"Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by tiltbillings »

Pinetree wrote:
The body has a good reason to expel the semen, and it has evolved a highly pleasurable connexion for expelling semen so that it will want to do it, and do it often.
I'd like to comment on the "often" point:

Recently, I caught on TV, few minutes from a show where a medical doctor was invited to speak about male infertility. And he said that, for the male patients trying to have a baby with their partners, it is advised that they do not have sex 1 month before.

Which we could apply to our discussion to imply that there is some loss of "vital force" that would be preserved by avoiding ejaculation.
And what would this vital force be. Basically, abstaining from ejaculation for a period of time allows for a sperm build up that then can be released. One does not need to appeal to a mystical "life force".
Having sex only results in a relatively small caloric expenditure and it helps produce testosterone
Actually, I believe it reduces testosterone.
The scientific literature suggests otherwise, but who wants to believe in that dumbassed Western Science anyway?
I've read a long time ago a research displaying a graph that was showing that testosterone levels decrease after sex, then start to increase, until they reach a higher stable level maybe 1-2 weeks later.
Between the "long time ago" and now research has shown things to be a bit different. See.
I never said, or implied that, but evolution does tend to favor efficiency.
Efficiency, but only by it's definition, not by ours. For example, evolution doesn't necessarily want us to stay healthy or "efficient" long after the fertility age, which starts in puberty.
Pretty much so, but given that the male body, once puberty is reached and before becoming an old fart, produces about 1,500 sperm cells a second, which is going on constantly in the background.

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>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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ihrjordan
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by ihrjordan »

tiltbillings wrote:The scientific literature suggests otherwise, but who wants to believe in that dumbassed Western Science anyway?
Well considering that the U.S. is one the most prosperous countries in the world yet has one of the highest rates of disease and obesity as well as one of the highest rates of death from legally prescribed drugs; if this is what "dumbassed" western science has brought us well then call me a savage for not buying into it.
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by Pinetree »

Between the "long time ago" and now research has shown things to be a bit different. See.
Maybe I'm missing something, but what you're linking is not exactly a recent research report discussing the topic that I was mentioning.

Something I found myself:
Endocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm in healthy men following a 3-week sexual abstinence.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1176 ... t=Abstract

These data demonstrate that acute abstinence does not change the neuroendocrine response to orgasm but does produce elevated levels of testosterone in males.
One does not need to appeal to a mystical "life force".
Certainly not, but when we address a different paradigm than our own, some bridging effort is required.

Which also requires to put our own judgement and prejudice aside for a while, long enough to see understand a point of view that's different from our own.

"Life force" is a shorthand for more energies that are described in traditional texts, which admittedly, I don't have the qualification to explain in detail. Personally, when I have limited information about something, I aim to be reserved and avoid making definitive conclusions.

Somebody who might be interested to make correlations would find maybe relationships to hormones, neurotransmitters or mental-emotional states and possibly more. The testosterone issue was just an example of a possible correlation, and I could be wrong about it (although it doesn't seem yet to be the case).
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tiltbillings
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by tiltbillings »

ihrjordan wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The scientific literature suggests otherwise, but who wants to believe in that dumbassed Western Science anyway?
Well considering that the U.S. is one the most prosperous countries in the world yet has one of the highest rates of disease and obesity as well as one of the highest rates of death from legally prescribed drugs; if this is what "dumbassed" western science has brought us well then call me a savage for not buying into it.
Good luck with that.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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tiltbillings
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by tiltbillings »

Pinetree wrote:
Between the "long time ago" and now research has shown things to be a bit different. See.
Maybe I'm missing something, but what you're linking is not exactly a recent research report discussing the topic that I was mentioning.
It is more recent than the research you linked.

If one wants to believe in the sort of silliness that sex/semen expulsion is somehow debilitating, draining away one's vital life force, that is one's choice, but the bottom line: It is not the Buddha's teaching.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
chownah
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by chownah »

Certainly not, but when we address a different paradigm than our own, some bridging effort is required.
A bridge must have a foundation at both ends. I think the bridge you are attempting to build has no foundation in what the buddha taught. . Good luck.
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by Pinetree »

A bridge must have a foundation at both ends. I think the bridge you are attempting to build has no foundation in what the buddha taught. . Good luck.
My point was a bridge between traditional medicine and modern medicine. This is where the discussion has evolved.
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by chownah »

Pinetree wrote:
A bridge must have a foundation at both ends. I think the bridge you are attempting to build has no foundation in what the buddha taught. . Good luck.
My point was a bridge between traditional medicine and modern medicine. This is where the discussion has evolved.
Thanks for pointing that out. You are right. I apologize for my off topic comment. I should read things more carefully.
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by ShaswataP »

ihrjordan can you please Point out the sutta where Buddha says even a bit of celibacy is good. I used to be a lifelong celibate (under a vow) before revoking the vow because of some unforseen developments regarding to my Body,mind and practice...I was 5 years under my vow..I can say only good things about celibacy...I am presently 31
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ihrjordan
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by ihrjordan »

ShaswataP wrote:ihrjordan can you please Point out the sutta where Buddha says even a bit of celibacy is good. I used to be a lifelong celibate (under a vow) before revoking the vow because of some unforseen developments regarding to my Body,mind and practice...I was 5 years under my vow..I can say only good things about celibacy...I am presently 31
"Now I will tell you the layman's duty...A wise man should avoid unchastity as (he would avoid falling into) a pit of glowing charcoal. If unable to lead a celibate life, he should not go to another's wife." Snp 2.14 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html
Is it good to avoid a pit of glowing charcoal? We in the west tend to think that if we're not monks that we should go crazy with our sexual desires because it's "technically ok" but according to the Buddha even a layman who thinks himself wise should show serious sexual restraint. The Buddha allows one to cohabit with a wife only if they think they are incapable of leading a life of complete physical celibacy (as it is nearly impossible to abstain from talking, joking with and otherwise fantasizing about women as a layperson as is the description of perfect Brahmacarya). The irony about sex in the west (America) is that it's seen as an impure or an animalistic act due to quaker influences and it's really taboo to talk about publicly but yet the modernized world shows less sexual restraint than actual animals. Animals mate for the purposes of reproduction and even then only after conducting extensive rituals and in certain seasons such as winter or spring. As you know, celibacy (and to a lesser extent, serious sexual restraint) imparts a sharp intellect to the practitioner and actually allows them to have more control over their life as well as face any adversity with a sense of security and confidence. This is a controversial point but I'd say the reason men on average die sooner than women is not because we are more active or more daring but rather that we can waste or most precious bodily asset no matter what age as the male body produces semen up until death (only it takes a lot longer to make the same amount due to weakened digestive capicity at old age and a women's menses ends around her mid to late 30's thus no longer losing life essence one a month for a week.

The fact of the matter is that the more sex a male has the shorter his life will be.
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tiltbillings
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by tiltbillings »

ihrjordan wrote:

The fact of the matter is that the more sex a male has the shorter his life will be.
And your basis for this statement?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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ihrjordan
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by ihrjordan »

tiltbillings wrote:
ihrjordan wrote:

The fact of the matter is that the more sex a male has the shorter his life will be.
And your basis for this statement?
Perhaps the statement wasn't meant for you? But if you must know...
Bhikkhus, there are these five things that reduce vitality. What five? One does what is harmful; one does not observe moderation in what is beneficial; one has poor digestion; one walks [for alms] at an improper time; one is not celibate. These are the five things that reduce vitality.
“Know that in this world there is nothing that cannot be attained by one who remains from birth to death a perfect celibate ….. In one person, knowledge of the four Vedas, and in another, perfect celibacy- of these, the latter is superior to the former who is wanting in celibacy.”

– The Mahabharata
“A man develops a subtle power as a result of the strict observance of celibacy for twelve years. Then he can understand and grasp very subtle things which otherwise elude his intellect. Through that understanding the aspirant can have direct vision of God. That pure understanding alone enables him to realize Truth.”

– Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
“As for myself, I look upon all women as my Mother. This is a very pure attitude of mind. There is no risk or danger in it. To look upon a woman as one’s sister is also not bad. But the other attitudes are very difficult and dangerous. It is almost impossible to keep to the purity of the ideal.”

– Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Tapussa the householder, here, has said to me, 'Venerable Ananda, sir, we are householders who indulge in sensuality, delight in sensuality, enjoy sensuality, rejoice in sensuality. For us — indulging in sensuality, delighting in sensuality, enjoying sensuality, rejoicing in sensuality — renunciation seems like a sheer drop-off. Yet I've heard that in this doctrine & discipline the hearts of the very young monks leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. So right here is where this doctrine & discipline is contrary to the great mass of people: i.e., [this issue of] renunciation.'"

"So it is, Ananda. So it is. Even I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, thought: 'Renunciation is good. Seclusion is good.' But my heart didn't leap up at renunciation, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: 'What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'I haven't seen the drawback of sensual pleasures; I haven't pursued [that theme]. I haven't understood the reward of renunciation; I haven't familiarized myself with it. That's why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.' AN 9.41
What's important to understand is that Vedanta philosophy and Buddhism only differ when it comes to intricacies such as ultimate view of self. It's not the case that the Buddha viewed all of his contemporaries as idiots, quite the opposite. There were some with little dust in their eyes who were merely seeking the proper framework by which to finally push through to release. Rather than ask "how can I realize self hood?" They'd ask "how can I put an end to suffering?" Ancient Indians were not idiots, it's easy to fall into this trap but what one will notice by comparing Teachings in Yogic philosophy, Ayurveda, and Buddhism is that they operate from the same foundations.

All three hold the exact same understanding of how the body works. It is understood to be created from the 5 elements of water, wind, fire, earth and ether. In Ayurveda disease is understood to be created by 1 of 3 causes "under use" "over use" and "wrong usage" and their relation to seasonal changes. In the vinaya one will find allusions to phrases like "Fell ill with a disease of the autumn season" "I allow you monks to make use of sugar as much as you like" "Garlic except for when used as a medicine is not allowed" "Set out water for washing the feet" the need to wear wooden sandals but to go bear foot during alms round"... Have you ever stopped and questioned what all this was about? All of these things are references to and remedies for putting the 5 pranas or "life forces" into balance e.g. avoid sickness and dis-ease. Why sugar? Because it's anabolic. It prevents disease in 10/12 months. Or why Traditional cultures eat white rice and tend to feed brown rice to chickens? Because A food is no good if you can't digest it. If you eat something you can't digest it turns into toxic sludge which is ripe to make cancers and other diseases. Why no garlic? Yes because it stinks but also because it contains 5/6 tastes except for salty which stimulate the mind of one who eats and incites lust. Why do they wash their feet? To remove dirt and in-auspiciousness and to calm their nerves and because it's good for the eyesight.

It's interesting to hear people say that the Buddha never taught Asana or Pranayama but this actually isn't true. The vinaya is yoga through and through. With every precept complimenting the previous one so as to lead the one who follows it to the T to good health in both body and mind. Take for example the precept against taking a vehicle; This prevents traveling long distances as traveling is one of the primary causes of disease due to rapid shifts in climate but yet how many actually take this precept to heart? This body IS the weather in every sense of the meaning and it stands to reason that a rapid shift in climate would produce confusion on the cellular level of the human being. Asana in yoga is for the purpose of finding balance within the body so as to ready it for Pranyama and meditation. True pranayama is when the breath ceases (as is the case in the 4th Jhana) you see the ancient sages noticed that the slower one breaths, the longer one lives as is the case with Elephants, Tortises and Pythons. The opposite is true as well the faster one breaths the shorter one will live as is the case with birds, dogs etc. All of the precepts are designed to calm the mind, free the being from disease and SLOW DOWN/EVENTUALLY STOP THE BREATHING this is why a being is classified as invincible in the 4th Jhana, his breath has stopped and his physical form is temporarily dead.

Now to the point I'm trying to make: Yogic philosophy and Buddhism only differed in the minor details. The idea that the wastage of semen would lead to an early death or disease was common knowledge at the time of the Buddha so he didn't have to explicitly state it. Athimittuna or excessive sex is classified as more than once a month during certain seasons and anything more than this or the improper conduct therein would cause disease. It's a little more tricky to observe nowadays with unlimited medicines which can supress symptoms an cut one off from the results of their previous actions but they always find a way to make themselves known if not early then when one is older. It's not a coincidence that young men nowadays are balding at 23 y/o and that Alzeimer's and dementia rates are skyrocketing as sexual restraint has gone out the window. The male body WILL produce semen no matter what and if we've released so many times then the body has to get the raw materials somewhere...And so the brain starts to decay, the bones become fragile, the muscles whither. It takes life to create life. An entire tree will born from a single seed and so too will an entire Human being complete with emotions, thoughts, physical traits be born from a single sperm cell. How is this hard to understand? A human being is the single most complex thing in the observable universe and the single most intelligent being in all 31 planes of existence. It's a disgrace the level apathy that we've reached in regards to our own human worth...

But to any male reading: Don't take my word for it. Run an experiment. Attempt to go 3 months completely abstinent and tell me that the ancients were wrong about the power that it grants you. Only then can you be sure.
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ihrjordan
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by ihrjordan »

And to put the lunacy of our modern world into perspective: In the male body there is more blood than semen at any given time. Semen is the more scarce asset. Blood is required to make semen. Semen creates life while blood simply maintains it. Now a person is only allowed to give blood once every 6 weeks yet semen being the scarcer and more valuable asset conventional wisdom will tell you that daily masturbation is ok and even beneficial! If this isn't absurd then I don't know what is.
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tiltbillings
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by tiltbillings »

ihrjordan wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
ihrjordan wrote:

The fact of the matter is that the more sex a male has the shorter his life will be.
And your basis for this statement?
Perhaps the statement wasn't meant for you? But if you must know...
Interesting, but your "fact of the matter" it reads, rather, as a matter of belief and faith.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Re: "Moderation in what is beneficial"? - Yoga connections.

Post by DNS »

Have there been any scientific studies on this? I'd be curious to see the results.

I remember hearing an interview with Wilt Chamberlain back in the early 1980s where he bragged about having sex with "at least 20,000 women" and even his friends reported that he would sometimes have sex with 2 to 3 women in the same day. So out of curiosity I looked up his bio on wiki and see he only lived to age 63. Of course that is just one anecdotal case; so is there any long-term longitudinal study that has been done? (pardon the pun)
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