Into The Stream with Sensual Desires...

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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NuanceOfSuchness
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Into The Stream with Sensual Desires...

Post by NuanceOfSuchness » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:10 pm

To what degree does disinterest in sensual objects occur? For example, I glance at a beautiful lady; there's a pleasant feeling in me. I notice with the eye thus: Here is my eye, there is the object, this is the interpretation of my seeing the object and here is the feeling derived from that interpretation. Insight occurs: the seeing, interpretation and feeling are impermanent, this is unpleasant (because it cannot be sustained) therefore they are not me. This seems quite mechanistic but it occurs with an organic fluidity in my observations. Sometimes the four noble truths and the 12 nidanas drop in too.

Note: If you're astute enough you'll probably notice above that I'm contemplating the aggregates of rupa, vedanā, sañña and saṅkhāra.

What's missing here is the intent to want to look at the lady but one can look at a lady without sensual intent only to develop sensual feeling.

I'm using a lady here as it's the most gross form of sensual pleasure and thus very easy to observe in oneself.

So, as one goes along the imaginary stream, navigating through the four levels of awakening, is it accurate to say that at later stages in the unfolding, the feelings that occur from sensual desire are completely gone or is it more that the feelings still occur but choice occurs as to whether we want to identify with those feelings or not?

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Zom
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Re: Into The Stream with Sensual Desires...

Post by Zom » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:22 pm

Yes, they still occur, of course. But it's not about identification with them in this situation. It is about strength of craving which arises. So, in a stream-winner craving will be more strong than in once-returner. And in non-returner and arahant such kind of craving is eliminated completely.

NuanceOfSuchness
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Re: Into The Stream with Sensual Desires...

Post by NuanceOfSuchness » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:41 pm

Thanks but if the feeling has been eliminated could one still choose to indulge in sensual pleasures but without the conditioned momentum that drives one towards sensual pleasures? Surely the action of sex is still a possibility?

dharmacorps
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Re: Into The Stream with Sensual Desires...

Post by dharmacorps » Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:20 pm

The teaching indicates that sense desire only ends when one severs that fetter, along with ill will, at non-returner status.

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Zom
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Re: Into The Stream with Sensual Desires...

Post by Zom » Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:47 pm

Thanks but if the feeling has been eliminated could one still choose to indulge in sensual pleasures but without the conditioned momentum that drives one towards sensual pleasures?
You mean "craving" (not feeling, because all feelings are there). Well, when there is no craving for sensual pleasures, one still can have pleasurable (accidental) feelings born of eye-contact, ear-contact, etc., but he doesn't attach to them and doesn't crave for more. And, of course, doesn't seek sensual objects to experience such feeling. And when this is so, sex is impossible for such persons (like non-returners and those of higher level), because it is based entirely on craving.

SarathW
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Re: Into The Stream with Sensual Desires...

Post by SarathW » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:34 pm

NuanceOfSuchness wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:41 pm
Thanks but if the feeling has been eliminated could one still choose to indulge in sensual pleasures but without the conditioned momentum that drives one towards sensual pleasures? Surely the action of sex is still a possibility?
Even if you are a Sotapanna you still can enjoy the sensual pleasures.
However, you will never be a hedonist.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

paul
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Re: Into The Stream with Sensual Desires...

Post by paul » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:22 pm

The current of sensual desire runs counter to that of developing skillful qualities:
Through exercising wise attention (yoniso manasikara) the practitioner makes a choice to avoid unwholesome feelings of the flesh, and turns to feelings not of the flesh that they have already cultivated through exertion on their meditation subject. In the case of a practitioner who is inclined towards sensual desire (as opposed to anger), this would be the subjects of impermanence of the body listed under the first foundation of mindfulness. This process naturally involves the second foundation, where feelings not of the flesh are identified (and these in turn lead to the arising of jhana). Just as with physical exercise, they eventually develop strength to overcome that particular level:

“And further, a monk notices this: ‘When I live according to my pleasure, unskillful qualities increase in me & skillful qualities decline. When I exert myself with stress & pain, though, unskillful qualities decline in me & skillful qualities increase. Why don’t I exert myself with stress & pain?‘ So he exerts himself with stress & pain, and while he is exerting himself with stress & pain, unskillful qualities decline in him, & skillful qualities increase. Then at a later time he would no longer exert himself with stress & pain. Why is that? Because he has attained the goal for which he was exerting himself with stress & pain. That is why, at a later time, he would no longer exert himself with stress & pain.
This is how striving is fruitful, how exertion is fruitful."
[...]
"Having abandoned these five hindrances — imperfections of awareness that weaken discernment — then, quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. This, too, is how striving is fruitful, how exertion is fruitful."

MN 101

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