Superstitious or real?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
MervT
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Superstitious or real?

Post by MervT »

Hi all, this is my first post here and i apologize in advance if this is not posted in the correct place.

Recently i was listening to a Mahayana lay master's talks on YouTube and it has left me largely bewildered and uneasy. The master is from China and his teachings are a mixed of Mahayana and Traditional Chinese Teachings (such as Confucian and Chinese Traditions).

He is somewhat of a figure on par with the Western's Edgar Casey. He said he was given a gift by an entity that i can only understand as a Deva when he was a kid. Because of this he has the ability to "see" a person's problem just like that. One example was he said he met a woman whose young son has a non-stop head-shaking habit. He "sees" and say this is due to the woman watching pornography when she was pregnant with him causing the kid to feel "excited" from there and this was brought down as a habit after he was born.

What really left me uneasy was in general he attribute a person's "luck" or rather ups and downs in life to either (1) not respecting elders / honoring the departed ancestors (2) Sexual Misconduct.

I understand Sexual Misconduct to be the Buddhist 3rd precept but let me get to it later.

For (1) respecting of elders / honoring the departed ancestors, he was saying how we are all connected to our ancestors and by not honoring them (praying, visiting graves) or simply by not being a filial Son/Daughter we are incurring bad karma and will never succeed in life.

Secondly regarding Sexual Misconduct, from his point of view "one should not even have lust for any other person except your own wife". That having lust in our mind is wrong, masturbation is wrong and any intercourse with anyone except your legal wife is wrong. I find that this to be so much stricter than what we commonly understood from Buddhism as "no affairs and adultery".

I feel uneasy because if according to the above two points, i am literally creating bad karma every second because;

(1) My family is not perfect but we get along. I am not "filial" from his criteria of how filial piety should be.
(2) I am single man in my prime. When i see women that might be eligible for me, i lust for them.

My question is are his teachings legit? Because it made me feel as if i'm a walking bad karma from simply the above two points.

Thank you for your input.
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Aloka
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by Aloka »

Hi MervT,

Its not always a good idea to believe everything one hears and sees on YouTube.

Try checking it at the Dharmawheel Mahayana/Vajrayana "sister" forum.

https://www.dharmawheel.net/

With metta,

Aloka :anjali:
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DooDoot
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by DooDoot »

MervT wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:04 am any intercourse with anyone except your legal wife is wrong.
Hello Merv.

There is no example in the scriptures (both sutta and commentary) of right sexual conduct outside of marriage (eg. AN 4.55). The suttas (DN 31) say it is the duty of Buddhist parents to organise the marriage of their children. A commentary says the words "protected women" means the daughter is protected by her parents until the daughter comes of age and her parents find a good home for her to be married into.
MervT wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:04 am(2) I am single man in my prime. When i see women that might be eligible for me, i lust for them.
I never read in the scriptures women are "eligible" sex objects. To regard women as sex objects and to engage in casual sex is bad karma in Buddhism. The scriptures (MN 9) say "lust/greed" is a root of the unwholesome.

While the Youtube guru said some extreme & wrong things, what he said about marriage appears to be standard Buddhism.

Regards
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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MervT
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by MervT »

DooDoot wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 5:25 am
MervT wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:04 am any intercourse with anyone except your legal wife is wrong.
Hello Merv.

There is no example in the scriptures (both sutta and commentary) of right sexual conduct outside of marriage (eg. AN 4.55). The suttas (DN 31) say it is the duty of Buddhist parents to organise the marriage of their children. A commentary says the words "protected women" means the daughter is protected by her parents until the daughter comes of age and her parents find a good home for her to be married into.
MervT wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:04 am(2) I am single man in my prime. When i see women that might be eligible for me, i lust for them.
I never read in the scriptures women are "eligible" sex objects. To regard women as sex objects and to engage in casual sex is bad karma in Buddhism. The scriptures (MN 9) say "lust/greed" is a root of the unwholesome.

While the Youtube guru said some extreme & wrong things, what he said about marriage appears to be standard Buddhism.

Regards
Hi DooDoot,

Thanks for the input but i think i wasn't clear and was misunderstood on the two points you mentioned.

1. Eligible - I was referring to women who i find eligible for me as a single man. For example if i'm a 30 years old man, women that is say 25 to 35, single and healthy will be deemed eligible as a partner for me. I wouldn't lust for a 16 or 60 years old woman for obvious reason that it'd even be unacceptable is most society's norm.

2. I don't quite agree on this part. I am just a layman with 5 precepts aiming for a balanced and happy household life, i don't find being too extreme in applying teachings much intended for ordained life useful for myself. I do understand lust, sex or desire in general is unwholesome for us humans as it keeps as in samsara and produce suffering. But as a layman in a household life these are very pressing real issues that has its needs and wants.

When we talk about "sex for pleasure" we often discounted that it also pleasures women. It is a very real need needing satisfying in a lay person's life. If the act is between two consenting adults whom are not attached / married and it satisfied each other, what wrong is it for lay person?

To be frank i've tried being celibate. But as long i am not living in a temple where devotees might practise restrain outwardly, working and socializing in this modern society is just not doing it. Those days when i'm celibate, the urges became so strong that the effort to restrain it is so much more than just "releasing" it and forgetting about it.

I noticed there are lots of question pertaining to sexuality whether in this forum or outside in the Buddhist community. I think it is very easy to say it is wrong or unwholesome for any kind of sexuality. But like i heard from a master who once said, only an Arahant will not have sexual desire.

I've heard and seen lots of teachers teaching about how bad and unwholesome pre-marital sex or even masturbation / pornography is. But i've yet to see sources that provide a useful method that address the very real need and urge of a person's sexuality. Everybody is different, as per karma. Some people can abstain without any release but some people's body just physiology can't do it.

For example, for a healthy and hot-blooded male in his prime, is not married, can't watch porn (because of unwholesomeness), can't visit a prostitute (because of unwholesomeness), can't masturbate (because of unwholesomeness), can't have sex with his girlfriend if he has one (because it is unwholesome), can't fantasize eligible females because lust is bad and wrong, then what happens? Transmute himself into someone who dives and wakeboarding every Sunday or Gym every evening because that's the human version of utopia everyone thinks we should be isn't it? And if not? He becomes someone who commit a crime because he got nowhere to release his pent up needs? And then he is in the wrong?

I apologize if i am too forward with my answer. As i've met with too many methods and dogmatic information that just doesn't put things into perspective - of a householder. Please forgive me if i've offended any readers. I am just trying to be as truthful of the problems and issues i faced on this issue. :namaste:
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DooDoot
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by DooDoot »

MervT wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:10 am 2. I don't quite agree on this part. I am just a layman with 5 precepts aiming for a balanced and happy household life, i don't find being too extreme in applying teachings much intended for ordained life useful for myself. I do understand lust, sex or desire in general is unwholesome for us humans as it keeps as in samsara and produce suffering. But as a layman in a household life these are very pressing real issues that has its needs and wants.
Lust is always unwholesome, which is why it forces one to act to remove it temporarily via sex. If lust was wholesome, you would want to always remain lustful, therefore you would never have sex to mitigate (reduce) your lust.

The above said, a householder can engage in sex with their partner, but that does not mean lust is "wholesome".
When we talk about "sex for pleasure" we often discounted that it also pleasures women. It is a very real need needing satisfying in a lay person's life. If the act is between two consenting adults whom are not attached / married and it satisfied each other, what wrong is it for lay person?
Sex & lust does not "satisfy". Instead, sex removes/mitigates the suffering of lust. That is why when you feel satisfied, after sex, you stop having sex. If sex itself satisfied, you would always have sex. Yet those who always have sex are said to not be satisfied.

Also, there is no such thing as sex without attachment. The scriptures say attachment includes sensual attachment. The scriptures say: "delight in pleasant feelings is attachment" (MN 38).
Those days when i'm celibate, the urges became so strong that the effort to restrain it is so much more than just "releasing" it and forgetting about it.
Yes, as i suggested above, sex is about "releasing" lust. It must be released because it is suffering rather than pleasurable.

You seem to be confusing the arising of lust with the releasing of lust. Having lust is suffering. Releasing lust is satisfying.
I noticed there are lots of question pertaining to sexuality whether in this forum or outside in the Buddhist community. I think it is very easy to say it is wrong or unwholesome for any kind of sexuality. But like i heard from a master who once said, only an Arahant will not have sexual desire.
Marriage as a means to manage sexual desires is skillful. But marriage requires much metta. Marriage without metta (friendship) based on lust won't last long. What maintains a marriage is friendship. Those who only engage in sex with lust, without friendship, become hungry ghosts, searching for partner after partner after partner.
I've heard and seen lots of teachers teaching about how bad and unwholesome pre-marital sex or even masturbation / pornography is. But i've yet to see sources that provide a useful method that address the very real need and urge of a person's sexuality. Everybody is different, as per karma. Some people can abstain without any release but some people's body just physiology can't do it.
pre-marital sex & pornography are unskilful; they cause great harm. They are unrelated to any inherent "sexual needs". When i was young, we did not watch any pornography because there was none available to watch. When i was young, i had uncommitted sex with girls/ladies until i realised it was harmful. When i realised this, it ceased to be a "need".
For example, for a healthy and hot-blooded male in his prime, is not married, can't watch porn (because of unwholesomeness), can't visit a prostitute (because of unwholesomeness), can't masturbate (because of unwholesomeness), can't have sex with his girlfriend if he has one (because it is unwholesome), can't fantasize eligible females because lust is bad and wrong, then what happens? Transmute himself into someone who dives and wakeboarding every Sunday or Gym every evening because that's the human version of utopia everyone thinks we should be isn't it? And if not? He becomes someone who commit a crime because he got nowhere to release his pent up needs? And then he is in the wrong?
In the Buddha's time, men & women were married very young (refer to AN 4.55). Your considerations above sound Cultural Marxist.
I apologize if i am too forward with my answer. As i've met with too many methods and dogmatic information that just doesn't put things into perspective - of a householder. Please forgive me if i've offended any readers. I am just trying to be as truthful of the problems and issues i faced on this issue.
You have not considered the causing of harm & suffering of what you wrote. You write women experience sexual pleasure but you didn't write women who experiencing sexual pleasure also experience heart break & intense loneliness when their lover decides to leave them.
Last edited by DooDoot on Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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MervT
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by MervT »

DooDoot wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:38 am
MervT wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:10 am 2. I don't quite agree on this part. I am just a layman with 5 precepts aiming for a balanced and happy household life, i don't find being too extreme in applying teachings much intended for ordained life useful for myself. I do understand lust, sex or desire in general is unwholesome for us humans as it keeps as in samsara and produce suffering. But as a layman in a household life these are very pressing real issues that has its needs and wants.
Lust is always unwholesome, which is why it forces to act to remove it temporarily via sex. If lust was wholesome, you would want to always remain lustful, therefore you would never have sex to mitigate (reduce) your lust.
When we talk about "sex for pleasure" we often discounted that it also pleasures women. It is a very real need needing satisfying in a lay person's life. If the act is between two consenting adults whom are not attached / married and it satisfied each other, what wrong is it for lay person?
Sex & lust does not "satisfy". Instead, sex removes/mitigates the suffering of lust. That is why when you feel satisfied, after sex, you stop having sex. If sex itself satisfied, you would always have sex. Yet those who always have sex are said to not be satisfied.

Also, there is no such thing as sex without attachment. The scriptures say attachment includes sensual attachment. The scriptures say: "delight in pleasant feelings is attachment" (MN 38).
Those days when i'm celibate, the urges became so strong that the effort to restrain it is so much more than just "releasing" it and forgetting about it.
Yes, as i suggested above, sex is about "releasing" lust. It must be released because it is suffering rather than pleasurable.

You seem to be confusing the arising of lust with the releasing of lust. Having lust is suffering. Releasing lust is satisfying.
I noticed there are lots of question pertaining to sexuality whether in this forum or outside in the Buddhist community. I think it is very easy to say it is wrong or unwholesome for any kind of sexuality. But like i heard from a master who once said, only an Arahant will not have sexual desire.
Marriage as a means to manage sexual desires is skillful. But marriage requires much metta. Marriage without metta (friendship) based on lust won't last long. What maintains a marriage is friendship. Those who only engage in sex with lust, without friendship, become hungry ghosts, searching for partner after partner after partner.
I've heard and seen lots of teachers teaching about how bad and unwholesome pre-marital sex or even masturbation / pornography is. But i've yet to see sources that provide a useful method that address the very real need and urge of a person's sexuality. Everybody is different, as per karma. Some people can abstain without any release but some people's body just physiology can't do it.
pre-marital sex & pornography are unskilful; they cause great harm. They are unrelated to "sexual needs".
For example, for a healthy and hot-blooded male in his prime, is not married, can't watch porn (because of unwholesomeness), can't visit a prostitute (because of unwholesomeness), can't masturbate (because of unwholesomeness), can't have sex with his girlfriend if he has one (because it is unwholesome), can't fantasize eligible females because lust is bad and wrong, then what happens? Transmute himself into someone who dives and wakeboarding every Sunday or Gym every evening because that's the human version of utopia everyone thinks we should be isn't it? And if not? He becomes someone who commit a crime because he got nowhere to release his pent up needs? And then he is in the wrong?
In the Buddha's time, men & women were married very young (refer to AN 4.55). Your considerations above sound Cultural Marxist.
I apologize if i am too forward with my answer. As i've met with too many methods and dogmatic information that just doesn't put things into perspective - of a householder. Please forgive me if i've offended any readers. I am just trying to be as truthful of the problems and issues i faced on this issue.
You have not considered the causing of harm & suffering of what you wrote. You write women experience sexual pleasure but you don't wrote women who experiencing sexual pleasure also experience heart broken & intense loneliness when their lover decides to leave them.
:thinking: Erm... okay. That is what i meant when i said there's too many teachers that teach dogmatic (not saying it's wrong) teachings but after a big round, it is still word for word without any practical solution.

I totally get what you said are unwholesome and how i should view the world in a Utopia way but unfortunately real life issues are still not addressed here.

Yes i know i am a big walking unwholesomeness from your explanation.

Thank you and i'm out of here :bow:
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DooDoot
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by DooDoot »

MervT wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:46 am Erm... okay. That is what i meant when i said there's too many teachers that teach dogmatic (not saying it's wrong) teachings but after a big round, it is still word for word without any practical solution.
Marriage is the practical solution, as all religions teach. Marriage requires a foundation of ethics & friendship. Refer to AN 4.55.
MervT wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:46 am real life issues are still not addressed here.
I wrote about what is 'real'. I wrote:

1. when i was young, we had no readily available pornography therefore pornography was never a "need". In reality, your watching of pornography made pornography an "acquired need" rather than it is an "inherent need".

2. my parents generation did not commonly have pre-marital sex therefore this is not a "need". Again, your personal cultural kamma has made pre-marital sex an "acquired need" for you

3. women experience both pleasure :D & pain :weep: due to heedless impulsive careless sex therefore sex is not only pleasurable. The Buddha taught to consider both the attraction & danger (drawback) of pleasures.
Yes i know i am a big walking unwholesomeness from your explanation.
You just never read what i wrote. I never wrote you should never have sex.
Thank you and i'm out of here
Whatever dude. Take care. i'm out of here also. Others can answer your questions :anjali:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Bundokji
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by Bundokji »

The video you watched seems to provide a coherent set of solutions, but not all of them apply or practicle enough to your own situation. Most religions, including sects within religions, provide a set of beliefs with the aim of producing predictable behavior. The fluidity of our modern age, however, made it more difficult to choose a path to walk in and at the same time feel justified in our actions. In secular societies, the world is explained through scientific theories, and the old theories, including religious theories, are becoming implausible to a large number of people to provide any sensible guidance especially when it comes to sexuality. Modern technology invented contraception, which revolutionized how we perceive sex and women's role in it. Pornography, which became wide spread during the age of the internet, stimulates the senses better than real life relationships without getting into the troubles of having a real partner. Many secular governments have legalized prostitution, and some modern philosophers likened marriage to long term prostitution. With the current abundance of food production and improvement in health services, having children is not only becoming redundant, but the morality of it is becoming questionable. Of course, when you listen to a teacher on youtube talking about families, ancestors, and retraining sexuality, you would naturally feel that something is missing. What on earth is he talking about?

Similar to the excesses of our modern age, the life of the individual can be explained through excesses. When you describe a man being at his prime as a justification of being lustful, contemplating impermanence is a friendly reminder that seeing things this way is based on overlooking other possibilities of how this prime of youth, which is short lived, is best to be used by a mortal. This is inline with the teachings on kamma, which does not tell you what you should or should not do, but teaches that actions have consequences, including what you decide to do or not to do with your prime moving towards unknown future. This bias, or act of overlooking, is seen more clearly when one encounters the four messengers.
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.
48vows
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by 48vows »

MervT, post the video
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cappuccino
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by cappuccino »

MervT wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:04 am My question is are his teachings legit?
Buddha is the legit teacher
Last edited by cappuccino on Sat Apr 24, 2021 10:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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cappuccino
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by cappuccino »

MervT wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:04 am When I see women … I lust for them.
women are nice


Nirvana is nicer
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by befriend »

Your not making bad kamma by masterbating your not a monk. You aren't making bad kamma by not visiting your ancestors graves. Your not making bad kamma when you look at a beautiful woman an lust arises. Your worrying which is a hindrance to meditation. Be careful what who you choose as a teacher some people can do tons of yoga or whatever and be scumbags.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by befriend »

Someone said sexual energy is the most powerful energy in the world you can't just wish that away. You can have sex in Buddhism with your girlfriend or your boyfriend. As long as it's alive and adult and not an animal/dead animal. Anyone want to help this guy instead of put more worry in him? From some Confucian mahayanist
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by DNS »

MervT wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:04 am One example was he said he met a woman whose young son has a non-stop head-shaking habit. He "sees" and say this is due to the woman watching pornography when she was pregnant with him causing the kid to feel "excited" from there and this was brought down as a habit after he was born.
Why would the son have to suffer some kamma-vipaka for what his mother did? It sounds like what Ven. Dhammika would call 'kammic naivety' with ideas like a person who punches a monk in the last life gets reborn with no hand in the next and other silly examples like this one about the mother watching pornography.
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Dharmasherab
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Re: Superstitious or real?

Post by Dharmasherab »

When looking at the teachings of Buddha, we have to consider the family dyanamics that existed in Ancient India. People get married young, focus on bringing up their children and afterwards look into spiritual development. I got to know about this when I read texts on Brahmacharya by Swami Sivananda and Gnani Purush where they mention that in Ancient India, those who were religiously inclined despite living as householders would only engage in sexual activity with their partners to have children and then live as Brahmacharis/Brahmacharinis (spiritually-oriented celibacy). Sex outside of marriage was something not as common as today's modern world.

The Buddha's Dhamma does stand as the timeless truth, but there were also some aspects which were relevant to the customs at that time.

Marriage is not a sacrament in Buddhism. So even though there is right way of sexual conduct mentioned outside of marriage, Buddhism does not specify as to how weddings should be conducted. Therefore even though marriage was recommended by the Buddha for lay householders, it is also not a sacrament either. Marriage was just a convention that existed at that time and still is practised by some today. However there are also alternatives to marriage, where people just live as partners without a marriage contract. In today's world, if a pair live as consenting partners despite not being married, this is almost as good as getting married.

Sexual misconduct means not to engage in sexual activity that would hurt anyone. So if a pair decides to be girlfriend and boyfriend, then they are not harming anyone. Therefore it is acceptable.

As for lust is is part of desire which it is one of the 'Akusala Mula' (Roots of Non-virtue). Therefore just because something is acceptable doesn't mean that it is wholesome. Desire does not mean just sexual desire. It also means any type of desires on the 6 sense doors, like watching films, listening to music for entertainment, eating food for pleasure, smelling fragrances and taking delight in them, entertaining oneself in pleasurable thoughts etc. Even though lust has one of the most magnetic potential among desires, it is not the only way that the desire root of non-virtue manifests.

The Buddha's advice on relationships is the best solution we have so far because out of all different modes of relationships, it is the most harmonious and stable with minimum harm to self and others.
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