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).

Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:26 pm

Jhana4 wrote: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.


Exactly... I think that was basically the brahmins' mindset at the time of the Buddha. So, one should be careful not to elevate himself just by his adherence to something, such as Sila (i.e., by parroting, or by claiming that he sees it as something divine). It's meant to be practiced, leading to an holy life... but not seen as something that is holy in itself. (Hope that makes sense.)

Bodhisurfer wrote: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:


I think that's really admirable. Maybe I should start focusing on thinking in that way. :)

:anjali:
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby PeterB » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:41 pm

No one has suggested that Sila can or should stand alone...but it is of the essence nevertheless.
To approach Buddha Dhamma from a stand point of rejection of moral absolutes and value judgements because of association with our own cultural conditioning is to risk grave error.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:05 pm

PeterB wrote:No one has suggested that Sila can or should stand alone...but it is of the essence nevertheless.


Yes, I agree. The Triple Jewel of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:37 pm

Marriage is not a sacrament in Buddhism. There is no requirement for Buddhists to be married or to not marry (except for monastics of course). Therefore, the standard of no sex outside of marriage rule that most of us have been conditioned to from our Judeo-Christian backgrounds may not apply.

During the Buddha's time and after there were examples of polygamy and polyandry and there were no direct statements by the Buddha against these forms of non-monogamous marriages. However, if we look at the spirit of the teachings, they are clearly to move us away from tanha / too much craving. And there are other quotes which seem to imply or infer that monogamy is the best. For example, the Buddha teaches on how a wife should treat her husband and also how a husband should treat his wife. It appears to at least be a sort of middle ground between "rigid puritanism" and "total permissiveness".
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:09 pm

BlackBird wrote: 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.


I do believe it is a guideline. I don't see it as an "end all be all" in itself, but only as part of the goals of walking the meditative path and reducing bad kamma, but maybe that is mincing words as those are huge things and sila contributes much to making both happen.

From my perspective as a meditator the value of sila has always seemed matter of fact, obvious to me without the need to put it on a pedestal and shine lights on it. However, that is me and I do realize that other people may benefit from having it presented to them with more emphasis.

If you could articulate to me what about my previous post made it look like I was implying sila was trivial I would be grateful to know.

Thanks
Last edited by Jhana4 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:21 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.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:20 pm

PeterB wrote:No one has suggested that Sila can or should stand alone...but it is of the essence nevertheless.
To approach Buddha Dhamma from a stand point of rejection of moral absolutes and value judgments because of association with our own cultural conditioning is to risk grave error.


I can't agree with that, if what you are writing is advocating following sila without question.

Kamma is driven by intention. I see better results coming from questioning the "why" behind the rules and owning the "why" than just following the rules because they are the rules.

On a mundane level, consider the precept against intoxicants. That precept is there not to avoid intoxicants as end in itself, but to avoid bad situations and bad kamma that may result from letting your brain function becoming impaired. If you understand the reasoning behind that precept it becomes more powerful. For instance, tea was never considered as an intoxicant, but a modern Buddhist can know that is s/he has had too much s/he acts in a short tempered way angering many people. If that modern Buddhist was only concerned about following the letter of the law, s/he might continue to use tea. However, if she questioned the spirit of the law, the reason and goals behind the rule, s/he would see that using less tea would apply to that precept.

As another example, if a monk needed surgery. The anasthesia before the surgery and perhaps a pain killer after the surgery would certainly impair their brain function. Following the precept without question would disallow the surgery. Knowing the reasoning behind it would allow the surgery to happen.
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 7:40 pm

No, that is not "what I am writing".
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:43 am

Hi All,

Right view (mundane or supramundane) should be the reason for sila. What does that tell you?

"And what, monks, is right view? Knowledge with regard to stress, knowledge with regard to the origination of stress, knowledge with regard to the stopping of stress, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the stopping of stress: This, monks, is called right view.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/stream2.html

"And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby santa100 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:52 am

Usually when the term "sexual misconduct" is mentioned, it means that's something bad, illegal, unwholesome...and especially something that one wants to hide or cover up. So, with that definition, before sex, ask your partner this question: "Suppose right now (just a big suppose), we're going to "do" it in broad day-light in front of all of our friends, relatives, loved ones... do you or any of them feel much suffering (little embarassment is ok)?" If yes, then better to rethink about what you're doing...
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby alan » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:50 am

That is a plainly awful question which has no relevance to any moral situation.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby alan » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:05 am

Sorry, santa. Didn't mean to bite your head off. But that statement wasn't really thought out properly, was it?
To be positive, you seem to have stumbled onto a way to solve the problem of overpopulation.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby chownah » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:20 am

alan wrote:That is a plainly awful question which has no relevance to any moral situation.

alan,
I think that the method he is suggesting is pretty much a standard approach to morality...the idea is that if you have to hide some activity then you should try to discern why you have to hide it and that quite often you hide it because it is not moral....the only difference here is that he is applying it ot the sex act explicitely.

Another application of this method is to consider telling someone something in confidence (a secret)....if something can't be said in public then perhaps (note "perhaps" here....not "obviously"....not "assuredly") you should not be saying it at all.

I think it is a valuable technique to help in finding out (note "help" here...not "conclusively") what actions one should not engage in....it is just one method to aid introspection....

I don't know if applying this method to the sex act will help us understand something (note "something" here...not "something valuable"..not "everything"...not "important things")about our inner feelings about the sex act and my view is that pondering this can be valuable...although I'm not sure that it will lead where santa100 might (note "might" not "does" not "obviously") think it does.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby alan » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:53 am

If this is the "standard approach" to morality, it is an obvious fail, as it is wildly inappropriate in dealing with sexual issues.
The rest of your post is unreadable.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby santa100 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:13 am

Hey Alan, patience, close attention, and investigation are virtues of Theravadins. Don't jump to conclusion too quickly. Look at Chownah, at least he investigated and analyzed my statement. The reason I like Buddhism and the Theravada tradition because they're pragmatic. After all, if religions aren't there to help solving the troubles of our lives, what's the point of talking about them? Chownah pretty much got my idea. Guess I could clarify my approach by stating it in a more diplomatic or sensible way. All I was trying to say is to emphasize the concept of "transparency". Any kind of precept violation has zero transparency, including sexual misconduct obviously. Thus I stand by my previous statement because of this: if I was legally married to my wife, then suppose (Again, I have to emphasize the big word SUPPOSE this time), we're to get "busy" in broad day-light, in front of friends, relatives, loved ones, nobody, not my wife, not my friends, not my relatives, NOBODY will object to what we're doing. Embarassment? Of course yes, but objection? resentment? suffering? NO! Now that's "transparency". Beside, it's all common sense, hey, if you don't do anything wrong, then what is there to hide?
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby BlackBird » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:24 am

Actually, I would object to seeing you and your partner get busy. I imagine some people would be resentful, some people would be jealous, some people would find it disgusting, some people would want to hurt you or harm you and some people might even go through with such an act of violence. Any action whereby you encourage negative mental states in yourself or others is a harmful action which creates a lot of suffering. Nobody would object to your right to have sex with your wife. But very few people in the world would want to see it. I guarantee you if they were forced to watch you and your partner 'get busy' then there would be a lot more dishes on the emotional smorgasbord than just embarrassment.

No offense intended, but this is a really silly example you've put forth and it doesn't aid your case in the slightest.
"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 chownah » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:35 am

BlackBird wrote: Nobody would object to your right to have sex with your wife. But very few people in the world would want to see it.

Some people spend hours on the internet searching for similar things....and then PAY for it!!!
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby alan » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:50 am

That is the type of juvenile response you have become famous for, chownah.
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby santa100 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:02 am

Obviously I'm lousy at describing well-intended ideas. I did use the world Suppose to raise a hypothetical situation to convey the "transparency" idea. I'm not advocating "exhibitionism" or anything. There's no way in....I would do that act in broad daylight in front of people. But just for a hypothetical situation, I don't know, you forget to close your window, or locking your door, your friends and relatives sneak into your house for a surprised birthday party,.... whatever hypothetical situations there are, they key I'm trying to address is the "transparency" of our actions. If 2 people are engaging in sexual misconduct, their friends, relatives, and loved ones will not approve of them. If they're legally married, and for some hypothetical reason, their friends, relatives, and loved ones happen to see them getting "busy", then there's no problem. I'm sure if you could take just a few minutes to contemplate on my true intention, you'll understand what I'm trying to say. At least, there's 1 guy who understood me. I really have good intention here. I certainly am not advocating any pervert practice....
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Re: Sex with Courtesans and Married People

Postby BlackBird » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:12 am

Okay, I think I see where you're coming from here - Please clarify: I think You're saying that if you and your wife were going at it in your bedroom and by some accident a relative walked in on you, they wouldn't feel what you were doing was wrong, they would just feel embarrassed. If that's what you were driving at, I understand.

A much simpler way of putting this whole thing is to say: "What would society think of this, and is their judgement fair and justified."
"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 santa100 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:24 am

Yes, thank you, "by some accident, your friends, loved ones, relatives walk in"....that's it. That's what I meant when I tried to describe the principle of "transparency". That's all it is, precept, morality,...you know you have it if you have nothing to hide...
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