It's been five weeks. I have found this practice very insightful. Tilt, if I understand you correctly you are NOT telling people to give in to their urges so as to avoid any self-loathing. Rather you are recommend a change of perspective, that being to observe the rise and fall of lust equanimously whilst enduring it, rather than fighting against it. I have attempted to mindfully observe lust whilst partaking in it, with no result. Also, if I remember correctly the Buddha denounced this approach in the Suttas. However, being celibate has made it must easier to see lust as it is because one is able, through endurance, to observe both the arising AND the fading away of lust, where as if they simply gave in they would continually be missing the fading away which is so essential. One point I feel is important to make is that this thread is not about overcoming lust completely, but rather giving up the coarse ADDICTION to masturbation and pornography which bring considerable grief and should certainly be abandoned. There are many, many Suttas in which the Buddha praises Brahmacharya, not just to the monastics but in general. There are no Suttas, to my knowledge, where the Buddha discourages celibacy, let alone lend forgiving words towards masturbation or voyeurism. Just because a person is lay doesn't mean they shouldn't attempt to abandon lustful behavior, nor does it mean that they should. It is all a matter of how serious you are about the practice. Buddhism is ultimately about renouncing craving, and watching pornography does nothing but generate extremely intense levels of craving.
To all on this thread who are attempting celibacy, I commend you. Don't beat yourself up for failing, it is often inevitable, but do not stop trying either. The more you try the more you learn. The trick is to become aware of lust as it arises and to LET IT GO. It's also very important to know your capabilities, and not to put yourself in a position of danger. Do not, for instances, cultivate lust, or allow lust to cultivate, thinking that you can handle it, and assuming that you won't give in. Lust changes the mindset completely, that is what makes giving masturbation up so difficult. Just today I was marveling at the joy of celibacy, feeling that I had finally made a breakthrough, only a few hours late to nearly give in to masturbation because I allowed lustful thoughts to develop in my mind. Lust always requires some energy on your part, the initial spark may seemingly come without your choosing but you must always CHOOSE to cultivate it further. There is always that moment of choice, the problem is that during that moment of choice you undergo a sudden mental shift (perhaps a spike of dopamine?) and suddenly nothing seems more right than just giving in. It feels so natural to give in and so unnatural, so uncomfortable, to simply let it pass and stop thinking about it. However, it is this unnatural, uncomfortable choice that must continuously be made if one wishes to be successful. The more often you make that choice the easier it becomes. As Buddha so aptly put it, to practice the Dhamma is to go against the stream. I wish all of you happiness, wisdom, and success.
EDIT: I also feel that it is beneficial that we have shameful feelings in regards to masturbation and pornography. Buddha praises shame as a protector. Fear of shame is a perfectly legitimate reason to avoid masturbation. Yes, it would likely be better to overcome lustful behaviors by seeing them as they are, through wisdom, however until this arises it does one little good to go about shamelessly indulging. It is through that practice of endurance and observation that wisdom develops. At the same time one should treat shame similar to the way they treat lust, just to endure it and let it pass. Do not cling to it, do not add to it. Do not wallow in self-view.
"No special techniques, just a great deal of patient endurance, and just being willing to endure through that without acting upon it and seeing it for what it was again and again"
Last edited by Moth
on Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:16 am, edited 11 times in total.