The 3rd precept for lay person

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Miroku
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The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by Miroku » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:55 am

Hi, Miroku here (a mod from dharmawheel),

I know this topic might be quite difficult and I might be asking for troubles ( I definetly do not wish to ask for troubles ), however what is a sexual misconduct?

It is quite an unpopular topic in many buddhist circles since we like our share of bedroom fun and there is usually a backlash when specifics are mentioned. So I was thinking that asking here would be a good idea since many of you here probably study pali canon quite closely. What are the Theravada definitions of sexual misconduct for a lay person? What do the teachers say? What does the Buddha say?

I am looking forward to an interesting debate. :twothumbsup:

Thank you and I hope I do not step on toes.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:20 am

From the Siṅgāla Suttaṃ
“Killing, stealing, telling lies, and committing adultery ³ are never praised by the wise.

³ Committing adultery. Literally, “Going to the wives of others (paradāragamanañceva). Sexual misconduct (kāmesumicchācāra) means literally “Misconduct in sensual pleasures,” but the meaning is sexual misconduct. This includes having sexual relations with twenty types of women (Vin.iii.139); ten unmarried and ten married: 1) Protected by her mother (māturakkhitā), 2) Protected by her father (piturakkhitā), 3) Protected by her mother and father (mātāpiturakkhitā), 4) Protected by her brother (bhāturakkhitā), 5) Protected by her sister (bhaginirakkhitā), 6) Protected by her relatives (ñātirakkhitā), 7) Protected by her clan (gottarakkhitā), 8) Protected by the Dhamma (dhammarakkhitā), 9) Protected in some other way (sārakkhā) such as a flower garland (betrothed), 10) Protected by a legal punishment (saparidaṇḍā). Ten kinds of wives: 1) Bought with money (dhanakkītā), 2) Living together through affection (chandavāsinī), 3) Living together by giving property (bhogavāsinī), 4) Living together by giving clothing (paṭavāsinī), 5) Bought by providing water (odapattakinī), 6) Living together having removed the water-pot carrying cloth (obhaṭacumbaṭā), 7) A female slave (dāsī), 8) A female worker (kammakārī), 9) A captured wife (dhajāhaṭā), 10) A temporary wife (muhuttikā).

This reference from the Vinaya texts concerns the Saṅghādisesa training rule about acting as a match-maker, but it can also be applied to the context of avoiding sexual misconduct. An unmarried couple living together through affection are not committing sexual misconduct, unless the girl is one of the ten protected by her relatives, etc., or one of the ten kinds of wives. That is, if couples are unmarried, they should remain faithful to each other.

We will have to look elsewhere to decide what kinds of sexual relations are improper. The law varies as to what age is considered the age of consent. My own personal view is that 16 is too young, and it is younger than that in some jurisdiction. The age of 18 would be more reasonable. A young person still living together with their parents or other relatives should be regarded as protected by them.

According to Dhamma any behaviour that is cruel or coercive does not respect the rule about consent. That is why sex with one's legal spouse without their consent should be regarded as rape. Forced marriage is similar.
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Miroku
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Re: The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by Miroku » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:33 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:20 am
According to Dhamma any behaviour that is cruel or coercive does not respect the rule about consent. That is why sex with one's legal spouse without their consent should be regarded as rape. Forced marriage is similar.
Thank you! That is quite interesting. So here it seems that the main focus is really on not hurting anyone in the process, right?

There seem to be (from my rather limited view) a difference between Theravada and Mahayana definition as many past masters and authors of mahayana texts were also concerned with improper time, space, method of sex and etc.. However, this does not really seem to be present in the Pali? The main vibe I usually get from reading those authors is that sex is basically better to be avoided as it can give rise to attachment.

What would be a stance towards homosexuality (one of my favourite hobbies)? I believe it should in theory be the same as in the general case.

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DooDoot
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Re: The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by DooDoot » Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:19 pm

Miroku wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:55 am
since many of you here probably study pali canon quite closely. What are the Theravada definitions of sexual misconduct for a lay person? What do the teachers say? What does the Buddha say?
Hi. The definition of sexual misconduct found in the suttas coincides with the instruction of parents (in DN 31) to arrange the marriage of their virgin sexually mature children. In other words, the Pali sutta definition of sexual misconduct is probably obsolete in the 21st century.
Miroku wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:55 am
I am looking forward to an interesting debate.
What's to debate? The Theravada Commentary says the parents marry their daughter into a good family when she comes of age; which is called "protecting" the daughter. The Buddhist scriptures do not appear to envisage practising Buddhists having sex outside of this framework of sex in marriage with first sexual partners.
Miroku wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:55 am
So here it seems that the main focus is really on not hurting anyone in the process, right?
Yes but this depends on what is actually "hurting". Obviously, there is lots of hurting occurring when people do not realise they are hurting eachother. If people understood what lead to "hurting" there would be no hurting. But there is hurting because people often don't know what leads to hurting. Most people are obviously not intentionally or pyschopathically hurting each other. Instead, they are just ignorant about what leads to hurting, like in this song:


Miroku wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:55 am
There seem to be (from my rather limited view) a difference between Theravada and Mahayana definition as many past masters and authors of mahayana texts were also concerned with improper time, space, method of sex and etc.. However, this does not really seem to be present in the Pali?
Such as in this video? :shrug:

Miroku wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:55 am
The main vibe I usually get from reading those authors is that sex is basically better to be avoided as it can give rise to attachment.
I never got that vibe. The vibe I get is having sex for what is viewed as a proper purpose that leads to spiritual growth.
Miroku wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:55 am
What would be a stance towards homosexuality (one of my favourite hobbies)? I believe it should in theory be the same as in the general case.
Homosexuality is a sexual identity or preference rather than something inherently immoral or moral. When homosexuals or heterosexuals engage in unskillful sex, they each experience suffering. But when homosexuals or heterosexuals engage in skillful sex, they each can minimise potential suffering related to sex & intimacy.

Kind regards :smile:
Last edited by DooDoot on Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:55 pm, edited 13 times in total.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Dhammanando
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Re: The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by Dhammanando » Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:27 pm

Miroku wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:33 am
There seem to be (from my rather limited view) a difference between Theravada and Mahayana definition as many past masters and authors of mahayana texts were also concerned with improper time, space, method of sex and etc.. However, this does not really seem to be present in the Pali?
Those strictures aren't to be found in the Pali Canon, nor in the extant early texts of any other Indian Buddhist school. According to José Ignacio Cabezón's magisterial study, Sexuality in Classical South Asian Buddhism, they first make their appearance in the Daśākuśalakarmapathanirdeśa, a treatise on the ten unwholesome kammic courses composed by Aśvaghoṣa in the first or second century CE.

I attach chapter 8 of Cabezón's book, which will probably tell you far more than you (or anyone else) ever wanted to know about this rather sticky subject.
:)

Cabezón, The Evolution of Sexual Misconduct.pdf
(347.82 KiB) Downloaded 15 times
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Dhammanando
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Re: The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by Dhammanando » Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:28 pm

Endnotes to Cabezón's article.
Cabezón, Endnotes.pdf
(313.62 KiB) Downloaded 5 times
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

Disciple
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Re: The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by Disciple » Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:55 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:20 am
From the Siṅgāla Suttaṃ
“Killing, stealing, telling lies, and committing adultery ³ are never praised by the wise.

³ Committing adultery. Literally, “Going to the wives of others (paradāragamanañceva). Sexual misconduct (kāmesumicchācāra) means literally “Misconduct in sensual pleasures,” but the meaning is sexual misconduct. This includes having sexual relations with twenty types of women (Vin.iii.139); ten unmarried and ten married: 1) Protected by her mother (māturakkhitā), 2) Protected by her father (piturakkhitā), 3) Protected by her mother and father (mātāpiturakkhitā), 4) Protected by her brother (bhāturakkhitā), 5) Protected by her sister (bhaginirakkhitā), 6) Protected by her relatives (ñātirakkhitā), 7) Protected by her clan (gottarakkhitā), 8) Protected by the Dhamma (dhammarakkhitā), 9) Protected in some other way (sārakkhā) such as a flower garland (betrothed), 10) Protected by a legal punishment (saparidaṇḍā). Ten kinds of wives: 1) Bought with money (dhanakkītā), 2) Living together through affection (chandavāsinī), 3) Living together by giving property (bhogavāsinī), 4) Living together by giving clothing (paṭavāsinī), 5) Bought by providing water (odapattakinī), 6) Living together having removed the water-pot carrying cloth (obhaṭacumbaṭā), 7) A female slave (dāsī), 8) A female worker (kammakārī), 9) A captured wife (dhajāhaṭā), 10) A temporary wife (muhuttikā).

This reference from the Vinaya texts concerns the Saṅghādisesa training rule about acting as a match-maker, but it can also be applied to the context of avoiding sexual misconduct. An unmarried couple living together through affection are not committing sexual misconduct, unless the girl is one of the ten protected by her relatives, etc., or one of the ten kinds of wives. That is, if couples are unmarried, they should remain faithful to each other.

We will have to look elsewhere to decide what kinds of sexual relations are improper. The law varies as to what age is considered the age of consent. My own personal view is that 16 is too young, and it is younger than that in some jurisdiction. The age of 18 would be more reasonable. A young person still living together with their parents or other relatives should be regarded as protected by them.

According to Dhamma any behaviour that is cruel or coercive does not respect the rule about consent. That is why sex with one's legal spouse without their consent should be regarded as rape. Forced marriage is similar.
What about prostitutes?

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:38 pm

Disciple wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:55 pm
What about prostitutes?
They are best avoided. You don't know where they have been, and some may be married.

However, see the story of Ambapāli.
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Re: The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by Disciple » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:54 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:38 pm
Disciple wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:55 pm
What about prostitutes?
They are best avoided. You don't know where they have been, and some may be married.

However, see the story of Ambapāli.
Agreed but does it break 3rd precept if they are not married? Are whoremongers always destined for lower rebirth?

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DooDoot
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Re: The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by DooDoot » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:59 pm

Disciple wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:54 pm
Are whoremongers always destined for lower rebirth?
From Snp 1.6:
Buddha

Sehi dārehi asantuṭṭho
Vesiyāsupadussati ;
Dussati paradāresu,
Taṃparābhavatomukhaṃ

Unsatisfied with his own wife,
with others’ wives he’s seen in tow,
corrupted too with prostitutes—
that’s the way to disaster’s woe.

https://suttacentral.net/snp1.6/pli/ms
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

Laurens
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Re: The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by Laurens » Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:19 pm

I don't know for certain, and my opinion is unbacked by research into the specifics of Buddhist thought on the matter, so make of it what you will.

I'd say the main thing to bear in mind is avoiding harm.

So adultery is out of the question. You will harm your partner if you are being unfaithful. So avoid doing so. This also includes sleeping with someone who is married whilst you are single, because you may harm them and their partner. It still causes harm regardless of whether or not you are cheating on anyone you are involved with.

Also avoid hurting people in order to get sex. In other words don't string someone along telling them you are in love with them, when actually your intentions are to use them for one thing and then do a runner. Obviously this is harmful to them.

Sex with minors is an obvious one to avoid, as is rape.

Basically if your sexual relations are consensual, both parties are old enough to know what they are doing, and nobody is going to get hurt emotionally by the situation, or physically (aside from anything consensual), I'd say it's up to you what you do.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Disciple
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Re: The 3rd precept for lay person

Post by Disciple » Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:10 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:59 pm
Disciple wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:54 pm
Are whoremongers always destined for lower rebirth?
From Snp 1.6:
Buddha

Sehi dārehi asantuṭṭho
Vesiyāsupadussati ;
Dussati paradāresu,
Taṃparābhavatomukhaṃ

Unsatisfied with his own wife,
with others’ wives he’s seen in tow,
corrupted too with prostitutes—
that’s the way to disaster’s woe.

https://suttacentral.net/snp1.6/pli/ms
:twothumbsup:

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