masturbation what's wrong?

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christopher:::
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby christopher::: » Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:12 am

tiltbillings wrote:
The tolerance shown by Western Buddhists toward gays and lesbians is a breath of fresh air, definitely, compared with how things had been in the past. On the other hand, in this day and age its a "slippery slope" (pardon the pun) between healthy sexual habits (actions) and potentially unhealthy ones, imo.


Much of sex is play, unless one is uptight and unimaginative. Unless you want the grim missionary style, man always on top with no variation and side trips, as the only true god-given way to do the ins-and-outs, there is always going to be variations in that play, some of which some of us might find a bit odd, weird, strange, and distasteful, but Higgins makes an interesting point with his referencing Salon Kitty's rules, and Will Robinson, if he follows Salon Kitty's rules has little to worry about.


The view you present is representative of our generation, definitely. Freedom, creativity, imagination, variety is what we value. Unfortunately, based on discussions I had with friends while back home this summer (for our high school reunion) i have to disagree that there is "little to worry about." A sizable portion of my graduating class appeared to be struggling with either sexual, food and/or alcohol issues. It all started innocently enough for most, but over time the problems (and habits) seem to have grown...

Salted food is salted food. What you have described is kinda like saying cigarettes are "safe" or Hagan Daz won't make you fat in the long run, imo... There's a cumulative effect with habits like these, when the acts and/or attitudes are continued over time...

And you quote this from the ascetic side: For example, I remember a Westerner coming to see Ajahn Chah once and saying that he was sexually active but without being attached to the sex. Ajahn Chah completely ridiculed the statement as an impossibility, saying something like "Bah! that's like saying there can be salt which isn't salty!" Ajahn Chah taught all who came to him, monastic and lay, that sexual desire is KILESA (defilement of the mind), it is a hindrance to success in meditation and an obstruction to Enlightenment. He taught that sexual activity should be abandoned if one wants to end suffering. He would never speak in praise of sex. He would only speak in praise of letting go.

Ajahn Chah was right to ridicule such a silly claim, but there is a more tempered, more skillful, approach than what is presented here.


More tempered, more skillful then the approach of Ajahn Chah? Please explain.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:01 am

christopher::: wrote:
The view you present is representative of our generation


“Our generation?” Probably not.

Freedom, creativity, imagination, variety is what we value. Unfortunately, based on discussions I had with friends while back home this summer (for our high school reunion) i have to disagree that there is "little to worry about." A sizable portion of my graduating class appeared to be struggling with either sexual, food and/or alcohol issues. It all started innocently enough for most, but over time the problems (and habits) seem to have grown...


i have to disagree that there is "little to worry about." You have a remarkable capacity to take things out of context, which is to say, you do not at all understands what is being said to you. First of all, your description your “sizable portion” of your class illustrates not having a healthy relationship to sexuality and other the things, and from that you cannot reasonably then turn around and make a generalized statement about “my generation” as an example of possible problems with what I am saying. That is simply absurd, and shows that you are not at all listening.

Salon Kitty, a place I likely would never go, functions with a set of carefully spelled out rules to protect the participants based upon “respect and trust both of oneself and of others.” Go back and reread - carefully this time - what Higgins said about those rules and see if this time you can actually get his point. And let me make a point here, which unfortunately is obviously necessary based upon the misreading of what has been said by you on this: Higgins is not advocating BDSM. He is making a point about a need for rules that foster self respect and respect of others. Healthy sexuality does not mean anything goes. It functions within a set of rules that protects oneself and others; it functions - in a Buddhist context - within a framework of awareness, respect and caring for oneself and one’s partner.

Your “sizable portion” of your graduating class has not a damn thing to do with what I am talking about, except, most likely, in terms of negative example of what not to do, how not to act.

Salted food is salted food. What you have described is kinda like saying Hagan Daz won't make you fat in the long run, imo...


And obviously you have not a clue as to what have described.

More tempered, more skillful then the approach of Ajahn Chah? Please explain.


Ajahn Chah taught all who came to him, monastic and lay, that sexual desire is KILESA (defilement of the mind), it is a hindrance to success in meditation and an obstruction to Enlightenment. He taught that sexual activity should be abandoned if one wants to end suffering. He would never speak in praise of sex. He would only speak in praise of letting go.

This is not wrong. Though one wonders if this accurately reflects how Ajahn Chah would or would not state this point in every case. When stated in this way without any attempt at context, which the Buddha understood as a supreme virtue, most likely it would be guilt and shame producing. Higgins offers a far better response.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby christopher::: » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:16 am

Once again, we are engaged in a discussion and the tone of conversation has shifted, Tilt.

I grew up in the 1960s and went to high school in the 1970s. The values we are discussing have been part of the culture for many who have grown up since that time. There is no need to become personal in this manner, to draw a sharp line in the sand between us.

tiltbillings wrote:
You have a remarkable capacity to take things out of context, which is to say, you do not at all understands what is being said to you.

That is simply absurd, and shows that you are not at all listening.


.. obviously you have not a clue as to what have described.




You have gone from discussing the topic to making personal statements that sound hostile in nature. It may have been that i said something which triggered this change in tone. I will go back and re-read the thread to see if this is so, and will try to be more mindful in the future.

But as i've said before, when discussions start to get antagonistic like this, rather then exploratory and respectful, I (and many others i think) tend to disengage from the discussion...
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:38 am

christopher::: wrote:Once again, the tone of conversation has shifted, Tilt. I grew up in the 1960s and went to high school in the 1970s. The values we are discussing have been part of the culture for many who have grown up since that time. There is no need to become personal in this manner, to draw a sharp line in the sand between us.


You grossly take out of context what is said, you make a gross generalization that is totally irrelevant to the point I am discussing. You make this insulting comment: Salted food is salted food. What you have described is kinda like saying cigarettes are "safe" or Hagan Daz won't make you fat in the long run, imo... I have to wonder, are you really, actually listening..

You have gone from discussing the topic to making statements about me, as a person. It may have been that i said something which triggered this change in tone. If so, I apologize.


As a person, I don’t know you. What I am pointing to is your taking out of context what is being said. Your classmate problems have absolutely no bearing upon my point, but you use that as a way of trying to dismiss what I am saying. You are doing this. No one else is, and if you are going to take it personally my pointing out that you are taking what is said out of context, making really bad arguments, not understanding what is said, that is your choice.

But as i've said before, when discussions start to get antagonistic like this, rather then exploratory and respectful, I (and many others i think) tend to disengage from the discussion...


That is your choice. I’d rather you try to carefully read what is said, and respond to that. It has been pointed out to you before by others; you take things out of context, misrepresenting what is said. You did it here big time. Disengage, if you feel you must; that is your choice, but try to learn something from this about listening to what others say, and try to respond to the actual argument. “Can you understand that?”
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:48 am

Christopher,

Whether you respond to me or not, look at what your first reference to Will Robinson; look at my response which contained this line has little to worry about and then look at how you used it in your rersponse. Did your response actually address my point? Did your initial "will Robinson" comment address Higgins' point? There is something for you to learn here.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby christopher::: » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:23 am

I'm gonna go the extra mile here, Tilt, and respond to you, but my body is out the door with this discussion for today, so I won't be back for a bit.

First, I have done some research on this, have read articles and books on Sexual Addiction. I also have a degree in psychology, so I'm not simply talking off the top of my head or only in relation to my classmates. Neither am I an expert, as this is not my field.

The problem I have with Higgen's description is that sexual addiction can easily start out that way, as fun, respectful and exploratory. People can even begin where sexual play is a part of a loving relationship. Over time though people change, frequently some people want more, and more and more. Others want less and less. This may not be your situation, but it is for many people in the world right now.

Thus I said it has a cumulative "negative" effect, over time, just like cigarettes and hagen-daz. Now, i should have probably said it can have a cumulative effect, cause as we know not everyone who enjoys cigarettes gets lung cancer, and not everyone who eats hagen daz becomes obese.

Among my "crowd" a lot of people seemed to have substituted food for sex in their lives. Others have become addicted to online pornography, massage parlors, prostitutes, etc. In many cases these people had open "healthy" attitudes initially, but over time the situation changed.

This relates to what I said earlier, about moderation and watching your own mind....

You have to watch your own mind very carefully to judge that, to observe the effect these actions are having. But Buddha was pretty clear, I think, that if you want to go the full distance, do your best to drop these habits, they are obstacles on the path.


I hope this clarifies what i was saying. As you accuse me of missing things said and taking statements out of context i think you also do the same thing at times. It happens, we do a lot of posting and sometimes misunderstand what people meant, fail to explain ourselves, or overlook something said. Its not the end of the world, or a reason to get angry - miscommunication happens.

With that, I need to get back to tasks here in my local world for tonight.

Take care.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:00 am

christopher::: wrote:
The problem I have with Higgen's description is that sexual addiction can easily start out that way, as fun and exploratory.


First of all, people who have tendency to sexual addiction in all likelihood are going to stumble into it no matter what, but that is beside the point.

As I said, Higgins is not advocating BDSM; he is not advocating BDSM as an exploration. He is pointing to the surprising rules of the BDSM club to make a point, the point of which seems to have been missed by you, again.

People can even begin where sexual play is a part of a loving relationship. Over time though people change, frequently some people want more, and more and more.


First of all, unless it is a grim man on top 3 minute in-and-out-roll-over-go-to-sleep coupling, most adults indulge in some sort of play, which does not lead to ever escalating need for more, and that is totally beside the point Higgins and I are making concerning the need for rules, guidelines that foster self-respect and respect and concern for the other within a context of Buddhist cultivated awareness.

Others want less and less. This may not be your situation, but it is for many people in the world right now.


Again, this is beside the point.

Thus I said it has a cumulative "negative" effect, over time, just like cigarettes and hagen-daz. Now, i should have probably said it can have a cumulative effect, cause as we know not everyone who enjoys cigarettes gets lung cancer, and not everyone who eats hagen daz becomes obese.


But I am not talking about sexual addiction or those with a predisposition towards it, or those with unhealthy, unaware, immoderate sex lives, which is what the immediately above paragraph seems to be alluding to. Nor am I talking about BDSM exploration, nor is Higgins. What we are talking about is the need for rules that fosters respect for self and the other and an ongoing awareness in one’s sexuality, which would be indicative of Buddhist practice.

Among my "crowd" a lot of people seemed to have substituted food for sex in their lives. Others have become addicted to online pornography, massage parlors, prostitutes, etc. In many cases these people had open "healthy" attitudes initially, but over time the situation changed.


I do not think we are talking about the same thing when you say ‘"healthy" attitudes’ and when I say healthy attitude.

This relates to what I said earlier, about moderation and watching your own mind....


Moderation? Ins-and-outs once a week? Three minutes?

You have to watch your own mind very carefully to judge that, to observe the effect these actions are having. But Buddha was pretty clear, I think, that if you want to go the full distance, do your best to drop these habits, they are obstacles on the path.


As insight develops one’s relationship to sexuality changes, one’s response to its drive changes, and I am not talking about becoming like the Western fool that Ajahn Chah ridiculed. (I wonder what Ajahn Chah’s TOS was?)

I hope this clarifies what i was saying.


Yes. We are clearly not talking about the same things.

As you accuse me of missing things said and taking statements out of context i think you also do the same thing at times.


Maybe, but that is why I tend to go line-by-line when I respond to a msg.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby BlackBird » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:18 am

26. Vasettha, it is just as if this River Aciravati were brimful of water so that a crow could drink out of it, and a man should come wishing to cross over,... but he was bound an pinioned on this side by a strong chain, with his hands behind his back. What do you think, Vasettha? Would that man be able to get to the other side? 'No Reverend Gotama.'
27. "In just the same way, Vasettha, in the Ariyan discipline these five strands of sense-desire are called bonds and fetters. Which five? Forms seen by the eye which are agreeable, loved, charming, attractive, pleasurable, arousing desire; sounds heard by the ear...; smells smelt by the nose...; tastes savoured by the tongue...; contacts felt by the body which are agreeable,... arousing desire. These five in the Ariyan discipline are called bonds and fetters.


- DN:13 Tevijja Sutta


Secondly, what is the scope and purpose of this precept? The word kama means in Pali "sensual desire," which is not exclusively sexual. It is here used in a plural form which comes close to what is meant by the Biblical expression "the lusts of the flesh." Greed for food and other sensual pleasure is also included. Most people who are strongly addicted to sexual indulgence are also much drawn to other sense-pleasures. Though we are here only concerned with the sexual aspect, this point should be noted. For those with any grasp at all of Buddhist principles, the basic reason for such an injunction should be immediately obvious. Our dukkha — our feeling, of frustration and dissatisfaction with life — is rooted in our desires and cravings. The more these can be brought under control, the less dukkha we shall experience. It is as simple as that. But of course, that which is simple is not necessarily easy.
...

The biological function of sex is obvious and requires no discussion here. But the interesting thing for us to note is how sex — like everything else — is a purely impersonal force. We tend to think of it in intensely personal terms, but in actual fact it is a force that just flows through us and uses our most wonderful and inspiring emotions for its own ends, which are totally concerned with the continuance of the race as a whole. The idea that it is just a private and wonderful thing between you and me is merely a part of our general illusion. Altogether, it is a prolific breeder of illusions. It can lead a man to think he has found the most wonderful woman in the whole world while everybody else is thinking, "What on earth can he possibly see in her?"

...

Sex and Rebirth

As long as there remains even a latent craving (including that for sex), according to the Buddhist teaching rebirth will inevitably continue to take place. For we are reborn, not merely because of the sexual drive which brought about the union of our parents, but also because of that same sexual drive in "ourselves," i.e., in that stream of consciousness which produces the changing series of patterns of our own particular individuality. And this is in fact the deeper significance of the Oedipus complex and other such matters unearthed by Freud. According to the "Tibetan Book of the Dead" those whose karmic predispositions destine them for rebirth in human form see couples in sexual union and experience desire for an attractive member of the opposite sex among those couples. By this desire they thereupon find themselves drawn into the womb and reborn — which was not at all what they wanted! The Theravada scriptures do not specifically describe the process, and it may be rather symbolic than literal, but psychologically at least something like this is what happens.

Quite obviously, the average Buddhist lay person has no present intention of living a celibate life — nor is this being urged here. But some knowledge of the nature of sexuality and of how it can be transcended can help him to solve his sexual problems, if only by helping him to avoid self-deception.

Buddhism and Sex", by M. O'C. Walshe. Access to Insight, June 7, 2009, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el225.html.


The last sentence I quoted there is very important in my eyes. Nobody's saying 'give it up'... just saying it doesn't lead to the goal :console:

:anjali:
"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: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:46 pm

tiltbillings wrote:You have a remarkable capacity to take things out of context

This is a truism that applies to all of us. When I read it, I laughed, because I can imagine any good teacher saying this to any one of his or her pupils kindly, and it would be true. It's almost like a Lojong slogan. It would be great for a fortune cookie.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:41 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Just to be clear, that is not what I have said.

That is clear to no one but you, I think. If every time someone said "Candy is bad for you" you replied with "Is candy really bad for you?" it would be reasonable if people assumed you thought candy wasn't bad for you. I think after 200 posts you might want to try a different approach.

Where, at what point, and how does one start drawing the line without incurring unnecessary guilt and shame and mental turmoil?

Guilt and shame are unnecessary regardless of where one draws the line. Unwholesome thoughts arise due to causes. We engage in unwholesome behaviors due to causes as well. These things cease due to causes too. Guilt and shame are simply not necessary.

Claiming (or suggesting) unwholesome things are really not unwholesome just so as to avoid guilt and shame is, in my opinion, only going to cause more problems down the line.

What I am talking about is the idea of healthy, not guilt/shame ridden, relationship to one's own sexuality for the layperson

I don't think there is anything unhealthy or guilt/shame ridden about calling the unwholesome as unwholesome, about discussing the negative effects of indulging in sensuality. On the contrary, that strikes me as a normal Buddhist conversation.

there is a healthy Buddhist context from which we can approach sexuality without getting all twisted out of shape by it.

I really don't know who all these people getting twisted out of shape are that you keep arguing against. I don't think it is getting twisted out of shape to call an unwholesome act as unwholesome. It's just discussing Buddhist teachings.

This article presents what I see as being a healthy Buddhist approach to sexuality: http://www.buddhanet.net/winton_s.htm

I think it presents a very incomplete approach. The view presented keeps one from running afoul of the five precepts but really comes no where near eradicating fetters or realizing Nibbana. It is so striking as to it's omissions as to strike me as irresponsible. Even just one sentence hinting that there is more to the Path would have been sufficient. And lines like "there's nothing wrong with dancing lightly with your desires" is plainly a misrepresentation of the Buddha's teachings.

One thing we need to be very careful with is aversion towards sexuality.

I agree. Aversion is really just another attachment. However, one can discuss what is unwholesome and be heedful of it without being aversive.

"Whoever avoids sensual desires — as he would, with his foot, the head of a snake — goes beyond, mindful, this attachment in the world."

One could certainly cultivate aversion toward snakes. One could also simply be heedful without indulging in aversion.

there is a more tempered, more skillful, approach than what is presented here.

Well, by now you know my approach. Give the whole story and then address concerns as they are brought up. I do not like giving partial stories like Higgins did in that article. I think it is irresponsible. I think if someone wants advice tailored to just what they need to hear then public internet forums are the wrong place to go.

This is not wrong. Though one wonders if this accurately reflects how Ajahn Chah would or would not state this point in every case. When stated in this way without any attempt at context, which the Buddha understood as a supreme virtue, most likely it would be guilt and shame producing. Higgins offers a far better response.

Hmm... a response in line with the Dhamma that could lead to guilt and shame... or a response not in line with the Dhamma that avoids guilt and shame? I'd personally rather the correct response and then if guilt or shame arise we can have further discussion.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:53 pm

To address a point that's come up a few times...

While I don't think that engaging in sexual activity necessarily puts one on a slippery slope to sexual deviancy, I do think it is the Buddha's teaching that whatever we engage in contributes to strengthening that habit, creates underlying tendencies to continue that habit, and in the case of unwholesome activities strengthens our bonds to samsara.

In other words... what's wrong with masturbation? Every time we engage in it we strengthen the tendency to engage in it in the future, we strengthen our delusion than it is good or harmless, we tighten our bonds to samsara. (insert joke about tightening bonds and BDSM here)

That said, I think we can say the same thing for eating ice-cream. The more times we finish off dinner with a bowl of ice-cream the closer we are going to get to the point where we feel the meal just isn't complete without that bowl of ice-cream.

I have experienced abstaining from something for a long time and then finding as a result I don't desire it as much any more. For me it's Coca Cola. I've drunk Diet Coke for so long that regular Coke tastes way too sweet and I no longer crave it. For my wife it's meat. She's abstained for so long she has no more craving for it. I think indulging in something, while not necessarily lead to us wanting it more, does lead to us wanting it the same. The aim of the Path is to want it less.
- Peter

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:01 pm

One more thing...

there is a more tempered, more skillful, approach than what is presented here.

I think this is a larger issue than just Buddhist teachings on masturbation. I think there is a pervasive tension between presenting the teachings in a complete way and presenting them in a truncated or sugar-coated way in order to make it more palatable for the listener. I think this is really a thread in itself.
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:05 pm

Wow, that was awesome, Peter.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:09 pm

Peter wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Just to be clear, that is not what I have said.

That is clear to no one but you, I think.


So, you are now speaking for everyone, you think. Cool.

If every time someone said "Candy is bad for you" you replied with "Is candy really bad for you?" it would be reasonable if people assumed you thought candy wasn't bad for you. I think after 200 posts you might want to try a different approach.


Except your caricature is hardly an accurate portrayal of what was said by me over the number of posts I discussed this. As you said, it is probably better to accurately quote the individual's msgs in question. Sort of a practice what you preach thing, it would seem.

Peter wrote:
I wrote:Where, at what point, and how does one start drawing the line without incurring unnecessary guilt and shame and mental turmoil?

Guilt and shame are unnecessary regardless of where one draws the line. Unwholesome thoughts arise due to causes. We engage in unwholesome behaviors due to causes as well. These things cease due to causes too. Guilt and shame are simply not necessary.


If you say so; however, for many Westerners coming out of guilt mongering Christian backgrounds, the Ajahn Brahm approach could easily foster guilt and unnecessary shame if it is spoken with the ball-peen hammer subtlety and nuance of his article.

Claiming (or suggesting) unwholesome things are really not unwholesome just so as to avoid guilt and shame is, in my opinion, only going to cause more problems down the line.


That is probably true. Thank the goddess I never claimed such, but if you think I have, quote my words and my follow up words as they appear in the dialogue about this. Not very nice, really, to make a statement such as this without actually doing your homework.

Peter wrote:
I wrote:What I am talking about is the idea of healthy, not guilt/shame ridden, relationship to one's own sexuality for the layperson

I don't think there is anything unhealthy or guilt/shame ridden about calling the unwholesome as unwholesome, about discussing the negative effects of indulging in sensuality. On the contrary, that strikes me as a normal Buddhist conversation.


Let us see here. For you lay people the Buddha has not proscribed sexual relations, but keep in mind this is really unwholesome, unskillful - and by not much extension - a pāpa activity, but you are not violating the precepts if you do the in-and-outs in a consenting, of legal age, free individuals relationship. No basis whatsoever for conflict here.

Conversation requires context, and while it certainly should acknowledged that sexual activity is something that involves attachment, for the lay person one need not feel guilt about it; it does not stop one from keeping the precepts, and sexually active individuals can meditate. In time, however, with insight one’s relationship to sex will very likely change.

Peter wrote:
I wrote:there is a healthy Buddhist context from which we can approach sexuality without getting all twisted out of shape by it.

I really don't know who all these people getting twisted out of shape are that you keep arguing against. I don't think it is getting twisted out of shape to call an unwholesome act as unwholesome. It's just discussing Buddhist teachings.


Yes, who are they?

Peter wrote:
I wrote:This article presents what I see as being a healthy Buddhist approach to sexuality: http://www.buddhanet.net/winton_s.htm

I think it presents a very incomplete approach. The view presented keeps one from running afoul of the five precepts but really comes no where near eradicating fetters or realizing Nibbana. It is so striking as to it's omissions as to strike me as irresponsible. Even just one sentence hinting that there is more to the Path would have been sufficient. And lines like "there's nothing wrong with dancing lightly with your desires" is plainly a misrepresentation of the Buddha's teachings.


Not necessarily. So, do answer this, Peter, give a careful, exampled answer: if you are a lay person, and you want to have sex with your appropriate partner, you should respond to your desires how?

Higgins’ “dancing lightly” is in a broader context of the precepts and awareness.

Peter wrote:One could certainly cultivate aversion toward snakes. One could also simply be heedful without indulging in aversion.


Are you suggesting that one can have heedful sex? Or what?

Peter wrote:
I wrote:This is not wrong. Though one wonders if this accurately reflects how Ajahn Chah would or would not state this point in every case. When stated in this way without any attempt at context, which the Buddha understood as a supreme virtue, most likely it would be guilt and shame producing. Higgins offers a far better response.

Hmm... a response in line with the Dhamma that could lead to guilt and shame... or a response not in line with the Dhamma that avoids guilt and shame? I'd personally rather the correct response and then if guilt or shame arise we can have further discussion.


Let us hear from you how heedful sex is approached from your standpoint.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:58 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Let us see here. For you lay people the Buddha has not proscribed sexual relations, but keep in mind this is really unwholesome, unskillful - and by not much extension - a pāpa activity, but you are not violating the precepts if you do the in-and-outs in a consenting, of legal age, free individuals relationship. No basis whatsoever for conflict here.

There is no conflict as long as one realizes the five precepts are a starting point, and not the whole, of the Path.

Conversation requires context

Yes, and I was the only one who asked the OP for context. The rest of you dived right in to what you thought he was asking and what you thought he needed to hear. Absent any context, as the OP never gave, I think the appropriate response to a question about Buddhism on a Buddhist forum is to give a plain answer in line with the Buddhist teachings.

while it certainly should acknowledged that sexual activity is something that involves attachment, for the lay person one need not feel guilt about it; it does not stop one from keeping the precepts, and sexually active individuals can meditate. In time, however, with insight one’s relationship to sex will very likely change.

I think this is a wonderful answer.

if you are a lay person, and you want to have sex with your appropriate partner, you should respond to your desires how?

This is a question which cannot be answered without counter-questions. Any question phrased as "what should one do" is too broad. What one should do depends on what one's aims are. The Buddha does not presume what other people want. For example, the Buddha said one who's aim is Nibbana should avoid all sexual activity. He also said one who's aim is to give freedom from danger, animosity, and oppression to limitless numbers of beings should abstain from illicit sex. He also said other shoulds for other aims. So the counter-question could be something like "What is it you want? What is your aim?"

Christianity assumes a goal for everyone: rebirth in heaven. So presuming this it can say "You should do X. You should not do Y." But Buddhism does not make that presumption. Rather it discusses various aims and then elaborates on the wisest way to attain those aims.

One could reform the question as "What does the Buddha say about the desire to have sex with an appropriate partner?" The we can answer "Buddha said different things to people with different aims. To people seeking happiness here and now he said one thing. To people seeking a good rebirth he said something else. To people seeking to end the cycle of rebirth he said something else." (Actually, in the case of sex I don't think there is a different teaching between the first two, but there is a difference on some other topics.)

Higgins’ “dancing lightly” is in a broader context of the precepts and awareness.

I see your point. Still, I worry it is a subtle point easily overlooked.

tilt wrote:
Peter wrote:One could certainly cultivate aversion toward snakes. One could also simply be heedful without indulging in aversion.
Are you suggesting that one can have heedful sex? Or what?

No, I am suggesting that one who avoids sex may do so out of aversion or they may do so out of heedfulness. Likewise, one who discusses the dangers of sex may do so out of aversion or out of heedfulness. In other words, not everyone who discusses the Buddha's teachings on the dangers and drawbacks of indulging in sensual pleasures is an uptight Puritan.

Peter wrote:Let us hear from you how heedful sex is approached from your standpoint.

Personally, I do not believe heedful sex is possible. One may eat delicious foods while being heedful. After all, one may have received something delicious on alms round. They did not seek it out. Still a delicious food is delicious whether one seeks it out or not. So one can eat and try to be mindful of the arising of pleasure and if it arises the arising of craving. But I believe sex to be different. One is a willing participant in maintaining arousal. Also physical arousal will affect one's mindset in very non-subtle ways. There is an interplay here between the physical and the mental that I think is not the same as when eating food. If one pays attention to the mindstate immediately before and immediately after orgasm one can see what I mean. Maybe I am wrong and it is simply a matter of degree. Regardless, I do not believe heedful sex is possible.

And I will remind you that one cannot infer what I personally do or don't do from the above statements.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:02 pm

"if you are a lay person, and you want to have sex with your appropriate partner, you should respond to your desires how?"

I recall someone asked about one's relationship to one's child. He didn't ask "How should one relate to one's child?" He acknowledged the Buddha's teachings on attachment, noted his own attachment, and asked how others here with kids deal with this. A few of us answered what we do. It was a good question which in turn allowed for good answers. As such, one might ask "Given the Buddha's teachings on the dangers of sensual indulgence, how do those of you who are married relate to you're spouses?" To such a question I could answer from my own experience, and I could point out how my choices do and do not accord with the Buddha's teachings.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:14 pm

Frankly I am just not comfortable with answering "there is nothing wrong with X" when what I really mean is "X is the wrong way to attain goal Y but then again there are so many things keeping us from Y that if you don't want to worry about X right now and instead focus on something else relating to Y then that's fine." Again, it comes from this Christian background of "X is wrong and if you do X then you are bad and I'm not going to hang out with you and you can't receive communion" etc, etc. Buddhism just ain't like that.* "X is the wrong way to attain Y. But even if you choose to do X you can still hang out here and talk and learn and do all the same stuff people who don't do X do. We all move down the Path at our own pace."

Maybe any question asking "what is wrong with X" should be changed to "what does the Buddha teach are the drawbacks of X"?

(* Jews aren't like that either. Perhaps that's why I don't assume these hangups in others. No one ever says "Oh you don't keep kosher? Then you can't carry the Torah." :shrug: )
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby christopher::: » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:31 pm

Excellent points, Peter. One of the things that made me extremely uncomfortable with the Higgins example is that he was talking about sexual relations as a business situation. That's what set my "alarm" off. The idea of bondage or sexual play for a commited couple with an established relationship where metta is present is very different from a situation where one is paying for sex with a complete stranger, imo.

To encourage prostitution without consideration for its effects on the people involved in that as employment just seems well, counter to Buddha's position, for me. Maybe not in all cases but in many (perhaps most)... Kitty's club may employ enlightened staff who do their work as a form of dharma practice, but i tend to think that's quite unlikely. The "statement of ethics" was very good, but can be deceptive if one thinks this somehow means all employees there are adopting these ethics mindfully, or really wish to be doing what they are doing as a profession. Sex slavery is a big problem in our world now, and many women are forced into prostitution. A statement of ethics can make it sound like Kitty's is different, and serve as a good cover.

It's one thing to talk about masterbation, and the dangers there. Once we start bringing in prostitution and presenting it as exemplary and "positive" it just sounds like self-deception to me, no offense, Tilt. That's in large part why i felt that encouraging such behavior (especially to pay for sex) can turn out to be such a "slippery slope"...
Last edited by christopher::: on Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby BlackBird » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:19 pm

Jechbi wrote:Wow, that was awesome, Peter.


I second that Peter, good work.

:anjali:
"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: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:11 pm

christopher::: wrote:Excellent points, Peter. One of the things that made me extremely uncomfortable with the Higgins example is that he was talking about sexual relations as a business situation. That's what set my "alarm" off. The idea of bondage or sexual play for a commited couple with an established relationship where metta is present is very different from a situation where one is paying for sex with a complete stranger, imo.


Higgins did not talk not about “sex relations” as a “business situation.” His reference to Salon Kitty was to it rules, using them to make a point, which - again - is being missed.

This following paragraph is quite astounding:

To encourage prostitution without consideration for its effects on the people involved in that as employment just seems well, counter to Buddha's position, for me. Maybe not in all cases but in many (perhaps most)... Kitty's club may employ enlightened staff who do their work as a form of dharma practice, but i tend to think that's quite unlikely. The "statement of ethics" was very good, but can be deceptive if one thinks this somehow means all employees there are adopting these ethics mindfully, or really wish to be doing what they are doing as a profession. Sex slavery is a big problem in our world now, and many women are forced into prostitution. A statement of ethics can make it sound like Kitty's is different, and serve as a good cover.


Higgins is not promoting Salon Kitty; he made no comment to suggest that its employees are “enlightened.” While sexual slavery is a stark, harsh reality in countries such as Thailand as well as many Western countries, does the author of the above paragraph know that Salon Kitty employs sexual slaves? But all of that has not a thing to do with Higgins point.

It's one thing to talk about masturbation [sic], and the dangers there. Once we start bringing in prostitution and presenting it as exemplary and "positive" it just sounds like self-deception to me, no offense, Tilt. That's in large part why i felt that encouraging such behavior (especially to pay for sex) can turn out to be such a "slippery slope"...


Higgins is hardly presenting prostitution as exemplary. But let us not forget that in the Pali Canon there was a courtesan who was a supporter of the Buddha, and he never spoke of her in a condemnatory way, but again, that is beside the point.

As a challenge, Christopher, go back to Higgins' talk and see if you can actually get the point he was making by his referring to Salon Kitty’s rules. It is not hard to see.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson


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