Celibacy

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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manas
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Re: Celebacy

Post by manas » Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:20 am

Thank you thereductor for your prompt reply! I have not actually lapsed as yet, still feeling the pain, knowing as best as I can that these feelings are just memories in the mind, the memories of the sight and other sensory impressions of the fair sex...

So for now I am practicing Satipatthana on them, I am trying to not avoid, but to let be. I have to feel this pain, to 'go in' to the feeling without identifying with it as 'me or mine'. I will try for rest of this day and re-evaluate in the morning.

You are correct, I won't make too big a drama out of this, after all I am a layman, and this is just how things are...and thanks for the heads-up about the struggles of the ordained as well...I guess it's a problem for everyone who has not yet experienced jhana (which, so I have been told, makes sense-pleasure look rather pale by comparison). But 'there's the rub' - I can't will myself there! It'll arise at the right time, not by an act of will, but when the necessary conditions are there (so I've heard!). So for now I can only do my best and use mindfulness and whatever modest wisdom this being can muster.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

Reductor
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Re: Celebacy

Post by Reductor » Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:52 pm

manasikara wrote:Thank you thereductor for your prompt reply! I have not actually lapsed as yet, still feeling the pain, knowing as best as I can that these feelings are just memories in the mind, the memories of the sight and other sensory impressions of the fair sex...
The fair sex, hmm... do only men have oil on their skin, puss in their pores? Do women also have fat beneath that skin, shit in their bowls, brains in their heads, wax in their ears? When it comes to foulness, they're natural state is as bad as our own.

Of course, they doll themselves up, right? Hard to see the foul. But the makeup and deodorant and perfume is a testament to their naturally foul state, as it would be for ourselves.

What I've noticed time and again is that lust for the fair sex stems from a narrow perception of them. We look and the perceptions that arise are immediately related to beauty. This perception to beauty is not the problem per se. The trouble is that we stop there and relish the feelings that arise because of these perceptions. If you realize that this is happening you can then force the wider perception of foulness.

Keep in mind that you're not making up some notions which are untrue, because the body in all its modes is in fact foul. You know this, but that first impression of beauty is blinding. But it need not be if you are really looking for relief from lust.

Now, about jhana. It is certainly possible to attain, but that sure doesn't mean its easy. I would sugget to develop the meditation of anapanasati and be steady in your practice, and keep body awareness broad.

Here's a good short list of practices to develop, and the reason to do so.
"A bhikkhu, Meghiya, who is established in these five things should also cultivate four additional things: foulness should be cultivated for overcoming lust; loving-kindness should be cultivated for overcoming malevolence; respiration-mindfulness should be cultivated for cutting off (discursive) thinking; the perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the removal of the conceit 'I am.' For when one perceives impermanence, Meghiya, the perception of not-self is established. When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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manas
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Re: Celebacy

Post by manas » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:13 pm

Thereductor,
thank you for your thoughtful reply, once more. That sutta quote is great, I've not seen it before.

I'm going to leave off this subject after this post, because I DID end up lapsing, but I have learned SO MUCH from the last week and a half of trying out complete sexual abstinece (in all its forms) that I am indeed realizing that I have no need to beat myself up, I am after all a householder and I have not broken any precepts (by lapsing in this way)! My mind got a bit obsessed with trying to be perfect, and I think I was 'tightening the strings a little too tightly'. Having said that, that doesn't mean I think it's ok to just relieve ourselves soon as the going gets a little tough, I think we should push a little further than what we think we are capable of, but not to the point of obsessiveness.

How does the mind feel this morning? Honestly, a little sad about the human condition (specifically, my own - I have studied enough anatomical drawings to know that women's bodies are also inherently asubha, like our own, yet still lust arises for them!). A bit more relaxed; I can actually feel this in my body. A bit less sharp and clear, with a slight 'happy fuzziness' in my body (endorphins).

Well I'm leaving it there. Back in the saddle for me now! I am happy to have found this place where I can get help for such issues, without people thinking I am some kind of nut for trying (to abstain from all sexual activity for the sake of better meditation). I am going to study that sutta you mentioned, I see how the Buddha is advising a combination of practices for the overcoming of a variety of problems.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

Reductor
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Re: Celebacy

Post by Reductor » Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:14 am

manasikara wrote: I am going to study that sutta you mentioned, I see how the Buddha is advising a combination of practices for the overcoming of a variety of problems.
While you're at it, you can try these.

Even a layman would do well to conduct themselves thus:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .horn.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Methods of avoiding and undoing fetter-some states of mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

About sense restraint.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

A favorite of mine. It includes a list similar to that I posted above, only a little longer.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Hopefully you get a bit out of these.

One last piece of advice: if you masturbate, don't fantasize during the act. I've found that this works well for separating the tactile pleasures of sex from the other pleasures derived from the other sense facilities (ie -- eye, ear, nose, taste). It kind of drives a wedge into the lusty though processes.

Good luck.

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EricJ
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Re: Celebacy

Post by EricJ » Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:20 am

thereductor wrote:One last piece of advice: if you masturbate, don't fantasize during the act. I've found that this works well for separating the tactile pleasures of sex from the other pleasures derived from the other sense facilities (ie -- eye, ear, nose, taste). It kind of drives a wedge into the lusty though processes.

Good luck.
I also find it helpful to [nonjudgmentally] notice how quickly the pleasure dissipates and how overrated it actually is. Sexuality, seems to me, to be a really drawn-out process based on some sort of expectation, resulting in a sensation which is underwhelming when compared to your idealized version of it. This observance engenders this thought in connection to sexual pleasure: "well, what was the point of that?" Sometimes, apathy is more effective than active resistance.

In the meantime, I try to keep in mind that sexual pleasure is something which is overcome gradually, as defilements are dismantled and the compounded and unsatisfactory nature of these sensations is realized. This thought has helped me to reign in some of my youthful sexual energy. :P

Regards,
Eric
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3

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Moth
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Re: Celebacy

Post by Moth » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:56 am

Practicing Brahmacharya now. Trying to dissolve lust from the mind, though I realize it is a long process. One thing I've really started to notice is how entranced I become upon seeing an attractive woman. The mind becomes stuck, overwhelmed by craving. It's not entirely sexual, but it all has to do with the physical form. Sometimes it erotic, sometimes its like being awestruck by a work of art. I was wondering if anyone knew any good techniques to aid in overcoming this attachment to physical beauty. I've been trying to apply Buddha's teaching on analyzing the impurities of the body, imagining the pretty girl as an old woman, as a corpse, etc. It works a little bit but not enough.
May you be happy. May you be a peace. May you be free from suffering.
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jcsuperstar
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Re: Celebacy

Post by jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:17 am

Moth wrote:Practicing Brahmacarya now. Trying to dissolve lust from the mind, though I realize it is a long process. One thing I've really started to notice is how entranced I become upon seeing an attractive woman. The mind becomes stuck, overwhelmed by craving. It's not entirely sexual, but it all has to do with the physical form. I was wondering if anyone knew any good techniques to aid in overcoming this attachment to physical beauty. I've been trying to apply Buddha's teaching on analyzing the impurities of the body, imagining the pretty girl as an old woman, as a corpse, etc. It works a little bit but not enough.
imagine her with really bad diarrhea.

also, how are you living? just out in the world with a job or school etc? not in seclusion or temple? this makes a great deal of difference, but as my situation shows (as well as that of many exmonks) even this is no guarantee of success :toilet: meditation and similar practices have their usefulness in this area but i think the real work here is just taking a step back, being honest about your situation and analyzing it rationally. ie. when i see this person i get these feelings, are these feelings i want, or am comfortable with, are they beneficial to progress in the areas i want to work on? things such as this. you will find that sometimes a clear headed rational look at a situation will do the trick, other times we choose more pain and suffering regardless. i knew at the time if i left the temple, didnt fully ordain (i was an angarika) and went off to make a life with the person i'm with now that i would be looking at a life with more suffering than my life as a monk would have, or at least a very different type of suffering. i knew my time for practice would be cut to almost nothing as i would have to go back to college, i'd have to work and support another person, i'd have to deal with jealousy, arguments, sickness, separation, death etc. but i also knew if i was having this dialog with myself that i wasn't ready to ordain, so i said hey give me some more of that samsara please, knowing i'd either be okay or so disgusted by lay life that I'd be 100% ready for the robes. it's still a struggle
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

Terasi
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Re: Celebacy

Post by Terasi » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:47 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:imagine her with really bad diarrhea.

That's epic! :twothumbsup: I guess females have it easier in this matter, not so much problem with this.
thereductor wrote:Of course, they doll themselves up, right? Hard to see the foul. But the makeup and deodorant and perfume is a testament to their naturally foul state, as it would be for ourselves.
That got me to think about the motive for using make up. I find most of the time make up is for wellbeing, to make ourselves look presentable (because every woman out there is wearing lipstick, I'll look like lazy pig who just jumped out of bed without one... ), only when we try to impress certain somebodies that this particular sexual motive arises. I mean, just because a woman is having make up on everyday, doesn't mean she's flirting everyday. It's mostly just to conform to other women at her work, school, etc.

(But probably my understanding of dolling up is incorrect, I thought it is just applying make up.)

PeterB
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Re: Celibacy

Post by PeterB » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:16 pm

I am seeing a lot of aversion here and not so much upekkha.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Celibacy

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:23 pm

PeterB wrote:I am seeing a lot of aversion here and not so much upekkha.
Yeah. Ya can't get it, so ya might as well hate it.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

PeterB
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Re: Celebacy

Post by PeterB » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:37 pm

:lol:

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Vepacitta
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Re: Celebacy

Post by Vepacitta » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:36 pm

I really wonder whether this isn't a "boy" thing. I can see a nice looking guy - know that he's really nice looking - etc etc etc - and - whatEVA. Drop it. No big shing-a-ling. Maybe some girls do get obsessed with lust. But usually, our lust - which then leads to attachments to our 'selves' - or I, me, mine-making - is different - "does he like me?" "did he look at me?" "what did he say?" "well, exactly HOW did he say it" blah blah blah

"yeh I could like him - if he liked ME enough"

(These conversations are the same whether you're in the 8th grade (that's 13) or 40s - by the way - and although I generally find them tiring - and am generally above them - on occasion my inner "gurl" comes out).

Girls are different - we're superior! :rofl: :tongue:

V.

NB For you suffering dudes - somewhere Aj. Sumedho talks about the problems of boy - lust lust lust - and he doesn't advocate looking at a woman as if she's a charnel ground. He speaks of appreciating the beauty - without grasping to it and bringing it to self (I'd better not say what I wanted to say here - it's pretty raunchy).

Kaplah boys! (Where's that Klingon smiley?)

V.
Last edited by Vepacitta on Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Monkey Mind
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Re: Celebacy

Post by Monkey Mind » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:36 pm

I think it was Ajahn Amaro who said in a talk that he will allow himself to notice a beautiful woman once, because he is human, but he does not allow himself that second glance.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

5heaps
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Re: Celibacy

Post by 5heaps » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:30 pm

manasikara wrote:And sex is not such a big deal anyway: even pigs and earthworms have orgasms, in fact pigs' orgasms last for half an hour...so, pigs have better orgams than us, but (to my knowledge) they can't access the Buddha-Dhamma as well as humans can (if any intelligent porcine being is reading this, I apologise and retract this :pig: ). When you look at it that way, orgasm loses some of its specialness.
yay, realistic context. that seems like an excellent approach: on a daily basis realistically review and consider the negative qualities of sexual exertion and the good qualities of abstaining (particularly its link with meditation and cessation, not just stuff like 'more calm').

negative qualities include the fact that the need for sex is just an insubstantial habit (like feeling the urge to eat lunch at midday due to doing it every day), is normally constructed by a superficial and irrational mind (ie. exaggerating the good qualities of merely the outer layer of skin to the exclusion of the rest - and then conjuring even more elaborate attributes based on that superficial conception), takes up a goddamn lot of time, money, effort, etc.

the Dalai Lama says the need for sex is like an itch - better not to have the itch. the more we can understand that latter part as being correct and true the easier we'll be able to bring our minds into it... of course... because actually what we all like and know is sex and nothing more about it
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jcsuperstar
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Re: Celibacy

Post by jcsuperstar » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:55 am

tiltbillings wrote:
PeterB wrote:I am seeing a lot of aversion here and not so much upekkha.
Yeah. Ya can't get it, so ya might as well hate it.
i had a monk tell me to see all women as a sister, i should have told him I'm from the south :tongue:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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