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 Dan74 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:27 pm

Thanks, Dave, and for the most relevant part:

'Even I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, thought: 'Renunciation is good. Seclusion is good.' But my heart didn't leap up at renunciation, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: 'What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'I haven't seen the drawback of sensual pleasures; I haven't pursued [that theme]. I haven't understood the reward of renunciation; I haven't familiarized myself with it. That's why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.'
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Sanjay PS » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:32 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote: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


What a wonderful well-balanced post . So very nicely written . The need of checking the you tube link became redundant .

thank you,
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Sanjay PS » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:40 pm

Dan74 wrote:Thanks, Dave, and for the most relevant part:

'Even I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, thought: 'Renunciation is good. Seclusion is good.' But my heart didn't leap up at renunciation, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: 'What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'I haven't seen the drawback of sensual pleasures; I haven't pursued [that theme]. I haven't understood the reward of renunciation; I haven't familiarized myself with it. That's why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.'



The reward vs the drawback ; any time and day, the taste of quiet , calm , content well-being of having a gentle and tender heart , yet firm and strong as a diamond , microscopes the perceived well-beings of delighting in the drawbacks .

Thank you very much for the very inspiring sutta.

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The path of Dhamma is no picnic . It is a strenuous march steeply up the hill . If all the comrades desert you , Walk alone ! Walk alone ! with all the Thrill !!

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:02 pm

Hey, I'm curious: Has anyone here any personal experience, success or familiarity with those states of equanimity and deep calm associated with renunciation of sense-pleasures?

I've settled for the relatively minor state of calm that arises from understanding the impermanence of conditions. You sorta have to when you reach my age. Oh yeah. Speaking of age, this whole thread can be resolved with that simple solution. If you live long enough that should eradicate your sex drive. :sage:

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby reflection » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:09 pm

BubbaBuddhist wrote:Hey, I'm curious: Has anyone here any personal experience, success or familiarity with those states of equanimity and deep calm associated with renunciation of sense-pleasures?

I've settled for the relatively minor state of calm that arises from understanding the impermanence of conditions. You sorta have to when you reach my age. Oh yeah. Speaking of age, this whole thread can be resolved with that simple solution. If you live long enough that should eradicate your sex drive. :sage:

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An answer for everything


I did at retreats. I think it's pretty well known that people who went on longer retreats get the sense of peace that arises when there is no or little involvement in sense pleasures. The mind is more steady within and is brighter all the time. It's hard to explain, but when it develops you are sure it is due to renunciation. There are also suttas about this specific thing, I'm quite sure.

It's a good question actually, because that sense of happiness that arises I think is one of the things that will eventually make it easy to abstain from sexual acts altogether. So a tip would be to develop this happiness from renunciation. But speaking for myself: in regular lay life I find it quite impossible to do, because television, snacks, music, etc. etc. are so easy to indulge in.

(we don't do Halloween here, thanks anyway :tongue: )
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby SDC » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:14 pm

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.

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:


Good post, reflection.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Mindstar » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:27 am

You might know the story where the Buddha tricks his cousin to become a bikkhu instead of marriage.
I´ve found another story where the Buddha tricks a lover of Ananda in becoming a bikkhuni:

Ananda was young and handsome and this caused him some trouble. One day, he begged in Sravasti and on the way back he saw a well. A peasant girl was getting water from the well. Ananda was thirsty so he asked the girl to give him some water.

The girl recognised the young bhikkhu in front of her was Ananda. Very shyly she said, "Venerable! I am a lowly peasant who is not fit to offer you anything."

When Ananda heard this, he consoled her, "Young lady! I am a bhikkhu and I am equal towards the rich and poor!"

The girl was deeply attracted by Ananda's looks and his gentle speech. She even dreamed of marrying him. In actual fact, young Ananda could not forget the young lady too! Next day, when he passed by her house, the girl smiled and acknowledged him. Ananda began to feel confused. However at the moment he remembered he was the bhikkhu who had to abide by the precepts, he though of Buddha, his power engulfed him. Ananda suddenly found wisdom, as if the Buddha had turned into a gust of wind to guide him back to the Jetavana monastery.

On the second day, Ananda calmed himself then went to the city to beg. The young girl wore a new dress and had a new hairdo. She stood on the road waiting for Ananda. When she saw him, she followed him and refused to let him go. Ananda was nervous and helpless. He returned to the monastery and told the Buddha everything. The Buddha then told him to bring the girl to him.

When the girl heard that Buddha wanted to see her, she was shocked but in order to get Ananda, she picked up courage to see the Buddha. Upon seeing her, Buddha said, " Ananda is a practising monk, to be his wife you need to leave home and be a bhikkhuni for a year, are you willing?"

"I an willing, Lord Buddha!" The girl was surprised that the Buddha had so easily made her wish come true, so she answered very quickly.

"According to my system, leaving home needs approval from parents, can you get your parents to approve of it?"

The Buddha did not make things difficult for her. His conditions were not impossible and the girl immediately went home to fetch her mother. Her mother very happily agreed to let her daughter become a bhikkuni first before marrying Ananda.

In order to be Ananda's wife, the girl very happily shaved her hair to become a bhikkuni. She listened to Buddha's preachings very enthusiastically and practised according to Buddha's guidance. Her desires and emotions calmed down after each passing day and in less than half a year, she realised that in the past her pursuits for love was a shameful behaviour.

Buddha always preached that the five forms of desires were unclean Dharma and the source of sufferings. Only when the five desires* were cleared could the mind become pure and the life peaceful.

The girl realised her obsession with Ananda was unclean and bad. She regretted and one day, she knelt in front of Buddha and tearfully repented, " Buddha! I am awake now, I will not be ignorant like I used to be. I am very grateful to you. In order to convert ignorant sentient beings like us, you have put in so much effort to think of various ways! From now on, I am going to be a bhikkuni forever, follow Buddha's footsteps to be a messenger of truth!"

Buddha's earnest teachings had finally awakened her to become a model bhikkhuni!

This girl was the well-known Matanga. In allowing a peasant girl to be a bhikkhuni, Buddha received a lot of criticism and opposition from people as the caste system was prevalent at that time. However, Buddha advocated equality of the four castes. The incidence of Matanga's attraction to Ananda's looks and the turning of misfortune into happiness had become a matter of great interest in the Buddhist community and a charming story through the ages.


* The five desires arise from the objects of the five senses; things seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched. They also refer to the five desires of wealth, sex, food-and-drink, fame and sleep.
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 brahmacharya » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:27 pm

The sex drive will diminish naturally on its own if you don't indulge in sexual desires. But you must abstain mentally as well, not just physically, otherwise you will create a lot of tension and frustration. The sexual desire is not different from other desires. The more you engage in it, the stronger it becomes.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby Zom » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:46 pm

But speaking for myself: in regular lay life I find it quite impossible to do, because television, snacks, music, etc. etc. are so easy to indulge in.


This is possible (that is what I do know for myself), but you have to practise well these 3 things: sense restraint, moderation in food, contemplating unattractiveness of the body. If you keep practising these, sexual urges will either disappear totally or will reduce significantly. And yes, it will take time (probably years) for this practice to bring its fruits. So this is not an easy thing to do. Not something you can gain "doing a retreat" ))
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby greenjuice » Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:58 am

I was an Orthodox Christian for some time and a pious one for only less then two years (before leaving Christianity) and in my, although maybe short, experience- it is quite possible. Orthodox Christianity has ascetic writings from second, third and fourth centuries CE that were very helpful. One of the most important things noted in them (interestingly, I later found similar things in Hindu writing) is the dependance of gluttony and lust. Some of those ascetics go as far as to say that one who is in control of his desire for food and drink will not be bothered at all by the sex urge, although I have not reached that in practice, it came close. The more I practiced restraint in eating, the easier it was to practice chastity. I ate no more then to satisfy hunger and only plain food, no snacks, sweets, spices, juices and similar stuff, mostly just whole grain bread, veggies either raw or boiled with only a little salt and on rare occasions fish, I drank only water, only when thirsty and during that time I had no problem in restraining myself from doing or desiring to do anything sexual. Even though I did follow some ascetic practices that to the modern eye would seem harsh, like showering with cold water and sleeping on the floor, I did not wear myself down, I didn't practice "self-torture", while living like that I went to my job and did it normally and I even worked-out. After leaving Christianity, I stopped with such practices, but after some time returned to some of them, being inspired by ancient Greek philosophers; I continue to practice a restrained diet (although I drink juices and eat fruits, and I avoid snacks and sweets for health, not ascetic reasons) and it still helps a lot with avoidance of sexuality, which I still practice.

Is there some mention of this in Buddhism, of the connection between the urges for food and sex?
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby manas » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:13 am

I don't think it's a healthy attitude to take, this notion of wanting to 'eradicate' sex drive. In fact, it can lead to neuroses, and as we have seen with many of the Churches; the twisting of a natural urge into something sinister and harmful, due to it's constant suppression.

Better to focus on cultivating love, compassion, equanimity, and sympathetic joy for all beings first, imho. Otherwise a kind of resentment against women can develop, even a kind of fear that they are trying to 'get' you. I can recall this mentality creeping in when I lived in a Hindu ashram, practicing complete celibacy. Not with all the brahmacaris, but with a few of them. In fact the most enthusiastic and dedicated one, as I recall, after years of devoted practice and fearing getting ensnared by a woman, ended up moving to India and getting married. Sometimes the harder you fight something, the stronger it gets.

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:28 am

manas wrote:I don't think it's a healthy attitude to take, this notion of wanting to 'eradicate' sex drive. . . .
Spot on.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby greenjuice » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:39 am

I don't think it's a healthy attitude to take, this notion of wanting to 'eradicate' sex drive. In fact, it can lead to neuroses

If doing something badly leads to something unhealthy, that doesn't means it's unhealthy to do, it just means one should do it prudently.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby perkele » Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:07 am

greenjuice wrote:
I don't think it's a healthy attitude to take, this notion of wanting to 'eradicate' sex drive. In fact, it can lead to neuroses

If doing something badly leads to something unhealthy, that doesn't means it's unhealthy to do, it just means one should do it prudently.
Spot on.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:28 am

perkele wrote:
greenjuice wrote:
I don't think it's a healthy attitude to take, this notion of wanting to 'eradicate' sex drive. In fact, it can lead to neuroses

If doing something badly leads to something unhealthy, that doesn't means it's unhealthy to do, it just means one should do it prudently.
Spot on.
Such as drinking alcohol or having sex.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

Postby Mindstar » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:53 am

tiltbillings wrote:Such as drinking alcohol or having sex.


You really like your sex do you? ;)
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 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:56 am

This may be interesting:

"Now this body that has material form consists of the four great elements, it is procreated by a mother and father, and built up out of boiled rice and bread, it has the nature of impermanence, of being worn and rubbed away, of dissolution and disintegration. It must be regarded —

as impermanent — as (liable to) suffering,
as a disease — as a cancer,
as a dart — as a calamity,
as an affliction — as alien,
as a falling to pieces — as void,
as without a self.
"When a man regards it thus, he abandons his desire for the body, affection for the body, and his habit of treating the body as a basis for his inferences."


"And what is gratification in the case of form (body)?

"Suppose there were a girl of warrior-noble cast or brahmin caste or householder stock, in her fifteenth or sixteenth year, neither too tall nor too short, neither too thin nor too fat, neither too dark nor too fair: is her beauty and loveliness then at its height?"

"Yes, venerable sir."

"Now the pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on that beauty and loveliness are the gratification in the case of form.

"And what is danger in the case of form?

"Later on one might see that same woman here at eighty, ninety or a hundred years, aged, as crooked as a roof, doubled up, tottering with the aid of sticks, frail, her youth gone, her teeth broken, grey haired, scanty-haired, bald, wrinkled, with limbs all blotchy: how do you conceive this, bhikkhus, has her former beauty and loveliness vanished and the danger become evident?"

"Yes, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, this is the danger in the case of form."


"Come, bhikkhus, abide contemplating ugliness in the body, perceiving repulsiveness in nutriment, perceiving disenchantment with all the world, contemplating impermanence in all formations."


One who contemplates the beautiful,
of agitating thoughts and active lust,
craving in this person constantly increases;
that one indeed makes strong his bonds.

But who delights in calming thoughts,
he develops foulness ever mindfully,
he indeed will make an end;
that one will sever Mara's bonds.


All from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el271.html which has many more quotes from the suttas and some other sources.
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:09 am

Mindstar wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Such as drinking alcohol or having sex.


You really like your sex do you?
I am not afraid of it, nor do I hold negative feelings towards it.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

Postby Sanjay PS » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:49 am

greenjuice wrote:I was an Orthodox Christian for some time and a pious one for only less then two years (before leaving Christianity) and in my, although maybe short, experience- it is quite possible. Orthodox Christianity has ascetic writings from second, third and fourth centuries CE that were very helpful. One of the most important things noted in them (interestingly, I later found similar things in Hindu writing) is the dependance of gluttony and lust. Some of those ascetics go as far as to say that one who is in control of his desire for food and drink will not be bothered at all by the sex urge, although I have not reached that in practice, it came close. The more I practiced restraint in eating, the easier it was to practice chastity. I ate no more then to satisfy hunger and only plain food, no snacks, sweets, spices, juices and similar stuff, mostly just whole grain bread, veggies either raw or boiled with only a little salt and on rare occasions fish, I drank only water, only when thirsty and during that time I had no problem in restraining myself from doing or desiring to do anything sexual. Even though I did follow some ascetic practices that to the modern eye would seem harsh, like showering with cold water and sleeping on the floor, I did not wear myself down, I didn't practice "self-torture", while living like that I went to my job and did it normally and I even worked-out. After leaving Christianity, I stopped with such practices, but after some time returned to some of them, being inspired by ancient Greek philosophers; I continue to practice a restrained diet (although I drink juices and eat fruits, and I avoid snacks and sweets for health, not ascetic reasons) and it still helps a lot with avoidance of sexuality, which I still practice.

Is there some mention of this in Buddhism, of the connection between the urges for food and sex?


Not sure about mention of food and its effect on our minds, in Buddhism

But yes , if we are aware , we can find that spicy foods does contribute in encouraging the fire element to grow within us , thereby effecting the body and the mind . Some food are aphrodisiacs and are best left alone , or eaten in moderation .Onions , garlic , all contribute in heightening sensuality , but i have found the best way in understanding sensuality is to be the guardians of our own minds , neither suppressing it nor expressing it , just acknowledging it the moment the feeling is born , this awareness allows the feelings to die its natural course , and any kind of unbridled conduct is kept in check , thereby keeping our minds healthy , wealthy and strong .

sanjay
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The path of Dhamma is no picnic . It is a strenuous march steeply up the hill . If all the comrades desert you , Walk alone ! Walk alone ! with all the Thrill !!

U S.N. Goenka
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Re: Eradicating sex drive

Postby reflection » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:24 am

There is a tendency here that "eradicating sex drive" is a harsh formulation and may be the wrong way to go about it. Reading the OP also, I agree with that. But the Buddha also used quite strong words apparently:

"And which is even practice? There is the case where a monk doesn't acquiesce to an arisen thought of sensuality. He abandons it, destroys it, dispels it, knows it,[2] demolishes it, wipes it out of existence.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



However I think we should remember that removing sensual thoughts totally is a very advanced stage in the practice and certainly not the thing to aim for if we are not in the right place for it.
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