Sex positive movement

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Disciple
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by Disciple »

Dhammanando wrote:
binocular wrote:Then how do you comment on modern trends within Buddhism that promote a "very positive view of sexuality" (to put it mildly)?

To not appreciate that the Buddha’s doctrine is a doctrine of ascesis, at least with respect to its highest ends, and to not understand that, “The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures … is low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, and unbeneficial,” (Vin. i. 10; SN. v. 421) is already to be misguided. But to go further and take methods prescribed for ascetic ends and apply them to the pursuit of enhanced hedonic enjoyment is to go risibly astray.
Vajrayana preaches you can indulge in sensual pleasures and use it as a tool to reach liberation.
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Dhammanando
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by Dhammanando »

Disciple wrote:Vajrayana preaches you can indulge in sensual pleasures and use it as a tool to reach liberation.

The supposed transformation of passions posited by Tantric Buddhists (as opposed to the abandoning of them taught by the Buddha) is premised upon the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas, i.e. that dharmas are entities that persist through the three periods of time. If they didn't persist in this way there would be no possibility of grasping hold of a nasty dharma, so to speak, and transforming it into a nice one. However, since the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas was soundly refuted by Moggalliputtatissa at the Third Council we may safely dismiss the Vajrayāna’s preaching.

https://suttacentral.net/en/kv1.6
Rūpehi bhikkhave arūpā santatarā.
Arūpehi nirodho santataro ti.


“Bhikkhus, the formless is more peaceful than the form realms.
Cessation is more peaceful than the formless realms.”
(Santatarasutta, Iti 73)
Javi
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by Javi »

Dhammanando wrote:
Disciple wrote:Vajrayana preaches you can indulge in sensual pleasures and use it as a tool to reach liberation.

The supposed transformation of passions posited by Tantric Buddhists (as opposed to the abandoning of them taught by the Buddha) is premised upon the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas, i.e. that dharmas are entities that persist through the three periods of time. If they didn't persist in this way there would be no possibility of grasping hold of a nasty dharma, so to speak, and transforming it into a nice one. However, since the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas was soundly refuted by Moggalliputtatissa at the Third Council we may safely dismiss the Vajrayāna’s preaching.

https://suttacentral.net/en/kv1.6
This is interesting, albeit somewhat surprising for me. My readings on Tantric Buddhism have not encountered this view that it comes from Sarvastivada metaphysics, rather it seems more like, at least historically, it comes from a melding of Buddhism and Hinduism in Seventh century India - especially Kashmiri Shaivism. When I read modern Tantric teachers saying things like:
"The same desirous energy that ordinarily propels us from one unsatisfactory situation is transmuted, through the alchemy of tantra, into a transcendental experience of bliss and wisdom. The practioner focuses the penetrating brilliance of this blissful wisdom so that it cuts like a laser beam through all false projections of this and that and pierces the very heart of reality." (Introduction to Tantra: A Vision of Totality [1987], p. 37)
I am not that bothered by it, it may sound radical to say that they embrace desire and so on and that they are totally different than sutra, but their goal is still to end craving like all Buddhists.

So in this sense what Disciple said is just incorrect. Vajrayana does not teach you should indulge in sensual pleasures, it teaches that through the complex of tantric practices, guided by a guru, one can transmute craving into insight and compassion.

In most cases, it just boils down to complex visualizations, mantras, and so on, which I am not a huge fan of, but whatever. It really doesn't cash out that differently than what Theravadins do - chanting, bowing, meditation, etc, its just highly ritualized and interpreted differently.

However I think I understand where you are coming from, since the Sarvastivada are basically expounding a kind of eternalism and the Hindus are also expounding a non-dual eternalism, one can see tantra as a being tied to this eternalistic view (but again, many Tibetans would bristle at this, especially Gelugpas). Some Dzogchen teachers get closer to Vedanta, but even then you have to be careful.

Either way I don't think that the Vaibhasika/Sarvastivada view is at the forefront here. Most Gelugpas would clearly be taught to refute the sarvastivada in debate as part of their education anyways.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14
dhammarelax
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by dhammarelax »

Javi wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:
Disciple wrote:Vajrayana preaches you can indulge in sensual pleasures and use it as a tool to reach liberation.

The supposed transformation of passions posited by Tantric Buddhists (as opposed to the abandoning of them taught by the Buddha) is premised upon the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas, i.e. that dharmas are entities that persist through the three periods of time. If they didn't persist in this way there would be no possibility of grasping hold of a nasty dharma, so to speak, and transforming it into a nice one. However, since the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas was soundly refuted by Moggalliputtatissa at the Third Council we may safely dismiss the Vajrayāna’s preaching.

https://suttacentral.net/en/kv1.6
This is interesting, albeit somewhat surprising for me. My readings on Tantric Buddhism have not encountered this view that it comes from Sarvastivada metaphysics, rather it seems more like, at least historically, it comes from a melding of Buddhism and Hinduism in Seventh century India - especially Kashmiri Shaivism. When I read modern Tantric teachers saying things like:
"The same desirous energy that ordinarily propels us from one unsatisfactory situation is transmuted, through the alchemy of tantra, into a transcendental experience of bliss and wisdom. The practioner focuses the penetrating brilliance of this blissful wisdom so that it cuts like a laser beam through all false projections of this and that and pierces the very heart of reality." (Introduction to Tantra: A Vision of Totality [1987], p. 37)
I am not that bothered by it, it may sound radical to say that they embrace desire and so on and that they are totally different than sutra, but their goal is still to end craving like all Buddhists.

So in this sense what Disciple said is just incorrect. Vajrayana does not teach you should indulge in sensual pleasures, it teaches that through the complex of tantric practices, guided by a guru, one can transmute craving into insight and compassion.

In most cases, it just boils down to complex visualizations, mantras, and so on, which I am not a huge fan of, but whatever. It really doesn't cash out that differently than what Theravadins do - chanting, bowing, meditation, etc, its just highly ritualized and interpreted differently.

However I think I understand where you are coming from, since the Sarvastivada are basically expounding a kind of eternalism and the Hindus are also expounding a non-dual eternalism, one can see tantra as a being tied to this eternalistic view (but again, many Tibetans would bristle at this, especially Gelugpas). Some Dzogchen teachers get closer to Vedanta, but even then you have to be careful.

Either way I don't think that the Vaibhasika/Sarvastivada view is at the forefront here. Most Gelugpas would clearly be taught to refute the sarvastivada in debate as part of their education anyways.
Dont forget that the Buddha also teaches that secret is the hallmark of false doctrines.
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by Coëmgenu »

Javi wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:
Disciple wrote:Vajrayana preaches you can indulge in sensual pleasures and use it as a tool to reach liberation.

The supposed transformation of passions posited by Tantric Buddhists (as opposed to the abandoning of them taught by the Buddha) is premised upon the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas, i.e. that dharmas are entities that persist through the three periods of time. If they didn't persist in this way there would be no possibility of grasping hold of a nasty dharma, so to speak, and transforming it into a nice one. However, since the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas was soundly refuted by Moggalliputtatissa at the Third Council we may safely dismiss the Vajrayāna’s preaching.

https://suttacentral.net/en/kv1.6
This is interesting, albeit somewhat surprising for me. My readings on Tantric Buddhism have not encountered this view that it comes from Sarvastivada metaphysics, rather it seems more like, at least historically, it comes from a melding of Buddhism and Hinduism in Seventh century India - especially Kashmiri Shaivism.
The belief that there is some successor-forbearer link between the Mūlasarvāstivāda and the older Sarvāstivāda, devoid of a Mūla-, is well-established only as a possibility, but as to if the Tibetans hold the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma in high regard, I don't think they do from seeing the way they talk about the Sarvāstivāda school on DharmaWheel. That being said, their beliefs could have still been influenced by it while they outwardly rejected it. Who am I to say? Cognitive dissonance is something like the norm in samsara. Who can claim to be utterly free of it? I certainly am not.
I heard it from a friend who heard it from a guy just before last call at the Publican House: Thomas the Bodhi-Wizard abode at Osmow's. Seeing a patron heading to the bathroom, Thomas quickly moved to relieve the man of his selfishly undonated plate. Caught, he spoke:

"'It's yours' is an extreme. 'It's mine' is another.
The Bodhi-Wizard splits the shawarma down the middle.
A sandwich arisen of causes and conditions
is a nonexistent sandwich.
A nonexistent sandwich is a designatory convenience.
This is the riddling way."


The man was awestruck.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by Coëmgenu »

dhammarelax wrote:Dont forget that the Buddha also teaches that secret is the hallmark of false doctrines.
Where does this quote come from?

Is it the sutta where the Buddha asks the Brahmins to show him where Mahābrahmā is and they reply with something like "he is hidden/secret" and the Buddha is not impressed by that answer?

*I know that isn't quite a proper retelling of it, but it went something like that*
I heard it from a friend who heard it from a guy just before last call at the Publican House: Thomas the Bodhi-Wizard abode at Osmow's. Seeing a patron heading to the bathroom, Thomas quickly moved to relieve the man of his selfishly undonated plate. Caught, he spoke:

"'It's yours' is an extreme. 'It's mine' is another.
The Bodhi-Wizard splits the shawarma down the middle.
A sandwich arisen of causes and conditions
is a nonexistent sandwich.
A nonexistent sandwich is a designatory convenience.
This is the riddling way."


The man was awestruck.
Bundokji
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by Bundokji »

Dhammanando wrote:“The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures … is low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, and unbeneficial,” (Vin. i. 10; SN. v. 421)
Hello Bhante,

How can the practitioner hold such a view without looking down on people who choose to live this way?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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mikenz66
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by mikenz66 »

Coëmgenu wrote:... as to if the Tibetans hold the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma in high regard, I don't think they do from seeing the way they talk about the Sarvāstivāda school on DharmaWheel....
I wouldn't base analysis about the development of the various schools solely on such observations...

Leaving aside details, the point is that the Abhidharmas and Commentaries of the northern schools such as Sarvāstivāda come to some very different conclusions from the Theravada, as Ven Dhammanando has described. This must have influenced how the later developments were understood. It also means that care is needed in comparing the conclusions based on the different interpretations. Mixing up random bits of Theravada and Sarvāstivāda analysis is likely to lead to complete confusion.

:anjali:
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Javi
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by Javi »

Coëmgenu wrote:The belief that there is some successor-forbearer link between the Mūlasarvāstivāda and the older Sarvāstivāda, devoid of a Mūla-, is well-established only as a possibility, but as to if the Tibetans hold the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma in high regard, I don't think they do from seeing the way they talk about the Sarvāstivāda school on DharmaWheel. That being said, their beliefs could have still been influenced by it while they outwardly rejected it. Who am I to say? Cognitive dissonance is something like the norm in samsara. Who can claim to be utterly free of it? I certainly am not.
My understanding is that the philosophical foundation of Tibetan Tantra is based on Yogacara and Buddha-nature texts like the Uttaratantra-shastra and other works by Asanga and Maitreya. Also the most widely studied Abhidharma text in Tibetan is the Abhidharmakosabhasya by Vasubandhu, which spends quite a lot of time trashing the Vaibhasika "all three times exist" view.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

Celibacy and Tantric Buddhism
http://www.vopus.org/pt/gnose/alquimia/ ... trico.html

AN 4.159 - Bhikkhuni Sutta: The Nun
"This body comes into being through sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is to be abandoned. With regard to sexual intercourse, the Buddha declares the cutting off of the bridge.
...
"This body comes into being through sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is to be abandoned. With regard to sexual intercourse, the Buddha declares the cutting off of the bridge."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Verse 186. Sensual Pleasures Never Satiated

Image

Not by rain of golden coins
is found desires’ satiety,
desires are dukkha, of little joy,
thus a wise one understands.

Explanation: Insatiable are sensual desires. Sensual desires will not be satisfied even with a shower of gold. The wise knows that sensual pleasure bring but little satisfaction and much pain.
http://www.buddhanet.net/dhammapada/d_buddha.htm


:anjali:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/
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Dhammanando
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by Dhammanando »

Javi wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:The supposed transformation of passions posited by Tantric Buddhists (as opposed to the abandoning of them taught by the Buddha) is premised upon the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas, i.e. that dharmas are entities that persist through the three periods of time. If they didn't persist in this way there would be no possibility of grasping hold of a nasty dharma, so to speak, and transforming it into a nice one. However, since the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas was soundly refuted by Moggalliputtatissa at the Third Council we may safely dismiss the Vajrayāna’s preaching.

https://suttacentral.net/en/kv1.6
This is interesting, albeit somewhat surprising for me.
I think it was poorly phrased by me. Rather than “premised upon...” I ought to have written, “... compatible with the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas, but contradicted by the Theravādin conception.”
Rūpehi bhikkhave arūpā santatarā.
Arūpehi nirodho santataro ti.


“Bhikkhus, the formless is more peaceful than the form realms.
Cessation is more peaceful than the formless realms.”
(Santatarasutta, Iti 73)
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Dhammanando
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by Dhammanando »

Bundokji wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:“The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures … is low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, and unbeneficial,” (Vin. i. 10; SN. v. 421)
How can the practitioner hold such a view without looking down on people who choose to live this way?

Ultimately it’s done by cutting off the fetter of conceit by attaining arahatta, whereupon one ceases to conceive: “I am better than...”, “I am inferior to ...” or “I am equal to...”

In the meantime, as a non-arahant I do it by just minding my own business and not concerning myself with others’ tastes.
Rūpehi bhikkhave arūpā santatarā.
Arūpehi nirodho santataro ti.


“Bhikkhus, the formless is more peaceful than the form realms.
Cessation is more peaceful than the formless realms.”
(Santatarasutta, Iti 73)
Javi
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by Javi »

Dhammanando wrote:
Bundokji wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:“The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures … is low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, and unbeneficial,” (Vin. i. 10; SN. v. 421)
How can the practitioner hold such a view without looking down on people who choose to live this way?

Ultimately it’s done by cutting off the fetter of conceit by attaining arahatta, whereupon one ceases to conceive: “I am better than...”, “I am inferior to ...” or “I am equal to...”

In the meantime, as a non-arahant I do it by just minding my own business and not concerning myself with others’ tastes.
And probably a good dose of metta and karuna to go with it
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14
binocular
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by binocular »

Dhammanando: “The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures … is low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, and unbeneficial,” (Vin. i. 10; SN. v. 421)
Bundokji: How can the practitioner hold such a view without looking down on people who choose to live this way?
Dhammanando: Ultimately it’s done by cutting off the fetter of conceit by attaining arahatta, whereupon one ceases to conceive: “I am better than...”, “I am inferior to ...” or “I am equal to...” In the meantime, as a non-arahant I do it by just minding my own business and not concerning myself with others’ tastes.
Javi: And probably a good dose of metta and karuna to go with it
Suttas like AN 5.162 give instructions on such things, too.
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
binocular
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Re: Sex positive movement

Post by binocular »

Dhammanando wrote:
binocular wrote:Then how do you comment on modern trends within Buddhism that promote a "very positive view of sexuality" (to put it mildly)?
To not appreciate that the Buddha’s doctrine is a doctrine of ascesis, at least with respect to its highest ends, and to not understand that, “The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures … is low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, and unbeneficial,” (Vin. i. 10; SN. v. 421) is already to be misguided.
The title says it all -- Buddhism as the Opiate of the (downwardly-mobile) Middle Class -- an essay by an author who considers himself a Buddhist, that criticizes asceticism.

There are people who claim to be Buddhists who have not only not read the Pali Canon, but who even say they don't need it and that it is not relevant to Buddhism.

For me, the problem is -- What exactly is the Buddha's doctrine? Why, on the grounds of what should one person who claims to be a Buddhist and to know what the Buddha really taught, be believed more than another person who also claims to be a Buddhist and to know what the Buddha really taught, but who presents as the supposed Buddha's teachings something quite different than the first?

Or are we to take for granted that since this is a Theravada forum, the Theravada position is automatically right (even though it's not always clear what the Theravada position is ...)?

But to go further and take methods prescribed for ascetic ends and apply them to the pursuit of enhanced hedonic enjoyment is to go risibly astray.
As in "how to use Buddhist meditation practice to increase your sexual enjoment / business profits" ...

However, it seems that some people pursue various hedonic enjoments not for the sake of those enjoyments themselves, but because of what they believe pursuing and obtaining those enjoyments will mean for them, especially socially. For example, it seems that some people pursue sex not for the sake of sex pleasure, but because they want to appear normal in the eyes of society which believes that pursuing sex makes one a good, normal person (although some restrictions apply) and that celibacy is an aberration.

In fact, in some psychological diagnostic tools, there are questions about a person's sexuality, and not engaing in sex as often as the official psychology thinks you should is interpreted as an indication that there could be something mentally wrong with you.
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
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