Eradicating sex drive

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:59 pm

seen as completed by those engaged in it due to orgasm


Oh Dave--there is SO much more to lovemaking than that little moment at the end. So very much more. It's a foolish man who thinks that's what it's all about. I am surprised you don't know this. No wonder you hold the act of love in such little regard.

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Dan74 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:51 am

Sex or no sex, it's about the mind.

We can be intoxicated with sex and build identity around pleasure and sex. Or we can be intoxicated with being unattached to sex and build identity around that. There is no doubt that for many of us, sex is a major driving force, hence it merits more attention.

What is more important, I think, is how do we work with all that? How do we practice, being sexual creatures full of urges and cravings?

Edit: inserted an important comma!
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:55 am

I'm sorry to have provided a simplistic dichotomy, but I mean to emphasize that the pursuit of sensual pleasure is what makes it problematic; whatever romantic/etc. layers one also has in fact contribute to the overall sensual attraction involved in the pursuit of relationship with a significant other.

To be brief, these sorts of things (sensual pursuits generally) serve as an obstruction to meditation. That's the only point I mean to make.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Dan74 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:59 am

daverupa wrote:I'm sorry to have provided a simplistic dichotomy, but I mean to emphasize that the pursuit of sensual pleasure is what makes it problematic; whatever romantic/etc. layers one also has in fact contribute to the overall sensual attraction involved in the pursuit of relationship with a significant other.

To be brief, this serves as an obstruction to meditation. That's all.


Meditation can easily become a kind of a solipsistic navel gazing which 'a relationship with a significant other' may be a good antidote for. Not the only antidote or maybe not even the best, but wholesome relationships of all sorts are great at pulling us out of that precious mind space that abhors all disturbance and worldly tasks, a false semblance of true equanimity and provide a true testing ground for all those wonderful qualities we've been cultivating.

This is not to say that romantic relationships are necessary or even good for practice. Such blanket statements are meaningless in themselves. There is a time and place for things and a time and place to let things go.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:10 am

"True" testing ground? That's kooky. I don't doubt there are benefits, many benefits - humans, you know, evolved for this to be healthy in myriad ways - but there are better and greater benefits that those benefits get in the way of.

:shrug:

It's a very simple point. I think we're talking past each other.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Dan74 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:17 am

We probably are talking past each other, Dave.

I said wholesome relationships of all kinds [...] provide a true testing ground for all those wonderful qualities we've been cultivating. Brahmaviharas and paramis are not tested as much while on a cushion or in one's comfort zone, as in relating to our environment and fellow beings. This was my simple point. Is that so kooky, really?

As for better and greater benefits that you allude to, yes, I agree it may be the case. The Buddha spoke of the one enamoured with all the fun and drama of the romantic entanglement, a slave to pleasure, blind to the bondage inherent therein and to greater matters. Perhaps one could also speak of one whose heart is cold and insulated by hurts and disappointments, one whose life is insipid and dry, a heart which has never known love and where love for one person cannot blossom into powerful compassion for all beings. There are right things done for wrong reasons, which inevitably yield wrong results. In any case...
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:27 am

Dan74 wrote:Brahmaviharas and paramis are not tested while on a cushion or in one's comfort zone, but in relating to our environment and fellow beings. This was my simple point. Is that so kooky, really?


I'm not talking about brahmaviharas and paramis, so it does look kooky. That's probably why we're at opposite ends of this thing. Some things do require seclusion; I guess it feels as though people are on the defensive, and I'm just utterly puzzled. I probably shouldn't be.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Dan74 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:33 am

Brahmaviharas, of course! What else could 'all those wonderful qualites we've been practicing' mean?

And of course people are going to be on the defensive - it's what we do (well, some of us, sometimes, at least). :)

There is of course attachment, deep attachment to sensuality which is pervasive and sex is just one aspect of it.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby kmath » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:14 am

Dan74 wrote:
And of course people are going to be on the defensive - it's what we do (well, some of us, sometimes, at least). :)



I'm not defensive. Who's defensive here? Are you talking about all of us?

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Mindstar » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:01 am

If you want to stay as a lay disciple in the future there shouldnt be a problem with indulging in romance/sex because you are aiming for low anyway. You might become a stream winner or with strong wisdom faculties a once-returner.
It is however for those of us who want to ordain in the future that we need to aim for the highest.
Beeing inspired by great monks like Maha Mogalana and Anuruddha - Master of the Divine Eye who where practicing very diligently even if it was hard reaped the fruits of their good practice in the end.
Wherever he goes, there he is unafraid.. Wherever he sleeps, there he is unalarmed!
The nights and days does neither touch nor burn him. He sees nothing in this world
that is to be kept or lost.. Therefore his mind dwells in goodwill and gentle kindness
towards all beings until he falls asleep.
SN I 110
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:02 am

Mindstar wrote:If you want to stay as a lay disciple in the future there shouldnt be a problem with indulging in romance/sex because you are aiming for low anyway. You might become a stream winner or with strong wisdom faculties a once-returner.
It is however for those of us who want to ordain in the future that we need to aim for the highest.
Beeing inspired by great monks like Maha Mogalana and Anuruddha - Master of the Divine Eye who where practicing very diligently even if it was hard reaped the fruits of their good practice in the end.
I wonder whatt Ven Nanda was aiming at.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby reflection » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:39 am

Some love their sex drive, others would rather not have it and try to diminish or remove it. Is that hard to understand? Apparently so. Still I wonder why these threads always tend to turn into some discussion about why we should or shouldn't. I mean, if somebody opens a thread about how they'd like to stop eating chocolate and that they'd like to have some support for that, I'm also not jumping into that saying "Listen, I love chocolate, nothing wrong with it if you have the right kind of chocolate" or "sorry, no, you can't stop eating chocolate". In my eyes it's just not very respectful towards the one who wants to stop.

And I know people's attachment to sexuality are strong, so they feel the need to defend them. So it's nothing personal. It just annoys me that on a Buddhist board we just can't seem to have a thread just focused around trying to support one another. I mean, it's one of the only places where some can find some support - if you don't live close to a monastery or so, there is virtually nobody to talk to.

And yes, now I'm adding to the turmoil I know, I'm sorry. :namaste:
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby reflection » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:50 am

Mindstar wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:That will not happen.


Oh no.. please don`t disturb my enthusiasm :lol:

I would disagree however.
On a level of mind made realms (First Jhana and upwards) all beings are androgynous that is why no sexual craving exists.
Deep meditations are therefore a temporary relief of that craving.
On a bodily level it might be true for now but who knows what the future brings.. genetic modifications maybe?

It might happen, it may just take a long time. I think the thing is trying to change yourself while also not being averted toward the situation as it currently is. I think that attitude is the most healthy and with that attitude it may happen. Nobody can ever say that it will never happen for anybody.

Good luck! :anjali:
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby manas » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:47 am

reflection wrote:Some love their sex drive, others would rather not have it and try to diminish or remove it. Is that hard to understand? Apparently so. Still I wonder why these threads always tend to turn into some discussion about why we should or shouldn't. I mean, if somebody opens a thread about how they'd like to stop eating chocolate and that they'd like to have some support for that, I'm also not jumping into that saying "Listen, I love chocolate, nothing wrong with it if you have the right kind of chocolate" or "sorry, no, you can't stop eating chocolate". In my eyes it's just not very respectful towards the one who wants to stop.


I think that there is a lot of support on this board in general, for how to deal with sex desire, which is of course a problem for almost all of us. I think the issue here is this idea of wanting to 'eradicate' it, as if one could just get rid of it quickly, so it can stop being a nuisance, and one can get on with the business of being in detached bliss (sorry to the OP if this is a misrepresentation, but that's the feeling I get, possibly because I used to have this attitude). As it's not going to go away all that easily, and will probably remain a pesky irritation for most of us even into our next birth, I think that it would be more skilful to focus (for now, in the immediate present) on management rather than eradication. When sex desire arises, what are you going to do with it? What strategies can you employ? etc. But this wish to eradicate it sounds to me, like a desire to avoid the tiresome reality of having to deal with it, over a long period of time, which is the reality for most folks, even monks. Just look at how many quite advanced monks even, end up disrobing and getting married...it's not so simply eradicated, it has to be managed... That's not discouragement, it's just being realistic. (imho)

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:15 am

I am, above and beyond everything, a pragmatist. I'm a realist. I know myself and my limits.

I recall several years ago when I meditated an hour a day, every day, I became weird and isolated. I had little use for other people, wanted to spend all my time meditating, found it almost impossible to take interest in all those things that interest 'normal' people. My bhikhu at the monastery in Murphreesboro said it was time to take the preliminary trainings to begin the process of ordaining.

I recall puttering around my house thinking about putting all my affairs in order. I began thinking about my son and my brother. Both adults, but neither completely functional in the world. How were they going to get by if I were a penniless monk? Next, from somewhere in the deep recess of my mind rose Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde--Song of the Earth--a thing of terrible beauty, and that almost cinched it. I always loved Mahler. But what really derailed me was this conviction I'd held since early adolescence. That there was someone out there waiting for me, as I had been waiting for them. I had been searching for this person for a long time, and found bits and pieces of her in other women: the laughing eyes here, the passion there, the mischievous humor there, the kind heart in another; someone who shared my love for music and theater in yet another, but never all together in one woman. The Romantic Quest. And I knew somewhere in the world, she was looking for me. I cannot explain the sense of certainty. I could feel her, my companion, making her way toward me. Most people settle for someone they can get along with, and they barely tolerate each other. I wasn't going to do that. I would wait.

That's what settled the matter. Being a monk isn't for everyone. I dialed my meditation back a bit. Twenty minutes a day, three times a week. I rejoined the world. And I and my companion found each other. Sometimes, Samsara is kind.

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Mindstar » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:30 am

manas wrote:I think that it would be more skilful to focus (for now, in the immediate present) on management rather than eradication.


I would absolutely agree here. Eradication is a long term goal that comes automatically with other attainments. It would be better to continue the discussion on how to skillfully deal with it in the present to at least weaken the impacts of such desire.
Wherever he goes, there he is unafraid.. Wherever he sleeps, there he is unalarmed!
The nights and days does neither touch nor burn him. He sees nothing in this world
that is to be kept or lost.. Therefore his mind dwells in goodwill and gentle kindness
towards all beings until he falls asleep.
SN I 110
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby reflection » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:56 am

manas wrote:
reflection wrote:Some love their sex drive, others would rather not have it and try to diminish or remove it. Is that hard to understand? Apparently so. Still I wonder why these threads always tend to turn into some discussion about why we should or shouldn't. I mean, if somebody opens a thread about how they'd like to stop eating chocolate and that they'd like to have some support for that, I'm also not jumping into that saying "Listen, I love chocolate, nothing wrong with it if you have the right kind of chocolate" or "sorry, no, you can't stop eating chocolate". In my eyes it's just not very respectful towards the one who wants to stop.


I think that there is a lot of support on this board in general, for how to deal with sex desire, which is of course a problem for almost all of us. I think the issue here is this idea of wanting to 'eradicate' it, as if one could just get rid of it quickly, so it can stop being a nuisance, and one can get on with the business of being in detached bliss (sorry to the OP if this is a misrepresentation, but that's the feeling I get, possibly because I used to have this attitude). As it's not going to go away all that easily, and will probably remain a pesky irritation for most of us even into our next birth, I think that it would be more skilful to focus (for now, in the immediate present) on management rather than eradication. When sex desire arises, what are you going to do with it? What strategies can you employ? etc. But this wish to eradicate it sounds to me, like a desire to avoid the tiresome reality of having to deal with it, over a long period of time, which is the reality for most folks, even monks. Just look at how many quite advanced monks even, end up disrobing and getting married...it's not so simply eradicated, it has to be managed... That's not discouragement, it's just being realistic. (imho)

:anjali:

I totally agree with this, as I said in my first reply: take it day by day. But that wasn't what I was getting at. Yes, there is a lot of support, but somehow these threads usually turn into a discussion about why people think it's fine or positive to have sex and stuff like that. And then the original purpose gets snowed under. I say fine, you enjoy your sex but why does it have to be posted here? Nobody joins an AA meeting saying they think certain aspects of drinking are fine, because it is so relaxing or something. But that's all I'm going to say about that as I don't want to contribute to the derailing any further. Maybe it's just a projection of mine anyway. I just hope people may consider in the future.

:anjali:
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby reflection » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:02 pm

Mindstar wrote:
manas wrote:I think that it would be more skilful to focus (for now, in the immediate present) on management rather than eradication.


I would absolutely agree here. Eradication is a long term goal that comes automatically with other attainments. It would be better to continue the discussion on how to skillfully deal with it in the present to at least weaken the impacts of such desire.

:anjali: Yes, that'd be better. To throw a ball in the court to play with: some parts of MN20 that I mentioned earlier.

“Here, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is giving attention to some sign, and owing to that sign there arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then he should give attention to some other sign connected with what is wholesome.
...
If, while he is giving attention to some other sign connected with what is wholesome, there still arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then he should examine the danger in those thoughts thus: ‘These thoughts are unwholesome, they are reprehensible, they result in suffering.
...
If, while he is examining the danger in those thoughts, there still arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then he should try to forget those thoughts and should not give attention to them.
...
“If, while he is trying to forget those thoughts and is not giving attention to them, there still arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then he should give attention to stilling the thought-formation of those thoughts.
...
“If, while he is giving attention to stilling the thought-formation of those thoughts, there still arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then, with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth, he should beat down, constrain, and crush mind with mind.

http://suttacentral.net/mn20/en/


Later I may share some of my thoughts and personal applications of it with respect to this topic, but right now I don't have the time.

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Anagarika » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:58 pm

Isn't it fundamental to practice that we work to release ourselves from the sense fetters that tie us to samsara? Once released, we develop insight and cultivate this path toward Nibbana. So, the sense fetters, including lust and sexual sensuality, are part and parcel of the activities of the mind that tie us to samsara.

Now, sex with a romantic partner is amazing, right? It's really great stuff. Lab experiments with rats tell us that a starved rat will rather copulate than eat. Some of us here might understand that sensibility. Maybe the rat was a college student. :tongue: Our brains are programmed to copulate, and our brains release magnificent euphoric chemicals in support of the goal of copulation. However, with right mindfulness, we understand the "trick or treat" (10/31 Halloween metaphor, sorry) component to sensuality. It's a treat, but it tricks us into pursuit of more sense pleasures away from the path of purification.

A lot of discussion s can be held about the merits of romance and sexuality, but so long as we are still in the camp of the romantic, we cannot be in the camp of the renunciate or the stream enterer. The camp of the romantic distances us from the Buddha's teaching of the highest goal. Now, the Buddha clearly understood the nature of lay men and lay women, and understood that the lay practitioner could achieve high levels of release. Bu the stumbling block to release may be these attachments to the sense fetters that, while strong, wonderful and compelling, keep us off the fullest path.

So, as Bhikkhu Bodhi commented with respect to a different issue, it all comes down to our own individual predispositions and personalities. A kind and compassionate lay person may in fact be well on the path ahead of the angry, greedy monk. But I think the Buddha had it right that to the extent that we incorporate these renunciate practices into our lives, we better prepare the soil for the cultivation of release. After all, who wants to live like a rat in a cage? http://youtu.be/CN4oo-kn7r8
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:04 pm

AN 9.41 wrote:Then Tapussa the householder went to Ven. Ananda and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to Ven. Ananda: "Venerable Ananda, sir, we are householders who indulge in sensuality, delight in sensuality, enjoy sensuality, rejoice in sensuality. For us — indulging in sensuality, delighting in sensuality, enjoying sensuality, rejoicing in sensuality — renunciation seems like a sheer drop-off. Yet I've heard that in this doctrine & discipline the hearts of the very young monks leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. So right here is where this doctrine & discipline is contrary to the great mass of people: i.e., [this issue of] renunciation."

"This calls for a talk, householder. Let's go see the Blessed One. Let's approach him and, on arrival, tell him this matter. However he explains it to us, we will bear it in mind."
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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