Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
bksubhuti
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Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by bksubhuti » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:27 pm

I thought I would post the article here. It should be a classical take on the third precept, but because wrong information has been been spreading for the past 50 years in the West, you will question heavily what I write.

Go to this link and read the small story, then download the pdf 25 pages.
https://americanmonk.org/theravada-budd ... isconduct/

extended pdf can be found directly at https://americanmonk.org/wp-content/upl ... tended.pdf

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by JamesTheGiant » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:48 pm

I'm middle aged. So if I marry my middle-aged partner without the permission of her elderly parents, if we have sex then we're breaking the third precept? And we should never have sex because that would break our precepts?
COMPLETE NONSENSE.
You're caught up in legalities and technicalities. A thicket of views.

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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by bksubhuti » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:07 am

If the parents of the lady are OK with you having sex (and you should ask) then you are fine and not breaking the third precept. The article has the sutta reference. The thicket of views is placing modern interpretations on the precepts. I hope you read the extended article which defends the reasons why you should follow this precept. Kamma. I think if you asked or had your partner ask, there would be no problem. I explain that. I can almost guarantee you will feel better about things and thank me if the woman receives "release" from the parents. It is like getting a license to use software even though many people think microsoft should be free and allow stealing. And while I am at it, if you computer is not pure, try that too.

The precepts are the precepts. You are breaking the precepts even now, if you don't have permission from the parents. It is especially true with inter-racial or inter-religious relationships, and first generation immigrants. But it really does not matter. You need the protector's permission.... Sorry to be the one to bring the bad news. My job is to let you know what the rules are. kamma takes care of the rest.

TRobinson465
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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by TRobinson465 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:14 am

I dont think you need direct permission from her parents if she isn't "under thier protection". You are right that age isnt really a factor tho. if someone is thirty and under the protection of a guardian for any reason it counts.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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DooDoot
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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by DooDoot » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:48 am

bksubhuti wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:27 pm
extended pdf can be found directly at https://americanmonk.org/wp-content/upl ... tended.pdf
In modern society and social norms, there is not so much of a problem if only one life is to be lived, hence the hedonistic phrase, "you only live once." However, Buddhism, which encompasses a multi-life kamma approach, will explain why it is important to follow this rule. In short, we will not always have modern amenities, modern social norms, Internet, communication, free and stable governments and most importantly, birth control. Eventually, this modern age will all end, but the habit will continue and then the real trouble will begin.
The view quoted above appears incorrect. The suttas appear to say engaging in sexual misconduct leads to rebirth in hell therefore why does the quote say a "habit" will continue in future lives, presumably in the "human state"? Surely this idea is contrary to the Buddha-Dhamma. The "real trouble" has already begun with here-&-now rebirth into the hungry ghost and animals realms; then soon after into hell. Does MN 130 mention the inhabitants of hell having sexual relationships? No, it doesn't. It only mentions the inhabitants of hell receiving punishments inflicted by Lord Yama's wardens.

Also, the view quoted above appears to say the norms of modern society can somehow avoid the laws of kamma. This also appears contrary to the Buddha-Dhamma. I think it does not matter which society prevails. I think in all societies sexual misconduct leads to a psychological rebirth in the hungry ghost, animal &/or hell realm.
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:48 pm
I'm middle aged. So if I marry my middle-aged partner without the permission of her elderly parents, if we have sex then we're breaking the third precept?
It is important to consider whether parents of a partner approve of you because this can lead to conflict in a marriage or a (committed) relationship. In DN 31, it is said a duty of a wife is to maintain good relations on both sides of the family. When you get married, you generally are not simply marrying into the life of one person. All sorts of social baggage are attached to a marriage.
TRobinson465 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:14 am
I dont think you need direct permission from her parents if she isn't "under thier protection". You are right that age isnt really a factor tho. if someone is thirty and under the protection of a guardian for any reason it counts.
The above could be correct. The Commentaries appear to emphasise when a girl "comes of age":
Māturakkhitātiādīsu yaṃ pitari naṭṭhe vā mate vā ghāsacchādanādīhi paṭijaggamānā, vayapattaṃ kulaghare dassāmīti mātā rakkhati, ayaṃ māturakkhitā nāma. Etenupāyena piturakkhitādayopi veditabbā. Sabhāgakulāni pana kucchigatesupi gabbhesu katikaṃ karonti – ‘‘sace mayhaṃ putto hoti, tuyhaṃ dhītā, aññattha gantuṃ na labhissati, mayhaṃ puttasseva hotū’’ti. Evaṃ gabbhepi pariggahitā sassāmikā nāma. ‘‘Yo itthannāmaṃ itthiṃ gacchati, tassa ettako daṇḍo’’ti evaṃ gāmaṃ vā gehaṃ vā vīthiṃ vā uddissa ṭhapitadaṇḍā, pana saparidaṇḍānāma. Antamaso mālāguṇaparikkhittāpīti yā sabbantimena paricchedena, ‘‘esā me bhariyā bhavissatī’’ti saññāya tassā upari kenaci mālāguṇaṃ khipantena mālāguṇamattenāpi parikkhittā hoti.

In the case where the father is gone, or the mother provides support such as food and clothing, the mother guards [her] thinking "I will give [her] to a good family when she comes of age." This is called "protected by the mother". By the same means "protected by the father", etc., should be understood.

When families come together and, even when the fetuses have just reached the womb, make an agreement - "If I have a son and you a daughter, let there be no getting to go to another; let her be for my son." Even in the case of a fetus that is protected thus, it is called "having a husband".

"Whoever goes to a woman of such and such a name, such a penalty is for him." Thus, a penalty is established by a village or a house, or a street; this is called "as entail a penalty."

"Even to the extent of those who are garlanded" - to the last extreme of all, with the perception that "This woman will be my wife", by tossing some garland over her head, there is "those that are garlanded"
In other words, I recall reading a story about one of the Buddha's disciples; who as laymen had three wives when he decided to become a monk. The man said to his wives: "You can join me as a nun or you can find another husband". One wife become a bhikkhuni and the other wives found a new husband. I do not recall the story mentioning the wives were under "protection". I imagine since the two woman had come of age many years before and were no longer a virgin; they were past the age of "protection". But here, I am merely assuming.

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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by TRobinson465 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:44 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:48 am

Māturakkhitātiādīsu yaṃ pitari naṭṭhe vā mate vā ghāsacchādanādīhi paṭijaggamānā, vayapattaṃ kulaghare dassāmīti mātā rakkhati, ayaṃ māturakkhitā nāma. Etenupāyena piturakkhitādayopi veditabbā. Sabhāgakulāni pana kucchigatesupi gabbhesu katikaṃ karonti – ‘‘sace mayhaṃ putto hoti, tuyhaṃ dhītā, aññattha gantuṃ na labhissati, mayhaṃ puttasseva hotū’’ti. Evaṃ gabbhepi pariggahitā sassāmikā nāma. ‘‘Yo itthannāmaṃ itthiṃ gacchati, tassa ettako daṇḍo’’ti evaṃ gāmaṃ vā gehaṃ vā vīthiṃ vā uddissa ṭhapitadaṇḍā, pana saparidaṇḍānāma. Antamaso mālāguṇaparikkhittāpīti yā sabbantimena paricchedena, ‘‘esā me bhariyā bhavissatī’’ti saññāya tassā upari kenaci mālāguṇaṃ khipantena mālāguṇamattenāpi parikkhittā hoti.

In the case where the father is gone, or the mother provides support such as food and clothing, the mother guards [her] thinking "I will give [her] to a good family when she comes of age." This is called "protected by the mother". By the same means "protected by the father", etc., should be understood.

When families come together and, even when the fetuses have just reached the womb, make an agreement - "If I have a son and you a daughter, let there be no getting to go to another; let her be for my son." Even in the case of a fetus that is protected thus, it is called "having a husband".

"Whoever goes to a woman of such and such a name, such a penalty is for him." Thus, a penalty is established by a village or a house, or a street; this is called "as entail a penalty."

"Even to the extent of those who are garlanded" - to the last extreme of all, with the perception that "This woman will be my wife", by tossing some garland over her head, there is "those that are garlanded"
Hi there, do you have a link to this commentary? I am interested in reading the whole thing.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by TRobinson465 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:49 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:48 am

In other words, I recall reading a story about one of the Buddha's disciples; who as laymen had three wives when he decided to become a monk. The man said to his wives: "You can join me as a nun or you can find another husband". One wife become a bhikkhuni and the other wives found a new husband. I do not recall the story mentioning the wives were under "protection". I imagine since the two woman had come of age many years before and were no longer a virgin; they were past the age of "protection". But here, I am merely assuming.
I dont think its really a matter of dispute that someone who has been married before would be considered once again under protection of a guardian after their spouse leaves for whatever reason. Im pretty sure the protection wears off after the first marriage. unless they went back to thier parents and were under thier care again i suppose.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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DooDoot
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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by DooDoot » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:53 am

TRobinson465 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:44 am
Hi there, do you have a link to this commentary? I am interested in reading the whole thing.
No. Ask the monk Yuttadhammo. I posted his translation of it.

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DooDoot
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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by DooDoot » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:08 am

bksubhuti wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:27 pm
extended pdf can be found directly at https://americanmonk.org/wp-content/upl ... tended.pdf
The article says:
So if you want to have sex, remember that these partners will follow you from life to life if you are not enlightened.
In this life, "I" engaged in sexual misconduct many times. None of those girls/ladies have been following me around; let alone any other ladies from any past lives. The only lady that ever followed me around was one that runs a Buddhist chat site but I doubt it was related to any past life sex.
Lastly, if you have the habit to ask the parents or have the woman ask the parents for “release” from “protectorship”, then you are still developing that habit to back off if there is no permission given.
Today, many parents are ex-hippies, druggies & swingers from the 1960s and don't care if their sons & daughters have sex. I once was in a large internet shop and sitting next to two female backpackers who were live Skypeing their mothers; saying how their goal was to have sex with a man from every nationality in their travels. They told their mums of the men with whom they already had sex with. The two mothers were giggling with the girls. Many parents today expect their children to have sex; as is encouraged in the education system & popular culture. I doubt such permission from parents will change the inherent unwholesomeness of sexually promiscuous behaviour.
Last edited by DooDoot on Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:20 am, edited 3 times in total.

TRobinson465
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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by TRobinson465 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:16 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:53 am
TRobinson465 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:44 am
Hi there, do you have a link to this commentary? I am interested in reading the whole thing.
No. Ask the monk Yuttadhammo. I posted his translation of it.
Okay thanks.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:47 am

This article seems to be based on the view that this canonical formulation:
He engages in sensual misconduct. He gets 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.
Equates to this requirement:
You need the woman’s consent and the Protector’s consent (Parent or Guardian and Government Laws) to engage in sexual activities (including oral sex) at any age.
That doesn't seem to be the case to me. The first is saying that one should not have sex with those who are under protection, or should seek the permission of those who are the sources of protection; whereas the second formulation is saying that one always needs the consent of protectors. There is a missing premise here which renders the derivation invalid. That premise is that all women are under protection. That's not the case, unless there is some more canonical material which is not being shared.

So if someone could supply some canonical material about how all women of any age are under the protection of their parents, or the state, it would make a valid argument and we could then proceed to seeing if it is a sound argument. Of course, we are all in one vague sense under the protection of the government, but permission for sex to happen is given by the government registrar in my country upon marriage. At the moment, this article is a non-starter.

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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by bksubhuti » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:18 am

In response to a few comments:

The quote from the commentary seems to equate that age does not matter which confirms what I said. The protectorship is passed on to the mother who then gives the daughter to the groom. It is later passed on to the brother as well (from what I have been told). So, you need the protectors' permission. It seems very clear.

The husband is passed the protectorship. Therefore if he dies, it is likely she is a free woman. But I bet in many cases, the family will protect her again. This is old way of families.. but still present in Asia.

As far as the quote of.. only one life to live.. that meant to imply .. There is not much of a problem if wrong view were true. That meant that there is a problem. I was being sort of sarcastic.

Breaking a precept does not always lead to hell as a result. We would all be in big trouble. However, breaking precepts lead to unwholesome results. This is always true. If that kamma were to be at the last death moment.. yes.. bad destinations would happen.

Likewise, if one does go to hell, that kamma will still follow them in future lives.. it does not just end one time by going to hell. I think it was the kammavibhanga sutta speaks in those lines.

The comments here were fairly tame. I did not realize the meaning of the 3rd precept until my 6th year as a monk. I was disappointed myself that my lay life did not have 5 precepts. I had to confirm this with several Asian people and ven Pa-Auk SayadawgyiI himself before I believed it. It might hurt to read, but I hope that it becomes useful.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:23 am

bksubhuti wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:18 am
The quote from the commentary seems to equate that age does not matter which confirms what I said. The protectorship is passed on to the mother who then gives the daughter to the groom. It is later passed on to the brother as well (from what I have been told). So, you need the protectors' permission. It seems very clear...
The comments here were fairly tame.
I'm glad the comments were found to be "tame", as this is a sign of people having respect.

What appears to be lacking in the article, the summary, or the section of commentary quoted is a credible and authoritative claim that being under "protection" is the default position for any female who might be the object of sexual interest. The commentary reads to me that girls materially provided for by their fathers and mothers are under such protection, as are those promised to others by a symbolically intentional act of the families or a suitor. If so, it is entirely compatible with the view that all other women are free agents who are not under protection, and therefore with the view that no protection need be sought. That is, sex with women under protection is proscribed, but sex with women not under protection is not proscribed. What the sources given in this thread provide is a proscription of protected women, not the proscription of all women except where the protection has been transferred or waived. If this latter more general proscription were the intention, then it should be easy to provide a canonical source.

This is of course a different matter from the kammic results (and therefore the advisability) of promiscuity, exploitation, or even of the mutually consensual expression of lust.

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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by pitakele » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:33 am

Some may be interested to read this discussion of refraining from sexual misconduct as Right Action of the NEP (this file can be read directly in the post when viewed on a mobile browser - don't know if it is the same on desktops etc.)

Last edited by pitakele on Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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DooDoot
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Re: Theravada and Sex: Sexual Misconduct

Post by DooDoot » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:56 am

bksubhuti wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:18 am
Breaking a precept does not always lead to hell as a result.
My impression is the suttas appear to clearly state breaking the precepts leads to "hell". To quote:
These, Cunda, are the ten courses of unskillful action. When a person is endowed with these ten courses of unskillful action, then even if he gets up at the proper time from his bed and touches the earth, he is still impure. If he doesn't touch the earth, he is still impure. If he touches wet cow dung, he is still impure. If he doesn't touch wet cow dung, he is still impure. If he touches green grass... If he doesn't touch green grass... If he worships a fire... If he doesn't worship a fire... If he pays homage to the sun with clasped hands... If he doesn't pay homage to the sun with clasped hands... If he goes down into the water three times by nightfall... If he doesn't go down into the water three times by nightfall, he is still impure. Why is that? Because these ten courses of unskillful action are impure and cause impurity. Furthermore, as a result of being endowed with these ten courses of unskillful action, [rebirth in] hell is declared, [rebirth in] an animal womb is declared, [rebirth in] the realm of hungry shades is declared — that or any other bad destination.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
:candle:
bksubhuti wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:18 am
We would all be in big trouble.
I imagine "hell" does not need to last for very long. For example, when I was a young man, before I found Buddhism, when I saw young women reborn in hell for their sexual misconduct, I too, for a time, was reborn in an existential hell for my role in this sexual misconduct; in both shock and intuitive isolation; where the soul, for a time, experienced the "Dark Night". However, the suttas say it is not necessarily so we would all be in big trouble. The suttas say:
172. He who having been heedless is heedless no more, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.

173. He, who by good deeds covers the evil he has done, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.

Dhammapada
:candle:
bksubhuti wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:18 am
If that kamma were to be at the last death moment.. yes.. bad destinations would happen.
It seems bad destinations can always happen. However it seems they need not last long. To quote:
There is the case where a trifling evil deed done by a certain individual takes him to hell. There is the case where the very same sort of trifling deed done by another individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Also, it appears the time of the act is irrelevent. To quote:
Now, Ananda, there is the person who has killed living beings here... has had wrong view. And on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in the states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell. But (perhaps) the evil kamma producing his suffering was done by him earlier, or the evil kamma producing his suffering was done by him later, or wrong view was undertaken and completed by him at the time of his death.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html
:candle:
bksubhuti wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:18 am
Likewise, if one does go to hell, that kamma will still follow them in future lives..
MN 86 appears to not support this idea. To quote:
"Bear with it, brahman! Bear with it! The fruit of the kamma that would have burned you in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, you are now experiencing in the here-&-now!"

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
:candle:
bksubhuti wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:18 am
it does not just end one time by going to hell.
MN 130 seems to say the doer remains in hell until that kamma is exhausted. To quote:
Then the hell-wardens torture [the evil-doer] with what's called a five-fold imprisonment. They drive a red-hot iron stake through one hand, they drive a red-hot iron stake through the other hand, they drive a red-hot iron stake through one foot, they drive a red-hot iron stake through the other foot, they drive a red-hot iron stake through the middle of his chest. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
:candle:
bksubhuti wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:18 am
I think it was the kammavibhanga sutta speaks in those lines.
The kammavibhanga sutta appears to say the hellish result will be experienced; sooner or later. To quote:
"Now there is the person who has killed living beings here... has had wrong view. And on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination, in the heavenly world. But (perhaps) the good kamma producing his happiness was done by him earlier, or the good kamma producing his happiness was done by him later, or right view was undertaken and completed by him at the time of his death. And that was why, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappeared in a happy destination, in the heavenly world. But since he has killed living beings here... has had wrong view, he will feel the result of that here and now, or in his next rebirth, or in some subsequent existence.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html
:candle:
bksubhuti wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:18 am
I did not realize the meaning of the 3rd precept until my 6th year as a monk. I was disappointed myself that my lay life did not have 5 precepts.
As long as your repentance is genuine, Jesus said your sins are forgiven. Believe. Have faith! Do not doubt.
bksubhuti wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:18 am
I had to confirm this with several Asian people and ven Pa-Auk SayadawgyiI himself before I believed it.
Since I personally saw with the spiritual eye sexual misconduct lead to rebirth into hell, even before I found Buddhism or religion, I required no confirmation from any Brahma, Deva, Mara or Guru. One tear in the eye of a woman or man is enough to abandon such deeds. This said, I personally have no regrets because these things follow the law of Dependent Origination. When there is the element (dhatu) of ignorance promoted by the element (dhatu) of Cultural Marxist mass-media and education system; it is inevitable the element (dhatu) sexual misconduct will occur without knowledge it is actually sexual misconduct. It cannot be any other way. It is Suchness or Thusness (Tathata). AN 6.63 appears to say kamma is intention. If it is not known or educated a certain act is sexual misconduct, then such kamma is not intentionally dark.
bksubhuti wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:18 am
It might hurt to read, but I hope that it becomes useful.
It hurts because such a view shows how far away from Dhamma the world is. If you think this hurts, imagine if you learned the truth about 9/11 (rather than the views you posted about 9/11 on your blog). This would hurt even more. :shock: ;) Regardless, I am pleased to read that we are starting to understand Dhamma better.

:anjali:

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