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 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:09 am

reflection wrote:. . .
I can only shrug my shoulders. I don't think you understand what I have said.
>> 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 11:12 am

tiltbillings wrote:
reflection wrote:. . .
I can only shrug my shoulders. I don't think you understand what I have said.
Well, that won't make your point any more clear... But I think than at least we have arrived at a shared point of view now, which is your second sentence.. :tongue: Maybe this is a good moment to end the discussion about this to not clutter up the thread, and hoping that others can still make something out of our replies. :)

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by SDC » Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:51 pm

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.
Thanks again for that clarification.
tiltbillings wrote: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.
So then we are in agreement. When we undercut the power of the urges then their power is reduced, which is what I was saying. And if we keep undercutting their power over and over then it keeps reducing. Control is developed. The power of the feelings starts to go away.

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by Moth » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:43 am

It's been five weeks. I have found this practice very insightful. Tilt, if I understand you correctly you are NOT telling people to give in to their urges so as to avoid any self-loathing. Rather you are recommend a change of perspective, that being to observe the rise and fall of lust equanimously whilst enduring it, rather than fighting against it. I have attempted to mindfully observe lust whilst partaking in it, with no result. Also, if I remember correctly the Buddha denounced this approach in the Suttas. However, being celibate has made it must easier to see lust as it is because one is able, through endurance, to observe both the arising AND the fading away of lust, where as if they simply gave in they would continually be missing the fading away which is so essential. One point I feel is important to make is that this thread is not about overcoming lust completely, but rather giving up the coarse ADDICTION to masturbation and pornography which bring considerable grief and should certainly be abandoned. There are many, many Suttas in which the Buddha praises Brahmacharya, not just to the monastics but in general. There are no Suttas, to my knowledge, where the Buddha discourages celibacy, let alone lend forgiving words towards masturbation or voyeurism. Just because a person is lay doesn't mean they shouldn't attempt to abandon lustful behavior, nor does it mean that they should. It is all a matter of how serious you are about the practice. Buddhism is ultimately about renouncing craving, and watching pornography does nothing but generate extremely intense levels of craving.

To all on this thread who are attempting celibacy, I commend you. Don't beat yourself up for failing, it is often inevitable, but do not stop trying either. The more you try the more you learn. The trick is to become aware of lust as it arises and to LET IT GO. It's also very important to know your capabilities, and not to put yourself in a position of danger. Do not, for instances, cultivate lust, or allow lust to cultivate, thinking that you can handle it, and assuming that you won't give in. Lust changes the mindset completely, that is what makes giving masturbation up so difficult. Just today I was marveling at the joy of celibacy, feeling that I had finally made a breakthrough, only a few hours late to nearly give in to masturbation because I allowed lustful thoughts to develop in my mind. Lust always requires some energy on your part, the initial spark may seemingly come without your choosing but you must always CHOOSE to cultivate it further. There is always that moment of choice, the problem is that during that moment of choice you undergo a sudden mental shift (perhaps a spike of dopamine?) and suddenly nothing seems more right than just giving in. It feels so natural to give in and so unnatural, so uncomfortable, to simply let it pass and stop thinking about it. However, it is this unnatural, uncomfortable choice that must continuously be made if one wishes to be successful. The more often you make that choice the easier it becomes. As Buddha so aptly put it, to practice the Dhamma is to go against the stream. I wish all of you happiness, wisdom, and success.

EDIT: I also feel that it is beneficial that we have shameful feelings in regards to masturbation and pornography. Buddha praises shame as a protector. Fear of shame is a perfectly legitimate reason to avoid masturbation. Yes, it would likely be better to overcome lustful behaviors by seeing them as they are, through wisdom, however until this arises it does one little good to go about shamelessly indulging. It is through that practice of endurance and observation that wisdom develops. At the same time one should treat shame similar to the way they treat lust, just to endure it and let it pass. Do not cling to it, do not add to it. Do not wallow in self-view.



"No special techniques, just a great deal of patient endurance, and just being willing to endure through that without acting upon it and seeing it for what it was again and again"
Last edited by Moth on Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:16 am, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:43 am

reflection wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
reflection wrote:. . .
I can only shrug my shoulders. I don't think you understand what I have said.
Well, that won't make your point any more clear...
Well, let me be as direct as possible. Being porn and whacking-off free for 90 days does not mean a thing in and of itself. The value of such an exercise is not in the abstinence itself, but it is in what one learns in the process and how one learns.

The basic tool of Buddhist practice is paying attention. I am having lustful thoughts. What do I do, what do I do before this lust gets a total hold of me!?! “Hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin . . .mmmm, skin, warm soft skin . . . wait, wait . . . hair of the head, hair of the body . . . .”

The parts of the body practice can be effective, as can the other such practices, but one needs to ask as an integral part of the practice and pay attention to one’s feelings: “Why am I doing this practice, what am I feeling in response to this lust?” In other words, one needs to pay attention to what one is doing and why. If the parts of the body practice is done because the lust is making one uncomfortable, one does not like it, one is averse to it, then one is in danger of substituting one hindrance for another, it would seem, and that is worth seeing, worth knowing. Again, it is a matter of paying attention, which should be the constant, ongoing aspect of any of the Buddhist practices we do.

You complain that lust is a hindrance. Of course it is, but that does not mean that the hindrance has to hinder anything. We can learn to step back from the feeling of lust, put a bit of space around it, so to speak, asking ourselves: What is it that I am feeling? And how does feeling lust make me feel? It is a matter of paying attention, and to the choices one makes, especially the habitual choices, one needs to pay attention as well as one can. All of this is a slow process that requires repetition, requires that one be honest with one’s self. All very hard things to do, but paying attention is the foundation of all Dhamma practice, be it formal meditation practice or going about one’s day-to-day life.
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.
Whether the mindfulness is strong or not, one can still sit meditation with a hindrance such as lust/craving. To not do so is to miss a serious learning opportunity.
>> 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 tiltbillings » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:05 am

Moth wrote:It's been five weeks. I have found this practice very insightful. Tilt, if I understand you correctly you are NOT telling people to give in to their urges so as to avoid any self-loathing. Rather you are recommend a change of perspective, that being to observe the rise and fall of lust equanimously whilst enduring it, rather than fighting against it. I have attempted to mindfully observe lust whilst partaking in it, with no result.
You have learned something, but probably better to sit quietly with the lust, doing nothing more than watching it without comment. Keep in mind here I am not advocating mindful masturbation, though if you are going to whack-off, really pay attention without expectation as to what will happen, but just pay attention. I think, however, just sitting quietly with the mind full of lust would be a better choice.
However, being celibate has made it must easier to see lust as it is because one is able, through endurance, to observe both the arising AND the fading away of lust, where as if they simply gave in they would continually be missing the fading away which is so essential.
You might ask yourself what is the real reason why you want to be celibate. Actually, what is really interesting is sitting quietly with a mind burning with lust; it doesn't really fade away; it simply stops, leaving a coolness, nibbutti -- well, a wee taste of it.
To all on this thread who are attempting celibacy, I commend you. Don't beat yourself up for failing, I too have failed countless times, but do not stop trying either. To more you try the more you learn. The trick is to become aware of lust as it arises and to LET IT GO.
Good advice and letting go comes with insight.
Lust always requires some energy on your part, the initial spark may seemingly come without your choosing but you must always CHOOSE to cultivate it further. There is always that moment of choice, the problem is that during that moment of choice you undergo a sudden mental shift (perhaps a spike of dopamine?) and suddenly nothing seems more right than just giving in.
As I said, paying attention to one's choices in key, especially the small choices.
It feels so natural to give in and so unnatural, so uncomfortable, to simply let it pass and stop thinking about it.
And if it gets to that point that is what one should sit with; you do not have to act on it. Be uncomfortable without comment; allow oneself simply to feel it. It wil pass. Watch the wanting it to pass, the aversion, all of the stuff that goes with it. This is very hard to do; it takes practice, but it can be done.
However, it is this unnatural, uncomfortable choice that must continuously be made if one wishes to be successful. The more often you make that choice the easier it becomes. As Buddha so aptly put it, to practice the Dhamma is to go against the stream. I wish all of you happiness, wisdom, and success.
Always comes down to choices.
>> 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 Alobha » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:49 am

Moth wrote: To all on this thread who are attempting celibacy, I commend you. Don't beat yourself up for failing, it is often inevitable, but do not stop trying either. The more you try the more you learn.
True, one can learn alot there. There is a clear criterion for failing and if one recognises lust and passion in the mind throughout the day, there is no unexpected trouble after a while. If one watches these experiences of lust and passion often enough, they may rather get repetitive and loose their power over oneself.
Moth wrote: The more often you make that choice the easier it becomes. As Buddha so aptly put it, to practice the Dhamma is to go against the stream. I wish all of you happiness, wisdom, and success.
Besides the choice itself to renunciate, i find it much more more important how this choice is made and executed. If one forces the mind to decisions by repulsion or greed, this will easily build up tension, making it more difficult to renunciate in the long-run.
Moth wrote: "No special techniques, just a great deal of patient endurance, and just being willing to endure through that without acting upon it and seeing it for what it was again and again"
Exactly :smile: I still find the teaching of dependent origination most useful here so that one knows better what process to watch though. But it's just all watching, investigating, exploring. Nothing special really :)

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by Jaidyn » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:22 pm

Moth wrote: To all on this thread who are attempting celibacy, I commend you. Don't beat yourself up for failing, it is often inevitable, but do not stop trying either. The more you try the more you learn.
:goodpost:

I will add my thought:

To maintain celibacy is a struggle, but I would conclude that this kind of hard-to-maintain-celibacy is just a tool for something greater. You are not meant to live in a struggle with sexual urges for the rest of your life. You are meant to realize things in such a way that passion and lust all fade away without struggle. If hard-to-maintain-celibacy can help you create a good mental environment for you to realize deeper things, then it is good for you. On the other hand: If you still are in celibacy and still have the same struggle 50 years from now, then I do not trust your method. Masturbate and do away with your pride - confess you have not reached the goal even though you have maintained celibacy for that long.

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by reflection » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:38 pm

tiltbillings wrote:..
What you say is wise and true, thanks. It also becomes clearer what your point of view is now. But there are things that are mising in that approach and one is the analogy of the smokers I gave. Some can give up smoking gradually, maybe sometimes still smoke a sigarette afterward, but others have to stop cold turkey or it won't work. So for them part of the value is in making it without smoking, not just learning about it. I have already learned that I'm in the second category with respect to the issue discussed here.

Let me maybe make my intentions a bit clearer. I do not really do this for a 90 days challenge, but think about becoming a monk so this may be the rest of my life. And if I keep being sexually active sometimes, I'm sure my lust will not decrease a lot, if at all. Now, I see you are not suggesting to indulge, but I think part of the value is the abstaining itself, because sensual activity increases lust. And having a loose attitude towars it doesn't works for me, at least, looking back at past experiences.

Sometimes craving arises, and I'm not in right place, time or mindset to do as you suggest. Or I try but it simply doesn't work. So there's other practices I do which were suggested to me by some of my teachers, and by the Buddha. Just like I said, it's not really mindfulness that does it for me. I experienced metta works good against anger, and contemplation works good against lust. (not just contemplation of body parts, but also of trust/past experiences etc). Greed, hatred and delusion are the three poisons I each threat differently. Mindfulness is not always so great for greed and hatred for me personally.


With metta,
Reflection

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by Moth » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:54 pm

reflection wrote: I experienced metta works good against anger, and contemplation works good against lust. (not just contemplation of body parts, but also of trust/past experiences etc). Greed, hatred and delusion are the three poisons I each threat differently. Mindfulness is not always so great for greed and hatred for me personally.


Lust tends to exponentiate itself. After cultivating it for a certain period of time, there comes a point where all my understandings and months of celibacy mean NOTHING and I give in. Allowing oneself to sink into heightened states of lust like this for the purpose of observing these states is a recipe for failure. The practice, I believe, is to stop fueling the fire, to stop letting lust develop via one's conscious decisions; to examine intention and begin to practice RIGHT intention no matter how unpleasant it may feel. Mindfulness is still important here, but so is endurance as well as skillful techniques such as contemplating foulness, or simply removing oneself from the physical situation and going somewhere where they cannot act upon lust until it subsides. These techniques are just an expression of right intention.
Last edited by Moth on Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by reflection » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:11 pm

Moth wrote: ...
Thank you for the reply and the youtube video. :anjali:


Some more quotes for you all to raise some inspiration and trust:


It's not always easy
"These four types of individuals are to be found existing in the world. Which four? The individual who goes with the flow, the individual who goes against the flow, the individual who stands fast, and the one who has crossed over, gone beyond, who stands on firm ground: a brahman.

"And who is the individual who goes with the flow? There is the case where an individual indulges in sensual passions and does evil deeds. This is called the individual who goes with the flow.

"And who is the individual who goes against the flow? There is the case where an individual doesn't indulge in sensual passions and doesn't do evil deeds. Even though it may be with pain, even though it may be with sorrow, even though he may be crying, his face in tears, he lives the holy life that is perfect & pure. This is called the individual who goes against the flow.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Persistence is something to be trained
And what is the faculty of persistence? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, keeps his persistence aroused for abandoning unskillful mental qualities and taking on skillful mental qualities. He is steadfast, solid in his effort, not shirking his duties with regard to skillful mental qualities. He generates desire, endeavors, arouses persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen... for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen... for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen... (and) for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. This is called the faculty of persistence.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... ersistence" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The use of contemplation to raise confidence
Then the thought occurred to me: 'If, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of renunciation, I were to familiarize myself with it, there's the possibility that my heart would leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I'll probably add some more later!
:namaste:

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by Moth » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:16 am

:goodpost:
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:03 am

reflection wrote:What you say is wise and true, thanks. It also becomes clearer what your point of view is now. But there are things that are mising in that approach and one is the analogy of the smokers I gave. Some can give up smoking gradually, maybe sometimes still smoke a sigarette afterward, but others have to stop cold turkey or it won't work. So for them part of the value is in making it without smoking, not just learning about it. I have already learned that I'm in the second category with respect to the issue discussed here.
Not quite the same given that cigarettes are naught more than enhanced delivery devices for nicotine, a substance that is more physically addictive than heroin. What has been described in this thread in terms of porn and whacking-off is not addiction; rather, it is highly unwholesome habitual behaviors.

”not just learning about it.”I have no idea what you think I am advocating here. You seem to not have a clue as to what I am saying. In paying attention to the urges around wanting to look at porn and spanking-the-monkey, is to learn how to let go of it. You cannot let go without seeing clearly what it is of which you are letting go.

As for your being in the second category of going cold turkey, you miss the point that stopping cold turkey without the insight into the nature of the urges for looking at porn and being a master-debater, the real work has not been done. Mind you, I am not and have not advocated cold turkey or a gradual approach. Whatever approach you take, I am advocating paying attention, looking carefully at what you are doing. (The “you” here is not you; rather, it is a general usage for whomever.) So, the point is, whatever you choose to do, it is a matter of paying attention, as I described in my earlier msgs.
Let me maybe make my intentions a bit clearer. I do not really do this for a 90 days challenge, but think about becoming a monk so this may be the rest of my life. And if I keep being sexually active sometimes, I'm sure my lust will not decrease a lot, if at all. Now, I see you are not suggesting to indulge, but I think part of the value is the abstaining itself, because sensual activity increases lust. And having a loose attitude towars it doesn't works for me, at least, looking back at past experiences.
Abstaining itself can also become a matter of pride and a matter of aversion to sexuality. One needs to pay attention to one’s feeing, how one responds to the feelings, and how one sees one’s self. If not, then it is become all too easy to mislead one’s self.
Sometimes craving arises, and I'm not in right place, time or mindset to do as you suggest.
Wherever you are, you are always in the right place to pay attention.

Or I try but it simply doesn't work.
If it “does not work,” there is something to be learned from that, as in maybe you are expecting too much, wanting the feeling to go away altogether right now.
So there's other practices I do which were suggested to me by some of my teachers, and by the Buddha.
Yes, and there is always something to learn, to be seen from the other practices. Pay attention.
Just like I said, it's not really mindfulness that does it for me. I experienced metta works good against anger,
Metta is a great expedient and skillful means for controlling and mitigating anger and ill-will, but metta by itself will not eradicate anger and ill-will.
Greed, hatred and delusion are the three poisons I each threat differently. Mindfulness is not always so great for greed and hatred for me personally.
As I said, these other things will help and there is much to learn from each and from each time you employ them, but ultimately it is mindfulness that is going to be the only way these things are going to be eradicated.
>> 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 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:04 am

Let's just say I prefer to follow the advice by my teachers and what I've seen works from own experience, which is indeed partly mindfulness but not placing it on a pedestal as the "only way". And everybody has his own experience and hindrances, so each has to find his own way. So we can end this debate now and keep this thread for what it is meant for.

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:13 am

reflection wrote:Let's just say I prefer to follow the advice by my teachers and what I've seen works from own experience.
And for the past 40+ years I have followed the teachings the Buddha and of my teachers, some of whom are pictured here.
And everybody has his own experience and hindrances, so each has to find his own way. So we can end this debate now and keep this thread for what it is meant for.
I wasn't debating.
>> 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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