Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
squizzlebizzle
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Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by squizzlebizzle » Mon May 06, 2019 5:48 am

… I am curious the general consensus here on semen retention.


The Buddha taught celibacy. If you read the descriptions of the eightfold path in the Pali nikayas, you will see "right action" includes abstaining from sex. One disciple of the Buddha who broke the monastic rule against sex is told he would be better off if he stuck his penis in burning coals or in the mouth of a poisonous snake than in a woman.


The Buddha makes it clear that walking the path means letting go of sex eventually. But, its also pointed out in the pali nikayas that you can be a householder and gain stream entry. You can be married and gain stream entry. And, as far as I could tell in my best investigation of the topic, you can be sexually active and gain stream entry.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s helpful to the path to be sexually active. Just that you can practice in spite of the defilements of lust brought about by sexual activity.

I am in a committed monogamous relationship. My wife has desires that I attend to. It seemed to me that practicing semen-retentive sex was the closest thing that a sexually active lay practitioner could get to the full-blown celibacy the Buddha recommends.


I am no expert on Vajrayana but I understand that semen retention is also practiced by Tibetan Lamas. I have read that in Vajrayana the spilling of semen is equated to the “killing of a buddha.” The sexual energies are repurposed into spiritual energy through yoga. The fact that sexual energy is used this way in Vajrayana indicates to me that it clearly has a tremendous importance, even if this importance is not specifically explained in the pali nikayas.

But I can’t make it past about 3 months. Eventually the energy builds up and its too strong. It creates an aching discomfort and a bad mood. I could meditate on death and the unattractive components of the body until all sexual desire is evaporated by this wouldn't suit my wife well. The only other option is transmutation. I've not found a source on how to do this kind of meditation.

I don’t know how to transmute the sexual energy into spiritual energy. I have not found anyone who could point to a source about how to do this, or who was willing to speak openly about it. Generally you are told you have to join the club and do 400,000 prostrations before you can learn even the basic practices. I can understand the desire to be secretive about some things but I do not believe that turning sexual energy into spiritual energy or drawing it up into your heart chakra is "dangerous" outside of the context of the guru system. I don't think these practices should be kept secret because someone in my position will need them and has little alternative.

I understand that some Vajrayana practices predate Vajrayana – kundalini yoga for example and some other tantric yogas, so perhaps there are Indian yoga teachers who will teach how to transmute sexual energy without their requiring a lifetime commitment to them. Even if they are not Buddhist, this skill is necessary – after enough time of practicing semen retentive sex there’s a limit where all you feel is aggravation that becomes an even larger hindrance to sex.

I am interested if anyone else has tried to practice semen-retention (continence) in sex while married or in a serious relationship in order to enhance their practice by getting closer to celibacy, and if anyone has found any sources that teach how to transmute one’s own sexual energy to spiritual energy or how to draw the energy upwards into the body.

:hug: :namaste:

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by Ceisiwr » Mon May 06, 2019 6:32 am

Do you mean vaginal sex within marriage being ok and nothing else?
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Mon May 06, 2019 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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DooDoot
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by DooDoot » Mon May 06, 2019 6:34 am

squizzlebizzle wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 5:48 am
You can be married and gain stream entry. And, as far as I could tell in my best investigation of the topic, you can be sexually active and gain stream entry.
Hi. When people had no birth control, sex easily lead to pregnancy. I think we do not know how active the sex lives were of those married Buddhist people who lived in a clan household 2,600 years ago. The raunchy stories in the Vinaya (Monks Rules) appear to be exaggerations. Thus men with family obligations possibly lived in the household but were not greatly sexually active. Discerning the stoic burdens of their life, stream-entry may have been easy for them. Apart from this, I am unable to offer anything on the remainder of your post. Regards.
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Volo
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by Volo » Mon May 06, 2019 6:45 am

So, you want to engage in sexual intercourse without emitting semen. I think this should be possible. But what does retention of semen have to do with elimination of sexual desire?
MN 22 wrote:“Bhikkhus, that one can engage in sensual pleasures without sensual desires, without perceptions of sensual desire, without thoughts of sensual desire — that is impossible.

squizzlebizzle
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by squizzlebizzle » Mon May 06, 2019 7:02 am

clw_uk wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 6:32 am
Do you mean vaginal sex within marriage being ok and nothing else?
I don't entirely understand your question

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by Ceisiwr » Mon May 06, 2019 7:06 am

squizzlebizzle wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:02 am
clw_uk wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 6:32 am
Do you mean vaginal sex within marriage being ok and nothing else?
I don't entirely understand your question

Do you mean that only ejaculating during sex with a wife is permissible or that sex should be without ejaculation at all? I’m struggling to understand your post.

squizzlebizzle
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by squizzlebizzle » Mon May 06, 2019 7:07 am

Volo wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 6:45 am
So, you want to engage in sexual intercourse without emitting semen. I think this should be possible. But what does retention of semen have to do with elimination of sexual desire?
MN 22 wrote:“Bhikkhus, that one can engage in sensual pleasures without sensual desires, without perceptions of sensual desire, without thoughts of sensual desire — that is impossible.

What does retaining semen have to do with sexual desire - it's very simple, continence (non-ejaculation) is closer to celibacy than ejaculation.

This, and the retention of spiritual energy.

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Aloka
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by Aloka » Mon May 06, 2019 7:09 am

I am no expert on Vajrayana but I understand that semen retention is also practiced by Tibetan Lamas. I have read that in Vajrayana the spilling of semen is equated to the “killing of a buddha.” The sexual energies are repurposed into spiritual energy through yoga. The fact that sexual energy is used this way in Vajrayana indicates to me that it clearly has a tremendous importance,
I doubt very much if this is practiced by Tibetan Buddhists these days, if it ever was. You shouldn't believe everything you read about Tibetan "yoga".

Maybe try asking about it at the "sister" site Dharma Wheel?

https://dharmawheel.net/index.php


:anjali:

squizzlebizzle
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by squizzlebizzle » Mon May 06, 2019 7:17 am

Aloka wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:09 am
I am no expert on Vajrayana but I understand that semen retention is also practiced by Tibetan Lamas. I have read that in Vajrayana the spilling of semen is equated to the “killing of a buddha.” The sexual energies are repurposed into spiritual energy through yoga. The fact that sexual energy is used this way in Vajrayana indicates to me that it clearly has a tremendous importance,
I doubt very much if this is practiced by Tibetan Buddhists these days, if it ever was. You shouldn't believe everything you read about Tibetan "yoga".

Maybe try asking about it at the "sister" site Dharma Wheel?

https://dharmawheel.net/index.php


:anjali:

Perhaps posting on that site is a good idea - but out of curiosity why do you doubt that this is practiced in Tibetan yoga?

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Aloka
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by Aloka » Mon May 06, 2019 7:27 am

squizzlebizzle wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:17 am

Perhaps posting on that site is a good idea - but out of curiosity why do you doubt that this is practiced in Tibetan yoga?
What I said was "I doubt very much if this is practiced by Tibetan Buddhists these days", because I used to be a Vajrayana practitioner myself.

Have a good day :anjali:


.

squizzlebizzle
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by squizzlebizzle » Mon May 06, 2019 7:37 am

Aloka wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:27 am
squizzlebizzle wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:17 am

Perhaps posting on that site is a good idea - but out of curiosity why do you doubt that this is practiced in Tibetan yoga?
What I said was "I doubt very much if this is practiced by Tibetan Buddhists these days", because I used to be a Vajrayana practitioner myself.

Have a good day :anjali:


.

How did it go? Did you take vows to a guru and everything?

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Aloka
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by Aloka » Mon May 06, 2019 9:01 am

squizzlebizzle wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:37 am

How did it go? Did you take vows to a guru and everything?
:focus:

.

budo
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by budo » Mon May 06, 2019 9:12 am

I agree that ejaculation depletes energy, and that celibacy is important for attaining fourth jhana. However, your body will "spill" semen naturally, if not through wet dreams, then through other means. It's probably one of the hardest inner battles for a man to fight. But everything has a price, and giving up ejaculation is just another price for freedom.

Ejaculation is just another form of short-term pleasure that one must sacrifice to attain long term happiness.

So as I said earlier, your body may ejaculate naturally without your consent after a period of celibacy, perhaps researching into scientific articles of what happens would be of help. Does the body eventually absorb the semen? does frequency of wet dream rise up? etc..

For what it's worth, I think semen retention sex is a bad idea, it's basically torture because you're not getting release, just costs with no benefits. At some point you're going to have to make a decision, give up your sex life (and by extension your wife if she does not agree), or be satisfied with only attaining maximum up to stream entry and maybe once-returner.

form
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by form » Mon May 06, 2019 9:54 am

It is best not to get married or even have a girlfriend, if u want to seriously practice meditation. The type of semen retention technique u mentioned is a technique of a particular taoist school. I am not surprised that certain Tibetan Buddhism schools have similar concepts. Such technique do not lead to high level spiritual development. U can look at books and videos of mantak chia if u are interested in such things.

frank k
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Re: Semen retentive sex and Buddhist practice

Post by frank k » Mon May 06, 2019 5:30 pm

squizzlebizzle wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 5:48 am
… I am curious the general consensus here on semen retention.
If you have nocturnal emission without lustful thoughts, the ejaculation is harmless.
That is according to Taoist immortals, and also you can know from your own experience.
All cells in the body die, the longest life span of any cell is 7 years (brain cell).
An average person has about 60 trillion cells.
Everyday billions of cells die.

Women lose cells on a monthly basis with their menstruation, even women Arahants.
Even Male Arahants, will have nocturnal emissions without lust, from time to time, whether once a year, once every few months, depending on how much they eat and the nutrient density quality of what they eat.
Since reproducing the species is number one or number two on the list of biological imperatives,
it's to be expected the body will shed stale cells and replace with new cells to ensure healthy reproduction.
Arahants have to eat, sleep, and crap, it's hard to believe they would be exempt from menstruation and nocturnal emissions (with no lustful thoughts).

But what is really harmful is having lustful thoughts. That's where the real vital precious internal energy is lost.
You can know for yourself what the energetic cost is through experience. If you keep 8 precepts (or vinaya) purely, meditate well with high quality of samadhi, you'll need less and less sleep (4 hrs or less a day), need to eat less, yet be more energetic and sharp. With that as a reference point, you'll know and feel what the energetic cost of having strong lustful thoughts and any kind of negative thought can be (hate, anger, fear, etc).

To the extent that lustful thoughts cause ejaculation, whether immediately, hours later, or even days later via noctural emission, semen retention is a crude indicator of preserving precious internal energy and sublimating that energy into spiritual energy.

And those who promote ways and teach enjoying passionate sex without ejaculation and supposedly recycling that energy for spiritual purposes, they will go to hell for teaching wrong views that cause great harm. There is no free lunch in the universe. The only way to sublimate precious internal energy for spiritual purposes, is to not waste the precious internal energy in the first place by having lustful thoughts. It's a non-refundable purchase. You can't have lustful thoughts, which cause an immediate chain reaction of generating all kinds of sexual fluids, you can feel your belly area buzzing like a beehive the very moment you have a lustful thought, in proportion to the magnitude of the lust. There is no magic way to reverse that energetic process. It's a non-refundable purchase. You can't redirect that energy back up your spine and recycle it for spiritual purposes.

At best, someone who is a qigong adept can generate and retain so much more vital internal energy than an ordinary person, that they can afford the tax and expense of some sexual activity from time to time. Even at an advanced age, they may be capable of being more virile and sexually active than an ordinary person, just like a billionaire can afford to eat at an expensive restaurant frequently while an average person only once in a while. But there is no recycling of energy lost through lustful thoughts. You can't get something for nothing. Having tantric sex and preventing ejaculation will just give you long term health problems, even though short term there may be an illusion of energy gain, or non-loss. Like someone taking amphetamines, caffeine, etc. There's no free lunch in the universe.
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