chownah wrote:...and I'm just wondering if this is true.
Well, an arahant would be able to tell you first hand. But I don't know any arahants. I do, however, have supposed accounts of arahants, including the Buddha, and what they have to say seems pretty clear to me.
"And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving." — SN 56.11
"...the subduing of intoxication, the elimination of thirst, the uprooting of attachment, the breaking of the round, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, the realization of Unbinding..." — Iti 90
"This is peace, this is exquisite — the stilling of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, Unbinding." — MN 64
And so on. The scriptures are extremely consistent on this point. Craving has been ended. And as we know from the 2nd Noble Truth...
"i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming." — SN 56.11
...we are talking about craving for sensual pleasures (in addition to other cravings).
Would an arahant not have the arising of sexual desire or might an arahant have a sexual feeling but simply just not identify with it or not form any intent (i.e. not make any kamma) as a result of the arising?...or something like that?
There is an ambiguity here that will result in this thread going 10 pages: the word "desire" could refer to the passive arising of a pleasant feeling or it could refer to the active engaging with that pleasant feeling. This causes confusion in threads like this. For example, when I say "I desire ice cream" am I saying "My body is healthy and reacts in a normal way to stimuli and thus contact of the tongue with ice cream is pleasurable" or am I saying "I wish to get up and go out and find ice cream to eat"? Thus confusion.
What I meant was the active seeking of the object. Certainly, as long as an arahant's body is functioning normally it seems he will find a gentle caress pleasant, the smell of perfume pleasant to the nose, a symmetrical form pleasant to the eye, etc. But it also seems the arahant will not experience the wish to pursue that object, to possess it, to engage with it in order to increase and prolong those pleasant feelings.
I know there are today some teachers who maintain that "the wish to pursue" is never eradicated but merely resisted. I do not find this at all consistent with the scriptures. In one case, we have someone being led around on a leash and they are resisting. In another case, we have someone being led around on a leash but not resisting. In a third case, we have someone not being led around on a leash, free to go where they wish. While I think the second case is certainly better than the first case, and one who has attained such a state to be admirable, it is to my mind not better than the third case.