Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Satori » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:03 pm

Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful? Or at least in some schools Buddhism?

A buddhist monk said that both homosexuality and hetrosexuality arise from ignorance and cause craving , lust and attachement.

Does this mean that in Buddhism sex is seen as a wrongdoing? Or at least in some schools of Buddhism?
Satori
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:17 am

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:29 pm

Satori wrote:Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful? Or at least in some schools Buddhism?

A buddhist monk said that both homosexuality and hetrosexuality arise from ignorance and cause craving , lust and attachement.

Does this mean that in Buddhism sex is seen as a wrongdoing? Or at least in some schools of Buddhism?


It's not a wrongdoing, but sure it is an action that springs from attachment to pleasure, ignorance and craving. We are sentient beings, aren't we?

Is this "normal"? Of course, it is! Is it skillful? Relatively speaking, yes, it can be skillful if practiced in a caring way in a loving relationship, as opposed to misusing sexuality.

Is it the ultimate in skillful action? I guess not if it's about pleasing oneself, serving others would be more skillful, IMO.

To me it is important not to fall into the Western Judeo-Christian notion of sin (original or otherwise) while talking about sex. Buddhism starts exactly where we are and is not about judging. It is about learning to see matters as they are. If you see something as unwholesome, harmful, etc you leave it behind, rather than because the Book tells you it's bad. Same with sex, for most of us there are more important matters for practice than becoming celibate right now. On the other hand bringing some mindfulness to sex can illuminate the extent of clinging and papanca that goes on and that I found useful.
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2670
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Kenshou » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:47 pm

No more unskillful than craving and eating a big piece of cake. But it must be remembered that it is a particularly alluring piece of cake, and should be handled with that in mind. Not "bad" persay but not particularly conductive to sense-restraint either.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby cooran » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:52 pm

Hello Satori,

This might be of interest:

Buddhism and Sex ¬ M. O’C. Walshe
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el225.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7700
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Satori » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:00 pm

Kenshou wrote:No more unskillful than craving and eating a big piece of cake. But it must be remembered that it is a particularly alluring piece of cake, and should be handled with that in mind. Not "bad" persay but not particularly conductive to sense-restraint either.


Well , what I have been wondering is: Is it possible to enjoy pleasures without having craving.

It does seem that enjoying pleasures doesn't always cause pain. At least for me, things like sex and cakes would cause more pleasure than pain, and at the same time, it would not cause me too much pain if I abstained from them, if at all.

Maybe there is a dark side to an alluring piece of cake. :thinking:
Satori
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:17 am

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Kenshou » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:27 pm

The dark side is the impermanence and the unreliability of that cake and that sex. Not to mention the dynamic nature of your own preferences and desires. Getting caught up in all that is asking for dukkha, to some degree, inevitably.

Secondly, would those things hold so much pleasure if you didn't have a craving to satiate? An itchy rash feels good to scratch, though it doesn't help heal it in the long run, and when it finally does subside, what need is there to scratch?
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:40 pm

:goodpost:
:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3118
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:31 am

It depends what you really mean when you use the following (highlighted) word:

Satori wrote:Well , what I have been wondering is: Is it possible to enjoy pleasures without having craving.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16222
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:16 am

From my understanding it's not possible to enjoy sensual pleasures without craving. Hence: When there is feeling, there is craving, with the cessation of feeling, craving ceases - Or something to that accord.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1861
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:50 am

Ben wrote:It depends what you really mean when you use the following (highlighted) word:

Satori wrote:Well , what I have been wondering is: Is it possible to enjoy pleasures without having craving.


Very good counter question, Ben.

The Buddhist term vedana is the experiential sensation or feeling, but often the English word "enjoy" has a more active sense to it, somewhat akin to the various volitional activities that one directs towards the object of sensation. In general, these active volitions towards something are already craving (volitions away from objects being aversion).
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
Paññāsikhara
 
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:18 am

Thank you Venerable!

A couple of things that I hd in mind when I wrote my earlier post.
One, was a quote from the Vism if I am not mistaken. Words to the effect of "one who indulges in enjoyment, indulges in sankharas". If I get time later, I'll try and dig it out as I have the mighty tome with me.
Another thing I had in mind was the very close relationship between vedana and tanha, as Jack eloquently alluded to. Vedana's salient characteristic is whether it is pleasant, neutral or unpleasant. The volitional activity is so strong, that for most of us, we automatically crave that which is pleasant. During my own experience of practicing vedananupassana, I have been able to extend awareness and equanimity with regards to pleasant, unpleasant and neutral sensations rising and falling and arrest the process of indulging in sankharas (if only briefly).
And I guess for me it begs the question which is more beneficial? Relishing (enjoying) the pleasant? Or developing equanimity and seeing all sensations for what they really are and in turn arresting the process of generating more suffering?
with Metta

Ben

PS: HEY JACK!!!!
Great to see you back here!
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16222
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:18 am

Ben wrote:PS: HEY JACK!!!!
Great to see you back here!


Hey Ben

It's good to be back and to see all these familiar names still posting away. Hope you are all doing swell. In truth I intend to stick around, posting on forums is always a good way to keep one's writing ability up to a reasonable standard. It's a bit like a muscle - It's in the 'use it or lose it' category.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1861
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:58 am

Well the fact remains that we can parse all the Pali we want, and give all the definitions we like, and urge all we like..and the majority of lay Buddhists will still have sex on a regular basis during a period of their lives. From adolescence to middle age usually. So now what ?
Should we say its ok as long as they dont enjoy It ? :smile:

In an earlier post on another thread I made the connection between the 5th precept and sexuality..as those are the two main bees in many bonnets, as M.O 'C Walshe says in the excellent essay quoted above by Cooran, those who practice mindfulness may find that they will want to drink less and less, and he makes the point that many find the same with their sexual urges...that they grow less but as Walshe ( who founded the English Sangha Trust which eventually led to the establishment of Chithurst and Amaravati, and who incidentally took the occasional glass of sherry :o ) points out this happens as a result of establishing a practice of mindfulness, not as an act of repression or aversion.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:18 am

Sanghamitta wrote:as M.O 'C Walshe says in the excellent essay quoted above by Cooran, those who practice mindfulness may find that they will want to drink less and less, and he makes the point that many find the same with their sexual urges...that they grow less but as Walshe...
... points out this happens as a result of establishing a practice of mindfulness, not as an act of repression or aversion.

I agree!
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16222
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:30 am

Sanghamitta wrote:. . . this happens as a result of establishing a practice of mindfulness, not as an act of repression or aversion.
And there is a significant difference between unwholsesome repression, aversion, and fear of sex and mindfully letting it go as a result of insight into anicca, dukkha and anatta.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19761
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Satori » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:44 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:. . . this happens as a result of establishing a practice of mindfulness, not as an act of repression or aversion.
And there is a significant difference between unwholsesome repression, aversion, and fear of sex and mindfully letting it go as a result of insight into anicca, dukkha and anatta.


It is possible without repression? I thought sexual desire was a natural instinct, something that all humans have.

I have doubts that repression can even work, I tryed abstaining from sexual activity once , and the desires became much stronger after a few days, and many sexual thoughts arised in my mind. So in my experience abstaining created more desire in me , not less.

Even women that I would usually view unattractive became very attractive, through abstaining.
Satori
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:17 am

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Shonin » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:52 pm

If there really are techniques that allow us to permanently 'let go of' our sexual impulses, then I imagine the Christian Right would welcome this as a potential 'cure for homosexuality', presumably it could also be used to cure paedophilia.
Shonin
 
Posts: 583
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:11 am

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Satori » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:54 pm

BlackBird wrote:From my understanding it's not possible to enjoy sensual pleasures without craving. Hence: When there is feeling, there is craving, with the cessation of feeling, craving ceases - Or something to that accord.

metta
Jack


It seems more often the desire is there before there is any sensual pleasure, but maybe this because we have memories of the sensual pleasures we enjoyed in the past.

It seems craving can arise without connection to sensual pleasures, like the craving for power or high status.
Satori
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:17 am

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Satori » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:58 pm

Shonin wrote:If there really are techniques that allow us to permanently 'let go of' our sexual impulses, then I imagine the Christian Right would welcome this as a potential 'cure for homosexuality', presumably it could also be used to cure paedophilia.


A Buddhist once said to reach Enlightenment we have to let go of all our cravings. I also thought some of the words to describe Enlightenment were words like 'extinction' or 'blowing out' or suchlike.
Satori
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:17 am

Re: Do Buddhists believe sex is a negative thing or unskillful?

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:59 pm

Shonin wrote:If there really are techniques that allow us to permanently 'let go of' our sexual impulses, then I imagine the Christian Right would welcome this as a potential 'cure for homosexuality', presumably it could also be used to cure paedophilia.


What are you saying, Shonin? A world without the likes of Jimmy Swaggart and the Bakers?
While the Christian Right like to complain about the sexual mores of others, I think they would be lost without such a rich vein of material to complain about - or indulge in.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16222
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Next

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests