Buddhism and Incest

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Buddhism and Incest

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:36 am

One of the five precepts for lay people is a vow to refrain from sexual misconduct. This is defined as:

Abandoning sensual misconduct, he abstains from sensual misconduct. He does not get sexually involved with those who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man.



http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_precepts


Based on this and the general understanding that a wrong action is determined by its intention, wouldn't incest between two consenting adults be seen as moral (although not conductive to nibbana, like all sexual activity) in Buddhism?
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Re: Buddhism and Incest

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:44 am

Hi Craig,

I am not sure whether incest (between a consenting adults) was proscribed by the Buddha elsewhere in the Tipitaka. It could have been that among some families incest may have been an acceptable way to ensure the wealth and power remained within the family.

I think in certain situations the precepts, the laws of the land, our own common sense, and the opinions of those that we consider "wise" will provide some guidance as to what is ethical and what isn't and we have to make the best decision or judgement call based on the knowledge available to us.
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Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Buddhism and Incest

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:57 am

I am not sure whether incest (between a consenting adults) was proscribed by the Buddha elsewhere in the Tipitaka.


From what I have read I havent found anything either way.

It could have been that among some families incest may have been an acceptable way to ensure the wealth and power remained within the family.


This is probably true, however its strange how Buddha remains silent on the issue.

I think in certain situations the precepts, the laws of the land, our own common sense, and the opinions of those that we consider "wise" will provide some guidance as to what is ethical and what isn't and we have to make the best decision or judgement call based on the knowledge available to us.


I agree

IMO a brother and sister relationship could be considered immoral due to the suffering they might inflict on their children due to genetic defects.

However IMO if a brother and sister ( or sister and sister/brother and brother etc) form a relationship and don't procreate, I dont see how this is imoral in Buddhism.

Personally I may find it a bit repulsive but that would just be thoughts and opinions based on aversion, no different to my aversion from sex with a woman or my aversion from fire etc.
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Buddhism and Incest

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:04 am

Yes, I agree, there could be potent rivers of dukkha - depending on the individuals and the relationships between the individuals involved. Particularly in situations where one person has a disproportionate power over the other person.

I remember listening to a radio interview with a couple who were father and daughter. They both talked about their relationship. It was obvious that they were intelligent and had a certain degree of self awareness. They were not intending on starting a family. It made me reconsider my own stand on such relationships and at least acknowledge that, ethically, not everything is black and white.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

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Re: Buddhism and Incest

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:07 am

It made me reconsider my own stand on such relationships and at least acknowledge that, ethically, not everything is black and white.



The same with me. It was the precept that got me thinking about it, before I was 100% against incest but on reflection I cant justify condemning it in certain circumstances
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Buddhism and Incest

Postby Dan74 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:00 pm

Many of these rules are more about general policy than a blanket and universally applicable moral judgment, I think.
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