masturbation what's wrong?

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:14 am

Greetings Peter,

Yes - an interesting way of looking at it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:44 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Peter,

Yes - an interesting way of looking at it.

Metta,
Retro. :)


The question is: is it a 50lbs back pack?
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 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:36 am

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Peter,

Yes - an interesting way of looking at it.

Metta,
Retro. :)


The question is: is it a 50lbs back pack?


Are you seriously still trying to argue this?
Or is this another joke that I have failed to grasp.

metta
Jack
"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 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:36 am

Is not humor a way of making a serious point?
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 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:51 am

BlackBird wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Peter,

Yes - an interesting way of looking at it.

Metta,
Retro. :)


The question is: is it a 50lbs back pack?


Are you seriously still trying to argue this?
Or is this another joke that I have failed to grasp.

metta
Jack


To expand on this a bit. We all carry baggage as we move forward. How much "weight" are we going to give to self-pleasuring in the overall scheme of things?
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 Jechbi » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:21 pm

How much "weight" are we going to give to [insert behavior here] in the overall scheme of things?
That question could be used to rationalize any number of behaviors.
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 Prasadachitta » Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:29 pm

Jechbi wrote:
How much "weight" are we going to give to [insert behavior here] in the overall scheme of things?
That question could be used to rationalize any number of behaviors.


How is it that we rationalize the perpetuation of that which is not conducive to awakening? This is a very good question. In my opinion the act of rationalizing is often more binding than the acts being rationalized. Masturbation tends to sap one of the will to be caring and outgoing and it reinforces the burning desire to pursue sexual activity as a means of deriving physical pleasure. If we pay attention and see how unhelpful this is, we will not only begin to become disenchanted with this activity but we will also begin to see other more positive and inspiring possibilities on our horizon. There is no need for rationalization. On the other hand I think there is minimal value in abstinence without a consistent and open inquiry into its value. This is because I think the energy which one uses to avoid an activity which they feel compelled to do often negates the energy saved by avoiding it.

Take care all


Gabe
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:33 pm

Peter wrote:Consider a person in average health intent on training for, running in, and completing his first marathon. He has never run a marathon before, nor run any distance even comparable. He might ask, "What's wrong with carrying a 50 lb backpack while I run the marathon?" One who knows about such things might answer, "Because it will hinder you. It will make you more unlikely to reach your goal. Wise runners do not recommend carrying a 50lb backpack while running a marathon if one doesn't need to."


That's a pretty good analogy. I like sports analogies and that makes some sense. Running with the weight can still get you to the goal (finish line), but will definitely slow you down.

In the same way, many Buddhists refer to the monastic life as the "short path" and the lay life as the "long path." Both will still get you to the other shore, but one might be shorter. As lay people we are carrying around baggage and weights. How much each weight is? That would depend on the type of activity and the intention.

Instead of a weight, we could count some things as a complete block or brick wall, stopping you in your tracks, such as killing, stealing, etc. But sexual behavior which is not misconduct, could be seen as the extra weights in this analogy, not a brick wall.
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:43 pm

TheDhamma wrote:That's a pretty good analogy. I like sports analogies and that makes some sense. Running with the weight can still get you to the goal (finish line), but will definitely slow you down.

In the same way, many Buddhists refer to the monastic life as the "short path" and the lay life as the "long path." Both will still get you to the other shore, but one might be shorter. As lay people we are carrying around baggage and weights. How much each weight is? That would depend on the type of activity and the intention.

Instead of a weight, we could count some things as a complete block or brick wall, stopping you in your tracks, such as killing, stealing, etc. But sexual behavior which is not misconduct, could be seen as the extra weights in this analogy, not a brick wall.


This sums up my feelings well Tilt.
Generally it's not misconduct, it's not something anyone should feel guilty about doing. But whether masturbation weighs in at 50lbs or 5lbs, it stills weighs one down. It is something to be abandoned, in the end.

: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 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:58 pm

Jechbi wrote:
How much "weight" are we going to give to [insert behavior here] in the overall scheme of things?
That question could be used to rationalize any number of behaviors.


No less than the original metaphor, which is obviously stacked in favor of a particular point of view. Why 50 lbs in the back pack? Why not 3.75 lbs? Or 84.13 lbs? Is not the metaphorical weight that the person carries in his or her metaphorical backpack going to depend upon any number of factors?
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 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:13 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:
Jechbi wrote:
How much "weight" are we going to give to [insert behavior here] in the overall scheme of things?
That question could be used to rationalize any number of behaviors.


Masturbation tends to sap one of the will to be caring and outgoing and it reinforces the burning desire to pursue sexual activity as a means of deriving physical pleasure.


A person who indulges in self-pleasuring cannot be compassionate or out going? Says who? Based upon what? That is the sort of sex negative stuff that has no basis in reality that tends to come out of Christian point of view that takes a very narrow view of sex.

If we pay attention and see how unhelpful this is, we will not only begin to become disenchanted with this activity but we will also begin to see other more positive and inspiring possibilities on our horizon.


It is always unhelpful? In all cases for all people all the time? Is sex unhelpful? In all cases all the time? Is that why we move beyond sex? It is "unhelpful?" That looks to be a rationialization.
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 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:26 pm

BB wrote:This sums up my feelings well Tilt.
Generally it's not misconduct, it's not something anyone should feel guilty about doing. But whether masturbation weighs in at 50lbs or 5lbs, it stills weighs one down. It is something to be abandoned, in the end.


But there is a value judgement in assigning it a weight of 50 lbs vs 5 lbs. If it is not misconduct generally, but if we assign a large number to it - looks like a basis for guilt. What basis do we assign a number?

A lot of things get "abandoned, in the end." How and why is important. One can give up sex for whatever rationalization as a lay person or a monastic but still be obsessed - consciously or unconsciously - with sex and in either case the results could be far worse than an occasional bit of self pleasuring.
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 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:56 pm

tiltbillings wrote:A lot of things get "abandoned, in the end." How and why is important. One can give up sex for whatever rationalization as a lay person or a monastic, but still be obsessed - consciously or unconsciously - with sex and in either case the results could be far worse than an occasional bit of self pleasuring.


Yeah, I agree with this.

As far assigning a weight, I think it would be hard to quantify a qualitative factor. For some masturbation will be more of a drag than for others, dependent upon a number of factors - How often, to what end, what unskillful mental qualities are present at the time...

It's a bit like in accounting where one is taught not to assign fixed costs on a per unit basis, because fixed costs do not behave on a per unit basis.
In fact, it's more accurately the opposite of this. The exact kammic effects of masturbation depend on a number of factors, and do not behave on a "one size fits all" basis.

The one thing we do know however, is that the kammic effect of masturbation is not kusala. It weighs one down enough that the Buddha urged Monks (Monks the term which is frequently explained in the commentaries as to mean any yogi who strives for nibbana through practise of the NEP) to abandon it.

: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 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:14 pm

BlackBird wrote:In fact, it's more accurately the opposite of this. The exact kammic effects of masturbation depend on a number of factors, and do not behave on a "one size fits all" basis.


That is the problem with the backpack metaphor.

The one thing we do know however, is that the kammic effect of masturbation is not kusala. It weighs one down enough that the Buddha urged Monks (Monks the term which is frequently explained in the commentaries as to mean any yogi who strives for nibbana through practise of the NEP) to abandon it.


Commentaries. How frequently? In what context? Being a monastic is one thing, given that there is an explicit rule against it, but if I am a layperson, having done a number of three month retreats, any number of shorter ones, who sits every day, keeps the precepts, what "abandon it" might mean is an interesting thing to consider.
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 zavk » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:28 pm

tiltbillings wrote:A person who indulges in self-pleasuring cannot be compassionate or out going? Says who? Based upon what? That is the sort of sex negative stuff that has no basis in reality that tends to come out of Christian point of view that takes a very narrow view of sex.

If we pay attention and see how unhelpful this is, we will not only begin to become disenchanted with this activity but we will also begin to see other more positive and inspiring possibilities on our horizon.


It is always unhelpful? In all cases for all people all the time? Is sex unhelpful? In all cases all the time? Is that why we move beyond sex? It is "unhelpful?" That looks to be a rationialization.


I have stayed out of this discussion thus far but I would just like comment on this. I agree with Tilt's point here. I believe that for most of us in the 'West' (broadly conceived) our attitudes towards the body, desire, and pleasure have been deeply conditioned by certain Christian understanding, even if we do not come from a Christian background. As I understand it, these three spheres (or to use a more Buddhist term, aggregates) of experience, body, desire, and pleasure do not have fixed relationships with each other. However, through the course of history, Christianity has produced a very influential configuration of body-desire-pleasure, such that sexuality (which emerges from the interplay of body-desire-pleasure) has come to be centered on a man-woman relationship (which therefore already brackets out masturbation) and associated with shame and guilt. This Christian configuration of body-desire-pleasure has, in time, permeated into broader social and cultural attitudes.

IMO, Buddhist understanding of the 'middle path' allows us to open up and reconfigure body-desire-pleasure. But I also think that we need to be mindful of how the Christian conditioning of our attitudes towards sexuality is very deep. I think that even when as we attempt to speak from a Buddhist perspective, we are never entirely free from this conditioning.
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:40 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
"Masturbation tends to sap one of the will to be caring and outgoing and it reinforces the burning desire to pursue sexual activity as a means of deriving physical pleasure." Gabe

A person who indulges in self-pleasuring cannot be compassionate or out going? Says who? Based upon what? That is the sort of sex negative stuff that has no basis in reality that tends to come out of Christian point of view that takes a very narrow view of sex.



Hi Tilt,

You engage in a hyperbolic response to what is a simple statement of tendency. Says me based on my own experience and from what I learn from communication with others. I have never been a christian I have never been taught to be one. I am not shy about sex and I do not believe I have a narrow view of it. I have happily engaged with masturbation my whole life and I was always taught that it was a natural and harmless act by my parents and piers.

tiltbillings wrote:
If we pay attention and see how unhelpful this is, we will not only begin to become disenchanted with this activity but we will also begin to see other more positive and inspiring possibilities on our horizon.


It is always unhelpful? In all cases for all people all the time? Is sex unhelpful? In all cases all the time? Is that why we move beyond sex? It is "unhelpful?" That looks to be a rationialization.


If we find it to be helpful then I suppose that is where we are. If you dont attempt to see what it is like without it how will you know? I usually have respect for your attention to what you are responding to and your clarity regarding that response but in this case you appear to be shooting from the hip without really considering my meaning. I intend to promote a precise and attentive engagement with abstinence. It is my opinion that if an individual undertakes this practice not out of a fear of sex but out of sincere inquiry, there is a great deal of potential benefit.

May you be well

may we all be free of negativity regarding our natural tendency's

may we strive to see them clearly and objectively

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:12 am

"Masturbation tends to sap one of the will to be caring and outgoing and it reinforces the burning desire to pursue sexual activity as a means of deriving physical pleasure." Gabe

gabrielbranbury wrote:You engage in a hyperbolic response to what is a simple statement of tendency.


Hyperbolic response? Not really. I was simply responding to a generalization that we now see is based upon not too much. While you may have found that self-pleasuring tends to saps you of caring and being outgoing, I see nothing here that warrants any sort of generalization of such a supposed tendency.

I have happily engaged with masturbation my whole life and I was always taught that it was a natural and harmless act by my parents and piers.


Thank you for sharing that with us. It is always good to learn from one’s parents and one’s dockage.

It is my opinion that if an individual undertakes this practice not out of a fear of sex but out of sincere inquiry, there is a great deal of potential benefit.


Sure.
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 Prasadachitta » Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:01 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
I have happily engaged with masturbation my whole life and I was always taught that it was a natural and harmless act by my parents and piers.


Thank you for sharing that with us. It is always good to learn from one’s parents and one’s dockage.


Touche

:tongue:
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:55 am

I forgot this was out there, which was probably a good thing.

Image
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::: » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:32 am

gabrielbranbury wrote: I intend to promote a precise and attentive engagement with abstinence. It is my opinion that if an individual undertakes this practice not out of a fear of sex but out of sincere inquiry, there is a great deal of potential benefit.

may we all be free of negativity regarding our natural tendency's

may we strive to see them clearly and objectively


Spot on, Gabe!

I am pleased to report that my "investigations" with greater abstinence from sexual activity and (just as importantly) thought over the last 3 weeks or so have opened a lot of windows previously nailed shut. Listening to Goldstein, reading Nyanaponika (as mentioned elsewhere, thank you Tilt), its clear that the Buddha presented a very straightforward and brilliant "recipe" of sorts for liberation from suffering.

Carrying our favorite "pleasures" along is indeed like running with an extra 50 pounds. Also like trying to get a hot air ballon into the sky while its still tied down. Like trying to cook oatmeal without heat, etc...

Experiences of pleasure (in moderation) may not be harmful of themselves, but if one is attached to the habit pattern in any way, lift off on the dhamma pad is extremely difficult, imo.

In my own case, this seems to be just one pattern tied in with loads of other binding fetters and hindrances that have developed over the last 30 plus years. So its a joy to discover that with a bit of investigation and a turning away from old patterns one may begin to open doors to a most wonderful freedom.

We just have to be willing to follow the Buddha's recipe, without cutting corners, without making excuses...

:smile:

Mind

As the fletcher whittles
And makes straight his arrows,
So the master directs
His straying thoughts.

Like a fish out of water,
Stranded on the shore,
Thoughts thrash and quiver,
For how can they shake off desire?

They tremble, they are unsteady,
They wander at their own will.
It is good to control them,
And to master them brings happiness.

But how subtle they are,
How elusive!
The task is to quieten them,
And by ruling them to find happiness.

With single-mindedness
The master quells his thoughts.
He ends their wandering.
Seated in the cave of the heart,
He finds freedom.

How can a troubled mind
Understand the way?

If a man is disturbed
He will never be filled with knowledge.
An untroubled mind,
No longer seeking to consider
What is right and what is wrong,
A mind beyond judgements,
Watches and understands.

~~~~

Your worst enemy cannot harm you
As much as your own thoughts, unguarded.
But once mastered,
No one can help you as much,
Not even your father or your mother.


~Buddha,
~The Dhammapada
Byron translation
"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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