A large measure of control can certainly be gained by concentrative samatha meditation practice, which stills the mind and can lead to the jhana states. Unfortunately, there is another side to the matter. And the results of that will inevitably, according to Buddhism, be something unpleasant in the future. Ancient India Before turning to our main theme, it is as well to have some idea of the sexual mores of ancient India in the Buddha's time. The third of the Five Precepts is "To refrain from committing sexual misconduct. What we have to do — what Buddhism in fact teaches us to do — is to map out a sane course between the two. However, the nuns were required to observe certain restrictions that their male counterparts did not have to follow. For the vast majority or people, of course, there is no question of their attempting such a thing except perhaps, for relatively short periods. Worthless man, it would be better that your penis be stuck into the mouth of a poisonous snake than into a woman's vagina. Most Christian ministers of all denominations are, after all, decent, upright, hard-working and conscientious men who are desperately striving to do a good job and at least save something worth-while from the wreckage. I just read a review of a book in The Atlantic called Love 2. In this respect it is strictly incumbent on us at all times to act responsibly which means compassionately. Ironically, letting go of such a belief may make it more possible for a romantic relationship to actually manifest. Buddha was actually opposed to this idea, but he eventually changed his mind. On some level, does it hurt our heart to be relating to our self, let alone someone else, with such casualness? For the average lay person, the Third Precept is on exactly the same footing as the other four. What precisely, then, does the Third Precept imply for the ordinary lay Buddhist? As already indicated, the so-called precepts are in fact undertakings to oneself, which is something different. This is probably one thing most parents are worried about.
This is so whether we think with some that it was implanted in us by God or with others by the devil. Living together with people in a way that really supports one another is a great blessing. If a man could observe greater restraint than this, so much the better. Some of these prohibitions may today be more honored in the breach than the observance, but there is no doubt that rigid views of this sort are still widely held and officially propagated. Some people might call this sexual energy, but it is something more. Most people will not feel able to refrain altogether nor are they being urged to , but there is merit in moderation. Sexual Pleasure and the Concept of "Sin" Reduced to essentials, the great debate about sex revolves, for many people, around the concept of sin. Or both partners can be perfectly charming people and yet utterly unsuited to each other. But of course, that which is simple is not necessarily easy. Yet, the questions that confront Thais and foreigners are actually the same. Conclusion Sex is a powerful force in us all. There is, in the Buddhist view, nothing uniquely wicked about sexual offenses or failings. That is the question. If a monk makes sexually suggestive comments to a woman, the community of monks must meet and address the transgression.
If this were all, there would be no problem. For the vast majority or people, of course, there is no question of their attempting such a thing except perhaps, for relatively short periods. And we come to realize, probably to our surprise, that the seeing is the cure, when the seeing is deep enough. Thus, many Thai Buddhists adamantly believe that it is not theologically legitimate to re-establish the once-flourishing but now extinct Buddhist order of nuns. Even then the implication is that, except as a necessary means for the procreation of children, it is really rather a bad thing, and should be restricted as far as possible — hence the debate about "the pill" and the like. In "The Mind of Clover: Haven't I in many ways advocated abandoning sensual pleasures, comprehending sensual perceptions, subduing sensual thirst, destroying sensual thoughts, calming sensual fevers? As spiritual practice deepens, the life energy reorients itself away from habits rooted in desire that agitate and confuse, and toward simplicity and a life that calms and settles the mind. Sex is the ever-sweet and ever-present distraction. The Sangha will not feel called upon to interfere or object. Speaking in the Dalai Lama said: Marriage Setting aside all ideas derived from other sources, other religions and philosophies of life, what is the Buddhist attitude towards marriage? Proceed at your own risk. They are more on a par with the instruction "Look both ways before you cross the road. On the other hand, sex within marriages can be abusive, and marriage doesn't make that abuse moral. But still, if those who are parents can succeed in inculcating a sense of responsibility into their young, that in all probability is about all they can do. What is it like to be with someone you love deeply without engaging sexually? This realization at the same time eliminates skeptical doubt and belief in rites and rituals. It is no part of the Buddhist teaching. Quite obviously, the average Buddhist lay person has no present intention of living a celibate life — nor is this being urged here. It should, at least, not be lightly departed from. Even rebirth in some very unpleasant "hell-state" is not necessarily a complete fantasy. As already indicated, the so-called precepts are in fact undertakings to oneself, which is something different. For many Buddhists, in the East or the West, there is no great problem. However, local attempts to create these opportunities have been met with hateful venom and religious fundamentalism. Some Tibetan tantra masters say no actual sex goes on, although others hint that maybe it does. In the Bible, "sin" actually renders Hebrew and Greek words which literally mean "missing the mark," i.
If you don't think it is a good thing to do, you should not undertake it. However, craving including the sexual drive in its more latent form may still be powerful enough to lead to repeated rebirths — up to seven times, it is said. The four foundations of mindfulness as set forth there are: A fully ordained Buddhist nun or monk is the same thing as a priest. At least it does provide some reasons which a good many people can accept as a basis for morality. After all, many young people are themselves against the establishment, and among other things they rebel against the sheer tawdriness of our lives. I just read a review of a book in The Atlantic called Love 2. Parenthetically, it might be quite feasible to organize our economy on a different basis — but that is not our concern here. Many other countries are more accepting of Buddhist nuns. Sexual energy just flashed. No doubt there is more of it now than there used to be because, for one thing, contraception is a lot more efficient than formerly, and also because religious prejudices are fast breaking down. This explanation is of course not wrong in terms of Christian theology, but is not applicable in Buddhism, where there are no such commandments that one can infringe. To take just one example: Subsequently you will be acting from real choice—not habit, compulsion, or escape.
Later, if we want to move back into the relationship, fine. Some recent Tibetan teachers and several colorful Zen masters have been open to using sex as a skillful means to point their students toward realization. Samaneras, or novice monks, who break their training in this respect are disrobed. But some others do not. It may be that only the children — poor wretches — hold the "marriage" together. Email editor1 classactmedia. Yet here, while I have taught the Dhamma for dispassion, you set your heart on passion; while I have taught the Dhamma for unfettering, you set your heart on being fettered; while I have taught the Dhamma for freedom from clinging, you set your heart on clinging. Eventually, if steadfastly pursued, it can lead to the solution of all our problems, not only those connected with sex. We might complain about them, or roll our eyes at them, but, mostly, we assume that they are what we need on a fundamental level. We cannot hope to solve this raging theological debate in one newspaper column. Sex should be part of a loving relationship, which is considered to be best represented by marriage. But there is no doubt that a good deal of the enormous respect shown to members of both communities stems directly from the knowledge of their celibate way of life. In "The Mind of Clover: Our entire commercial civilization is founded on the principle of stimulating bigger and better desires in all of us, all the time. There are plenty of emotional problems and dangers, too. It can assume thoroughly unhealthy forms, but in its more moderate aspects it can perhaps still serve as a fairly useful basis for decent behavior. It produced the predictable crop of homosexuals as well as quite a few inhibited young men, but it inculcated a genuine respect for women, which was not always quite as ludicrous as some would have us believe. I think this is true for many people.
The aim of the true Buddhist is to bring about the cessation of craving, and from the individual point of view there is no other reason for sexual restraint than this. Marriage Setting aside all ideas derived from other sources, other religions and philosophies of life, what is the Buddhist attitude towards marriage? Is Thai Buddhism treating women as second class citizens, or do we not understand the issue without actually being Thai? To have discussed this question would have led too far. He probably rejects the term "sin" as meaningless, and not only sees nothing evil in sexual pleasure but regards it as, highly legitimate, perhaps as the highest pleasure there is and certainly as something to which, in principle at least, everybody has a right. However, we are globalising. On the other hand, sex within marriages can be abusive, and marriage doesn't make that abuse moral. Later, if we want to move back into the relationship, fine. As individuals, we may make different decisions, but it is wisdom prajna and loving-kindness metta , not lists of rules, that show us the path. This takes a greater degree of discipline and self-honesty than the legalistic, "just follow the rules and don't ask questions" approach to ethics. If we can experience the pleasure without attachment we are all right; if we become attached to it, we are not "hitting the mark. While the jury is still out, one thing is for certain: How has your understanding of sexual desire changed since then? In itself it is neither "good" nor "bad. There have been arson attacks upon the buildings where the nuns live. Life is more subtle than Arnold of Rugby allowed for even if we overlook the "class" aspect of the whole thing. Gaining Control How, then, can control of sexuality be achieved? Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami, The literal meaning of this statement is, "I undertake the course of training in refraining from wrong-doing in respect of sensuality. We may, however, perhaps begin more profitably by considering the word "sin. Sexual desire is no different. Henceforth, they have at most only "nuisance-value," and rebirth in the world of sensuality cannot, it is said, take place more than once. The Middle Way Western culture at the moment seems to be at war with itself over sex, with rigid puritanism on one side and licentiousness on the other. Even then the implication is that, except as a necessary means for the procreation of children, it is really rather a bad thing, and should be restricted as far as possible — hence the debate about "the pill" and the like. A few do the former, and quite a lot do the latter. And that is the goal in Buddhism for all your relationships—from family to strangers.
Polygamy was common. It would be sex as a conscious choice. This doesn't mean cravings should be repressed or denied. Sadly, about 1, years after Buddha died, war broke out and many women changed religions. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami, "I undertake the course of training in refraining from wrong-doing in respect of sensuality. Now of course one can have morals without religion. If a monk makes sexually suggestive comments to a woman, the community of monks must meet and address the transgression. Overview[ edit ] Former Vice President of the Buddhist Society and Chairman of the English Sangha Trust, Maurice Walshe, wrote an essay called 'Buddhism and Sex' in which he presented Buddha's essential teaching on human sexuality and its relationship to the goal nibbana. It has been found, quite clearly, that sex stimulates the sales of anything and everything from typewriters to weed-killers. In Theravada[ edit ] Theravada uses the suttas as a reference. Thailand has an ancient culture that very few outsiders will ever fully understand. If you feel it is a good thing to attempt to tread the Buddhist path, you may undertake this and the other precepts, with sincerity, in this spirit. Let us just take a cold, hard look at this question of premarital intercourse among the young. We are back with the two extremes once again. I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance. If the Church, even in its present enfeebled state, were to disappear totally from the scene, the loss, despite all doctrinal inadequacies and absurdities, would certainly be greater than any conceivable gain. The Pali word kamma Sanskrit karma literally means "action" i. But I do have very deep personal relationships. This chain is sacred to traditionalists, as are concerns regarding sexual misconduct. In point of fact, the most difficult precept of all for nearly everybody to live up to is the fourth — to refrain from all forms of wrong speech which often includes uncharitable comments on other people's real or alleged sexual failings! There are no easy answers. And there are just two ways, in principle, by which it can cease to happen. But even these things do not in themselves entirely solve the problem, at least in the ultimate sense. With reference to "states of mind," it is said: Queen Victoria reigned for sixty glorious years, and even despite the pioneering efforts of her son and successor Edward VII, it still took England a further sixty years including two major wars to cast off the last shreds of Victorian respectability. It is not for others, more fortunate or more timid, to be excessively censorious. Golden Rule: Thus, many Thai Buddhists adamantly believe that it is not theologically legitimate to re-establish the once-flourishing but now extinct Buddhist order of nuns. For the vast majority or people, of course, there is no question of their attempting such a thing except perhaps, for relatively short periods.
They are more on a par with the instruction "Look both ways before you cross the road. It largely depends on what we want to put in place of the dear departed. Anyone with mindfulness of that goal can achieve it, Buddhist or otherwise. Our entire commercial civilization is founded on the principle of stimulating bigger and better desires in all of us, all the time. Sexual energy just flashed. Somebody came in. Followers of other religions often argue that without clear, explicit rules, people will behave selfishly and do whatever they want. Thus we find the following formulation of what a man should avoid: We also can be kind to these nuns regardless of where we stand on the debate. As sexuality is a normal, healthy, and necessary aspect of human existence, Tibetan tantric Buddhism even includes techniques for bringing mindfulness and practice to it. But it cannot be termed exactly rare among couples who have not the slightest intention of getting engaged. A monk should avoid even the appearance of impropriety by being alone with a woman. Have we been swept up by the power of desire and lost reference to the values of loving and cherishing and honoring? It is not a "commandment" from God, the Buddha, or anyone else saying: Ambapali, the courtesan from whom the Buddha accepted gifts, was a person of some consequence. The Pali word kamma Sanskrit karma literally means "action" i. If I want to live an enlightened life, do I need to stop having sex? During the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 20th century some Korean monks copied Japanese practice and married, but married monastic life doesn't seem to have caught on permanently in Korea. Buddhism shows us that we can reduce our selfishness, greed, and attachments, that we can cultivate loving kindness and compassion—and in doing so, we can increase the amount of good in the world. And there are just two ways, in principle, by which it can cease to happen. But Thai Buddhism objects to this for three reasons.
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