There is no fire like lust

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom
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fearandloving
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There is no fire like lust

Postby fearandloving » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:47 am

I've heard many many different approaches for overcoming/understanding sexuality, but my mind always finds a loop hole somewhere. When I'm feeling "true", for lack of a better word, or maybe "authentic", then I don't want any involvement with relationships or sexuality. I feel very sure of myself in these moments. Then one day the fire comes, an I end up doing something that I regret. Here are some examples of how my mind persuades me to doing these things.
"Sexuality should be explored, not denied. Just look at all of nature, sexuality is everywhere, you should embrace it."
"Sexual energy can be harnessed and used as a spiritual path, don't smother those possibilities."
"By denying yourself what you want, your just involved in self deception. Better to be honest and real than to just pretend in favor of a life devoid of sexuality."
"The only reason you deny sexuality is because you are a coward and are afraid of intimacy. You should use sexuality as a learning experience."

And then, of course, every time, if I follow through with it I hear myself saying "well that was stupid, I won't let that happen again."

Is this familiar to anyone? It's very schizo, very intense how easily I go along with one side, then the other, then the other...
If anyone's found a way out of this cycle I'm all ears.

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby Virgo » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:52 am

Fire burns and scorches.

Kevin

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby culaavuso » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:54 am

fearandloving wrote:Is this familiar to anyone? It's very schizo, very intense how easily I go along with one side, then the other, then the other...


It might be useful to read Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu's description of "the committee of the mind" starting at the bottom of page 10 in the book With Each and Every Breath

Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:One of the first things you learn about the mind as you get started in meditation is that it has many minds. This is because you have many different ideas about how to satisfy your hungers and find well-being, and many different desires based on those ideas. These ideas boil down to different notions about what constitutes happiness, where it can be found, and what you are as a person: your needs for particular kinds of pleasure, and your abilities to provide those pleasures. Each desire thus acts as a seed for a particular sense of who you are and the world you live in.
...
You’ll find that, in some cases, different desires share common ideas of what happiness is and who you are (such as your desires for establishing a safe and stable family). In others, their ideas conflict (as when your desires for your family conflict with your desires for immediate pleasure regardless of the consequences).
...

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby Virgo » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:05 am

What is pleasant, and what is painful?

Here is the answer:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.065.niza.html

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby Weakfocus » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:33 pm

fearandloving wrote:Is this familiar to anyone?

I think it is safe to say all men who try to overcome lust and live the celibate life are aware of this phenomenon. I spent over a decade in this extremely frustrating cycle, even though I knew the way out all along.

fearandloving wrote:If anyone's found a way out of this cycle I'm all ears.

Yes. The cure is daily meditation. And it is working for me.

Merely will-power and determination are not enough to supress -let alone eliminate- lust. My teacher Goenkaji taught that sīla, samadhi and paññā support each other. You need all three to be strong to make progress.

So if you want to overcome the fires of lust:

  • take a strong vow to stay away from content that trigger lustful states of mind, and equally importantly
  • meditate twice daily. I do Anapana meditation as taught by Goenkaji.

There might be a few initial failures, and the first few months in particular might be rather difficult. You may feel symptoms of addiction withdrawl, at least I did. But if you persist with daily meditation practice you will eventually have much greater control over your mind, and lust will not overpower you.

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby Virgo » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:22 pm

Being completely celibate as a lay person, in the way that a bhikkhu is, is very challenging. A bhikkhu has less contact with women, all women know he is a celibate (or learn it pretty quickly if they are around him, generally speaking), he eats less, which helps to reduce passion, and he is a lot of time for meditation on vileness of the body, and so forth.

A lay person,] eats more, is more active, has many more instances of contact through the 6 sense doors with females (or males), has more stress, less concentration, and overall is in a bad situation for dealing with lust.

The best you can probably hope for is to limit all direct sexual contact - that is not too difficult. Having a mind free of passion, however, is not so easy. Nevertheless, you can just do your best, and most importantly, do not commit sexual misconduct, and also not flirt or arouse sexuality in others.

all the best,

Kevin

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby Unrul3r » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:50 pm

The Buddha's four approaches of Right effort seems suitable.

1. Sense restraint

AN 4.14 wrote:“And what, bhikkhus, is striving by restraint? Here, having seen a form with the eye, a bhikkhu does not grasp its marks and features. Since, if he left the eye faculty unrestrained, bad unwholesome states of longing and dejection might invade him, he practices restraint over it, he guards the eye faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the eye faculty. Having heard a sound with the ear . . . Having smelled an odor with the nose . . . Having tasted a taste with the tongue . . . Having felt a tactile object with the body . . . Having cognized a mental phenomenon with the mind, a bhikkhu does not grasp its marks and features. Since, if he left the mind faculty unrestrained, bad unwholesome states of longing and dejection might invade him, he practices restraint over it, he guards the mind faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the mind faculty. This is called striving by restraint.

In this specific case:
Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha wrote:23. Then the Venerable Ananda said to the Blessed One: "How, Lord, should we conduct ourselves towards women?"

"Do not see them, Ananda."

"But, Lord, if we do see them?"

"Do not speak, Ananda."

"But, Lord, if they should speak to us?"

"Then, Ananda, you should establish mindfulness."

Can also be applied to men.

2. Removal \ Abandonment

AN 4.14 wrote:“And what is striving by abandonment? Here, a bhikkhu does not tolerate an arisen sensual thought; he abandons it, dispels it, terminates it, and obliterates it. He does not tolerate an arisen thought of ill will . . . an arisen thought of harming . . . bad unwholesome states whenever they arise; he abandons them, dispels them, terminates them, and obliterates them. This is called striving by abandonment.

In this case, you can counter your thoughts with some reasonable arguments:
fearandloving wrote:"Sexuality should be explored, not denied. Just look at all of nature, sexuality is everywhere, you should embrace it."

It's not really everywhere, there are plenty of examples of healthy celibates.
fearandloving wrote:"Sexual energy can be harnessed and used as a spiritual path, don't smother those possibilities."

Well, according to the Buddha, they are quite opposing intentions or mutually exclusive. How will you be pursuing meditative bliss while sexual bliss is pulling the other way? If you are "yoking" onto a man\woman how would there be any motivation to yoke onto a meditation object? If you are grabbing on, how do you let go?
fearandloving wrote:"By denying yourself what you want, your just involved in self deception. Better to be honest and real than to just pretend in favor of a life devoid of sexuality."

Does honesty mean fulfilling your wants? Or just knowing your wants? Does every desire have to lead to action for there to be honesty? If not, does it mean self-deception or restraint? Is honesty the same as integrity?

From another point of view, from where does that desire come? Is it from you? Or from how you see men\women? If it's from how you see things, does the question of honesty still stand?
fearandloving wrote:"The only reason you deny sexuality is because you are a coward and are afraid of intimacy. You should use sexuality as a learning experience."

Does sexuality not eventually lead to attachment? Doesn't attachment eventually lead to separation? Doesn't separation mean suffering? If all beings want to be happy, is it really being a coward to avoid unnecessary suffering or courageous?

3. & 4. Development & Up-keeping

AN 4.14 wrote:“And what is striving by development? Here, a bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. He develops the enlightenment factor of discrimination of phenomena . . . the enlightenment factor of energy . . . the enlightenment factor of rapture . . . the enlightenment factor of tranquility . . . the enlightenment factor of concentration . . . the enlightenment factor of equanimity, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. This is called striving by development.
“And what is striving by protection? Here, a bhikkhu protects an arisen excellent object of concentration: the perception of a skeleton, the perception of a worm-infested corpse, the perception of a livid corpse, the perception of a festering corpse, the perception of a fissured corpse, the perception of a bloated corpse. This is called striving by protection.

In this specific case:
Focus & Keep your attention on a calming theme while doing normal things. Doesn't have to be these perceptions, the breath can be useful for example. But these specific perceptions do help with lust. This way your attention does not cross sexually attractive objects.

Hope this helps.

:namaste:

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby Jetavan » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:31 pm

fearandloving wrote:I've heard many many different approaches for overcoming/understanding sexuality, but my mind always finds a loop hole somewhere. When I'm feeling "true", for lack of a better word, or maybe "authentic", then I don't want any involvement with relationships or sexuality. I feel very sure of myself in these moments. Then one day the fire comes, an I end up doing something that I regret. Here are some examples of how my mind persuades me to doing these things.
"Sexuality should be explored, not denied. Just look at all of nature, sexuality is everywhere, you should embrace it."
"Sexual energy can be harnessed and used as a spiritual path, don't smother those possibilities."
"By denying yourself what you want, your just involved in self deception. Better to be honest and real than to just pretend in favor of a life devoid of sexuality."
"The only reason you deny sexuality is because you are a coward and are afraid of intimacy. You should use sexuality as a learning experience."

And then, of course, every time, if I follow through with it I hear myself saying "well that was stupid, I won't let that happen again."

Is this familiar to anyone? It's very schizo, very intense how easily I go along with one side, then the other, then the other...
If anyone's found a way out of this cycle I'm all ears.

Are you in an intimate, committed relationship?

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby manas » Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:05 am

fearandloving wrote:...And then, of course, every time, if I follow through with it I hear myself saying "well that was stupid, I won't let that happen again."

Is this familiar to anyone? It's very schizo, very intense how easily I go along with one side, then the other, then the other...
If anyone's found a way out of this cycle I'm all ears.


Hi fearandloving,

Sounds to me that, like 95% of us layfolk, you are not ready for the completely celibate life. I suggest finding a 'middle ground' here, between the extremes of pure lust, and complete abstinence. Something like a steady sexual elationship with a woman you truly respect, and might even grow to care for could be one way to resolve this, what do you think?

By the way, these thoughts that you have sometimes:

"By denying yourself what you want, your just involved in self deception. Better to be honest and real than to just pretend in favor of a life devoid of sexuality."
"The only reason you deny sexuality is because you are a coward and are afraid of intimacy. You should use sexuality as a learning experience."


I think these are valid points, and worth considering. Sexual desire isn't something you can just pound out of existence as if with a sledgehammer, no matter how many times you see some folks talking as though it could be. You will most probably be dealing with some sexual desire for a very long time, so rather than trying to either eradicate it, or then swinging to the other extreme and totally indulging in it in a way that disappoints you, I suggest accepting it for now, being at peace with it, and finding a way where you can express it (sexual desire) in the least unwholesome way possible - which as I said, is within a respectful and loving relationship. (Personally though, so long as it doesn't break the precepts, I don't see sex as inherently unwholesome at all...it's neither good nor bad, it's just a natural biological need. Which we can overcome when we become anagamis...)

kind regards
manas
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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby boris » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:52 am

fearandloving wrote:I've heard many many different approaches for overcoming/understanding sexuality, but my mind always finds a loop hole somewhere. When I'm feeling "true", for lack of a better word, or maybe "authentic", then I don't want any involvement with relationships or sexuality. I feel very sure of myself in these moments. Then one day the fire comes, an I end up doing something that I regret. [...]
And then, of course, every time, if I follow through with it I hear myself saying "well that was stupid, I won't let that happen again."

Is this familiar to anyone? It's very schizo, very intense how easily I go along with one side, then the other, then the other...
If anyone's found a way out of this cycle I'm all ears.


We conclude that, unlike a 'normal' person who may take a drug once in a way for the novelty or pleasure of the effect, and who at that time becomes 'abnormal', the confirmed addict is 'normal' only when he has taken the drug, and becomes 'abnormal' when he is deprived of it. The addict reverses the usual situation and is dependent upon the drug to keep him in his normal integrated state. (This does not mean, of course, that the addict derives pleasure from occasional deprivation as the abstainer does from occasional intoxication; quite the contrary: in both cases the drugged state is more pleasant, but for the one it is normal and for the other it is abnormal.) The addict can only do his work efficiently and perform his normal functions if he takes the drug, and it is in this condition that he will make plans for the future. (If he cannot take the drug the only plan he makes is to obtain another dose as quickly as possible.) If he decides that he must give up his addiction to the drug (it is too expensive; it is ruining his reputation or his career; it is undermining his health; and so on) he will make the decision only when he is in a fit state to consider the matter, that is to say when he is drugged; and it is from this (for him, normal) point of view that he will envisage the future. (Thus, it was as a smoker that I decided to give up smoking.) But as soon as the addict puts his decisions into effect and stops taking the drug he ceases to be normal, and decisions taken when he was normal now appear in quite a different light—and this will include his decision to stop taking the drug. Either, then, he abandons the decision as invalid ('How could I possibly have decided to do such a thing? I must have been off my head') and returns to his drug-taking, or (though he approves the decision) he feels it urgently necessary to return to the state in which he originally took the decision (which was when he was drugged) in order to make the decision seem valid again. (And so it was that I felt the urgent need of a cigarette to confirm my decision to give them up.) In both cases the result is the same—a return to the drug. And so long as the addict takes his 'normal' drugged state for granted at its face value—i.e. as normal—, the same thing will happen whenever he tries to give up his addiction.

Not only is the drug addict in a vicious circle—the more he takes the more he wants, the more he wants the more he takes --, but until he learns to take an outside view of his situation, and is able to see the nature of drug-addiction, he will find that all his attempts to force a way out of the vicious circle simply lead him back in again. (A vicious circle is thus a closed system in stable equilibrium.) It is only when the addict understands addiction, and holds fast to the right view that—in spite of all appearances, in spite of all temptations to think otherwise—his 'normal' drugged state is not normal, that he will be able to put up with the temporary discomfort of deprivation and eventually get free from his addiction. In brief, then, an addict decides to give up drugs, and he supposes that in order to do so all that is necessary is to give them up (which would certainly be a glimpse of the obvious were it not that he is profoundly deceiving himself, as he very soon finds out). No sooner does he start giving them up than he discovers (if he is very unintelligent) that he is mistaken and has made the wrong decision, or (if he is less unintelligent) that though the decision is right he is wrong about the method, and that in order to give up drugs it is necessary to take them. It is only the intelligent man who understands (against all appearances) that both the decision and the method are right; and it is only he that succeeds. For the intelligent man, then, the instruction 'to give up drugs it is necessary to give them up', far from being a glimpse of the obvious, is a profound truth revealing the nature of addiction and leading to escape from it.

I would ask you to pause before dismissing this account as fanciful; this same theme—the vicious circle and the escape from it by way of understanding and in spite of appearances—is the very essence of the Buddha's Teaching. The example discussed above—drug-addiction—is on a coarse level, but you will find the theme repeated again and again right down to the finest level, that of the four noble truths. It will, I think, be worthwhile to illustrate this from the Suttas.

In the 75th Sutta of the Majjhima Nikāya (M.i,506-8) the Buddha shows the vicious circle of sensual desire and its gratification in the simile of a man with a skin disease (kutthi—a leper?). Imagine a man with a fiercely itching skin disease who, to relieve the itching, scratches himself with his nails and roasts himself near a brazier. The more he does this the worse becomes his condition, but this scratching and roasting give him a certain satisfaction. In the same way, a man with finely itching sensual desire seeks relief from it in sensual gratification. The more he gratifies it the stronger becomes his desire, but in the gratification of his desire he finds a certain pleasure. Suppose, now, that the skin disease were cured; would that man continue to find satisfaction in scratching and roasting himself? By no means. So, too, a man who is cured of sensual desire (an arahat) will find no more pleasure in sensual gratification.

Let us extend the simile a little. You, as a doctor, know very well that to cure an itching skin disease the first thing to do is to prevent the patient from scratching and making it worse. Unless this can be done there is no hope of successfully treating the condition. But the patient will not forego the satisfaction of scratching unless he is made to understand that scratching aggravates the condition, and that there can be no cure unless he voluntarily restrains his desire to scratch, and puts up with the temporarily increased discomfort of unrelieved itching. And similarly, a person who desires a permanent cure from the torment of sensual desire must first be made to understand that he must put up with the temporarily increased discomfort of celibacy (as a bhikkhu) if the Buddha's treatment is to be successful. Here, again, the way out of the vicious circle is through an understanding of it and through disregard of the apparent worsening of the condition consequent upon self-restraint.
http://nanavira.org/index.php/letters/p ... 5-may-1962
The man who wants to avoid grotesque collapses should not look for anything to fulfill him in space and time.

Nicolás Gómez Dávila

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby fearandloving » Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:14 pm

Wow thank you all so much! This is tremendous. To respond to a few things:

~ The last posting about the drug addiction cycle is spot on. This is exactly what happens to me. Of course, I never consciously think "Well I really wanted to cease sexual activity, but the only real way for me to do that is to do it again", but that's what happens. It's almost like I need to go through the experience again so I can have the moment of "that was stupid, I don't want that."... Because when I DO want that, then that overpowers me and it's all I can think of, and it completely eradicates any other motivation I had. I believe any arguments towards sexuality when I am in this state. I am going to print off this section and make a vow to at least read this before acting upon anything, hopefully it will snap me out of it.

To Manas ~ I've been back and forth with this same question. "Maybe it would be better to just be involved in a sexual relationship with someone that includes genuine love and intimacy." However, there are a few problems here. The last relationship I was in ended because, even though I have temporary moments of passion, overall I prefer solitude, and eventually I do plan to spend a large amount of my life either ordained, or living a similar lifestyle. I still see her and we have occasionally been intimate with each other over the last few months, even though I promised myself I wouldn't let this happen. I don't want this to continue because it's not fair to her, since we have different ideas of what we want for our future. I think the only way I could be in a sexual relationship that was healthy is if we were both on the same page of "This is just a temporary thing, we love each other, we care for each other, and we will be intimate with each other as we grow into ourselves, but neither of us have the desire to possess each other, feed off of each other, or establish a future together. We are not attached to expectations" I seriously doubt that this type of relationship exists, so it's best for me to be alone so I don't hurt anyone. I also get too involved in relationships and my practice dwindles away, and I don't like this either.

Unrul3r -
Does honesty mean fulfilling your wants? Or just knowing your wants? Does every desire have to lead to action for there to be honesty? If not, does it mean self-deception or restraint? Is honesty the same as integrity?

From another point of view, from where does that desire come? Is it from you? Or from how you see men\women? If it's from how you see things, does the question of honesty still stand?


This is very helpful, thank you! You are right that being honest doesn't have anything to do with acting upon everything that pops up in my head, I guess that's a way that I was deceiving myself. "To be authentic you have to act in accordance with your thoughts"... I can't help but laugh at that now. Of course that's not true, sometimes I get angry and feel a strong urge to plunge my first into the other person, but doing so wouldn't be a "brave display of authenticity", of course not, it would be barbaric and an indication that I have no control over my impulses. Sometimes it's hilarious how easily I can lie to myself and believe it. Thank you for shedding light on this aspect :thanks:

Also -
Does sexuality not eventually lead to attachment? Doesn't attachment eventually lead to separation? Doesn't separation mean suffering? If all beings want to be happy, is it really being a coward to avoid unnecessary suffering or courageous?


Unfortunately, in a lot of my experience, going through suffering is a valued characteristic. In many movies I've seen growing up, or books that I've read, the wise and caring person is the one who has gone through the most suffering, the bravest and most admired character is the one with many scars, whether emotional or physical. I have been accused of being a coward for not wanting to involve myself in too many relationships, for preferring to spend time alone, for preferring to meditate instead of socialize. This is where it's helpful to remember that most of the Buddha's teachings are against the grain of society, and to not let that dissuade me.

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby binocular » Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:13 pm

/.../

If it is possible to live with a purpose, what should that purpose be? A purpose might be a guiding principle, a philosophy, or a value of sovereign importance that informs and directs our activities and thoughts. To have one is to live seriously — though not necessarily wisely — following some track, believing in a hub to the wheeling universe or a sea toward which we flow or an end before which all the hubbub of civilization subsides. What is your purpose, friend, or what should it be?

Perhaps most of us do not come to a clear conclusion in the matter, but this does not mean we have no purpose, only that we do not recognize it or admit it or even choose it for ourselves. In the unhappiest case nature simply takes its course, which is a turbid meandering through the swamps of desire. If life means nothing then only pleasure is worthwhile; or if life has meaning and we cannot get at it then still only enjoyment matters — such is the view of brutes and some sophisticated philosophers. It slips into the unconscious by default when we hold no other, but we are reluctant to entertain it and will rather, if we think about it, take as our purpose support of family, search for beauty, improvement of society, fame, self-expression, development of talent, and so on. But it might be fair to say that apart from these or beneath these the fundamental purpose of many of us is the search for love, particularly romantic love.

The love of a man for a woman and a woman for a man is often the floor to which people fall after the collapse of other dreams. It is held to be solid when nothing else is, and though it frequently gives way and dumps them into a basement of despair, it still enjoys a reputation of dependability. No matter that this reputation is illogical — it still flourishes and will continue to flourish regardless of what is said in any book. Love, or possibly the myth of love, is the first, last, and sometimes the only refuge of uncomprehending humanity. What else makes our hearts beat so fast? What else makes us swoon with feeling? What else renders us so intensely alive and aching? The search for love — the sublime, the nebulous, the consuming — remains sacred in a world that increasingly despises the sacred. When the heroic and the transcendental are but memories, when religious institutions fill up with bureaucrats and social scientists, when nobody believes there is a sky beyond the ceiling, then there seems no other escape from the prison of self than the abandon of love. With a gray age of spiritual deadness upon us, we love, or beg for love, or grieve for love. We have nothing higher to live for.

Indeed, many take it on faith that romantic love is the highest thing to live for. Popular literature, movies, art, and music tirelessly celebrate it as the one truth accessible to all. Such love obliterates reason, as poets have long sweetly lamented, and this is part of its charm and power, because we want to be swept up and spirited out of our calculating selves. "Want" is the key word, for in the spiritual void of modern life the wanting of love becomes increasingly indistinguishable from love itself. So powerful, so insistent is it that we seldom notice that the gratification is rare and the craving relentless. Love is mostly in anticipation; it is an agony of anticipation; it is an ache for a completion not found in the dreary round of mundane routine. That we never seem to possess it in its imagined fullness does not deter us. It hurts so bad that it must be good.

Practically nobody questions the supremacy of romantic love, which is good enough reason to do a little poking around the foundations of its pedestal. Who is entirely satisfied with the romance in his or her life? Who has found the sublime rapture previously imagined? And if one has actually found such a thing, does it last, or does it not rather change and decline from the peak of ecstasy? And if it declines what becomes of one's purpose in life? If a purpose is achieved it is no longer a purpose; it can no longer guide or sustain us. Does one taste of nectar satisfy us forever?
/.../

Nothing Higher to Live For
A Buddhist View of Romantic Love
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl124.html

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby waterchan » Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:11 pm

fearandloving wrote:If anyone's found a way out of this cycle I'm all ears.


Ok, I'll get back to you when I'm a non-returner.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby Buddhistboy » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:53 pm

Lust is a defilement of the mind which has a powerful magnetic potential to deviate one from the path. Most people including myself are affected by this. Im also trying to find a way out. So far this is most of what I know.

There are 2 types of meditations recommended by the Buddha to 'dissolve and neutralise' lust.

1) Meditation / Reflections on Repulsiveness (Patikulamanasikara) - This is the meditation where the mind focuses on the different parts / impurities within the body. Here is the Wikipedia article if you are interested in reading about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asubha and around the end of the webpage there are references which should contain more information.

2) Cemetery Contemplations (Marananussati) - also known as 'Recollection of Death'. This is the second type of meditation. Here is the link from Dhamma Wiki http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Marananussati

The two types of meditation are known as 'Meditation on the Foul' (Asubha Bhavana).

It is recommended that one practices Mindfulness meditation prior to engaging in the 2 practices mentioned above so that the reflections on the foul can be done with maximum possible mindfulness.

Also Ajahn Chah (as well as many other Buddhist monks who taught meditation) had suggested that when such feelings arise in oneself, try not to forcefully eliminate those thoughts, but instead just observe the mind. Observe, observe and observe instead of acting upon this. This is because all thoughts that arise in our mind are temporary and it should be 'let go of' with mindfulness rather than forceful elimination. If one relies on elimination then the feelings of lust will bounce back and arise when one's elimination mechanisms (defenses) are down.

Ajahn Chah also mentioned that the defilements in one's mind (which includes lust) is like a raging untamed tiger. Use the 'cage of mindfulness' to trap the tiger first. Second, stop feeding the tiger. Then the tiger will become weaker and weaker and eventually die. Likewise the practice and its results are gradual. Use mindfulness to be aware of the lust that arise in your mind. Next stop feeding this and slowly let go of this. Observe the mind.

There is also another useful aspect of Buddhanussati (Recollection on the qualities of Buddha). I am not going to explain all of this type of meditation as it is not entirely relevant to the discussion. The Buddhanussati is usually incorporated as a form of meditation but in addition to this, one can also also reflect on the qualities of the Buddha in day-to-day life. Whenever defilements arise in our minds we can always use the Buddhanussati to remind ourselves the state of our defilement and appreciate how the Buddha was free from that. We all know that the Buddha was free from defilements (including lust). Whenever I have feelings of lust I try to think like this - 'I accept that I have lust, I am affected by it, but the Buddha was free from that'. It is an acceptance that I still have to travel The Path yet there is someone who I can look up to who is the Buddha who had traveled The Path.

Remember that all these Enlightened beings which we admire today, at one point in there lives (or previous lives) they were nothing more than what we are now. They managed to escape from their defilements because they put the hard work into traveling The Path. If it was possible for them, then it is possible for us too, provided we put that same (or bigger) effort into traveling The 8-Fold Path. Its just an encouraging thought that we too can overcome our lust like they did.

These are just a few techniques which I am planning to use. Some may need to use all the techniques while others may overcome lust with just one method.

For example asthma is a disease of the airway. There are many medications available to treat the asthma. Asthma also comes in various forms from mild to moderate to severe. Some may relieve their asthma with just one drug, but some may need several different drugs to keep the asthma under control. Unfortunately there could be a few who's asthma wont be controlled despite even getting treated with all the drugs. This is the same with lust. Our lusts comes in different shapes and sizes. Some are more affected by it than others. Being mindful of the present moment may suffice for some, while there can also be people who will still find it difficult to keep lust under control despite practicing all the different mechanisms to control it. We should not be discouraged, we should all try for the best as practice can take time to bear results like a sapling growing into a massive tree. It all requires time, patience and endurance.
'Buddhistboy' is my username, even though I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not a boy. I am an adult.

david.sojourn
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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby david.sojourn » Tue May 06, 2014 6:34 pm

fearandloving wrote:I've heard many many different approaches for overcoming/understanding sexuality, but my mind always finds a loop hole somewhere. When I'm feeling "true", for lack of a better word, or maybe "authentic", then I don't want any involvement with relationships or sexuality. I feel very sure of myself in these moments. Then one day the fire comes, an I end up doing something that I regret. Here are some examples of how my mind persuades me to doing these things.
"Sexuality should be explored, not denied. Just look at all of nature, sexuality is everywhere, you should embrace it."
"Sexual energy can be harnessed and used as a spiritual path, don't smother those possibilities."
"By denying yourself what you want, your just involved in self deception. Better to be honest and real than to just pretend in favor of a life devoid of sexuality."
"The only reason you deny sexuality is because you are a coward and are afraid of intimacy. You should use sexuality as a learning experience."

And then, of course, every time, if I follow through with it I hear myself saying "well that was stupid, I won't let that happen again."

Is this familiar to anyone? It's very schizo, very intense how easily I go along with one side, then the other, then the other...
If anyone's found a way out of this cycle I'm all ears.


Why would you want to get rid of sexuality?

What happens if nobody has children? There wouldn't be any people left to get enlightened. You'd run out of human forms to inhabit if you don't learn to understand enlightenment in this life.

Sexuality is a natural aspect of the human Form. It is inappropriate sexual acts that should be abandoned.

What are those?

Ask yourself, "Is this causing harm?" Don't go look for a list "Oh, giving head is bad, only Missionary is good, etc, etc". The simple question is "Is this sexual act harmful?"

The Buddha wasn't the best expert on Sexuality, so I wouldn't listen to too much about what he said on the matter. Plenty of enlightened laymen have routinely banged their wives/husbands all through history (Though usually these stories don't get handed down to us, I'll admit).

There is this misconception that "Life is Suffering". Some guy started that a long time ago, and a lot of people are still misunderstanding it today. The next misconception is that you must abnegate everything, become "NOT" human anymore to experience enlightenment. That's a misconception. No enlightened being has ever taught that, ever. The Buddha did put out a specific path to Enlightenment, but you might want to start seeing it more like "One option" than the only way. The Buddha never quite understood some things.... He, himself, was so damn analytical, that he didn't get around to solving the other half of the equation.

Now, that equation has been solved by others since his time. But, why bother discussing this matter? Who would believe me? The Buddha is the "Exalted one!", afterall :-p

Sexuality is a normal human function. It is most appropriate to engage in sexual acts with your specific partner. Running around trying to stick it in everything that moves, tends to be conducive of a non-harmonious, often harmful life style. So you must ask yourself:

"Is this harmful?"
"Is this conducive to our mutual happiness?"
"Are we prepared for the outcomes? (Children, for example)"
"Am I just trying to seek "Non-Suffering", or is this behavior truly bringing "Happiness"?"
"Is the hole I'm trying to fill, or that which I'm trying to fill it with really the answer? Or am I seeking sexual gratification in an inappropriate fashion? Is the real hole that needs filled in the heart?"
And so on.

Ponder like this. Come to know what your personal sexuality is. Why you do what you do. What you're truly seeking. Which hole really needs to be filled, that between the legs, or that in the heart?

No book can truly tell you what is appropriate or inappropriate sexual behavior.

And every person only has their own opinions on the matter.

But you are not a book. And you are not every other person.

You are You. You must delve into your own heart, to understand the wholesome/unwholesome nature of your own sexual desires.

And if it's wholesome, loving, compassionate, true by all means, rock the headboard until there are holes in the wall.

But if those things are missing: If it feels unwholesome, purely physical, just a temporary gratification, look at the holes in the heart instead.

Enough of this talk of holes....

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manas
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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby manas » Wed May 07, 2014 1:00 am

Buddhistboy wrote:Lust is a defilement of the mind which has a powerful magnetic potential to deviate one from the path. Most people including myself are affected by this. Im also trying to find a way out. So far this is most of what I know.

There are 2 types of meditations recommended by the Buddha to 'dissolve and neutralise' lust.

1) Meditation / Reflections on Repulsiveness (Patikulamanasikara) - This is the meditation where the mind focuses on the different parts / impurities within the body. Here is the Wikipedia article if you are interested in reading about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asubha and around the end of the webpage there are references which should contain more information.

2) Cemetery Contemplations (Marananussati) - also known as 'Recollection of Death'. This is the second type of meditation. Here is the link from Dhamma Wiki http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Marananussati

The two types of meditation are known as 'Meditation on the Foul' (Asubha Bhavana).

It is recommended that one practices Mindfulness meditation prior to engaging in the 2 practices mentioned above so that the reflections on the foul can be done with maximum possible mindfulness.

...

These are just a few techniques which I am planning to use. Some may need to use all the techniques while others may overcome lust with just one method.

Hi Buddhistboy,

there is yet another way to calm the fiery aspect of lust, and begin to bring it under control, but this way can only be practiced by a layman, and not by a monk. It is to have sex, but at the point of orgasm, not to ejaculate but rather, to draw that orgasmic energy (as it is just beginning to expand - one must not leave this too late or one will slip over the edge) - to draw that pleasure upwards into the body, up into the spine instead. Over time quite a few positive effects result, one of which is that the much more gentle experience of mild orgasm, over time, becomes preferable to the hundred-volt blast of orgasm when one used to habitually ejaculate. One comes to prefer to have a couple of really gentle 'upwards orgasms' to what one used to do. This can have the effect of lessening the grip lust for sex can have on the mind, because as you go into sex you know in advance that while intensely pleasurable, one has to keep one's wits about one, because sex no longer conflicts with your regular meditation practice, rather it has become a meditation practice. Because one circulated one's energy, one feels satisfied and not lusty anymore; and because one retained one's semen, one's mind is clear and sharp rather than in that awful post-ejaculatory stupor in which one finds the mind quite 'groggy' as the brain has just overdosed on neurochemicals in an excessive way (not to mention how much energy and nutrient goes into making semen btw) which is ok for a treat now and then, or if you want to conceive a child, but not recommended to do too often).

So I humbly recommend this practice to any layman who finds that *fighting* sex just creates tension in the mind which builds up and is eventually released in an uncontrolled way. Don't fight sex, transform it. And then go off and sit anapanasati, with a mind clear and undistracted by that raging fire, since it has already been assuaged and calmed. Ok not forever but temporarily, which until we are anagamis is as good as we can do, and certainly enough to benefit one's physical health and regular meditation practice (the breath or whatever else one does). I'm not saying this is for everyone, but some seem to find it immensely helpful.

Lastly I will add that there is a fair bit involved in learning this art, and one needs to learn it under proper guidance, even if that's just from books and videos, because while if done correctly it is beneficial, if done incorrectly it can lead to problems such as too much energy in the head, etc. (One needs to also learn how to bring the energy back down again, down the front of the body, right down into the navel chakra...but it's all good fun, and eventually much more simple than it might seem at first. :smile: )

kind regards
manas
:anjali:

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby waterchan » Wed May 07, 2014 1:27 am

manas wrote:there is yet another way to calm the fiery aspect of lust, and begin to bring it under control, but this way can only be practiced by a layman, and not by a monk. It is to have sex, but at the point of orgasm, not to ejaculate but rather, to draw that orgasmic energy (as it is just beginning to expand - one must not leave this too late or one will slip over the edge) - to draw that pleasure upwards into the body, up into the spine instead. Over time quite a few positive effects result, one of which is that the much more gentle experience of mild orgasm, over time, becomes preferable to the hundred-volt blast of orgasm when one used to habitually ejaculate . . .


This particular cure for lust sounds awfully similar to tantric sex in Tibetan Buddhism.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)

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manas
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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby manas » Wed May 07, 2014 11:17 pm

waterchan wrote:
manas wrote:there is yet another way to calm the fiery aspect of lust, and begin to bring it under control, but this way can only be practiced by a layman, and not by a monk. It is to have sex, but at the point of orgasm, not to ejaculate but rather, to draw that orgasmic energy (as it is just beginning to expand - one must not leave this too late or one will slip over the edge) - to draw that pleasure upwards into the body, up into the spine instead. Over time quite a few positive effects result, one of which is that the much more gentle experience of mild orgasm, over time, becomes preferable to the hundred-volt blast of orgasm when one used to habitually ejaculate . . .


This particular cure for lust sounds awfully similar to tantric sex in Tibetan Buddhism.


Hi Waterchan,

that's interesting, I did not know there was a Buddhist equivalent. What I described above is all from Taoist practice, originally from China. By the way, the teacher whose books, videos etc I have learned from, presents it primarily as a means for better health physically and emotionally, and not as part of a 'religion'. He says you can be of any religion, or of none at all, to undertake this practice (and others like it that deal with circulating energy through the subtle channels of the body).

kind regards
manas
:anjali:

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby SarathW » Thu May 08, 2014 12:12 am

“to draw that pleasure upwards into the body, up into the spine instead”
=======================
I have used this technique (similar) to control my pain in the body.

“to draw that pain upwards into the body, up into the whole body”

I found this help me to ease pain and help me to exercise equanimity towards pain instead of aversion.
This is also a good technique for people have problem with pain when they start meditation.

Perhaps this is what professional boxers do to control their pain.

Please note this is my personal opinion and experience.
:idea:

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Re: There is no fire like lust

Postby Dom » Sun May 18, 2014 5:09 pm

Hello fearandloving, I had read your topic a while back because it was very relevant to me and my personal urges. Only now do I feel comfortable replying to you because of how I feel and what I've done. So you are aware, I plan on using straightforward wording and practices that have been for me crucial, but other people might find uncomfortable, so please be forewarned of how I'm going to post.

For information on me, today I'm celibate for 29 days including self pleasure (coming from masturbating 1x a day if not 1x every 2 days), I'm about 27 years old, male, do not have children, live on my own in a one bedroom apartment, 6 feet tall, 170 lbs at 10% bodyfat, very physically fit/healthy/attractive with healthy hormone function from weight training and yoga (meaning sexual relationships are available and celibacy is not forced).

Most importantly I know that no matter what I say I cant give you my experience of happiness I feel not craving lust; all I can do is show you that I am at a point in my life where most people can be very sexually active, and still my personal experience and my willingness to not take part in sexual/self stimulation is more valuable and pleasurable to me. If you do not believe me that is your choice, but I am willing to offer my help and my experience if you are sincere in wanting to free yourself from this.

I reflected on three subjects with different topics when working with lust, and all of these were crucial as supports while I got through the cravings. The subjects were: The physical realities of lust, the drawbacks of lust, and the benefits of not craving lust.

WARNING: Please be warned that the following is very graphic, but that the intensity of the image and mental fabrication is what helped me overcome my strong feelings of lust.

The Physical Realities of Lust
- I reflected on how many times I've been horny or aroused, and how the feeling vanishes without a trace once I orgasm, showing it's transitory nature.
-I reflected on how no matter how much sex I have it will never be enough to satisfy the desire permanently, it will only push it into the background for a few hours until it comes up again.
-I reflected on how the best sexual experiences I've ever had all came to an end, and typing at the computer now they don't improve my experience of right now even though they seemed of the utmost value at the time.
-When seeing a beautiful woman (same imaging can be used for a man), I asked myself "What would they look like if the skin on their face was cut off? Would my lust still be there?" I reflected on the muscles of the face and the bones showing, bloody and dripping during sexual intercourse.
-When desiring the touch of a beautiful woman, I imagined putting my ear next to her warm stomach in a silent room, hearing the acids of her stomach breaking down food, sending liquids through her body and waste material to fill her bladder, and sending unusable solid fecal material through it through long winding tubes to be excreted like a biological machine. I reflected on the discomfort and disgust coming from those functions and questioned my desires to insert my sexual organ into to a bag of skin (the torso and pubic region) that performs all these functions and features, and thrusting against it for gratification.
-When desiring sex, I imagine the beautiful woman growing old during the course of sex, her sexual organs drying and shriveling with age and chafing my skin until they turn blue and bruised from death and lack of blood, with time rotting and infested with worms and maggots burrowing into my sexual organ from inside the pubic region of this future corpse.
-I reflected on what parts of the beautiful woman were necessary for lust to be maintained. I imagined having sex and one of her fingers being removed and put next to me on the bed, then another, then a hand, then an arm. I imagined removing all these parts one by one at different times in different ways to see what was necessary for lust to exist. I imagined sex and removing an eye, or a woman with an eye infected with disease, or a woman with only half an eye left on one side. With all her teeth, with yellow teeth, with broken teeth. With healthy skin, with skin covered in blemishes, with skin covered in infections, with skin covered in lacerations, with skin peeled off in different places. I imagined having sex with a partner having a head crushed by a truck and asked if it was still an object of lust, a body burnt and charred, bloated and blue from drowning, and I imagined the different feelings my body would feel touching the bodies in different realistic circumstances, and how it would feel as I caressed it.

The Drawbacks of Lust
-I reflected on how much money I had spent to have sex only to want it again later.
-I reflected on how much of a persons personality I don't enjoy I endured so I could have sex with them, only to want it again later.
-I reflected on the amount of time and effort I put into having sex only to want it again later.
-I reflected on my attachments to my sexual fantasies, what I was willing to do to fulfill them, the feeling of the experience compared to my expectation of the experience once it happened, and how it still didn't satisfy me even after getting what I imagined were the greatest most valuable things available in life.
-I think about all the porn I watched, including violent and abusive porn, including violent cartoon drawings of sexual acts, fetishes, and the shame associated with being willing to watch those things and support those things once I orgasmed, and knowing even though I hated those feelings and they were shameful to me, my lust would still argue like a group of thieves, crooks and con men to convince me of how valuable and alright it was next time I was sexually aroused, only to disappear once I had orgasmed.
-Whenever a beautiful woman or women were attracted or showed interest, I reflected on what they desired. If they desired my body, I remembered my body would get old, sick and die, and how they wouldn't pay attention to me if that was the case. If they liked my personality or attitude, I remembered how its only attractive to them because it satisfies some desire they have for a person to act a certain way, and how if I was different they wouldn't pay attention to me. If they loved me, I reflected on how much their happiness depended on my actions because of their attachment to me, and considering how valuable I was to them, the things they would do to keep me in their lives (guilt trip me, make me feel responsible for their happiness, lie to me, hide things from me, ect), I also reflected on how difficult it would be to do something I wanted to do that they didn't want me to do and how they would try to stop me or restrict me by getting angry, getting upset, crying, guilt tripping, being passive aggressive, threatening, becoming violent, all the things people do to manipulate others, making acting on my personal happiness that much more difficult.
-I reflected on how painful it is to feel embarrassed and to feel like you must act cool or attractive in front of a beautiful woman or women, how much cologne I'd use from scent insecurity, how much memory I dedicated and attention to cool culture I recalled because of speech and action insecurity, how many clothes and accessories I'd purchased and worn because of looks insecurity, all the status symbols such as high paying job, expensive car, large home, upscale furniture and electronics because of self work insecurity, all the useless knowledge of current culture and gossip I maintained and kept up with to have a conversation with a woman, all the fights, chest thumping, physical comparing, mental comparing, material comparing with other men and all the anger, jealously, ill-will, pride, insecurity, desire to be more, desire for others to be less, depression and dissatisfaction that came from that: all of this effort and pain for the CHANCE to have sex, and even if I DID have sex, I'd want it again later and would still lack satisfaction. I also reflected on how woman and other men do this exact same thing and get the exact same result, and how their sexual desire for me is just to try and escape this dissatisfaction as I was using them to escape my own.

The Benefits of Not Craving Lust
-I don't worry about what others think of me except for professionalism and being able to maintain employment and lawful status in my community.
-I can talk to any person, no matter how beautiful or ugly, in any way I desire.
-My mind is clear of all useless information as there is no need to recall it for the entertainment of the opposite sex.
-Money is spent only on things I need and not wasted.
-My energy is spend only on the things important to me and not wasted on another to gain access to their body.
-I could live my entire life under surveillance 24 hours a day and not feel shameful or embarrassed.
-When I exercise, my exercise is focused on enjoyment and health rather than attachment to body image and painful training regiments.
-When I eat, I eat for health and satisfaction rather than trying to look a certain way.
-No one relies on me for their satisfaction, I can do whatever I please without being held back by the manipulations of a potential sexual partner; it's no longer like trying to move through tar toward my happiness when its something they don't want me to do.
-I remain unmoved when others threaten me by saying they won't have sex with me.
-I remain unbothered and out of the way of men who are craving a sexual partner, and am not subject to all the fighting, chest thumping, physical comparing, mental comparing, material comparing with other men and all the anger, jealously, ill-will, pride, insecurity, desire to be more, desire for others to be less, depression and dissatisfaction that comes from that. I am like a man who has stepped outside of a smoking house filled with people into the fresh air and sunlight of a vast green field.
-I can see a beautiful, curvaceous, attractive woman walking down the street in my view, appreciate the body in an artistic sense and return to what I was doing without having lust arise. There is no need to hide or turn from beautiful sights anymore, nor is there a need to chase them or try to prolong them.
-My mind is free of all the cravings for things that would only be necessary for impressing potential sexual partners; everything I own is basic, simple, reliable, and very easy to replace.
-My time and my energy are entirely my own, and dedicated to my own goals of a meaningful and true happiness.

As I said before, I cannot give you my experience of the happiness being free from lust; I can only describe my experience, my situation, and tell you I'm very happy with the decision - it's up to you to decide if you think what I'm saying seems valuable and useful for your personal situation. If you are sincerely looking for it's cessation, the above is the way it worked for me.

If freedom from lust is really what you want and you are willing to put in the effort, I wish you good luck. If you would like to ask any questions please feel free to do so and I reply in the way I feel will be helpful to you.


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