masturbation what's wrong?

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:25 am

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:So, you have a guy that has chroniic prostatosis; is not married, and the doctoirs says to him, you need to "drain" your prostate several times a week to keep down he congestation and thusly the pain. So, he is not masturbating because of lust or because he is bored or even to pleasure himself because he wants to. Given this motivation, would it possible to for one to wack-off mindfully, just as it is possible to eat mindfully?

Guess it depends on whether he uses "visual aids."


One does not need visual aids to get a stiffy.

But seriously, how does that example relate to the notion that hinderances don't always hinder?


It might not, but how about answering the question, maybe?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:33 am

tiltbillings wrote:It might not, but how about answering the question, maybe?

Sorry. I think under the hypothetical circumstance you constructed, as a medical procedure, yes, it might be possible. But I also think it's not a relevant example.

So, with regard to masturbation as it ordinarily is "practiced," would you answer the same? Because that was actually my question. Your hypothetical appears to be a way of avoiding that question.
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:33 am

Chris wrote:
Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Is it out of the realm of possibilities, probably not, but also probably very difficult.

Would you answer the same with regard to masturbation?


Gotcha! :tongue:

Not even close.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:51 am

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It might not, but how about answering the question, maybe?

Sorry. I think under the hypothetical circumstance you constructed, as a medical procedure, yes, it might be possible. But I also think it's not a relevant example.


It is not that hypothetical. It is a common thing urologists tell their male patients who have prostate problems.

So, with regard to masturbation as it ordinarily is "practiced," would you answer the same? Because that was actually my question. Your hypothetical appears to be a way of avoiding that question.


First of all a hindrance need not hinder anything simply by being truly mindful of it, but that has been discussed in detail above. One does not need to act upon an urge to wack-off, nor does one need to fight it, by resisting it with gritted teeth. Being carefully mindful of the urge, with "choiceless awareness," what was a hindrance becomes something else. Again, I am not talking about acting other than paying attention. Read the words as they are written.

But in terms of acting, can you mindfully - truly pay attention to the act of eating something that you find highly pleasurable? You are at three month retreat, it is meal time, and they serve a simple meal, but it is something you know to be a comfort food and that you find higly pleasurable with lots of good associations. What do you do? Skip the meal because the pleasure of eating the meal is a sensual pleasure, and sensual pleasure is a hindrance to your practice?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby cooran » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:55 am

Jechbi said: Your hypothetical appears to be a way of avoiding that question
.
Yes, maybe not chroniic prostatosis

but maybe a sure case of Amarāvikkhepikas? :tongue:
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:02 am

Chris wrote:
Jechbi said: Your hypothetical appears to be a way of avoiding that question
.
Yes, maybe not chroniic prostatosis

but maybe a sure case of Amarāvikkhepikas? :tongue:


Are you calling me an eel-wiggler? If you are, the smilie thingie does not excuse it, you know. But you would not do that, given that that would be an ad hominem and show that you have no real argument to counter anything being said.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:03 am

tiltbillings wrote:What do you do? Skip the meal meal because the pleasure of eating the meal is a sensual pleasure, and sensual pleasure is a hindrance to your practice?
No, I wouldn't skip the meal, because I don't want to starve. But I also wouldn't try to savor the food and lose myself in how good it tastes and how enjoyable it is, or in other words, seek self-gratification in it.

Forget about gotcha. In this thread, I think most people are discussing masturbation in its context as a form of "self-gratification." I thought that was the sense in which you also were using the term, in other words, to pleasure oneself and bring about sexual gratification. Have you been understanding the term differently throughout this thread? If so, then we might be talking past each other.

If not, let me rephrase my question to you:
tiltbillings wrote:
Jechbi wrote:Let's say a man is having sex with his wife, fully mindful, fully attentive, straight through to orgasm, including during orgasm. Sampajano?

Is it out of the realm of possibilities, probably not, but also probably very difficult.

Would you answer the same with regard to masturbation in its sense as described above?
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby Ben » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:07 am

Hi Tilt
Sorry to take this off-topic...
tiltbillings wrote: You are at three month retreat, it is meal time, and they serve a simple meal, but it is something you know to be a comfort food and that you find higly pleasurable with lots of good associations. What do you do? Skip the meal meal because the pleasure of eating the meal is a sensual pleasure, and sensual pleasure is a hindrance to your practice?

What sort of retrreat is this?
With the retreats I attend, after a couple of days all food becomes repulsive.
But then, its just me. I know many of my co-retreatants spend metta day (when people can talk to each other again following noble silence) raving about the food. But for me, its different.
metta

Ben
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:20 am

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:What do you do? Skip the meal meal because the pleasure of eating the meal is a sensual pleasure, and sensual pleasure is a hindrance to your practice?
No, I wouldn't skip the meal, because I don't want to starve. But I also wouldn't try to savor the food and lose myself in how good it tastes and how enjoyable it is, or in other words, seek self-gratification in it.


Geez, what a bunch of grim Presbyterians here. So, you would grimly eat the food, trying your best not to enjoy it. Another option there might be?

Forget about gotcha. In this thread, I think most people are discussing masturbation in its context as a form of "self-gratification."


Don't we self gratify all the time? Drinking a favorite tea while reading our favorite author? Listening to a beautiful piece of music? Company of good friends? The high that come from exercise? Wearing one's favorite shirt? Playing with one's grandkids? Petting one's dog?

I thought that was the sense in which you also were using the term, in other words, to pleasure oneself and bring about sexual gratification. Have you been understanding the term differently throughout this thread? If so, then we might be talking past each other.


I am simply exploring possibilities, but what is interesting is the particular opprobrium laid upon masturbation as if it were in a particularly bad class -- worse than others - of things we might choose to do to do that is pleasurable. Sounds like Victorian Christian guilt to me.

If not, let me rephrase my question to you:
Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Jechbi wrote:Let's say a man is having sex with his wife, fully mindful, fully attentive, straight through to orgasm, including during orgasm. Sampajano?

Is it out of the realm of possibilities, probably not, but also probably very difficult.

Would you answer the same with regard to masturbation in its sense as described above?


If the one is not out of the realm of possibilities, then neither is the other.
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.
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:22 am

Ben wrote:Hi Tilt
Sorry to take this off-topic...
tiltbillings wrote: You are at three month retreat, it is meal time, and they serve a simple meal, but it is something you know to be a comfort food and that you find higly pleasurable with lots of good associations. What do you do? Skip the meal meal because the pleasure of eating the meal is a sensual pleasure, and sensual pleasure is a hindrance to your practice?

What sort of retrreat is this?
With the retreats I attend, after a couple of days all food becomes repulsive.
But then, its just me. I know many of my co-retreatants spend metta day (when people can talk to each other again following noble silence) raving about the food. But for me, its different.
metta

Ben


Well, then the food example is obviously not for you, but clearly others are maybe getting caught up in one of the most basic of sensual pleasure, eating.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby Ben » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:24 am

tiltbillings wrote:Geez, what a bunch of grim Presbyterians here.

Where? WHERE???
Can we burn a witch too?
Oh dag-nab-it! The Crucible's on tomorrow night!
-- only joking!
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:42 am

tiltbillings wrote:Geez, what a bunch of grim Presbyterians here. So, you would grimly eat the food, trying your best not to enjoy it. Another option there might be?
No, I didn't say that. Try not to enjoy it? That's like the "gritting your teeth" thing.

tiltbillings wrote:Don't we self gratify all the time? Drinking a favorite tea while reading our favorite author? Listening to a beautiful piece of music? Company of good friends? The high that come from exercise? Wearing one's favorite shirt? Playing with one's grandkids? Petting one's dog?
What if we do? Does that mean masturbation is just another innocuous way to pass the time?

tiltbillings wrote:I am simply exploring possibilities, but what is interesting is the particular opprobrium laid upon masturbation as if it were in a particularly bad class -- worse than others - of things we might choose to do to do that is pleasurable. Sounds like Victorian Christian guilt to me.
Guilt is a self-indulgence not unlike masturbation.

tiltbillings wrote:If the one is not out of the realm of possibilities, then neither is the other.
That's the thing I'm not so sure about. Because it seems as if a person who engages in masturbation sets out solely in pursuit of sense pleasure without any other motivating factor. If you play with your grandkids, there's some opportunity there for metta, or karuna. If you're reading a book and drinking some tea, there's the opportunity to educate oneself. If you exercise, there's the opportunity to stay healthy and create a better physical foundation for one's own practice and to help others. If you're having sex with your wife, then you're creating a better marriage relationship. And so on.

But if you're masturbating for self-gratification, I just don't see where there's anything skillful there at all. It just seems like a pursuit in entirely the opposite direction as Dhamma. I don't see how it compares with those other activities you mention. In that respect, I highly doubt that it's possible to masturbate and yet maintain sampajanna. I think either you'd stop masturbating, or you would no longer have sampajanna. I don't think the same necessarily must be said about having sex with one's wife.
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:03 am

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Don't we self gratify all the time? Drinking a favorite tea while reading our favorite author? Listening to a beautiful piece of music? Company of good friends? The high that come from exercise? Wearing one's favorite shirt? Playing with one's grandkids? Petting one's dog?
What if we do? Does that mean masturbation is just another innocuous way to pass the time?


I do not think it is as deadly as some make it out to be.

tiltbillings wrote:I am simply exploring possibilities, but what is interesting is the particular opprobrium laid upon masturbation as if it were in a particularly bad class -- worse than others - of things we might choose to do to do that is pleasurable. Sounds like Victorian Christian guilt to me.
Guilt is a self-indulgence not unlike masturbation.


Sure, but there seems to be a lot of guilt and embarrassment around the subject.

tiltbillings wrote:If the one is not out of the realm of possibilities, then neither is the other.
That's the thing I'm not so sure about. Because it seems as if a person who engages in masturbation sets out solely in pursuit of sense pleasure without any other motivating factor.


And you make my point. Interestingly, you left out listening to music in your response to the list of things, but is sense pleasure is all that bad that we cannot abide in it once in a while? No bowl of popcorn, no video games, no looking at sunsets, no movies, no anything that has no redeeming value.

But if you're masturbating for self-gratification, I just don't see where there's anything skillful there at all.


Like listening to music or eating chocolate, or drinking a chai. What is skillful in that? Maybe you’re a bit depressed; self-pleasuring might make you feel a bit better. Is that bad? Maybe you are horny, it takes the edge of that the bodily pressures and feel good in the process. Is that bad?

It just seems like a pursuit in entirely the opposite direction as Dhamma. I don't see how it compares with those other activities you mention.


By the way, the books being read for pleasure with your tea have no educational value. Naughty books. No dhammic value.

In that respect, I highly doubt that it's possible to masturbate and yet maintain sampajanna. I think either you'd stop masturbating, or you would no longer have sampajanna. I don't think the same necessarily must be said about having sex with one's wife.


Now, that is funny. Masturbation is something within one’s control, no distractions of another person’s needs and reactions. If it is possible, it would more easily be the other way.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby cooran » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:51 am

Hello all,

Here's 19 pages from the Other List for those interested:

Addicted to masturbation
http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... 46488&st=0

metta
Chris
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:22 pm

Chris wrote:Hello all,

Here's 19 pages from the Other List for those interested:

Addicted to masturbation
http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... 46488&st=0

metta
Chris

And "addicted to masturbation" characterizes masturbation in all, or even most, instances? Is this something we need to so grim, so dour, about?
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.
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:50 pm

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:And you make my point. Interestingly, you left out listening to music in your response to the list of things, but is sense pleasure is all that bad that we cannot abide in it once in a while? No bowl of popcorn, no video games, no looking at sunsets, no movies, no anything that has no redeeming value.
You're right, I left out listening to music. But that doesn't make your point. Look, a person can do any one of these things, including masturbating, and there's probably no need for hiri to be involved, granted. Yet my view is that activities with no redeeming values -- including masturbation -- are incompatable with sampajanna. And to the extent that listening to music has no redeeming value, I'd include that as well, (although I'd add that different minds work differently, and I can understand how in theory listening to music might have a redeeming value for someone). But masturbation, at least as it's been discussed here most of the time, is a raw pursuit of sense pleasure, nothing else.

tiltbillings wrote:Maybe you’re a bit depressed; self-pleasuring might make you feel a bit better. Is that bad? Maybe you are horny, it takes the edge of that the bodily pressures and feel good in the process. Is that bad?
I wouldn't characterize it as good versus bad. But I would say that if we engage in the pursuit of sense pleasure as a habit to make ourselves feel better, then we lack insight, and sampajanna is ruled out, in my view. Granted, probably all of us engage in the pursuit of sense pleasures of one kind or another. Do I think that makes us all bad? No. But I think that at those moments, we fool ourselves if we believe that during the pursuit of sense pleasures we are simultaneously engaging sampajanna.

tiltbillings wrote:
Jechbi wrote:In that respect, I highly doubt that it's possible to masturbate and yet maintain sampajanna. I think either you'd stop masturbating, or you would no longer have sampajanna. I don't think the same necessarily must be said about having sex with one's wife.

Now, that is funny. Masturbation is something within one’s control, no distractions of another person’s needs and reactions. If it is possible, it would more easily be the other way.
The "no distractions of another person's needs and reactions" is what makes masturbation more rawly selfish. The presence of another human being with needs is not a distraction, but a reminder of why this sexual union may be the skillful thing to do in this moment. The best lovers are selfless lovers; they climax selflessly. (I'm not suggesting that arahants would engage in sex, just to be clear.)

Generally speaking, I think we also can consider whether it's possible for sampajanna to compatible with every activity. To the extent that the activity is motivated by greed, hate and/or delusion, I would say no. For example, the act of beating someone up is not compatible with sampajanna, although certainly it is possible to beat someone up mindfully and with awareness. But you can't do it with clear comprehension, because as soon as you comprehend, you stop.

It's going to be the same with any activity, and since we are non-monks living life in this samsara, we will be confronted with situations in which we will find ourselves acting in some way. For example, having sex with our spouse. In those moments, how do we engage with our world? Ideally, with sampajanna, recognizing the subtle arising of greed, hate and delusion from moment to moment, and not pursuing those impulses, not feeding them. That's the problem with masturbation, in my view.
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby nathan » Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:04 pm

Oh dear, sensuality is so insidiously evil. Perhaps someone can help me out with this other thing then as it's been a while since I played with my genitalia. Sometimes I will go for a walk and at moments I may note that the feel of the sun or the wind on my skin is a very pleasant sensation. Am I going to go to hell for noticing that? What can be done? Should I have my skin removed or perhaps get on some kind of medication that would block that sensation from arising? Thanks for the tip about how evil listening to music is too. I think I will just have myself encased in concrete for the duration as there are too many song birds in the woods here to be able to avoid the music.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:04 pm

Jechbi wrote: The "no distractions of another person's needs and reactions" is what makes masturbation more rawly selfish.


Ah, the rub. Selfish? As another former Vice-President said: So?

The presence of another human being with needs is not a distraction, but a reminder of why this sexual union may be the skillful thing to do in this moment. The best lovers are selfless lovers; they climax selflessly.


That is all very nice and romantic and idealistic, but it is also a wanting of sensual pleasure that is mutual, requiring a great deal of energy - one gives to get -, and it does not by itself make it any less selfish than pleasuring one’s self. This “selfish” business is part of the usual Christian argument against sexual self-pleasuring.

As a sexual activity, there is nothing in masturbation per se that makes it against the precepts. One can abuse it, like anything, but one can also take a far healthier attitude towards self-pleasuring that does not require guilt.

For example, having sex with our spouse. In those moments, how do we engage with our world? Ideally, with sampajanna, recognizing the subtle arising of greed, hate and delusion from moment to moment, and not pursuing those impulses, not feeding them.


“Sorry, sweetie, but I am having this clear comprehension right now, seeing my lusty impulses, I no longer have the impulse to do the ins and outs.”

This division between an idealistic - all flowers, light and lightness - spousal sex and grimy, selfish masturbation is interesting, but not realistic.

That's the problem with masturbation, in my view.


The question becomes, can we enjoy anything for the simple pleasure of enjoying it without it being considered some sort of problem?

Basically, it seems that the problem here is that hand-defilement is simply naughty.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby imagemarie » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:30 pm

It always comes down to clinging - in the end :jumping:
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Postby Jechbi » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:30 am

tiltbillings wrote:Basically, it seems that the problem here is that hand-defilement is simply naughty.

Well, Tilt, unfortunately you have ignored most of my previous post, and you have oversimplified it, and you apparently have profoundly misunderstood it, because your response is as if you are responding to your own preconceived notions rather than to what I actually wrote. Maybe look at what you chose to leave out. Or not. Whatever you decide.

So that's where this discussion takes us.

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