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Kama Sutta

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 4:49 am
by jcsuperstar
Snp 4.1 PTS: Sn 766-771
Kama Sutta: Sensual Pleasure
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
If one, longing for sensual pleasure,
achieves it, yes,
he's enraptured at heart.
The mortal gets what he wants.
But if for that person
— longing, desiring —
the pleasures diminish,
he's shattered,
as if shot with an arrow.

Whoever avoids sensual desires
— as he would, with his foot,
the head of a snake —
goes beyond, mindful,
this attachment in the world.

A man who is greedy
for fields, land, gold,
cattle, horses,
servants, employees,
women, relatives,
many sensual pleasures,
is overpowered with weakness
and trampled by trouble,
for pain invades him
as water, a cracked boat.

So one, always mindful,
should avoid sensual desires.
Letting them go,
he'd cross over the flood
like one who, having bailed out the boat,
has reached the far shore.




See also: MN 13; Ud 7.3-4; AN 6.63.

Re: Kama Sutta

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 6:52 pm
by DNS
Just thought I'd mention . . .

What a difference from that other text with only one letter different. :tongue:

(kama sutra)

Re: Kama Sutta

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 2:17 am
by alan
Yeah, cheap shot, JC. :smile: You got me all excited to come to the study group!

Re: Kama Sutta

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 4:12 am
by alan
Oh I'm so bad. Ok let's discuss. How to actually live this?

Re: Kama Sutta

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 5:29 am
by Sobeh
alan wrote:How to actually live this?
...overpowered with weakness
and trampled by trouble,
for pain invades him
as water, a cracked boat.
I go this route: seeing the above in every habit that appears to me. No one has to tell me not to desire to drink urine...

But even seeing some sense pleasure completely and thereby as entailing suffering for me usually results in me "knowing better" and yet still really struggling with desire. At that point I treat myself a little the way you'd train a puppy; you gently and insistently reinforce the rule, no yelling or carrying on but also not ignoring it. I find the puppy image helps me generate metta because I can be particularly ruthless with myself.

In these moments, faith finds its place in my practice - even though I may still labor under avijja, what I have seen of the Dhamma for myself has so far proven itself as promised, and so in moments of struggle I take heart that the Middle Way is well declared, and I maintain sati.

Re: Kama Sutta

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 10:07 am
by PeterB
It can be in so many little ways..not just the "big stuff" like sex.
If I eat pastry I get acute gastric reflux.
Pain invades me " as water into a cracked boat "
Simple decision then you would think.
Yet faced with a coffee and Danish I catch myself thinking perhaps this time It will be ok..
It could be of course that I am particularly stupid. :(

Re: Kama Sutta

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 10:17 am
by retrofuturist
Greetings,

Not wanting is more satisfying than getting.

Of course, we still need reminders...

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: Kama Sutta

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 1:57 pm
by Richard
Should we regard this sutta as addressed primarily to monks, or equally to everyone? I ask this because there are other suttas such as AN VIII, 54 where a wealthy layman approaches the Buddha and says, " We are laypeople who enjoy sensual pleasures, dwelling at home in a house crowded with children, enjoying Kasian sandalwood, wearing garlands, scents, and unguents, accepting gold and silver." On being asked for instruction, the Buddha does not condemn this way of life, but gives ethical advice for dealing with money, occupation and friendship, so as to create happiness in this life and beyond. In this situation, it would not be helpful just to say, "avoid sensual pleasures."

Re: Kama Sutta

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 4:00 pm
by Agent
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
I think it's a rather good definition of avidya, too.

Richard wrote:Should we regard this sutta as addressed primarily to monks, or equally to everyone? I ask this because there are other suttas such as AN VIII, 54 where a wealthy layman approaches the Buddha and says, " We are laypeople who enjoy sensual pleasures, dwelling at home in a house crowded with children, enjoying Kasian sandalwood, wearing garlands, scents, and unguents, accepting gold and silver." On being asked for instruction, the Buddha does not condemn this way of life, but gives ethical advice for dealing with money, occupation and friendship, so as to create happiness in this life and beyond. In this situation, it would not be helpful just to say, "avoid sensual pleasures."
I think the example you give is just one of those cases where the Buddha gave different teachings to people of different levels of understanding. As far as this Sutta, it seems to me that everyone could stand to gain from applying it at whatever level they are capable.

Re: Kama Sutta

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 9:16 pm
by Yllyrryon
Thanks for offering these sutta studies! :thanks:

For starters, I have a couple of simple questions. Learning some Pali is definitely "on the list", but until there is some level of mastery, please bear with me. What is avijja? And is avidya the same thing but only a different translation? If not, what is the latter as well?

Also:
“If one, longing for sensual pleasure,
achieves it, yes,
he's enraptured at heart.
The mortal gets what he wants.”
I am living presently as a householder in the U.S., surrounded by plenty of comforts. It is alarming how, even at a subtle level, there is this reaching out for pleasant sense experience - it’s very instinctive.

Seeing this provides extra motivation to continue cultivating both mindfulness and concentration.

Re: Kama Sutta

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 9:45 pm
by Agent
My mistake. Same word. I accidentally used the sanskrit instead of pali. (I know, I know, blasphemy. :shock: )
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avidy%C4%81_%28Buddhism%29

The Pali forum here on Dhamma Wheel is a great place to start learning the language.