Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:07 pm

Did the Buddha ever say anything about premarital sex? Did he recommend virginity till marriage? Did he discourage virginity till marriage? Did he have nothing to say on this?
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:41 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:Did the Buddha ever say anything about premarital sex?

Yes; he said having sex with the betrothed of another, is unskilful and unwholesome behaviour.

Did he recommend virginity till marriage?

Not that I know of...

Did he discourage virginity till marriage?

Not that I know of...

Did he have nothing to say on this?


Yes; he said that there are unwholesome sexual practises:
Having sex with the betrothed of another;
Having sex with those still in the care of their parents/guardians;
Having sex with an imprisoned person;
Having sex with an ordained person
Having sex with those married to others.

See here.
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby pilgrim » Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:50 pm

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:
Shaswata_Panja wrote:Did the Buddha ever say anything about premarital sex?

Yes; he said having sex with the betrothed of another, is unskilful and unwholesome behaviour.

Just want to add that
1. if you are betrothed or even going steady, sex with another person would also be unskilful
2. only a small number of those who are not married would be betrothed.
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:56 pm

Indeed. That would be a form of lying; "lying" is not only a verbally-committed behaviour. A person can be deceitful and dishonest in their physical behaviour also.
So cheating is a form of physical misleading.

Besides which, a cheater knows they are cheating; therefore they know it is wrong behaviour from the outset.
This is different to being attracted to the betrothed of another, acting upon that attraction, and only discovering after a while, that they have withheld the information from you.

That said, unskilful sexual behaviour - or any unskilful behaviour - has to be volitional to be truly unwholesome.

Acting unknowingly, without prior knowledge may be misguided, naive and gullible; but it is not as bad, kammically, as knowingly acting on such notions.
:namaste:

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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:31 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:Did the Buddha ever say anything about premarital sex? Did he recommend virginity till marriage? Did he discourage virginity till marriage? Did he have nothing to say on this?


It wasn't much of an issue in ancient India. The Buddha and other males and females of the time married around the age of 16 or earlier. There wasn't much time before that (age) to do dating or anything. Even until fairly recently, this may have been the case in India. My tour guide in India was a 65 year old Hindu man. He and his wife were married at the age of 15.

As that article linked above suggests, I think there can be some middle way. I am kind of conservative in this area so I especially like the admonition against:
Having sex with those still in the care of their parents/guardians;


If a person wants to engage in adult actions, then they should take on adult responsibilities, that is pay their own rent some place, mortgage, bills, etc. It is not about age or marriage (in my view) and more to do with taking on responsibilities and showing maturity. Today many people do not get married until age 25, 30 or even later so expecting complete abstinence until then is not realistic, however, expecting them to take responsibilities seriously is, in my opinion.
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:39 pm

thank you NoBSBuddhist...its great to have such knowledge in hand
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:27 pm

Hope it is useful to you.
Does it help any situation?
:namaste:

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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:44 pm

Yes since in the age I am in its very good to have the Buddha's view on sexual ethics
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby waterchan » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:01 pm

I suspect that the people at the time of the Buddha had very different attitudes towards sexuality, some of which may come as a shock to our modern sensibilities.

I remember seeing what was probably an ancient Sri Lankan portrait of one of the Buddha's female disciples approaching an assembly with a breast hanging out. It's fuzzy and I could very well be wrong. Can anyone confirm or deny this?
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby thepea » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:03 pm

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:Acting unknowingly.


This is the behavior to come out of.
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:04 pm

thepea wrote:
TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:Acting unknowingly.


This is the behavior to come out of.


Only if you know you don't know.
If you don't know you don't know, then it's kind of hard to come out of it, isn't it?
Particularly if the other person lies to you about it.
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:14 pm

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:Acting unknowingly, without prior knowledge may be misguided, naive and gullible; but it is not as bad, kammically, as knowingly acting on such notions.

That depends on what you mean by “Unknowingly.” If you mean that you have sex with someone who is married or engaged, without knowing that they are, then yes, though one should make a proper inquiry before taking such a significant step. However, if you mean, “Not knowing that sexual misconduct is unwholesome,” then no — kammically it is more serious than if done knowing that it is unwholesome.

The Milindapañha gives the following explanation:
8. “Which is the greater demerit, conscious or unconscious wrong-doing?”
“Unconscious wrong-doing, O king.”²
“Then we should doubly punish those who do wrong unconsciously.”
“What do you think, O king, would a man be more seriously burned if he seized a red-hot iron ball not knowing it was hot than he would be if he knew.”
“He would be burned more severely if he didn’t know it was hot.”
---
² All wrong-doing is rooted in ignorance, so one who does wrong knowingly will feel remorse and correct himself sooner than one who is deluded.
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:25 pm

Thank you Bhante; I indeed meant the former.
:namaste:

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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby LXNDR » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:09 pm

Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta (AN 10.176) wrote:Abandoning sensual misconduct, he abstains from sensual misconduct. He does not get sexually involved with those who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man.


Saleyyaka sutta (MN 41) wrote:He engages in sensual misconduct. He gets sexually involved with those who are [1] protected by their mothers, [2] their fathers, [3] their brothers, [4] their sisters, [5] their relatives, or [6] their Dhamma; [7] those with husbands, [8] those who entail punishments, or even [9] those crowned with flowers by another man.


as it appears, premarital sex of a non-betrothed adult person with another free, non-betrothed, mentally competent adult person will not constitute sexual misconduct
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:14 pm

I think, by a process of elimination, that, happily, is probably obvious to the OP, now.... :jumping:
:namaste:

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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby LXNDR » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:28 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
The Milindapañha gives the following explanation:
8. “Which is the greater demerit, conscious or unconscious wrong-doing?”
“Unconscious wrong-doing, O king.”²
“Then we should doubly punish those who do wrong unconsciously.”
“What do you think, O king, would a man be more seriously burned if he seized a red-hot iron ball not knowing it was hot than he would be if he knew.”
“He would be burned more severely if he didn’t know it was hot.”
---
² All wrong-doing is rooted in ignorance, so one who does wrong knowingly will feel remorse and correct himself sooner than one who is deluded.


Nagasena's analogies are killers, seizing a red-hot iron ball is not wrong-doing or an unwholesome act, there's no comparison between the two

also according to Vinaya unintentional theft by a bhikkhu is a no-offense, as opposed to intentional, a principle which knocks down Nagasena's argument

this is also a principle of criminal justice, where motive is crucial in establishing the degree of guilt

and it accords with Buddha's statement

Nibbedhika Sutta (AN 6.63) wrote:"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby culaavuso » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:50 pm

LXNDR wrote:Nagasena's analogies are killers, seizing a red-hot iron ball is not wrong-doing or an unwholesome act, there's no comparison between the two


It may be instructive to consider both seizing a red-hot iron ball and other unwholesome acts in terms of the standards described in the suttas. Both cases seem to be examples of an unskillful act resulting in suffering as a consequence of the action. Seizing a red-hot iron ball is an action arising dependent on intention and resulting in harm and suffering.

MN 135: Cūḷakamma­vibhaṅga Sutta wrote:What, having been done by me, will be for my long-term harm & suffering? Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?


MN 61: Ambalaṭṭhikā­rāhulovāda Sutta wrote:If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful bodily action with painful consequences, painful results, then any bodily action of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do.


AN 4.235: Sikkhāpada Sutta wrote:And what is kamma that is dark with dark result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates an injurious bodily fabrication, fabricates an injurious verbal fabrication, fabricates an injurious mental fabrication. Having fabricated an injurious bodily fabrication, having fabricated an injurious verbal fabrication, having fabricated an injurious mental fabrication, he rearises in an injurious world. On rearising in an injurious world, he is there touched by injurious contacts. Touched by injurious contacts, he experiences feelings that are exclusively painful, like those of the beings in hell. This is called kamma that is dark with dark result.


AN 6.63: Nibbedhika Sutta wrote:The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that.
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby LXNDR » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:56 pm

culaavuso wrote:It may be instructive to consider both seizing a red-hot iron ball and other unwholesome acts in terms of the standards described in the suttas. Both cases seem to be examples of an unskillful act resulting in suffering as a consequence of the action. Seizing a red-hot iron ball is an action arising dependent on intention and resulting in harm and suffering.


we're talking of unconscious/unintentional acts
Last edited by LXNDR on Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby culaavuso » Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:02 pm

LXNDR wrote:
culaavuso wrote:It may be instructive to consider both seizing a red-hot iron ball and other unwholesome acts in terms of the standards described in the suttas. Both cases seem to be examples of an unskillful act resulting in suffering as a consequence of the action. Seizing a red-hot iron ball is an action arising dependent on intention and resulting in harm and suffering.


we're talking of unintentional acts


This does not seem to be what is described by Nagasena. The act of grasping is intentional, but the nature of what is being grasped is misunderstood. Because of this misunderstanding, the intentional act of grasping will be done in such a way that the resulting injury is more severe. With the knowledge that the object being grasped is a red hot iron ball, the grasping would be more likely to be done in a way that minimized injury. In either case, the act of grasping still seems to be an intentional action.
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Re: Should Buddhists(lay) be virgins till marriage?

Postby LXNDR » Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:05 pm

culaavuso wrote:
LXNDR wrote:we're talking of unintentional acts


This does not seem to be what is described by Nagasena. The act of grasping is intentional, but the nature of what is being grasped is misunderstood. Because of this misunderstanding, the intentional act of grasping will be done in such a way that the resulting injury is more severe. With the knowledge that the object being grasped is a red hot iron ball, the grasping would be more likely to be done in a way that minimized injury. In either case, the act of grasping still seems to be an intentional action.


well, to understand his answer the Milinda's question must be taken into consideration, leave aside the simile

what is of greater demerit, conscious or unconscious?

the answer is - unconscious is of greater demerit

which, again, contradicts Vinaya principles for example

the question is obviously has to do with morality/ethics and kamma
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