Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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clw_uk
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Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by clw_uk » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:12 pm

Hey

So I have decided to practice restraint from all sexual activities, that is from masturbation to sex etc


Was wondering if any other members here practice celibacy and if they have any advice on how to restrain oneself, from wanking, watching porn :coffee: or to having sex 8-)


For example, If I see an attractive male I cant help but be overcome by lust, despite my Sati, I still grasp at "his signs and features", any advice for when this happens?

:namaste:
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

Martin Po
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by Martin Po » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:33 pm

Like all drugs, stop all sexual activity is difficult only in the begining, this period can take 2-4 weeks, depend on your past sexual stemulations. Less you do, less you want. It's a rule.
More dificult is "dream time", it's difficult to avoid "sex" in dreams, and it's very impotant, because sex in dream can break all your effort in daily practice.

To avoid this, you have to develop good habits in your daily life.
Avoid and cut off, at the very begining, all potential stimulations, all vidios/images/tv/mental formations abandon them without waiting. By developping this habits/good reactions you will also avoid all attacks of Mara's daughters/sons in yours dreams.
Also, you have to maditate on 32 parts of body.
Develop concentration, establish your mindfulness, and purify your mind by equanimity.

After some time, even if you "break" at some moment your avoidance of sexual activity, perception of orgasm will be neutral, like urinating, at this moment your practice of celibacy will become easyer, because you will see at your own that there is no pleasure in orgasm.

Also, when envy will arose in your body, if you establish your mindfulness rightly, you will see this "envy" as-it-is, and you will see that "senxual envy" have exactly the same characteristics as "hate", so you will abandon it naturaly without interpretation or following or suffering.

It's a very good and difficult practice.
If you want you can add to this sexual avoidance practice, a practice of one meal a day and/or practice of getingup at 3-4-5-6am every day, it would be better, because IMO these three "ascetic" practices are depend on each other, and you will see your concentration / mindfulness / equanimity / stillness / peace improove.

Of course, all this practices have virtue and morality at the begining, without virtue/morality it will not works because your mind will not be in moral peace.

There is also MN 13 and 14 Great and Small Discourse on Mass of Suffering.

I'am sorry for my english, i hope you understand.
Metta and good luck!
Last edited by Martin Po on Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Martin Po
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by Martin Po » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:39 pm

Also a pracitioner have to remember that birth is suffering, and this sexual desire is, may be, most dangerous weapon in Mara's arsenal.

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Anders
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by Anders » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:50 pm

clw_uk wrote: For example, If I see an attractive male I cant help but be overcome by lust, despite my Sati, I still grasp at "his signs and features", any advice for when this happens?

:namaste:
Don't make a project of reducing lust or not grasping it signs and features. Rather focus on fully bring into awareness the arising of these elements. Having fully knowing sexual desire as the project moreso than subduing or reducing it in the moment of its arising I've found actually works a lot better for reducing it.

Martin Po
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by Martin Po » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:16 pm

Also, i think you can try to establish your own practice based on your direct experiance. This practice will be more effective.

manas
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by manas » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:04 pm

clw_uk wrote:Hey

So I have decided to practice restraint from all sexual activities, that is from masturbation to sex etc


Was wondering if any other members here practice celibacy and if they have any advice on how to restrain oneself, from wanking, watching porn :coffee: or to having sex 8-)


For example, If I see an attractive male I cant help but be overcome by lust, despite my Sati, I still grasp at "his signs and features", any advice for when this happens?

:namaste:
Hi clw_uk

I've had bouts of celibacy before. There is a lot to know about where to put your attention, where not to, how to control your thoughts etc. But I will just pass on some 'lessons from the road', a don't and a do: DON'T be perfectionistic, excessively harsh or angry with yourself if desires arise, or feel guilty or ashamed if you can't stick to it perfectly. Having said that, DO try your best, using whatever methods of controlling your mind and activities you can, to stick to your goal, but let your underlying motivation be one of KINDNESS towards yourself, and others. Tell yourself every day you undertake it, that "this if for my own present and future wellbeing, I am undertaking this austerity because I care for myself".

The first few times I tried periods of celibacy, I meant well, but ended up feeling aversive towards women, because I was putting so much mental and emotional energy into not looking or thinking about them (as well as cranky with myself and people in general, actually). So that is a warning, and why I think that a brahmacari really needs to cultivate a lot of METTA both for himself, and for others, as he attempts this challenging practice.

Ok having said that, remember: if you don't look you won't see, so gain control over those roving eyes, ok? ;) Celibacy is much much easier and smoother if you don't go looking around at objects of your desire, then later in the day have to 'fight valiantly' when you remember those visual contacts and lust arises. You won't have to 'fight' at the end of the day, if during the day you were mindful of where you placed your gaze.

So to sum up: you need to be both very kind, but also very strict. That's my experience thus far, anyway.

wishing you well,
manas :anjali:

santa100
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by santa100 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:15 pm

A good strategy from SN 35.127 ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html ):
Great king, this was said by the Blessed One who knows & sees, worthy and rightly self-awakened: 'Come now, monks: with regard to women who are old enough to be your mother, establish the attitude you would have toward your mother. With regard to women who are old enough to be your sister, establish the attitude you'd have toward a sister. With regard to women who are young enough to be your daughter, establish the attitude you'd have toward a daughter.' This is one reason, this is one cause, great king, why young monks — black-haired, endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life — without having played with sensual pleasures nevertheless follow the lifelong chaste life, perfect & pure, and make it last their entire lives
And other great strategies from MN 20 ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html )

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nyanasuci
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by nyanasuci » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:34 am

clw_uk wrote:So I have decided to practice restraint from all sexual activities, that is from masturbation to sex etc
That is one of the best thing to hear that a layman becomes celibate! Good on you! As long as you do it that much will be for your benefit. But since you are refraining from sexuality, why then you do not become a monk?

Obviously I am a monk, so for me the matter is easier ... i.e. living in community who is expecting that you are in celibate is very helpful. It is probably more difficult in the world where you generally give you different kind of "good-hearten" encouragements.

If you need any personal advice, write PM.
Bhikkhu Hiriko - Ñāṇasuci

The experts do not say that one is a sage in this world because of view, or learning, or knowledge, Nanda.
I call them sages who wander without association, without affliction, without desire.

The Buddha, Sn.V.8.2 (1078)


http://pathpress.org | http://nanavira.org | http://ajahnchah.org

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Mr Man
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by Mr Man » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:55 am

I think it may be helpful to really reflect on why you want to practice celibacy and really get to know the reasons. Keep the reasons in the forefront of your mind.

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clw_uk
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by clw_uk » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:25 pm

Thank you everyone for the advice

First day of it and already found it hard (no pun intended ;) )
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

manas
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by manas » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:45 pm

clw_uk wrote:Thank you everyone for the advice

First day of it and already found it hard (no pun intended ;) )
The first few days are the toughest. It actually gets easier after that, so long as you stick to the program strictly (ie no intentional fantasizing, pleasuring, looking...etc) But it isn't enough to just avoid sex, you have to actively turn towards other, more wholesome things - such as exercise, platonic friendships, meditation, hobbies...if it's just a 'thou shalt not' exercise it won't last long, in my experience. You need to replace the previous activity with other, more wholesome activities.

:anjali:

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reflection
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by reflection » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:08 pm

I found it unexpectedly easy on retreat, but very difficult in lay life, where all kinds of distractions and attractions are around every corner and mindfulness & clear understanding are hard to keep. I did it for quite some times but a tension always arose. Not after a few days, but after a few weeks a second more harder wave always came.

It was because I was holding sexual activity back instead of just being happy without it. The opposite happened on retreat, because it is easier to recognize the benefits of abstaining and therefore it becomes easier also. So the one thing I can say is try to recognize the peace that arises after a while, but my advise may not be really useful in that I find it difficult also in lay life. But I do think it is a good and beautiful practice and I want to practice it again (with future ordination in mind), so I might as well use this topic to give it another go. And I will. So you are not alone in this. (feel free to PM me if you want)

:anjali:

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Anagarika
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by Anagarika » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:31 pm

It seems to me that part of the practice of celibacy is just one more practice to free oneself from the fetters of samsara. In other words, we practice to calm the mind and raise insight. Why do we want sex? It's a major desire fueled by our brains. Research shows that during ejaculation, men release a cocktail of brain chemicals, including norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, nitric oxide (NO), and the hormone prolactin. These chemicals tantalize the brain, and we have learned through our anthropological development that we seek sex in order to achieve these brain chemical releases again and again. I will also add that Einstein had it right when he spoke of relativity as the hour spent with a beautiful woman feeling like a minute, and a minute with your hand in a fire feeling like an hour. Einstein loved the ladies....

Monks in Thailand would spent nights in the charnel grounds meditating on the nature of the human body. Decaying, the body is a disgusting thing. So, sex becomes just another aspect of samsara, and impermanence and craving. If one can reduce one's craving for sex to a mindful understanding of brain function, sex becomes just another grubby samsaric activity. We can work to free ourselves of the desire for sex, eating after noon, buying stuff we don't need, with practice, practice, practice. The words are easy....the practice very difficult.

I was going to write more on the subject, but there's a Heidi Klum in Hawaii bikini special on the TV now, and I need to investigate...you know, charnel ground stuff. :clap:

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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by pegembara » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:33 am

"'The six classes of craving should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. With feeling as a requisite condition there is craving. Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises consciousness at the ear. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. With feeling as a requisite condition there is craving. Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises consciousness at the nose. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. With feeling as a requisite condition there is craving. Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises consciousness at the tongue. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. With feeling as a requisite condition there is craving. Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises consciousness at the body. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. With feeling as a requisite condition there is craving. Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. With feeling as a requisite condition there is craving. 'The six classes of craving should be known.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said. This is the sixth sextet.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
That in a nutshell is what the practice of celibacy entails and it is no small feat when all the senses and the respective cravings are involved.
"Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there arises what is felt either as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain. If, when touched by a feeling of pleasure, one relishes it, welcomes it, or remains fastened to it, then one's passion-obsession gets obsessed. If, when touched by a feeling of pain, one sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats one's breast, becomes distraught, then one's resistance-obsession gets obsessed. If, when touched by a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, or escape from that feeling, then one's ignorance-obsession gets obsessed. That a person — without abandoning passion-obsession with regard to a feeling of pleasure, without abolishing resistance-obsession with regard to a feeling of pain, without uprooting ignorance-obsession with regard to a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, without abandoning ignorance and giving rise to clear knowing — would put an end to suffering & stress in the here & now: such a thing isn't possible.
"Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there arises what is felt either as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain. If, when touched by a feeling of pleasure, one does not relish it, welcome it, or remain fastened to it, then one's passion-obsession doesn't get obsessed.
"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with the eye, disenchanted with forms, disenchanted with consciousness at the eye, disenchanted with contact at the eye, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with craving.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Ben
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Re: Practicing Celibacy - Advice needed

Post by Ben » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:26 am

Hi Craig,

My main meditation object is vedana:sensation, so for me, during retreat when I do practice celibacy is to maintain awareness of and equanimity with regards to the anicca characteristic of sensation. So for me, after some decades of experience, it is relatively straight forward. Having said that, pleasurable, craving inducing sensations are orders of magnitude more difficult to apprehend and regard with equanimity than sensations that are aversion-inducing. It is a difficult task maintaining complete celibacy in the day-to-day of lay life. My only advice to you is to keep walking the path and to maintain your sila, samadhi and panna through the prism of your current practice (pariyatti and patipati). If you can, also practice dana.
with metta,

Ben
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