Romantic Love

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Is romantic love a hindrance?

Post by clw_uk » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:07 am

Samseva -
I don't think romantic love is the same as finding a worthy partner to start a family and maintain a long-term and stable relationship.
Of course it's the same. Without sexual intercourse there is no pair bonding
One is mainly passionate and ephemeral, while the other takes much trust, communication and strength to go through obstacles along the way.
Do you know any marriage that hasn't involved sex and attachment?
As for sexuality, it is part of a relationship with a partner, but it is only a part and not as important compared to the others.
I wonder how many marriages survive without sex, or at least some display of affection which is another way of showing attachment.

I find it hard to see how having a husband and children would lead to Nibbana? It seems to me that a family entails attachment, which is anathema to Nibbana
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
dhammacoustic
Posts: 858
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:30 am
Location: Dhammaville

Re: Is romantic love a hindrance?

Post by dhammacoustic » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:16 am

Venerable Montague on his way to Awakening:


:anjali:
Uppādā vā tathagātanaṃ anuppādā vā tathagātanaṃ, ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā idappaccayatā. Taṃ tathagāto abhisam­buj­jhati abhisameti. Abhisam­bujjhitvā abhisametvā ācikkhati deseti paññāpeti paṭṭhapeti vivarati vibhajati uttānīkaroti. ‘Passathā’ti cāha; ‘avijjāpaccayā, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā’. Iti kho, bhikkhave, yā tatra tathatā avitathatā anaññathatā idappaccayatā-ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, paṭiccasamup­pādo.
:heart: namō tassa bhagavatō, arahatō, sammā sambuddhassā

User avatar
samseva
Posts: 2095
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: Is romantic love a hindrance?

Post by samseva » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:19 am

clw_uk wrote:
I don't think romantic love is the same as finding a worthy partner to start a family and maintain a long-term and stable relationship.
Of course it's the same. Without sexual intercourse there is no pair bonding.
I think you are over-thinking this and not taking into account that there is a whole spectrum of kinds of relationships; some with more attachment, romance, sexuality and basically unwholesome, while others are more mature, family-oriented, based on trust, care and more loving sexuality.

Find an old couple who has been in love for the past 40 years and then compare that to a fling.

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Is romantic love a hindrance?

Post by clw_uk » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:44 am

samseva

I think you are over-thinking this and not taking into account that there is a whole spectrum of kinds of relationships; some with more attachment, romance, sexuality and basically unwholesome, while others are more mature, family-oriented, based on trust, care and more loving sexuality.
I think you are making a distinction where none exists. In your own sentence, you can't have one without the first.

Now let's say a Buddhist can have a husband, sex and children, Upādāna seems to follow quite naturally since the foundation was based on craving to not be alone. If not, why mate?

I ask you directly, what is the core motivation that makes humans to engage in pair bonding? Also does it lead towards or away from nibbana?

Find an old couple who has been in love for the past 40 years and then compare that to a fling.
I'm not discussing casual sex, but sexual relations and the family in general. A couple who has been together for years is still founded on a flimsy foundation, namely that of seeking support in what ages in dies instead of Dhamma.

My grandfather recently died. He had been with my grandmother for 65 years, that didnt prevent extreme Dukkha arising in my Grandmother. In fact I am convinced that it made it worse.


Truly Upādāna = Dukkha :rolleye:
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Is romantic love a hindrance?

Post by clw_uk » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:52 am

Thisperson wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Hi everyone,

Romantic attraction is obviously a powerful impulse that most people (except the asexual) have to deal with. My question is, do romantic relationships lead to dukkha? Also if someone engages in sexual activity, are they putting more obstacles in their path to enlightenment?
In order to attain full enlightenment sensual desire must eventually be let go of. Sexual desire falls under the category of sensual desire.

Even before full enlightenment there needs to be the letting go of sensual desire. Once returners have significantly reduced sensual desire and ill will. Non returners are free from sensual desire along with ill will.

So would you promote sexual relationships or celibacy?
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2955
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Is romantic love a hindrance?

Post by Goofaholix » Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:53 am

clw_uk wrote:Romantic attraction is obviously a powerful impulse that most people (except the asexual) have to deal with. My question is, do romantic relationships lead to dukkha? Also if someone engages in sexual activity, are they putting more obstacles in their path to enlightenment?
I think the answer is obvious when we consider how much time and effort the Buddha put into establishing a celibate monastic order.

However if we don't have relationship dukka we'll have other kinds of dukkha to replace it, so it's not an issue of dukkha.

I think it's more an issue of simplifying your life so more time and attention can be devoted to practice.

Relationships also offer opportunities for spiritual growth that are missing from celibacy, the opportunity to let go of selfishness, of control, of your boundaries.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5616
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Is romantic love a hindrance?

Post by Aloka » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:25 am

There was a recent thread with the title "Romantic love" in the hot topics section:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=24148


:anjali:
Last edited by Aloka on Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:35 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23043
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Is romantic love a hindrance?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:30 am

Aloka wrote:There was a recent thread with the title "Romantic love" in the hot topics section:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=24148


:anjali:
This thread will likely get merged with the somewhat earlier one.
>> 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

User avatar
Mr Man
Posts: 2990
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Is romantic love a hindrance?

Post by Mr Man » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:19 am

clw_uk wrote:Hi everyone,

Romantic attraction is obviously a powerful impulse that most people (except the asexual) have to deal with. My question is, do romantic relationships lead to dukkha?
What leads to dukkha is tanha.

darvki
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:20 am

Re: Is romantic love a hindrance?

Post by darvki » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:40 am

clw_uk wrote:Romantic attraction is obviously a powerful impulse that most people (except the asexual) have to deal with.
(Underline mine.)

This is a false statement, as it conflates sexual orientation with romantic orientation. For example, there are hetero-romantic asexuals. So, there seems to be much more to romantic love than what is being said by many in this discussion.

mal4mac
Posts: 306
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:47 pm

Re: Romantic Love

Post by mal4mac » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:32 am

In the Buddhist tradition, Theravadan and other, one of the five hindrances is "sensory desire". Romantic love obviously includes sensory desire, therefore romantic love is a hindrance.

In my experience, the other hindrances are also well represented in the "usual" cycle of a romantic love affair! In fact, there is little to top a romantic love affair for generating hindrances.

Others seem to be extolling the virtues of a long and happy marriage in this thread. But can you move from the turmoil of "romantic love" into "the happiest of marriages" , one in which the five hindrances play no part? Can a marriage ever be as free of the hindrances as the life of a solitary hermit? At least the hermit only has his own hindrances to deal with! And he doesn't have to deal with any of the hangovers of romantic love that remain in a marriage.

I haven't read much on the problems of romantic love in the Buddhist texts I've encountered. Is it because romantic love is one of West's many bad inventions?

"The greatest obstacle to pleasure, Epicurus thought, even more so than pain and fear, is delusion, especially fantasies that delude us into thinking that we can attain something that exceeds the limits of our finite nature. It is this fantasy of infinite pleasure that helps explain our tragic proneness to romantic love. As Stephen Greenblatt describes in The Swerve, "in the misguided belief that [our] happiness depends upon the absolute possession of some single object of limitless desire, humans are seized by a feverish, unappeasable hunger and thirst that can only bring anguish instead of happiness.""

http://berto-meister.blogspot.co.uk/201 ... re-of.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
- Mal

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23043
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Romantic Love

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:40 am

mal4mac wrote:
"in the misguided belief that [our] happiness depends upon the absolute possession of some single object of limitless desire, humans are seized by a feverish, unappeasable hunger and thirst that can only bring anguish instead of happiness.""
Interestingly, what one thing do good Buddhists desire more than anything else? In looking at the play of human emotions on this forum over the last five to six years, I do see a lot of anguish, confusion, and wanting all centered around the fervent hope -- desire -- of having a happiness based in a unconditioned freedom from all the things that make us human.
>> 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

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5616
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Romantic Love

Post by Aloka » Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:05 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
mal4mac wrote:
"in the misguided belief that [our] happiness depends upon the absolute possession of some single object of limitless desire, humans are seized by a feverish, unappeasable hunger and thirst that can only bring anguish instead of happiness.""
Interestingly, what one thing do good Buddhists desire more than anything else? In looking at the play of human emotions on this forum over the last five to six years, I do see a lot of anguish, confusion, and wanting all centered around the fervent hope -- desire -- of having a happiness based in a unconditioned freedom from all the things that make us human.

:goodpost:

User avatar
Thisperson
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 4:36 pm

Re: Is romantic love a hindrance?

Post by Thisperson » Sun Aug 02, 2015 5:48 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Thisperson wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Hi everyone,

Romantic attraction is obviously a powerful impulse that most people (except the asexual) have to deal with. My question is, do romantic relationships lead to dukkha? Also if someone engages in sexual activity, are they putting more obstacles in their path to enlightenment?
In order to attain full enlightenment sensual desire must eventually be let go of. Sexual desire falls under the category of sensual desire.

Even before full enlightenment there needs to be the letting go of sensual desire. Once returners have significantly reduced sensual desire and ill will. Non returners are free from sensual desire along with ill will.

So would you promote sexual relationships or celibacy?
For one interested in enlightenment, celibacy would be wise. One makes a sincere effort in that direction doing their best to renounce all sensual desire.

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Romantic Love

Post by Alex123 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:20 pm

There is interesting story about Parajika #1 .

I know it is for the monks, for the laity it is not as serious. But still... The message is clear.
“‘Worthless man, haven’t I taught the Dhamma in many ways for the fading of passion, the sobering of intoxication, the subduing of thirst, the
destruction of attachment, the severing of the round, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, unbinding? Haven’t I in many ways advocated abandoning sensual pleasures, comprehending sensual perceptions, subduing sensual thirst, destroying sensual thoughts, calming sensual fevers?

Worthless man, it would be better that your penis be stuck into the mouth of a poisonous snake than into a woman’s vagina. It would be better that your penis be stuck into the mouth of a black viper than into a woman’s vagina. It would be better that your penis be stuck into a pit of burning embers, blazing and glowing, than into a woman’s vagina. Why is that? For that reason you would undergo death or deathlike suffering, but you would not on that account, at the break-up of the body, after death, fall into a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell. But for this reason you would, at the break-up of the body, after death, fall into a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell….
BMC
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23043
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Romantic Love

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:33 pm

Alex123 wrote:There is interesting story about Parajika #1 .

I know it is for the monks, for the laity it is not as serious. But still... The message is clear.
And, Alex, what exactly is the clear msg here for the lay person?
>> 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

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Romantic Love

Post by Alex123 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:12 pm

Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:There is interesting story about Parajika #1 .

I know it is for the monks, for the laity it is not as serious. But still... The message is clear.
And, Alex, what exactly is the clear msg here for the lay person?
That it is preferable to avoid sex as much as possible. And be totally celibate is preferable.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23043
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Romantic Love

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:16 pm

Alex123 wrote:Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:There is interesting story about Parajika #1 .

I know it is for the monks, for the laity it is not as serious. But still... The message is clear.
And, Alex, what exactly is the clear msg here for the lay person?
That it is preferable to avoid sex as much as possible. And be totally celibate is preferable.
Yes, that goes with the bhikkhu-fication of the lay practice, but as discussed earlier in this thread that is not at all necessarily necessary.
>> 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

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5616
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Romantic Love

Post by Aloka » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:24 pm

Alex123 wrote:There is interesting story about Parajika #1 .

I know it is for the monks, for the laity it is not as serious. But still... The message is clear.
“‘Worthless man, haven’t I taught the Dhamma in many ways for the fading of passion, the sobering of intoxication, the subduing of thirst, the
destruction of attachment, the severing of the round, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, unbinding? Haven’t I in many ways advocated abandoning sensual pleasures, comprehending sensual perceptions, subduing sensual thirst, destroying sensual thoughts, calming sensual fevers?

Worthless man, it would be better that your penis be stuck into the mouth of a poisonous snake than into a woman’s vagina. It would be better that your penis be stuck into the mouth of a black viper than into a woman’s vagina. It would be better that your penis be stuck into a pit of burning embers, blazing and glowing, than into a woman’s vagina. Why is that? For that reason you would undergo death or deathlike suffering, but you would not on that account, at the break-up of the body, after death, fall into a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell. But for this reason you would, at the break-up of the body, after death, fall into a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell….
BMC

But for the laity: in DN31 :

30. "In five ways should a wife as the western direction be respected by a husband: by honoring, not disrespecting, being faithful, sharing authority, and by giving gifts.

"And, the wife so respected reciprocates with compassion in five ways: by being well-organized, being kindly disposed to the in-laws and household workers, being faithful, looking after the household goods, and being skillful and diligent in all duties.[7]
and:

"
Mother and father as the east,
Teachers as the south,
Spouse and family as the west,
Friends and colleagues as the north,
Servants and workers below,
Brahmans and ascetics above;
These directions a person should honor
In order to be truly good.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ksw0.html


:anjali:

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Romantic Love

Post by Alex123 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:24 pm

Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:Yes, that goes with the bhikkhu-fication of the lay practice, but as discussed earlier in this thread that is not at all necessarily necessary.
Bhikkhu-fication may be if a lay follower tries to follow 227 or so rules. Anagarika aren't even samaneras but they follow 8 precepts which includes celibacy.

As for "necessary": It depends upon ones goal
a) Does one only want to live less stressful life?
b) Does one want more optimal conditions to reach Nibbana?
tiltbillings wrote: what one thing do good Buddhists desire more than anything else?
That desire is better than desire for BMW, hot wife, and fat bank account. At some advanced point, it has to be dropped like a raft.
But just like you don't let go of the raft while still at this shore, or in the middle of the sea, same here.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 32 guests