Thanks for your responsesreflection wrote:The Dhamma is hard to see. The Buddha didn't start a religion to suit a lot of people. Instead, he found the way to enlightenment and it proved to be difficult to obtain. That's the way the world works. There are numerous quotes in the sutta that point to it being difficult and not for the masses.Richard Paul Johnson wrote:
The division between Monasticism and Laity im talking about is that... if sexuality and family etc is totally excluded from Dhamma practice then the Dhamma will only ever be available to the religious elite that choose monasticism, while the rest of mankind would have a sub-standard Dhamma. I know that laity can become monastics if they so chose, but the point im making is that for those who do not chose monasticism, if monasticism is the only way to enlightenment, if total rejection of sexuality is the only way to practice Dhamma to achieve enlightenment, then the Dhamma would be inaccesible to the vast majority of mankind. Past, present and future.
And exactly one of the reasons it is hard to see is that most people are not willing to let go of sensuality. They don't see the disadvantages of it, they don't see the suffering in it. That's not wrong or anything, but if one wants to get everything out of Buddhism, it will have to be abandoned sooner or later. And again, lay people can also do that, they can also abandon sexuality. It's not an obligation to have sex, you know So it's not just monastics who have this ability.
The basic thing that is common to Therevada is the scriptures, the canons in its various translations. Because these suttas are quite straightforward on sexuality being a barrier, in Therevada there are no sexual meditation practices or something like that. And I don't think any sincere monastic will speak in praise of it. I'm sure the Buddha didn't ever. The dhamma is to take one out of the world, not to enjoy it more. A celibate life is a natural result of practicing the path. It's impossible to be fully enlightened and still be sexually active.
But it needs to be said that everybody should practice at their own rate and with their own problems in practice. Giving up sex is not for everybody, some may become very miserable. That's why there is no precept against sexuality for the lay people. Also, that means the practices are not totally useless without enlightenment. In fact there is a lot of benefit to gain before it already.
Indeed enlightenment is very, very difficult to attain... im sure that even gaining a small insight into enlightenment is difficult to attain, and as i said above, im not a Buddhist so i cannot, and am not, speaking from Buddhist experience. I have limited conceptual knowledge of Buddhism and extremely limited meditation experience, and im not saying that sex is a necessary act that must be performed, im simply saying that for those Buddhists who do have sex, what teaching is there?. Indeed i accept that enlightenment will not be achieved by the masses, however, that does not mean that the Dhamma can not interact with, and contribute to, the life of the masses. As you said that there is alot to gain even before and without enlightenment from Buddhist teachings. So why shouldnt there be Buddhist teachings on sex and sexuality? I think to reduce it all down to "sex is inherently bad because its sensual" is a betrayal of the middle way concept, which is balanced in nature and able to look at things and say, sex is not inherently good or bad, there are bad elements and sometimes it can be bad because of x, there are good elements and, with Buddhist practice, it can be good because of x. I thought that Buddhism didnt deal in absolutes or dualisms, creating a blanket statement such as, sex is bad because its sensual, period, is an absolute.
Indeed, lay people can choose to become celibate, but the vast majority of lay people will never choose that. So what does the Dhamma have to contribute to those who will not become celibate, that is, the vast majority of the human species in regards to sex?
You stated that its impossible for one to be sexually active and fully enlightened, shouldnt you reserve judgement on that? How do you know that there are not enlightened Buddhists out there, lay Buddhists or Buddhists from other traditions, that are sexually active and also enlightened?
Celibacy is a natural progression on the path for some people, though i dont think it is for all.