“No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
WorldTraveller
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“No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by WorldTraveller » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:47 am

Dear forum,

Should it be “avoiding sexual activity” or “avoiding sexual misconduct” under the Right Action of the Noble Eightfold Path?

My personal view at the moment is, it should be “avoiding sexual activity” since there’s no way one can develop a mind free of lust while engaged in “Right Sex”! :tongue:

Thanks! :smile:

thepea
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by thepea » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:53 am

How about gradually coming out of sexual activity.
As a married layperson in a committed loving relationship why should sex be avoided?

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DooDoot
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by DooDoot » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:03 am

WorldTraveller wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:47 am
Should it be “avoiding sexual activity” or “avoiding sexual misconduct” under the Right Action of the Noble Eightfold Path? My personal view at the moment is, it should be “avoiding sexual activity” since there’s no way one can develop a mind free of lust while engaged in “Right Sex”!
Are you aware of any suttas that include "Right Sex" in the Noble Eightfold Path? I personally have not read any. I have only read suttas (eg AN 10.176) about the Ten Wholesome Actions that include right sex. My impression is the Noble Eightfold Path is a path of celibacy (brahmacariyā).
There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

And what is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding? Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And what, monks, is right action? Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity: This, monks, is called right action.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And what is right action?
Katamo ca, bhikkhave, sammākammanto?

Avoiding killing living creatures, stealing, and sexual activity.
Yā kho, bhikkhave, pāṇātipātā veramaṇī, adinnādānā veramaṇī, abrahmacariyā veramaṇī—

https://suttacentral.net/sn45.8/en/sujato
MN 117 refers to two eightfold paths and only one of these paths appears to be "Noble". :smile:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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thepea
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by thepea » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:37 am

So is the path only to be walked by monks and nuns abstaining from sex?

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DooDoot
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by DooDoot » Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:04 am

thepea wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:37 am
So is the path only to be walked by monks and nuns abstaining from sex?
Probably not. It just appears the "Noble" path is officially one of celibacy. However this does not mean non-celibate individuals cannot benefit from it.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
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rolling_boulder
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by rolling_boulder » Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:58 am

Nothing wrong with it at all if you are a layperson.
Of course, engaging in sensual pleasure with clinging does go against the path, but not nearly so much as hatred and its associated bodily actions.
The buddha referred to sensual pleasure as a "pissy pleasure" compared to that of meditation.

There were enlightened laypeople in the days of the Buddha who engaged in sex.

If you wish to advance more quickly you might take on the Eight Precepts. But most people are not ready for that.

A nice middle way is to take the Eight Precepts on Uposatha days.
The world is swept away. It does not endure...
The world is without shelter, without protector...
The world is without ownership. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind...
The world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving.

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salayatananirodha
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by salayatananirodha » Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:52 am

https://suttacentral.net/sn45.8/en/bodhi
Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 00.36.09.png
https://suttacentral.net/sn45.8/en/sujato
Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 00.38.39.png
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.14.irel.html wrote: "Now I will tell you the layman's duty. Following it a lay-disciple would be virtuous; for it is not possible for one occupied with the household life to realize the complete bhikkhu practice (dhamma).
[...]
"A wise man should avoid unchastity as (he would avoid falling into) a pit of glowing charcoal. If unable to lead a celibate life, he should not go to another's wife.
You could note the difference between the first two translations of SN 45.8. Keeping uposatha is a gradual way to practice virtue without making a full vow of celibacy. Celibacy being so difficult has a tremendous pay-off, and any effort made is not lost
Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 00.49.49.png
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

sentinel
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by sentinel » Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:34 am

WorldTraveller wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:47 am
Dear forum,

Should it be “avoiding sexual activity” or “avoiding sexual misconduct” under the Right Action of the Noble Eightfold Path?

My personal view at the moment is, it should be “avoiding sexual activity” since there’s no way one can develop a mind free of lust while engaged in “Right Sex”! :tongue:

Thanks! :smile:
Lust is strong sexual desire.
But, if a person only want to have a child ,
does that consider as Lust ? Love is to be differentiated from Lust .
There will be some or minimal desire being arouse in this case .
:coffee:

thepea
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by thepea » Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:26 am

Your married with two children, you begin meditation doing retreats, your making progress on the path. You enter the stream. A part of you wishes to ordain but another part feels this incredibly wrong to abandon your wife and children. Your wife does not meditate and wishes for sexual pleasure, you continue to have sexual relations even though your desire for sex is greatly reduced.
What is the problem?
You are a better more balanced individual than in the past, your marital relationship benefits, your children grow up in a more stable environment. This seems like 8-fold success to me, and the only time celibacy is practiced is while on retreats so mind can concentrate and observe subtler levels of suffering.

justindesilva
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by justindesilva » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:15 pm

WorldTraveller wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:47 am
Dear forum,

Should it be “avoiding sexual activity” or “avoiding sexual misconduct” under the Right Action of the Noble Eightfold Path?

My personal view at the moment is, it should be “avoiding sexual activity” since there’s no way one can develop a mind free of lust while engaged in “Right Sex”! :tongue:

Thanks! :smile:
Avoiding sexual activity is brahmacarya and having right sex comes in the 4th precept in 5 precepts.
Lord budda in singalovada sutta and parabava sutta advises laymen to have right sex as he knows that overcoming sexual urges known as kamaccanda is not at all easy. But with an effort throug reasoning a laymen can control kamaccanda. A sotapanna with all efforts seems to be unable to be a brahmacari or a celibate.
As an aryan elivates from sotapanna to anagami and sakurdagami to arhant mental developments makes an aryan a brahmacari without an effort.

santa100
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by santa100 » Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:31 pm

WorldTraveller wrote:My personal view at the moment is, it should be “avoiding sexual activity” since there’s no way one can develop a mind free of lust while engaged in “Right Sex”!
While that's a valid point, it's important to keep in mind the various goals of cultivating the Path: happiness in the here and now, a fortunate rebirth in the higher realms, or the total complete cessation of dukkha? And to be 100% honest, simply ask the majority of Buddhists, even including the full-time professional monastics out there, how many are truly cultivating the Path like that man carrying the bowl of oil on his head in SN 47.20? By honestly answering the simple questions first, one'd automatically know what to do to meet one's own goal.

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Manopubbangama
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by Manopubbangama » Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:40 pm

justindesilva wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:15 pm
WorldTraveller wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:47 am
Dear forum,

Should it be “avoiding sexual activity” or “avoiding sexual misconduct” under the Right Action of the Noble Eightfold Path?

My personal view at the moment is, it should be “avoiding sexual activity” since there’s no way one can develop a mind free of lust while engaged in “Right Sex”! :tongue:

Thanks! :smile:
Avoiding sexual activity is brahmacarya and having right sex comes in the 4th precept in 5 precepts.
Lord budda in singalovada sutta and parabava sutta advises laymen to have right sex as he knows that overcoming sexual urges known as kamaccanda is not at all easy. But with an effort throug reasoning a laymen can control kamaccanda. A sotapanna with all efforts seems to be unable to be a brahmacari or a celibate.
As an aryan elivates from sotapanna to anagami and sakurdagami to arhant mental developments makes an aryan a brahmacari without an effort.
Very good post.

Its also similar to the Apostle Paul's writings on marriage and monogamy, which seem to ring true for people who are not anagami and arahants:

https://www.biblehub.com/kjv/1_corinthians/7.htm

Some people think the early Christians were inspired by Buddhists, so who knows.

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dylanj
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by dylanj » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:26 am

salayatananirodha wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:52 am
https://suttacentral.net/sn45.8/en/bodhi
Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 00.36.09.png
https://suttacentral.net/sn45.8/en/sujato
Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 00.38.39.png
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.14.irel.html wrote: "Now I will tell you the layman's duty. Following it a lay-disciple would be virtuous; for it is not possible for one occupied with the household life to realize the complete bhikkhu practice (dhamma).
[...]
"A wise man should avoid unchastity as (he would avoid falling into) a pit of glowing charcoal. If unable to lead a celibate life, he should not go to another's wife.
You could note the difference between the first two translations of SN 45.8. Keeping uposatha is a gradual way to practice virtue without making a full vow of celibacy. Celibacy being so difficult has a tremendous pay-off, and any effort made is not lost

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 00.49.49.png
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
was gonna post this last quote but thought i better check if you'd done it first & indeed you did :goodpost:
Born, become, arisen – made, prepared, short-lived
Bonded by decay and death – a nest for sickness, perishable
Produced by seeking nutriment – not fit to take delight in


Departure from this is peaceful – beyond reasoning and enduring
Unborn, unarisen – free from sorrow and stain
Ceasing of all factors of suffering – stilling of all preparations is bliss

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Bundokji
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by Bundokji » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:39 am

I think the Dhamma can be approached in many different ways. One approach i personally try to avoid is to view the path as a set of rules or even recommendations.

While some aspects of the teachings can function as a set of rules, especially for monastics, linking these rules to "wisdom" is a misunderstanding in my opinion.

For example, some human beings are asexual. They are naturally celibates, but does that make them necessarily wiser?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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StormBorn
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Re: “No Sex” or “Right Sex”?

Post by StormBorn » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:28 am

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:03 am
And what is right action?
Katamo ca, bhikkhave, sammākammanto?

Avoiding killing living creatures, stealing, and sexual activity.
Yā kho, bhikkhave, pāṇātipātā veramaṇī, adinnādānā veramaṇī, abrahmacariyā veramaṇī—

https://suttacentral.net/sn45.8/en/sujato
Bhikkhu Bodhi in his The Connected Discourses of the Buddha says (page 1893 note 17) that the "abrahmacariyā" above must be a result of a scribal error, probably introduced after the age of the commentary. But the Chinese parallel which dated a few centuries before (c. 148-180 CE) the commentary also agrees with the Pali version.

Maha Satipatthana Sutta of DN has sexual misconduct, but now the general scholary understanding is that sutta as we have now to be a later compilation. Also, the Chinese parallel of the Maha Satipatthana Sutta is shorter excluding the relevant passages.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

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