Sexual Misconduct

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

Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby phil » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:00 am

tiltbillings wrote:Always becomes a ticklish, if not downright touchy, subject when Buddhists start talking about sex, and gawd forbid if it slides into such a sticky subject as masturbation.


Bring it on cowboy! Nothing sticky about it as far as I'm concerned. (That's why God invented the shower.) The chicken is choked, and life goes on with a little less deluded perception at work in the mind than a few minutes earlier.

Glad you mentionned it, actually. Sexual fantasies, can't be called sexual misconduct, but anyone who is concerned about carrying on and on and on accumulating delighting in sense objects might find him or herself considering the implications of accumualting sex fantasies, which are presumedly mental volition. So we have maybe something like in the Rahula sutta, where he is taught by the Buddha to confess to his fellow monks about bad behaviour in body and speech, but not when it comes to mental behaviour, because there would be no end to the confessing. So instead, a moment to vow not to carry on with the harmful behaviour.

That's why for a limited time only I am offering seminars in my revolutionary "wanking without a wankery" non-fantasizing technique, I think I will put a youtube clip up later today. :jumping:
Last edited by phil on Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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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.)
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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby VeganLiz » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:05 am

phil wrote:Glad you mentionned it, actually. Sexual fantasies, can't be called sexual misconduct


BUT what if the fantasies are wrong? Don't our thoughts matter?
"My actions are my only true belongings." Thich Nhat Hanh
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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby phil » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:07 am

VeganLiz wrote:That is true....sex involves lust.

But I do agree that it's important to re-examine feelings behind sex. Like she/he said, if you're having sex out of fear of being alone it is not entirely sincere or honest to the person you're with.


Well said, and what is the better option, two people in love, creating something absolutely beautiful together, a perfect union of souls expressed through the living flesh? We know that is a deluded perception too. I would guess the best thing about sex from a Buddhist point of view is that when two people who have a respectful, honest, virtue-rooted relationship have sex together they are expending the accumulated lust in the best possible way short of mutual abstinence. But any thought of it being beautiful or wholesome must be revealed, eventually, as deluded, because unless we overcome our attachment to the body and to sensual pleasures, there will be fear of death, and painful clinging to life when death comes. As usual, the Dhamma goes against the ways of the world! Let's all join hands and shout WE ARE DONE WITH BUMPING UGLIES! :smile:
Last edited by phil on Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby phil » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:08 am

VeganLiz wrote:
phil wrote:Glad you mentionned it, actually. Sexual fantasies, can't be called sexual misconduct


BUT what if the fantasies are wrong? Don't our thoughts matter?



Right you are. I stand corrected. But see my comments on the Rahula sutta, misconduct through fantasies are to be seen in a different way than misconduct through body or speech.
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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: Sexual Misconduct

Postby phil » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:27 am

By the way, Vegan Liz. I understand that you asked about this in utter sincerity and showing trust of strangers, so I apologize if I seem to be facetious above. I take the issue seriously, but feel writing with humour about sex is the best way to write about it. But thank you for turning to this community with your question. :smile:
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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: Sexual Misconduct

Postby phil » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:33 am

phil wrote:By the way, Vegan Liz. I understand that you asked about this in utter sincerity and showing trust of strangers, so I apologize if I seem to be facetious above. I take the issue seriously, but feel writing with humour about sex is the best way to write about it. But thank you for turning to this community with your question. :smile:


Also, if as you say sex is a new thing, the kind of approach/attitude I wrote about above is surely premature, more suitable for when decades of experience with the stuff or even worse decades of frustrated not-enough-experience with the stuff leads to a kind of wisening up. There is a word "revulsion" in Buddhism (I think nibidda or something like that in Pali) which apparently doesn't mean what "revulsion" usually means to us, but which probably gets at the sense of "enough of this" that develops gradually in life through experience of sense pleasures combined with deepening wisdom. Not that a younger person couldn't also experience this so-called "revulsion."

Xtians might reject sex out of some prudery or because the Bible says its wrong, but if Buddhists do it is probably understanding that is developing insight into the shortcomings of the behaviour involved and the advantages of the options. It always comes down to understanding for us....
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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: Sexual Misconduct

Postby ground » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:48 am

phil wrote:I take the issue seriously, but feel writing with humour about sex is the best way to write about it.


I do not feel that humour is appropriate in the context of what binds beings in samsara.


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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby VeganLiz » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:00 am

Hi Phil,

Having a sense of humor regarding sex is usually fine with me, unless it's making light of issues such as rape (which you were not, of course).

I am new to sex and just thought I'd ask about sexual misconduct. I'm not super young, I put it off for a long time because I was considering waiting until marriage for sometime. I feel differently about this now.

:smile:
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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby phil » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:37 am

I do not feel that humour is appropriate in the context of what binds beings in samsara.


Hi Mingyur

I would never joke about any kind of sexual violence or anger, or about many other forms of delusion that lead to harmful behaviour. But there is something absurd about how the perception of sex is created as being something beautiful, so I can't help but find it humorous. These days I seem to be quite serious about choosing a celibate lifestyle, and perhaps because this is a radical thing for a lay follower to do, I prefer to stay relaxed and humorous about it as a way of not tightening the lute strings too tight. Also because I know the likelihood of maintaining the celibacy is rather low. I wouldn't joke about a bhikkhu's celibacy, that is much nobler than my experiment. In any case, my apologies if you or anyone was offended.

I remember once listening to Bhikkhu Bodhi talk about the meditation on foulness of the body, and he laughed as he described an imaginary scene of the 32 body parts laid out on the table, how absurd that anyone could find such a mess of body parts attractive, there seemed to me to be something liberating in that moment of laughter....

Metta,

Phil
p.s I know this thread is about sexual misconduct, not celibacy, so I will now shut up about my new favourite pasttime.
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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby Ben » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:46 am

phil wrote: p.s I know this thread is about sexual misconduct, not celibacy, so I will now shut up about my new favourite pasttime.
Your perspective, Phil, is valuable in this discussion. There is no need to 'shut up'.
kind regards

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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby phil » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:58 am

Ben wrote:
phil wrote: p.s I know this thread is about sexual misconduct, not celibacy, so I will now shut up about my new favourite pasttime.
Your perspective, Phil, is valuable in this discussion. There is no need to 'shut up'.
kind regards

Ben


Thank you Ben :smile:
Layperson celibacy is a very interesting topic but not here because sex in itself is not designated as misconduct by the Buddha, I shouldn't confuse the issues.
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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: Sexual Misconduct

Postby Bodhisurfer » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:22 pm

Vossaga wrote:
If we think or reflect beyond the mere rules, the Buddha was primarily concerned with human beings living their lives with as much freedom from suffering as possible. Sex is included in the five precepts because it is an action that has the potential to cause suffering. ....

.... the Buddha advised action primarily motivated by lust is an unskilful action. Where as an action, such as a relationship, which includes lust but is primarily motivated by love & compassion (that is, regard for another's welfare) is skilful action....



very well put :thumbsup:
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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:48 pm

Even having consensual sex with a woman or man who has had too much to drink is sexual misconduct. I'm not talking about someone who is blind drunk and unable to consent, which is already regarded as rape, but to taking advantage of someone who's moral compass is lost after a few too many drinks.

In this case the woman was married, but even if she had not been, I would say that the man was blameworthy for having casual sex in these circumstances. Most traditional Buddhists would consider casual sex of any kind as sexual misconduct anyway, regardless of the eligibility of the sexual partner.

The consequences of casual sex can be serious.
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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby phil » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:41 pm

Bodhisurfer wrote:
Vossaga wrote:
If we think or reflect beyond the mere rules, the Buddha was primarily concerned with human beings living their lives with as much freedom from suffering as possible. Sex is included in the five precepts because it is an action that has the potential to cause suffering. ....

.... the Buddha advised action primarily motivated by lust is an unskilful action. Where as an action, such as a relationship, which includes lust but is primarily motivated by love & compassion (that is, regard for another's welfare) is skilful action....



very well put :thumbsup:


Yes, well said. But also good material for reflecting on when there is really disinterested love and compassion for a partner, and when it is really about comfortable attachment and our own desire for well-being. Not to be extreme about it, but we can gradually develop more and more insight into that, I guess...My impression is that because of the way our minds have accumulated lobha and raga for so long, the likelihood of there being actions that are primarily movitivated by metta and karuna is pretty slim...which doesn't mean householders should stop having sex, but good to keep reflecting on what motivates it...
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(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: Sexual Misconduct

Postby adeh » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:05 am

From 'In the Buddha's Word' Bhikkhu Bodhi, p. 376: Lay stream-enterers and once-returners, however, are not necessarily celibate. In the sutta the Buddha describes them as 'lay followers....clothed in white, enjoying sensual pleasures, who carry out my instruction, respond to my advice, have gone beyond doubt, become free from perplexity, gained intrepidity, and become independent of others in the Teachers dispensation.' Thus, while some steam-enterers and once-returners may observe celibacy, this is by no means typical of these two classes.
The sutta quoted is MN 73.
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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby ground » Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:15 am

phil wrote:
I do not feel that humour is appropriate in the context of what binds beings in samsara.


Hi Mingyur

I would never joke about any kind of sexual violence or anger, or about many other forms of delusion that lead to harmful behaviour. But there is something absurd about how the perception of sex is created as being something beautiful, so I can't help but find it humorous.

A sad absurdity, yes.

phil wrote:In any case, my apologies if you or anyone was offended.

I was not offended, just wanted to make this remark to call into mind the unfortunate background. I hope you were not offended by this.

phil wrote:Layperson celibacy is a very interesting topic ... sex in itself is not designated as misconduct by the Buddha...

Correct.

Kind regards
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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:20 am

TMingyur wrote:
phil wrote:I take the issue seriously, but feel writing with humour about sex is the best way to write about it.


I do not feel that humour is appropriate in the context of what binds beings in samsara.


Kind regards
Let me get this straight, sex is not to be the object of humor?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby ground » Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:41 am

tiltbillings wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
phil wrote:I take the issue seriously, but feel writing with humour about sex is the best way to write about it.


I do not feel that humour is appropriate in the context of what binds beings in samsara.


Kind regards
Let me get this straight, sex is not to be the object of humor?


in the context of beings being bound to samsara through it.

Do not try to deviate from this context!

Kind regards
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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:54 am

TMingyur wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:]Let me get this straight, sex is not to be the object of humor?


in the context of beings being bound to samsara through it.

Do not try to deviate from this context!

Kind regards
I have not a clue as to what you are talking about here.
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.

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Re: Sexual Misconduct

Postby adeh » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:16 am

TMingyur wrote: phil wrote:

I do not feel that humour is appropriate in the context of what binds beings in samsara.



Hi Mingyur

I would never joke about any kind of sexual violence or anger, or about many other forms of delusion that lead to harmful behaviour. But there is something absurd about how the perception of sex is created as being something beautiful, so I can't help but find it humorous.


A sad absurdity, yes.


I personally think this type of attitude to sexuality is just as unwholesome and unhealthy as one of overindulgence. Aversion to sexuality brings as much, if not more, suffering as it's opposite. This type of prudish aversion can bring about self loathing and ironically can be responsible for the worst types of sexual perversion. One only needs to look at the recent sex scandals in the Catholic church for evidence of the type of suffering and long term damage that is caused by unhealthy and repressive attitudes to sexuality. Shouldn't we be treading the middle path even when it comes to sexuality? Some of you seem to take the attitude that all sexuality is misconduct....and I don't think that is what the precept is about....it's about exercising your sexuality in a healthy and responsible manner and not causing suffering for yourself and others. Notice that in the quote from MN 73 the Buddha says that they are 'enjoying' sensual pleasures and not torturing themselves about it.....
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