masturbation what's wrong?

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Macavity
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:14 am

Chris wrote:Hello all,

What do you think?

Buddhist Sexual Ethics by Winston Higgins
http://www.buddhanet.net/winton_s.htm

- with a Rejoinder by Ajahn Brahmavamso and
Ajahn Nanadhammo

http://www.buddhanet.net/rejoiner.htm
I think that the two monks are unfair to Winston. With their line of thinking, if it were followed consistently, the Buddha himself wouldn't escape criticism. One would expect them, for example, to find fault with him for teaching the householder's ethics of the Sigalovada Sutta and failing to tell Sigala that it would actually be better if he wasn't a householder at all.

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cooran
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by cooran » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:26 am

Hello Tilt and Macavity,

Perhaps. But don't you think frequent or habitual masturbation (akusala sankharas) simply strengthens unwholesome latent tendencies?

Tilt - have you met Ajahn Brahms? I have a photo of he an I taken in 2006 packed away somewhere. What of all the wonderful work he has done in spreading the Dhamma, establishing monasteries for males and females, tirelessly working for good of the Sasana .... and you disparage him just because you and he disagree over mastrubation? I am surprised.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
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tiltbillings
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:46 am

Chris wrote:Hello Tilt and Macavity,

Perhaps. But don't you think frequent or habitual masturbation (akusala sankharas) simply strengthens unwholesome latent tendencies?
No body is talking about frequent and habitual anything except in terms that that is agreed to be not a good thing. Higgins was talking about healthy sexuality for laity in Buddhist terms. The monastic article did not reflect good reasoning, and it did not use the texts well, and if we follow the monstics’ reasoning, it is a basis for laying a lot of guilt and confusion for laity.
Tilt - have you met Ajahn Brahms? I have a photo of he an I taken in 2006 packed away somewhere. What of all the wonderful work he has done in spreading the Dhamma, establishing monasteries for males and females, tirelessly working for good of the Sasana .... and you disparage him just because you and he disagree over mastrubation? I am surprised.

metta
Chris
I have not disparaged him. I am simply not a fan, and I am finding his writings are not for me. It is not a matter of disagreeing with him over masturbation. His take on lay sexuality in general leave something to be desired, especially in contrast with Higgins’ well done article. The article Ven Brhamavamso co-wrote is an example of really bad argumentation, whatever other virtues the he may have. These two monks are not above criticism, are they?
>> 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

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cooran
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by cooran » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:49 am

Hello Tilt

No - no-one is above criticism. Just that I've been brought up 'to play the ball, not the man'.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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tiltbillings
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:54 am

Chris wrote:Hello Tilt

No - no-one is above criticism. Just that I've been brought up 'to play the ball, not the man'.

metta
Chris
I have not played the man.
>> 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

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Pannapetar
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by Pannapetar » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:11 am

Chris wrote:But don't you think frequent or habitual masturbation (akusala sankharas) simply strengthens unwholesome latent tendencies?
No, probably not in most cases. At least not in any other sense than frequent/habitual dinners strengthen unwholesome tendencies.

Wikipedia sheds some light on the current mainstream views on masturbation:
A 2008 UK study "The Gossard Big M Survey" revealed that masturbation is on the rise and that 92% of women who were in the study (18 to 30 yr olds) masturbated. Further, 2/3 masturbated at least 3 times a week and those in London reported at least 4 times a week. [5]. In it, marital status and frequency of sex with a partner had little relationship with the frequency of masturbation. That is, the women who masturbated were just as likely to also enjoy sex with a partner during the week as those who did not. Masturbation was used to augment regular sex and is often used in sex therapy to treat sexual performance problems, not substitute for sex. In 2009, the U.K. Government joined Holland and other European nations in encouraging teens to masturbate at least daily. An orgasm was defined as a right in its health pamphlet. This was done in response to data and experience from the other EU member states to reduce teen pregnancy and STIs (STDs), and to promote healthy habits. [6].

[...]

It is held in many mental health circles that masturbation can relieve depression, stress and lead to a higher sense of self-worth.[37] Masturbation can also be particularly useful in relationships where one partner wants more sex than the other – in which case masturbation provides a balancing effect and thus a more harmonious relationship.[38]

[...]

In 2003, an Australian research team led by Graham Giles of The Cancer Council Australia[39] concluded that frequent masturbation by males appears to help prevent the development of prostate cancer. The study also indicated that this would be more helpful than ejaculation through sexual intercourse because intercourse can transmit diseases that may increase the risk of cancer instead.

[...]

A study published in 1997 found an inverse association between death from coronary heart disease and frequency of orgasm even given the risk that myocardial ischaemia and myocardial infarction can be triggered by sexual activity.
Cheers, Thomas

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Ben
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by Ben » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:47 am

Hello Thomas
Pannapetar wrote: That is a rudimentary vilification of sexuality that is inaccurate and unnecessary.
I was not 'vilifying anything or anyone. I was just calling it as it actually is. I don't particulary care nor am I interested in yours or any other member's sex lives.
When someone responds to the arising of lust through masturbation that person not only maintains a behaviour response (sankhara) to lust, but through habituation, strengthens that behaviour response:
: the active sankharas generated by volition perpetually create passive sankharas,
-- Bhikkhu Bodhi in Introduction to Samyutta Nikaya
Lust is, by its nature, an akusala dhamma. So in engaging in masturbation, one perpetuates and habituates a response to lust.
As to masturbation's relative kammic weight in comparison to other akusala activities - I can't agree with you more. casual sex, sex with prostitutes, animals, rape, children - more kammically deliterious.
As to the current western thinking with regards to the so called health and psychological benefits - its completely irrelevant to this discussion.
Kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
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Macavity
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:56 pm

Chris wrote:Perhaps. But don't you think frequent or habitual masturbation (akusala sankharas) simply strengthens unwholesome latent tendencies?
Hi Chris,

I would expect it to strengthen some of them, but not all. No doubt the latent tendency to lust (rāgānusaya) and the latent tendency to ignorance (avijjānusaya) would be stengthened by masturbation, but I doubt the other five anusayas would be much affected.

Having said that, I don't see any reason to single out masturbation for special opprobrium. The same observation would apply to every kind of pleasure-seeking activity; and after all, setting aside that portion of time that we spend on activities concerned with bodily survival, and with the study and practice of the Dhamma, it is to pleasure-seeking activities that the entire waking life of householders is devoted.

Kind regards,
Ciarán

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by Individual » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:25 pm

Pannapetar wrote:
Chris wrote:But don't you think frequent or habitual masturbation (akusala sankharas) simply strengthens unwholesome latent tendencies?
No, probably not in most cases. At least not in any other sense than frequent/habitual dinners strengthen unwholesome tendencies.

Wikipedia sheds some light on the current mainstream views on masturbation:
A 2008 UK study "The Gossard Big M Survey" revealed that masturbation is on the rise and that 92% of women who were in the study (18 to 30 yr olds) masturbated. Further, 2/3 masturbated at least 3 times a week and those in London reported at least 4 times a week. [5]. In it, marital status and frequency of sex with a partner had little relationship with the frequency of masturbation. That is, the women who masturbated were just as likely to also enjoy sex with a partner during the week as those who did not. Masturbation was used to augment regular sex and is often used in sex therapy to treat sexual performance problems, not substitute for sex. In 2009, the U.K. Government joined Holland and other European nations in encouraging teens to masturbate at least daily. An orgasm was defined as a right in its health pamphlet. This was done in response to data and experience from the other EU member states to reduce teen pregnancy and STIs (STDs), and to promote healthy habits. [6].

[...]

It is held in many mental health circles that masturbation can relieve depression, stress and lead to a higher sense of self-worth.[37] Masturbation can also be particularly useful in relationships where one partner wants more sex than the other – in which case masturbation provides a balancing effect and thus a more harmonious relationship.[38]

[...]

In 2003, an Australian research team led by Graham Giles of The Cancer Council Australia[39] concluded that frequent masturbation by males appears to help prevent the development of prostate cancer. The study also indicated that this would be more helpful than ejaculation through sexual intercourse because intercourse can transmit diseases that may increase the risk of cancer instead.

[...]

A study published in 1997 found an inverse association between death from coronary heart disease and frequency of orgasm even given the risk that myocardial ischaemia and myocardial infarction can be triggered by sexual activity.
Cheers, Thomas
As Pannapetar points out, there can be positive effects to masturbation, but I don't see how this refutes Chris's point that masturbation strengthens latent sensual tendencies.

For every case I can think of, masturbation is an obect of craving and it is pursued, not out of necessity, but out of sensual desire. Kamma is intent and nobody, when they are masturbating, thinks, "I am improving my self-esteem, curing my depression, and preventing prostate cancer." Instead, they are focused intently on lust and so masturbation is a mechanism for further expressing lust... Let's say you're masturbating and the phone rings, somebody knocks on your door, and what happens? You become angry and upset. You want to have sex with your partner and they're not in the mood, and you're angry and upset. Or you're old and can't have sex anymore and unless you get viagra, you're angry and upset. These aren't extreme or peculiar circumstances, but relatively common among anyone who engages in sexual activity. Unlike speaking or eating food, all sexual activity is not really something that can be done with equanimity; the nature of the activity is such that a ravenous nature of mind is necessary for the activity to even occur.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Macavity
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:28 pm

Macavity wrote:I would expect it to strengthen some of them, but not all. No doubt the latent tendency to lust (rāgānusaya) and the latent tendency to ignorance (avijjānusaya) would be stengthened by masturbation, but I doubt the other five anusayas would be much affected.
On second thoughts, given that people often masturbate not when they are inflamed with lust, but when they are bored or unhappy and looking for an escape from this, it's an activity that's as much concerned with pain-avoidance as it is with pleasure-seeking. If it is being indulged in for that reason, then it would also tend to strengthen the latent tendency to aversion (paṭighānusaya). So that makes three out of seven.

Kind regards,
Ciarán

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by Dhammabodhi » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:39 pm

Hi, sorry if I'm going off-topic a little here, but I have a question regarding sexual fantasies in dreams and involuntary nocturnal emissions. I'd like to know what Buddhist scriptures have said about this(if at all) for someone who is completely abstaining from the point of view of ethics and Sila, but the thing I'm more interested to know is how do monks(or anyone else who's keeping the relevant precepts) deal with it and whether there are techniques to reduce or eradicate this problem?

Generalizing the above, what about dreams with one being violent or with other unwholesome actions? Again, sorry for being :offtopic:

Thanks in advance,
Dhammabodhi
"Take rest, take rest."-S.N.Goenka

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by Individual » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:50 pm

Dhammabodhi wrote:Hi, sorry if I'm going off-topic a little here, but I have a question regarding sexual fantasies in dreams and involuntary nocturnal emissions. I'd like to know what Buddhist scriptures have said about this(if at all) for someone who is completely abstaining from the point of view of ethics and Sila, but the thing I'm more interested to know is how do monks(or anyone else who's keeping the relevant precepts) deal with it and whether there are techniques to reduce or eradicate this problem?
I don't believe scriptures explicitly describe sexual fantasies or nocturnal emissions. Points-of-view are based on commentaries, which derive various implications from the suttas. I believe that traditional Theravada commentaries regard sexual fantasies in dreams and nocturnal emissions as a mildly unwholesome action that ceases to occur for an Arahant, whose mind is fully purified. Eradicating sub-conscious sexual fantasies, though, among a layperson is not a reasonable goal.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by kc2dpt » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:47 pm

tiltbillings wrote:His take on lay sexuality in general leave something to be desired
Pun intended?
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by kc2dpt » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:48 pm

Dhammabodhi wrote:I have a question regarding sexual fantasies in dreams and involuntary nocturnal emissions. I'd like to know what Buddhist scriptures have said about this(if at all) for someone who is completely abstaining from the point of view of ethics and Sila
I seem to recall there are rules in the Vinaya concerning this.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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tiltbillings
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Re: masturbation what's wrong?

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:49 pm

Peter wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:His take on lay sexuality in general leave something to be desired
Pun intended?
Of course.
>> 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

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