Porn Free for 90 Days

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:35 pm

SDC wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
SDC wrote:And the same goes for sexual feelings in general.
"eventually be rid of them." I would not count on it.
:D Why not?
Eventually, may be with the attainment of higher ariya status, but in the meantime, we are biological, sexual beings and reproduction is what the body wants. The issue is not not having sexual feelings, but how we relate to them.
>> 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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SDC
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by SDC » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:59 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Eventually, may be with the attainment of higher ariya status, but in the meantime, we are biological, sexual beings and reproduction is what the body wants. The issue is not not having sexual feelings, but how we relate to them.
Hmm...

So you still are not saying to give into the urges? Your saying the urges will be there at an nonadjustable intensity which will not reduce until we reach ariya, so we have to learn to relate to that intensity somehow?

For the record, I am not trying to be rid the feelings right now either, but I am trying to reduce the urges.

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Alex123
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by Alex123 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:58 pm

I am thinking about this radical method. Repeated exposure leads to desensitization, right?

What if a person forces oneself to watch porn mindfully for entire day (or entire weekend) until one is blue in the face. Wouldn't that lead to extreme desensitization and boredom with porn? And then try to abstain forever. When one is "sick and tired" and desensitized, it may be easier to keep the resolve. Not to mention one could say "I've seen it all, I am sick and tired of it, and there is nothing new"

Any ideas, comments, suggestions?
"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..."

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reflection
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by reflection » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:10 pm

Ok, I think it is time for a bit of constructive replies now. Maybe replies stating freedom from sexual desire to be impossible, or very unlikely can go in threads like this one or this one, so we can keep this as a supportive environment. I would very much appreciate that, personally. Not that I am not convinced it is possible, but still.

Anyway, here is something for those who are willing to give their craving up!

All these Dhammapada verses are very inspiring:
This I say to you:
Good luck to all assembled here!
Dig up the root of craving,
like one in search
of the fragrant root of the birana grass.
Let not Mara crush you again and again,
as a flood crushes a reed.

Whoever overcomes
this wretched craving,
so difficult to overcome,
from him sorrows fall away
like water from a lotus leaf.
http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/dhammapada-24.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Some inspiration and tactics to apply:
The Blessed One said: "Monks, sensuality is inconstant, hollow, vain, deceptive. It is illusory, the babble of fools. Sensuality here & now; sensuality in lives to come; sensual perceptions here & now; sensual perceptions in lives to come: both are Mara's realm, Mara's domain, Mara's bait, Mara's range. They lead to these evil, unskillful mental states: greed, ill will, & contentiousness. They arise for the obstruction of a disciple of the noble ones here in training.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
:namaste:
Last edited by reflection on Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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reflection
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by reflection » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:24 pm

Alex123 wrote:I am thinking about this radical method. Repeated exposure leads to desensitization, right?

What if a person forces oneself to watch porn mindfully for entire day (or entire weekend) until one is blue in the face. Wouldn't that lead to extreme desensitization and boredom with porn? And then try to abstain forever. When one is "sick and tired" and desensitized, it may be easier to keep the resolve. Not to mention one could say "I've seen it all, I am sick and tired of it, and there is nothing new"

Any ideas, comments, suggestions?
You could try it, the video of the Ask-A-Monk-monk said something similar. You can see porn just as a bunch of bodies or as "just seeing" as this monk suggested (I'd also say you can see it as "just pixels") but I think that may not the trick. Just like one doesn't overcome ill will with just mindfulness, I don't think one can overcome craving with just mindfulness. There are many quotes in the suttas where it is said that to overcome sensual desire, one needs to practice renunciation; which is giving the particular sensual activity up. That does -in my eyes- not really go hand in hand with watching porn, either mindful or unmindful. And to practice the body as the body and seeing as seeing can also happen without pornography.

However, the monk is not stupid, and neither are you, so I suggest you watch the video for yourself to make a conclusion. It's somewhere in this topic. It did not speak about the "sick and tired" approach though. And I think sensual craving doesn't work like that. It'll just be a temporary fix at best. Just like when you overeat at Christmass and think "I'll never have to eat again"... yeah, until you're hungry, then you'll totally forget what you thought before. :tongue:

I wish you all the best! I can tell you it won't be easy (and so could the Buddha) but hope it will be worth it.

Myself I've started off a new try at 90 days, this time recognizing that my personal issue is keeping enough conviction that it'll indeed be a happier life without it. Which most of the time I did already, but I lost it sometimes.

With metta,
Reflection

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by dhammapal » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:07 am

Porn-free for 10 ½ days!

I read a Depression booklet with a photo of an attractive woman who reminded me of my unrequited love from 15 years ago (supposedly after recovering from depression but probably a model). She had clothes on so it didn't count as pornography but after masturbation I immediately tossed it into my recycled paper box (it won't go into the garbage for a while but it is out of reach).

I agree that one needs to work on mental attitudes (I can't recommend donating to the Rape Crisis Centre enough) but removing my access to the 17 photos I had collected last July by deleting them from my computer and throwing out the backup CD-ROMs has helped. My computer paralysis operating the mouse and keyboard is greatly reduced. Overcoming my pornography addiction is helping other aspects of my life beyond what I could have imagined.

With metta / dhammapal.

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:33 am

SDC wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Eventually, may be with the attainment of higher ariya status, but in the meantime, we are biological, sexual beings and reproduction is what the body wants. The issue is not not having sexual feelings, but how we relate to them.
Hmm...

So you still are not saying to give into the urges?
And you keep asking that question. Since the Buddha did not proscribe sex for the laity, if one wants to "give into the urges," one should do so with due consideration. But that is not what I am talking about in this context.
Your saying the urges will be there at an nonadjustable intensity which will not reduce until we reach ariya, so we have to learn to relate to that intensity somehow?
Ah, we need to turn down the sexual urge dial. The point here is to not get into conflict with one's own urges. If you do, the likelihood is that you'll lose one way or another. I would simply suggest, rather, that via mindful practice one learns to see the urges as passing phenomena, whatever their intensity.

A person could tough it out for 90 days, but more importantly than just not looking at porn and not whacking-off for 90 days is using that time to get a real sense of the rise and fall of the urges, of one’s reaction to them -- that is, how one reacts to them, how one judges one’s self --, and how one’s choices in response to the urges play a part in all of this. Maybe one might then learn one can have these urges without having to act upon them, knowing their nature, and all that, which undercuts their power.
>> 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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reflection
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by reflection » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:22 am

tiltbillings wrote:
SDC wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Eventually, may be with the attainment of higher ariya status, but in the meantime, we are biological, sexual beings and reproduction is what the body wants. The issue is not not having sexual feelings, but how we relate to them.
Hmm...

So you still are not saying to give into the urges?
And you keep asking that question. Since the Buddha did not proscribe sex for the laity, if one wants to "give into the urges," one should do so with due consideration. But that is not what I am talking about in this context.
Your saying the urges will be there at an nonadjustable intensity which will not reduce until we reach ariya, so we have to learn to relate to that intensity somehow?
Ah, we need to turn down the sexual urge dial. The point here is to not get into conflict with one's own urges. If you do, the likelihood is that you'll lose one way or another. I would simply suggest, rather, that via mindful practice one learns to see the urges as passing phenomena, whatever their intensity.

A person could tough it out for 90 days, but more importantly than just not looking at porn and not whacking-off for 90 days is using that time to get a real sense of the rise and fall of the urges, of one’s reaction to them -- that is, how one reacts to them, how one judges one’s self --, and how one’s choices in response to the urges play a part in all of this. Maybe one might then learn one can have these urges without having to act upon them, knowing their nature, and all that, which undercuts their power.
Mindfulness is certainly a big part of it, but not the end solution to all problems. And I'm not saying you do say this, but I just want to clarify this. Because craving itself is a hindrance, it interferes with mindfulness. So "mindful practice .. to see the urges as passing phenomena, whatever their intensity" is something that doesn't work for whatever intensity. You can't always arouse the right amount of mindfulness when craving arises.

And so, to remove sensual craving, the Buddha also gave teachings on renunciation, on contemplation of the body parts, to see women as sisters, have trust and probably other things I've missed. The Buddha compared craving to a disease, something one should expell, get rid off, not just something to see as it is. Of course, the mindful approach he did also teach, and at times I found it to be a suitable approach, but not always; especially not when the mind is a bit dull or exited by other things already and mindfulness doesn't have as much power as after meditation.

So there are more trainings that we can combine. Because each person is different, we all need to find our own balance of these - of course without falling into other hindrances like anger. Some people stop smoking by gradually decreasing the amounts of sigarettes per day, while for others it is more effective to just stop and never smoke again, because they know one sigarette will trigger them to smoke more. This is the same here, so your advice may be very applicable to some people, but not so much to others.

For me, sometimes it may be better to use a bit of willpower to renunciate and think "I am craving and I'll not go into it" instead of "There is craving and I'll just see it as it is". But whatever our personal approach is on this subject, I think it is worth sharing (thank you for that), but we should be careful not to imply this is the one best road that others should also follow.

With metta,
Reflection
Last edited by reflection on Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

dhammapal
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by dhammapal » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:41 am

tiltbillings wrote:the Buddha did not proscribe sex for the laity
Tomorrow the 29th is Uposatha Day and the Eight Precepts for laypeople include no masturbation and no porn for 4 days in every month. Not too difficult.

With metta / dhammapal.

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:44 am

reflection wrote:Mindfulness is certainly a big part of it, but not the end solution to all problems.
It is the basis for insight into the problem at hand
Because craving itself is a hindrance, it interferes with mindfulness.
And mindfulness can defuse craving. Because something is a hindrance that does not mean one cannot be mindful of it. It takes work and it is not easy, but it is the fundamental practice that that gives rise to insight.
So you can't always arouse the right amount of mindfulness when craving arises.
No, you cannot, but every practice that you mention in your next sentence relies upon some degree of mindfulness.
And so, to remove sensual craving, the Buddha also gave teachings on renunciation, on contemplation of the body parts, to see women as sisters, have trust and probably other things I've missed. The Buddha compared craving to a disease, something one should expell, get rid off, not just something to see as it is. Which again, at times I found the best approach, but not always.
These particular practices are expedients means, which can be useful, but ultimately it is insight into the rise and fall, the impermanent nature, of one’s urges that is going to be far more liberating.
Sometimes it may be better to see things as "I am craving and I'll do something about it" instead of "There is craving and I'll just see it as it is".
But if you are going to do something about it, what will it be? The problem with the former is that without balance it will end up as a teeth gritting exercise that will either fail, sinking the poor person into a pool of self-loathing, or it reinforces one’s sense of self. I am simply pointing out what the balance is from a standpoint of the Buddha’s teachings.
>> 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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tiltbillings
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:45 am

dhammapal wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:the Buddha did not proscribe sex for the laity
Tomorrow the 29th is Uposatha Day and the Eight Precepts for laypeople include no masturbation and no porn for 4 days in every month. Not too difficult.

With metta / dhammapal.
And betwixt such days . . . .
>> 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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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by reflection » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:13 am

tiltbillings wrote:
reflection wrote:Mindfulness is certainly a big part of it, but not the end solution to all problems.
It is the basis for insight into the problem at hand
Because craving itself is a hindrance, it interferes with mindfulness.
And mindfulness can defuse craving. Because something is a hindrance that does not mean one cannot be mindful of it. It takes work and it is not easy, but it is the fundamental practice that that gives rise to insight.
So you can't always arouse the right amount of mindfulness when craving arises.
No, you cannot, but every practice that you mention in your next sentence relies upon some degree of mindfulness.
And so, to remove sensual craving, the Buddha also gave teachings on renunciation, on contemplation of the body parts, to see women as sisters, have trust and probably other things I've missed. The Buddha compared craving to a disease, something one should expell, get rid off, not just something to see as it is. Which again, at times I found the best approach, but not always.
These particular practices are expedients means, which can be useful, but ultimately it is insight into the rise and fall, the impermanent nature, of one’s urges that is going to be far more liberating.
Sometimes it may be better to see things as "I am craving and I'll do something about it" instead of "There is craving and I'll just see it as it is".
But if you are going to do something about it, what will it be? The problem with the former is that without balance it will end up as a teeth gritting exercise that will either fail, sinking the poor person into a pool of self-loathing, or it reinforces one’s sense of self. I am simply pointing out what the balance is from a standpoint of the Buddha’s teachings.
Again, this is your approach. Thanks for sharing. It may be perfect for you, I don't know. I don't know if you are going through similar things, or don't. I just ask you to be careful not to extrapolate your ideas to others, even if well intended. Also because this could just as well get somebody who already is in a guilt trip even further down the drain, by in effect being told their approach is wrong.

For me, I experience craving as a hindrance in meditation and thus a hindrance to empower mindfulness. I experience it to be perfectly possible to reflect back on craving with strong mindfulness, but once craving is present, it interferes with mindfulness. True, you can look at craving, but it won't be with full mindfulness, because stronger mindfulness comes through a decrease in hindrances. And so, sometimes mindfulness is strong enough to do as you suggest, but sometimes not.
As fish from watery home
is drawn and cast upon the land,
even so flounders this mind
while Mara’s Realm abandoning.
http://www.buddhanet.net/dhammapada/d_mind.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
As I interpret the above, the mind can go all kinds of ways when it is being restrained. And so, a single approach may not work all the time. I need to be a bit flexible. Therefore, I have other means: Renunciation through an act of determination, view and trust, practicing metta when craving arises, enrichening my virtue, and sometimes just walk away and do something else. Those things aren't gritting my teeth, but neither are they based on mindfulness in particular. Well, mindfulness in a sense of remembering to abstain, but not much more than that. It's true that craving will soon disappear, but in this case I don't sit around and wait for it, but I'll reflect on this afterward.

I share those ideas here to inspire others, but I try to be careful not to say this is the approach everybody should take for multiple reasons. You're right in a way that if this approach is not understood it will get people into self hate, but also just because this is a sensitive topic.


With metta,
Reflection
Last edited by reflection on Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:49 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by dhammapal » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:40 am

tiltbillings wrote:
dhammapal wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:the Buddha did not proscribe sex for the laity
Tomorrow the 29th is Uposatha Day and the Eight Precepts for laypeople include no masturbation and no porn for 4 days in every month. Not too difficult.

With metta / dhammapal.
And betwixt such days . . . .
I love this logic of the Buddha:
the Buddha transl. Saddhatissa wrote:The wise man should avoid non-celibate life as if it were a burning charcoal pit. If he is unable to lead a celibate life fully, let him not trangress with another's wife.
From: Sutta Nipata 2.14 Dhammika Sutta
With metta / dhammapal.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:47 am

reflection wrote:. . .
I think you need to reread what I wrote, because I simply have not, in any msg, advocated formal sitting meditation as the only way, but I have advocated a generalized mindful approach on a number of levels to the issue at hand.
>> 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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reflection
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by reflection » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:
reflection wrote:. . .
I think you need to reread what I wrote, because I simply have not, in any msg, advocated formal sitting meditation as the only way, but I have advocated a generalized mindful approach on a number of levels to the issue at hand.
I know you didn't just mean sitting, and maybe you should also reread, because I don't remember mentioning this at any point. Meditation also refers to walking, eating, standing, working, typing a post on this board, etc. I try to keep a meditative attitude the entire day. But craving can arise at any moment, so at any moment should there be a suitable approach to it. Not just when sitting with full mindfulness and I understand you didn't mean that, and neither did I.

So, this was a slight confusion, which is ok, that happens. But so, that doesn't change anything to my reply, its essence being that there are more approaches than just mindfulness. First, there are more factors in the path. And the 84000 dhamma doors? I think it applies here as well. For some it may be very efficient to throw their computer out of the window... who will tell? Only they can. It won't be the final solution to it all, but it can contribute.

Edit: I reread my reply and I think you misinterpreted "sit around", which I can understand. Here we also use the term "sit around" as something general for not doing anything in particular about a situation, like "you're sitting there watching me.." while you are actually standing, walking or whatever, but not helping the person. I can imagine this was the source of the confusion. I apologize for this; this is probably something local which just slipped my mind. Each language has its own expressions and I sometimes forget which of them aren't applicable in English. Anyway, it may be interesting to reread my reply with this in mind.

With metta,
Reflection
Last edited by reflection on Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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