tiltbillings wrote:And you make my point. Interestingly, you left out listening to music in your response to the list of things, but is sense pleasure is all that bad that we cannot abide in it once in a while? No bowl of popcorn, no video games, no looking at sunsets, no movies, no anything that has no redeeming value.
You're right, I left out listening to music. But that doesn't make your point. Look, a person can do any one of these things, including masturbating, and there's probably no need for hiri to be involved, granted. Yet my view is that activities with no redeeming values -- including masturbation -- are incompatable with sampajanna. And to the extent that listening to music has no redeeming value, I'd include that as well, (although I'd add that different minds work differently, and I can understand how in theory listening to music might have a redeeming value for someone). But masturbation, at least as it's been discussed here most of the time, is a raw pursuit of sense pleasure, nothing else.
tiltbillings wrote:Maybe you’re a bit depressed; self-pleasuring might make you feel a bit better. Is that bad? Maybe you are horny, it takes the edge of that the bodily pressures and feel good in the process. Is that bad?
I wouldn't characterize it as good versus bad. But I would say that if we engage in the pursuit of sense pleasure as a habit to make ourselves feel better, then we lack insight, and sampajanna is ruled out, in my view. Granted, probably all of us engage in the pursuit of sense pleasures of one kind or another. Do I think that makes us all bad? No. But I think that at those moments, we fool ourselves if we believe that during the pursuit of sense pleasures we are simultaneously engaging sampajanna.
Jechbi wrote:In that respect, I highly doubt that it's possible to masturbate and yet maintain sampajanna. I think either you'd stop masturbating, or you would no longer have sampajanna. I don't think the same necessarily must be said about having sex with one's wife.
Now, that is funny. Masturbation is something within one’s control, no distractions of another person’s needs and reactions. If it is possible, it would more easily be the other way.
The "no distractions of another person's needs and reactions" is what makes masturbation more rawly selfish. The presence of another human being with needs is not
a distraction, but a reminder of why this sexual union may be the skillful thing to do in this moment. The best lovers are selfless lovers; they climax selflessly. (I'm not suggesting that arahants would engage in sex, just to be clear.)
Generally speaking, I think we also can consider whether it's possible for sampajanna to compatible with every activity. To the extent that the activity is motivated by greed, hate and/or delusion, I would say no. For example, the act of beating someone up is not compatible with sampajanna, although certainly it is possible to beat someone up mindfully and with awareness. But you can't do it with clear comprehension, because as soon as you comprehend, you stop.
It's going to be the same with any activity, and since we are non-monks living life in this samsara, we will be confronted with situations in which we will find ourselves acting in some way. For example, having sex with our spouse. In those moments, how do we engage with our world? Ideally, with sampajanna, recognizing the subtle arising of greed, hate and delusion from moment to moment, and not pursuing those impulses, not feeding them. That's the problem with masturbation, in my view.