Sex with Courtesans and Married People

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

Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby pelletboy » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:51 pm

As it is said in the Dhamma its alright to have sex with women as long as they are not one of the 20 kinds of forbidden women. My question is 1.) what if a woman or a courtesan who is married didn't say she was married and you consummated with her will it be breaking the 3rd Precept?
2.) And what if a husband allows his wife to have sex with other men will it be a non-breach of the 3rd Precept?
3.) And what if you had sex with a married woman (or man) that has his or her wedding annulled (meaning it undoes the marriage, as if it never occurred) later?
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:32 pm

pelletboy wrote:As it is said in the Dhamma its alright to have sex with women as long as they are not one of the 20 kinds of forbidden women.


Where did you read that? I've always been curious as to what sexual misconduct is. All I have ever gotten from monks is that sexual misconduct would be sex with people who are not consenting adults and sex with people who are already committed ( monks and nuns in addition to married people ). If you could point to where you read that I would be grateful.

IMHO, whatever the definition is I think "what if...." is the wrong way to think about it. The precepts for lay people and the rules for monks are not sins as outlined by a deity doling out punishments. They are suggestions for achieving goals, like having a mind & life conducive to meditation or holding the sangha as well as the larger community together.

Thinking in terms of "what if..." and testing the letter of the law is the mentality of someone having a system imposed upon them. It isn't the mentality of someone who after choosing a goal takes expert advice for achieving that goal.

It is like deciding you want to lose 50 lbs and asking what will your personal trainer do if you go ahead and eat chochlate cake. Probably nothing, but you will still be stuck 50 lbs overweight.

Similarly, if you take intoxicants, lie, steal and sleep with whoever you please regardless of their circumstances, when you sit down to meditate every night you will likely spend your time with stress producing incidents buzzing around your brain instead of settling into some pleasing and productive state of absorption as someone who does not do as much of those things is more likely to enjoy.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:46 pm

I think that there might be more to the whole concept of Sila than that.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby bodom » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:28 pm

This short article may be helpful:

(3) Abstaining from sexual misconduct (kamesu miccha-cara veramani)

He avoids sexual misconduct and abstains from it. He has no intercourse with such persons as are still under the protection of father, mother, brother, sister or relatives, nor with married women, nor with female convicts, nor lastly, with betrothed girls.[32]

The guiding purposes of this precept, from the ethical standpoint, are to protect marital relations from outside disruption and to promote trust and fidelity within the marital union. From the spiritual standpoint it helps curb the expansive tendency of sexual desire and thus is a step in the direction of renunciation, which reaches its consummation in the observance of celibacy (brahmacariya) binding on monks and nuns. But for laypeople the precept enjoins abstaining from sexual relations with an illicit partner. The primary transgression is entering into full sexual union, but all other sexual involvements of a less complete kind may be considered secondary infringements.

The main question raised by the precept concerns who is to count as an illicit partner. The Buddha's statement defines the illicit partner from the perspective of the man, but later treatises elaborate the matter for both sexes.[33]

For a man, three kinds of women are considered illicit partners:

(1) A woman who is married to another man. This includes, besides a woman already married to a man, a woman who is not his legal wife but is generally recognized as his consort, who lives with him or is kept by him or is in some way acknowledged as his partner. All these women are illicit partners for men other than their own husbands. This class would also include a woman engaged to another man. But a widow or divorced woman is not out of bounds, provided she is not excluded for other reasons.

(2) A woman still under protection. This is a girl or woman who is under the protection of her mother, father, relatives, or others rightfully entitled to be her guardians. This provision rules out elopements or secret marriages contrary to the wishes of the protecting party.

(3) A woman prohibited by convention. This includes close female relatives forbidden as partners by social tradition, nuns and other women under a vow of celibacy, and those prohibited as partners by the law of the land.

From the standpoint of a woman, two kinds of men are considered illicit partners:

(1) For a married woman any man other than her husband is out of bounds. Thus a married woman violates the precept if she breaks her vow of fidelity to her husband. But a widow or divorcee is free to remarry.

(2) For any woman any man forbidden by convention, such as close relatives and those under a vow of celibacy, is an illicit partner.

Besides these, any case of forced, violent, or coercive sexual union constitutes a transgression. But in such a case the violation falls only on the offender, not on the one compelled to submit.

The positive virtue corresponding to the abstinence is, for laypeople, marital fidelity. Husband and wife should each be faithful and devoted to the other, content with the relationship, and should not risk a breakup to the union by seeking outside partners. The principle does not, however, confine sexual relations to the marital union. It is flexible enough to allow for variations depending on social convention. The essential purpose, as was said, is to prevent sexual relations which are hurtful to others. When mature independent people, though unmarried, enter into a sexual relationship through free consent, so long as no other person is intentionally harmed, no breach of the training factor is involved.

Ordained monks and nuns, including men and women who have undertaken the eight or ten precepts, are obliged to observe celibacy. They must abstain not only from sexual misconduct, but from all sexual involvements, at least during the period of their vows. The holy life at its highest aims at complete purity in thought, word, and deed, and this requires turning back the tide of sexual desire.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... d.html#ch4

:namaste:
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: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:58 pm

PeterB wrote:I think that there might be more to the whole concept of Sila than that.


Not much. Sila is about "practical" considerations, holding the community/sangha together, making your life conducive to meditation, reducing bad kamma/increasing good kamma and reducing suffering. It isn't about morality in the western religious sense where there is some god who is going to smack you down if you don't follow commandments. Sila is there, as strong advice, for your benefit and the benefit of your community.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:06 pm

Given your professed ambilivance to, and relative lack of exposure to, various aspects of Buddha Dhamma I think I will will elsewhere for homilies about its interpretation.
All of the teachers I respect talk about the centrality and subtlety of Sila.

PS Your interpretation of "Sati" is well off too.
Last edited by PeterB on Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:31 pm

Hi Peter;

I think you assessment of where I am coming from is wrong. I'm not a Buddhist. I do informally (outside of academia) study Buddhism at two viharas in my area. I also attend meditation classes at the viharas. Additionally, like everyone else here I read loads of books on my own.

It is my impression that what is Sila in Buddhism has nothing to do with what is "holy", right for the sake of being right, wrong for the sake of being wrong or something handed down from a divine entity. The ethical rules for lay people and monastics are a means to an end.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby bodom » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:47 pm

:focus:

:anjali:
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: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:04 pm

Jhana4 wrote:Hi Peter;

I think you assessment of where I am coming from is wrong. I'm not a Buddhist. I do informally (outside of academia) study Buddhism at two viharas in my area. I also attend meditation classes at the viharas. Additionally, like everyone else here I read loads of books on my own.

It is my impression that what is Sila in Buddhism has nothing to do with what is "holy", right for the sake of being right, wrong for the sake of being wrong or something handed down from a divine entity. The ethical rules for lay people and monastics are a means to an end.

I suggest that you find out a little more, in fact a lot more, before rushing to put finger to keyboard.
In comparing Sila to a Theistic view in any way even to express what it is not, you are demonstrating a shallow understanding .
In dismissing Sila as only a skillful means you are demonstrating a positive misunderstanding.
I know you are not a Buddhist.
All the more reason to be a little circumspect when in discussion with those who are.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby pelletboy » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:13 am

Hmmm... There isn't one answer that answers my questions spot on...Concepts of what virtue is and why we practice it, your opinions of them may be reserved for another topic. Please answer the questions specifically according to the Dhamma..
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby cooran » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:29 am

Hello Pelletboy, all,

This article may be of interest:

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

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:47 am

pelletboy wrote:As it is said in the Dhamma its alright to have sex with women as long as they are not one of the 20 kinds of forbidden women. My question is 1.) what if a woman or a courtesan who is married didn't say she was married and you consummated with her will it be breaking the 3rd Precept?
2.) And what if a husband allows his wife to have sex with other men will it be a non-breach of the 3rd Precept?
3.) And what if you had sex with a married woman (or man) that has his or her wedding annulled (meaning it undoes the marriage, as if it never occurred) later?

Hi,
my take on it:

1.) No, it all depends on intention.
2.) It still won't be a skillful action, again intention is what matters.
3.) Doesn't matter what happens later, in the very moment of doing a particular action intention is the crucial point.

I prefer a simple and easy approach to the precepts. In general they support establishment of a beneficial environment conductive for practice. The threefold training comes into mind: sila, samadhi, panna.
When one wants to have sex with someone who is married with someone else, the processes going on in the mind and the environment which will be created by doing so by means of thought, speech and action simply aren't conductive to practice. This can be easily understood by common sense, nearly everybody knows such scenario, one man desires the woman of another man and it causes problems.
Those things "stir up" the mind but we want to calm the mind. The keyword is: MINDFULNESS

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:05 am

PeterB wrote:Given your professed ambilivance to, and relative lack of exposure to, various aspects of Buddha Dhamma I think I will will elsewhere for homilies about its interpretation.
All of the teachers I respect talk about the centrality and subtlety of Sila.

PS Your interpretation of "Sati" is well off too.


Hi Peter. My view of what Sila is comes from the readings I have done from BPS materials, Thanisarro Bhikku, Bhikku Bodhi, discussing those writings and thinking about them for myself. My interpretation of "sati" comes from the Venerable Pannawanna, the meditation master at the Washington D.C. Buddhist Vihara.

If there is an alternative view, you haven't mentioned it nor the sources.

In regards to the opinion of your teachers (whoever they are) the idea that sila is central and subtle is not exclusive with the view that sila is not "god given", does not come from a divine source and is practiced as a means to an end ( walking the path, holding communities together, reducing suffering ).

All of those ends have a profound spot in a Buddhists life and reach into a Buddhist's life in many subtle ways.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby PeterB » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:29 pm

cooran wrote:Hello Pelletboy, all,

This article may be of interest:

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

with metta
Chris

Thanks for that Chris..its an excellent article by one of the most solid of western Theravadin thinkers.

As M.O'C says sex is not to be seen as cause for shame or guilt per se.
It is however a variety of Tanha, and should not be elevated either.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby Bodhisurfer » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:14 pm

Jhana4 wrote: ...I've always been curious as to what sexual misconduct is...


personally I take a much broader view of what sexual misconduct is. To me its far more than a physical act with someone outside of my existing relationship. -I would include looking upon someone lustfully in the street or even on tv. Also treating someone less favourably purely because of their gender is, to me, a form of sexual misconduct -I'm not claiming that i never do any of these things by the way but arent we all 'a work in progress' :buddha1:
Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:19 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
PeterB wrote:I think that there might be more to the whole concept of Sila than that.[/quote

Not much. Sila is about "practical" considerations, holding the community/sangha together, making your life conducive to meditation, reducing bad kamma/increasing good kamma and reducing suffering. It isn't about morality in the western religious sense where there is some god who is going to smack you down if you don't follow commandments. Sila is there, as strong advice, for your benefit and the benefit of your community.


I don't see anything terribly at odds with the Buddha Dhamma here. Christian morality and Buddhist morality do attack the same problem from different angles, and for different reasons. But I think the tone of your post here runs the risk of marginalizing something that is very fundamental for progress in this Dhamma. If we were to employ the shelter metaphor - Building your shelter from the storm of death - Nibbana being the shelter in it's complete form, then Sila is the foundations, the cornerstone.

Practical? Yes. Important? Very.
"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
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:34 pm

Hi Blackbird, it isn't clear from your quoting who you are referring to. I'll assume you are referring to me. I don't understand how believing that sila was not handed down by a deity and believing that it is a means to an end equates to minimizing its role in the dhamma.

The origin of sila or its "non-holy" ( a term which may not make sense in Buddhist philosophy since gods have much less importance ) doesn't change the (high) level of importance of it in Buddhism. Sila is all over the canon.

I think that unconscious westernization of sila is also why some people get upset when it is discussed. In western religions something that is not of holy origins is of less value. Having that attitude I can see why a person running on unconscious western religious assumptions would get offended when someone would point out the non-divine origins of sila. Saying it is not holy would be the same as saying it is not important......on an emotional level, though that would be far from the case on a rational level.

Personally, as someone who is not a "secular humanist", but who comes from a similar background, sila, on an emotional level, has more importance to me as something with "wordly" reasons for its extreme importance. Those reasons translate into visible, understandable value.........much more than a set arbitrary laws with mythical origins that may never have existed.
Last edited by Jhana4 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:41 pm

cooran wrote:Hello Pelletboy, all,

This article may be of interest:

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

with metta
Chris


Bookmarking it for later, thanks!
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:54 pm

Jhana4 I was refering to you. Looking over it, I must have stuffed up the quote brackets. To clarify I meant the tone of your post in general and not your interesting points on westerners unintentinally bringing Christian ethics to a Buddhist party. Be that as it may your tone seems to insinuate to me (perhaps I'm reading too much into this) that sila is not the be all and end all and it's a guideline kind of thing rather than something that one should perservere with, to the best of their ability.

The Buddha would not have spoken lightly of the importance of sila for making progress in his Dhamma. It is of the utmost importance for very practical reasons - The pursual of nibbana, or failing that the avoidance of hell and the animal realm and a long, healthy and happy life in the present. Perhaps in return you could clarify how much of this view accords with your own, and if it does not - On what grounds.
Last edited by BlackBird on Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby ground » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:55 pm

pelletboy wrote:As it is said ... its alright to have sex with ......
And what if you had sex with ...

Actually these are thoughts I would not recommend to engage in ... I do not think that pondering in this way can lead to detachment. On the contrary i feel such kinds of thoughts are manifestations of habits already prevalent and entail further enhancement of those habits

Kind regards
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