.

Alex123 wrote:Probably not until certain level. Though It does seem to me to involve at least some conflict of interest.


Seems so to me too. As I was saying before, dhamma is against the flow whereas family life is going with the flow, so to speak. There's an inherent conflict. The ingredients for a happy family life, in most cases, include things which the yogi is specifically working to transcend. How do you breastfeed a baby, for example, without attachment?

But conflict can also be productive. Maybe a useful approach would be to set some present-life goals and use them to shape decisions..understanding, of course, that these could change over time. There are monks, too, who return to lay life. I would think kamma plays a role in whether or not we have the "vocation" -- the Buddha had lifetimes as a bodhisatta setting the stage for his leaving the palace.

Just my two cents..
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Re: Celebacy

Postby manas » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:25 am

Shonin wrote:
Alex123 wrote:But remember the Buddha's example. He was married, had a child, and abandoned them as he went to the forest.


My wife and child would suffer tremendously if I left them. Even in the unlikely event that my actions resulted in me becoming fully enlightened, I doubt that they would let me teach them. I wouldn't sacrifice them for my own shot at full enlightenment.

My family life is my forest.


I'm repeating a quote from somewhere else, but it is relevant: if we have practiced for aeons to perfect ourselves with the pure intention to attain full enlightenment for the welfare of others, then leaving one's wife and child in one's final birth to fulfil that unselfish aspiration is in a completely different category to leaving one's wife and child out of aversion for the troubles of family life, which is a selfish reason. We cannot compare the Buddha's motivation with our own.

Sorry I know the forum has gone off topic somewhat, but as the father of two children I felt the need to say this. If I were to leave my dear children at this stage of their lives, not only would they be left unprotected in various ways, and emotionally harmed, but they would probably be turned off the Buddha-Dhamma for life.
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Re: Celebacy

Postby ground » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:42 am

manasikara wrote:I'm repeating a quote from somewhere else, but it is relevant: if we have practiced for aeons to perfect ourselves with the pure intention to attain full enlightenment for the welfare of others, then leaving one's wife and child in one's final birth to fulfil that unselfish aspiration is in a completely different category to leaving one's wife and child out of aversion for the troubles of family life, which is a selfish reason. We cannot compare the Buddha's motivation with our own.

Sorry I know the forum has gone off topic somewhat, but as the father of two children I felt the need to say this. If I were to leave my dear children at this stage of their lives, not only would they be left unprotected in various ways, and emotionally harmed, but they would probably be turned off the Buddha-Dhamma for life.


I think if you leave them in an economically save situation so that they do not have to change their lives and continue to have contact in some form or the other then this would be fine.
Why?
Because impartiality towards all beings is an important aspect of the path.

But we see that the prerequisite for this would actually be worldly wealth - a result of practicing generosity in a former life.

Kind regards
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Re: Celebacy

Postby manas » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:39 am

TMingyur wrote:I think if you leave them in an economically save situation so that they do not have to change their lives and continue to have contact in some form or the other then this would be fine.
Why?
Because impartiality towards all beings is an important aspect of the path.

But we see that the prerequisite for this would actually be worldly wealth - a result of practicing generosity in a former life.


Hi TMingyur,
I appreciate the reply, but with respect, if you had children around the age group I do (8 and 11 years old) who relied on you for emotional support (and this is very natural - they are children), you would understand why I said it would be a selfish act to abandon them, when this is not even necessary in order to practice the Dhamma. It has more to do with being physically present and available on a daily basis to help them grow to maturity, and less to do with them being materially / financially looked after. Money can't buy a genuine hug, for instance.

:hug:
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Re: Celebacy

Postby Shonin » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:21 am

manasikara wrote:I appreciate the reply, but with respect, if you had children around the age group I do (8 and 11 years old) who relied on you for emotional support (and this is very natural - they are children), you would understand why I said it would be a selfish act to abandon them, when this is not even necessary in order to practice the Dhamma. It has more to do with being physically present and available on a daily basis to help them grow to maturity, and less to do with them being materially / financially looked after. Money can't buy a genuine hug, for instance.


I completely agree. I would go further and say that abandoning a wife and/or child who depended on you (materially or emotionally) for the purpose of trying to end your own suffering is self-indulgent. What about their suffering?
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Re: Celebacy

Postby ground » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:56 am

manasikara wrote:
TMingyur wrote:I think if you leave them in an economically save situation so that they do not have to change their lives and continue to have contact in some form or the other then this would be fine.
Why?
Because impartiality towards all beings is an important aspect of the path.

But we see that the prerequisite for this would actually be worldly wealth - a result of practicing generosity in a former life.


Hi TMingyur,
I appreciate the reply, but with respect, if you had children around the age group I do (8 and 11 years old) who relied on you for emotional support (and this is very natural - they are children), you would understand why I said it would be a selfish act to abandon them, when this is not even necessary in order to practice the Dhamma. It has more to do with being physically present and available on a daily basis to help them grow to maturity, and less to do with them being materially / financially looked after. Money can't buy a genuine hug, for instance.

:hug:



Hello manasikara
I appreciate your caring love for the ones depending directly on you.
I feel the aspects I mentioned cannot be understood as a categorical "either you leave them or you are partial which you should not be" because rare is the case that one has wealth to such an extent that leaving one's family does not affect their living as to economical aspects at all.
And in cases where there is such an extent of wealth usually more persons other than the parents are involved in the upbringing of and caring about children.
So it is more of a hyphothetical issue than one of real relevance.

But if such rare cases happen then of course it is a matter of setting priorities. And the Buddha has demonstrated this.

Kind regards
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Re: Celebacy

Postby Ben » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:10 am

Shonin wrote:
manasikara wrote:I appreciate the reply, but with respect, if you had children around the age group I do (8 and 11 years old) who relied on you for emotional support (and this is very natural - they are children), you would understand why I said it would be a selfish act to abandon them, when this is not even necessary in order to practice the Dhamma. It has more to do with being physically present and available on a daily basis to help them grow to maturity, and less to do with them being materially / financially looked after. Money can't buy a genuine hug, for instance.


I completely agree. I would go further and say that abandoning a wife and/or child who depended on you (materially or emotionally) for the purpose of trying to end your own suffering is self-indulgent. What about their suffering?


I couldn't agree more. One's responsibilities don;t begin and end with just providing for the material needs of our dependents.
kind regards

Ben
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saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
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Re: Celebacy

Postby nyanasuci » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:34 am

Although the Suttas give several ways of dealing with the 'lovely young temptation' when she comes toddling down the road, there is one (a kind of pincer movement) that I have sometimes found very useful. It is based on the episode of the Buddha and the Ven. Nanda Thera (which you can read at Udāna iii,2: 20-4). When the 'lovely young temptation' comes in sight, you say to yourself: 'Well, if I really must have sex, and cannot do without it altogether, the best plan is to restrain myself now and thereby to gain merit that, in my next life, will bring me much bigger and better sex than I can get here.' By the time you have considered this aspect of the question, the temptation has perhaps gone past and is out of sight round the next corner, and it is now too late to do anything about it. But you still have this unsatisfactory desire for sex. In order to get rid of this, you set to work to see that sex never lasts; that, in the long run, the misery involved outweighs the pleasure; and that final peace can only be obtained when all thought of sex has vanished. This procedure is often quite enough to put the question out of one's mind—until, of course, the next temptation comes along balancing her haunches! But, each time, there is a little progress, and it gradually becomes easier to keep one's peace of mind, even when a temptation actually appears.
(Ñāṇavīra Thera, 30 December 1964)
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I call them sages who wander without association, without affliction, without desire.

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Re: Celebacy

Postby Dan74 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:27 am

Maybe that's just me, but I find reasoning and advice like in the post above very unconvincing.

"So I should give up the pleasure I can have right now in the hope of more pleasure in some hypothetical next life?"

"What misery when it is consensual and no one is hurt?"

"Screw final peace - I want to have fun NOW!"

Instead what has worked (sometimes!) are the peaceful states of mind (especially after a retreat) where desire is not present (or at least not in its cruder forms).

Then letting go of desire feels blissful and picking up desire feels like a burden. Realizing that stoking the fires of passion is bolstering the delusion of "me" and "mine" and harms clarity and compassion.

Of course I fall back into habits more often than not, but bringing awareness to these states lessens their grip. Habits, after all, are also empty, and like an imaginary bogeyman, not to be feared, but rather seen for what they are.
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Re: Celebacy

Postby dhammapal » Sun Oct 10, 2010 5:51 am

See: Sex, Celibacy and the Spiritual Life by Bhante Gunaratana

I started masturbating again then realized that taking that to its logical conclusion would lead to seeking out pornography which would increase lust.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Celebacy

Postby Strive » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:53 am

Moth wrote:What are your thoughts on this topic? Is it necessary if not more beneficial? I am at a point in my life where I am considering becoming a monk in which case I would be giving up the opportunity to have a wife and child. I'm curious to hear your opinions on this issue.


This is what I'm putting my most effort in is being celebrate and It is sooooo hard. But I know If I don't put sensual pleasures behind me that I'll be reborn in a womb again to take suffering over again. It is very beneficial because even if you don't attain nibbana you can be reborn in the pure abodes as a non-returner to attain enlightenment. But if not your efforts won't be in vain because by putting sensual pleasures to a bare minimum you can also be reborn as a once-returner destined for enlightenment . That is why renunciation is such a blessing, to put all your efforts towards striving for the goal. So keep striving friends even though it is tough, I'll be striving with ya. :anjali:
"Faith is here a man's best treasure;
Dhamma practised well brings happiness;
Truth is really the sweetest of tastes;
One living by wisdom they say lives best."--Bhikkhu Bodhi's Samyutta Nikaya, Sagathavagga verse 853
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Re: Celebacy

Postby phil » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:54 am

dhammapal wrote:See: Sex, Celibacy and the Spiritual Life by Bhante Gunaratana

I started masturbating again then realized that taking that to its logical conclusion would lead to seeking out pornography which would increase lust.

With metta / dhammapal.


Hi Dhammapal and all

It's possible to masturbate without pornography or fantasizing. It's an interesting experience, actually, de-sexualizes the build-up to orgasm and the orgasm itself, turns it into a physiological experience more akin to urinating or defecating than it is to seeing fireworks. Very refreshing (afterwards) experience, actually, not as mentallly "sticky" as it is usually. You feel that you are rising above the whole carnal entanglement in a way.

Obviously the Buddha didn't teach celibacy to householders, but if we are in a situation (and they do occur) when it is not possible to have sex in a way that would not be against the precepts, or would not blur the line in a way that is technically not mentionned in the precepts but which we know is against our morality (e.g going to prostitutes, or engaging in emotional dishonesty in order to get laid, not outright lying but, you know....) celibacy becomes the necessary option. In such cases, it would be a big mistake not to masturbate, I think, bad for the body (especially the prostate for men, I don't know about for women) bad for the mind because the frustrated sex energy works its way one way or the other. (As for the vinaya, that's another matter I guess.) But it is physically possible and intellectually interesting to wank without the revery...try it, it's a totally non thrilling experience and good for the health! :thumbsup:

Metta,

Phil

p.s if it is not possible to wank without the fantasy and/or pornography, I would say you had better wank. The middle way says we shouldn't damage our health for the sake of the practice and research shows that the risk of prostate cancer increases when the testicles are not flushed out periodically. Again, don't know for the ladies....
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(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Celibacy

Postby nobody12345 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:56 pm

manasikara wrote:My attempts at finding a 'middle way' of enjoying sexual pleasure 'moderately' have always ended in failure. In my mind, the whole idea of pleasure is to maximize it, not to stingily give it to myself in little drips. So I have found that I tend towards sexual obsession, trying to squeeze more and more pleasure out of this slowly ageing sack of blood, flesh and bones.

In order to free myself, for the sake of my own welfare (possibly sanity), I am undertaking a period of total abstinence, not just from the act but also from self-pleasuring, and as much as possible I guard my mind against letting lust invade it. As a lay person this is very hard and sometimes EXCRUCIATING work. It can feel like torture. And self-made suffering it is: the harder I hold on to the memories of past pleaure, the more it hurts! So I have to resort to using whatever wisdom I can muster to keep going. This often happens with me in tears at the end of the day. Here is a benefit though: I feel lighter, more peaceful (when I am not undergoing a 'test' of my resolve), and it is easier to practise meditation.

Greetings.
Nice to know a lay person who is walking the same path as myself!
I am also undertaking a totoal abstinence.
For years and years, I enjoyed sex and sexual activities everyday basis.
When I decided to be really serious about the pursuit of this path, I had to break up with (then) my girl friend and quit all the sexual activities all together.
As you said, it can be unbearably painful (I enjoyed sex for almost 2 decades daily basis) but this is something that I feel absolutely important even if it tortures me tremendously.
Especailly when someone is really serious about the pursuit of the higher goal (Anagami for a lay person/ Arahant for a monk) then, this is necessary measure in my opinion.
Congratulations on your struggle because nothing is more important than conquering the bond that ties us to this endless Samsara!
In Metta.
Last edited by nobody12345 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Celebacy

Postby Anicca » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:14 pm

Shonin wrote:
manasikara wrote:It has more to do with being physically present and available on a daily basis to help them grow to maturity, and less to do with them being materially / financially looked after. Money can't buy a genuine hug, for instance.

I completely agree. I would go further and say that abandoning a wife and/or child who depended on you (materially or emotionally) for the purpose of trying to end your own suffering is self-indulgent. What about their suffering?

I am not disagreeing, but it is of interest to me the discrepancy that the Buddha refuses ordination to those whose parents do not agree, yet his did not agree. He abandoned his parents against their wishes and abandoned his wife and child (if not monetarily for they were rich- at least emotionally) for the purpose of ending his own suffering. If it was good for him, good for his parents, good for his wife and child and good for all the world - perhaps self-indulgence is really all we do whether we leave the home life or stay - we are all indulging in our "self".

???

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Re: Celebacy

Postby nobody12345 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:18 pm

manasikara wrote:Hi all, I'm posting here cos I am in a hurry and don't know where else to post...I wonder if any other householder experimenting with complete sexual abstinence has found that just when they have begun to taste some higher pleasure in meditation, just when they feel like they have had a GLIMPSE of what it is like to let go of the five-sense world obsession for a little while and experience a relatively still mind (and taste the sweetness of this), suddenly the defilement of lust takes a big swipe at you. Today I'm assailed by strong doubt re the higher aspects of the doctrine (stuff that I should not ponder on at this stage, but mara uses this to get me down often), and now for the first time in over a week sensual desire seems to be CALLING me! Just when I have been feeling like I have made more progress in calming the mind than ever before in this current lifetime.

This might not be the right forum for a sob story like mine. But I hope someone can advise, can a deep darkness stand on the edge of a brightness? Just when I felt some sweetness in letting go, should lust come and assail me like this? Should I press onward, or am I pressing too hard?

You are not alone my friend because the desire calls and attacks me day and night.
Regarding your question, if you want an advice, I will give you what I use to deal with it.
While meditate, I imagine dung and urine are explosively pouring out from women's body.
And I am imagining that I am drowing in the sea of dung and urine suffering and crying in agony while our arch enemy Mara is laughing his ass off watching me drowing in the sea of dung and urine.
Also I forcefully repeat myself in my head that 'I will NOT die as a slave of Mara. I will not come back to existence over and over and over and over again for the sake of sex. I will crush Mara and wipe out the smug smile from his face'.
This how I deal with attacks of sexual craving.
Hope this helps.
In Metta.
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Re: Celebacy

Postby nobody12345 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:36 pm

manasikara wrote:Thereductor,
thank you for your thoughtful reply, once more. That sutta quote is great, I've not seen it before.

I'm going to leave off this subject after this post, because I DID end up lapsing, but I have learned SO MUCH from the last week and a half of trying out complete sexual abstinece (in all its forms) that I am indeed realizing that I have no need to beat myself up, I am after all a householder and I have not broken any precepts (by lapsing in this way)! My mind got a bit obsessed with trying to be perfect, and I think I was 'tightening the strings a little too tightly'. Having said that, that doesn't mean I think it's ok to just relieve ourselves soon as the going gets a little tough, I think we should push a little further than what we think we are capable of, but not to the point of obsessiveness.

I have just read this post.
(I posted two replies on your previous posts).
Well, celebacy is definitely not for everyone.
Whatever you do, I hope you make spiritual breakthrough with your practice routine.
In Metta.
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