daverupa wrote:I think the cultural trappings gave an emphasis to the benefits of the practice, whereas earlier exegetical treatments emphasized the utter danger of sensual pleasures generally, sex being simply one among them.
The simile of bait-hook-escape describes benefits in a way that doesn't require reference to heavenly realms, while at the same time being in agreement with the general attitude of dispassion and the rejection of enmeshment with sensuality. The cultural motivation of heaven may no longer be appropriate for some, but the bait-hook-escape approach remains valid.
I've been pondering over this "bait-hook-escape" approach... is that similar to what was described in the Lotus Sutra, where the Buddha (or so claimed) said that it wouldn't be proper to charge him with falsehood, since there is always this concern for him to lead us to liberation?
A couple metaphors were used to illustrate this: a wealthy merchant tells his children that he has various go-karts for them, to draw them out of the burning house; and a doctor sends his children the news that he's dead, so that they would be frightened into taking the medicine.
Another point: a recent news in the lounge (about sex abuse), and someone's response to it by sharing that the temples would hold beauty contests every year reminded me of what was shared in here... that if we practice celibacy we will go to sensual heavens, such as the one with 500 footed apsaras.
It seems like (ironic or not) these beauty contests are akin to being in the apsara heaven. When one goes celibate, it's inevitable (and I know this from experience) that the person will find himself in a situation like that sooner or later, and not only that, his perception would be altered in some ways (i.e., certain qualities will stand out in the women, such as their beauty, the desirableness, etc., due to the unresolved sexual energy).
That is just how it is when one goes celibate... and I think the Buddha described it. I doubt that he was offering it as a reward, but as a caution... albeit it's couched.
Do you think the Buddha bait anyone like that? I think the interpretation is inaccurate.