Should sex be demonized so much?

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Ben
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Ben » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:25 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Hanzze wrote:That fits perfectly with the life-denying, life-hating views which are found within both Christianity and Buddhism but not - so far as I know - in the direct teachings of either founder.
Hmmm....
I would have to disagree with you Kim with regards to your statement of 'life-denying, life-hating views which are found within both Christianity and
Buddhism"
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Hanzze
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Hanzze » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:58 am

I guess this three translation might help to understand the nuance of "aversion"
"And in conceiving this aversion he becomes rid of passion, and by the absence of passion he becomes liberated, and when he is liberated there comes the knowledge that he is liberated, and he knows that birth is finished, that he has lived the spiritual life, done what is to be done, there is no more returning to this world ..."
Adittapariyaya Sutta on Buddhanet
"When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated. When liberated, there is knowledge that he is liberated. He understands: 'Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.''
Translation by Bhikkhu Ñanamoli Thera
"He grows disenchanted with the intellect, disenchanted with ideas, disenchanted with consciousness at the intellect, disenchanted with contact at the intellect. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect, experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: He grows disenchanted with that too. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"
Translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
A very useful statement in this regard:
ground wrote:I would not express it that way. It is just that sex pleasure is becoming unattractive if one follows the teachings of the Buddha in a certain way. If one finds it unattractive and expresses this with speech those clinging to sex pleasure may perceive this to be aversion or morally judgemental. But that misperception is only the consequence of language perception being merged with feelings.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Dan74
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Dan74 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:19 am

Ben wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Hanzze wrote:That fits perfectly with the life-denying, life-hating views which are found within both Christianity and Buddhism but not - so far as I know - in the direct teachings of either founder.
Hmmm....
I would have to disagree with you Kim with regards to your statement of 'life-denying, life-hating views which are found within both Christianity and
Buddhism"
kind regards,

Ben
Yes.

I guess when we speak of "wholesome" or "unwholesome" it is very relative. For instance for somebody with a great deal of aversion to the opposite sex, with fear of intimacy or a good dollop of self-loathing, to speak of the unwholesomeness of sex is poison - it just reinforces their aversion. In their case, a wholesome relationship would indeed be wholesome, because it would help them heal these deep wounds.

Indeed for most of us there can be a great deal of good that comes from a solid sexual relationship, even though ultimately (perhaps in this life perhaps many down the track) it is something to let go of.

So it seems to me that celibacy or the talk of the unwholesomeness of sex is medicine that is not for common consumption. This is a bridge we should cross when we come to it, which is not to say that bringing as much mindfulness and honest reflection to this subject is not useful. But a foregone conclusion is rarely helpful in an honest inquiry that's why I agree with the OP that we should let go of the aversion, and indeed of all views regarding sex, as much as we can, and investigate honestly and openly.
_/|\_

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Ben
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Ben » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:45 am

Well said, Dan!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Hanzze
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Hanzze » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:46 am

Dan74 wrote:The talk of the unwholesomeness of sex is medicine that is not for common consumption.
Was never and will never be, that is why there are special forums. Earlier they did not talk at all.
we should let go of the aversion
Yes, it should be no more tabu to speak of the unwholsesomeness of sex.

Right resolve is threefold and pulling on one string does not help.
"And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation (against greed), on freedom from ill-will (against ignorance and to get the angle and devil not fighting), on harmlessness (against hatred): This is called right resolve."
— SN 45.8
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Kim OHara
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:54 am

Dan74 wrote: So it seems to me that celibacy or the talk of the unwholesomeness of sex is medicine that is not for common consumption. ...
But a foregone conclusion is rarely helpful in an honest inquiry that's why I agree with the OP that we should let go of the aversion, and indeed of all views regarding sex, as much as we can, and investigate honestly and openly.
Hi, Dan,
You might like this, then:
Walshe wrote:Total sexual control in the sense of perfect abstinence is quite obviously only for the few. It is perhaps one mistake of the Roman Catholic Church that it seeks to impose this discipline on too many people and too absolutely, as some Catholics now recognize. ...

Now there are various possible ways of controlling the sex-urge, some bad, some good. One is through fear: fear of hell fire, fear of venereal diseases, and so on. This is of course not a particularly good way, though it can certainly work, and is perhaps not always wholly harmful. After all, there can be various unfortunate consequences of intercourse and we should be aware of them. Even rebirth in some very unpleasant "hell-state" is not necessarily a complete fantasy. But of course an exaggerated fear of dreadful penalties for minor transgressions is not psychologically very helpful.
That's from Buddhism and Sex on ATI - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el225.html
The language is a bit old-fashioned but the whole thing is, IMO, sensible and very pertinent to the OP.

:namaste:
Kim

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Alex123
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Re: Should Demons be Sexed so much?

Post by Alex123 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:11 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:I would agree with, "we should probably keep in mind that like many other activities we partake in as lay Buddhists, it isn't the best use of our time,"
Right. There are much better things to do, like meditating and contemplating Dhamma.
Kim O'Hara wrote: but, with due respect to Bhikkhu Pesala, I can't agree with, "It is not possible to engage in or even to think about enjoying sex without an unwholesome mind rooted in greed." If we accept that proposition, where does it lead?
Less complications.
Kim O'Hara wrote: Sex is a natural biological drive which we have inherited from every single one of our ancestors right back to the beginning of sexual reproduction - all the way back to the little animals swimming in prehistoric oceans, eating, avoiding predators and mating. If any single one of yours had failed to breed, you wouldn't be here now to read this.
This is why it is so hard to remove sexual desire, and why we may require such strong and shocking measures (asubha, etc). Sexual desire is one of the strongest instincts. Of course contemplation on repulsiveness is not for aversion but to stop such strong instinct for reproduction.

Kim O'Hara wrote: Denying the drive is as difficult and pointless as denying hunger.
If you deny hunger and don't eat, eventually you will die.
You will not die from not having sex.
Kim O'Hara wrote:IMO, sexual activity within its proper bounds is a perfectly natural and wholesome part of the lay life.
It is perfectly natural and normal for a normal person, not for a person trying one's best for nibbana.
"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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Dan74
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Dan74 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:22 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Dan74 wrote: So it seems to me that celibacy or the talk of the unwholesomeness of sex is medicine that is not for common consumption. ...
But a foregone conclusion is rarely helpful in an honest inquiry that's why I agree with the OP that we should let go of the aversion, and indeed of all views regarding sex, as much as we can, and investigate honestly and openly.
Hi, Dan,
You might like this, then:
Walshe wrote:Total sexual control in the sense of perfect abstinence is quite obviously only for the few. It is perhaps one mistake of the Roman Catholic Church that it seeks to impose this discipline on too many people and too absolutely, as some Catholics now recognize. ...

Now there are various possible ways of controlling the sex-urge, some bad, some good. One is through fear: fear of hell fire, fear of venereal diseases, and so on. This is of course not a particularly good way, though it can certainly work, and is perhaps not always wholly harmful. After all, there can be various unfortunate consequences of intercourse and we should be aware of them. Even rebirth in some very unpleasant "hell-state" is not necessarily a complete fantasy. But of course an exaggerated fear of dreadful penalties for minor transgressions is not psychologically very helpful.
That's from Buddhism and Sex on ATI - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el225.html
The language is a bit old-fashioned but the whole thing is, IMO, sensible and very pertinent to the OP.

:namaste:
Kim
Thanks, Kim. Sounds like a well-balanced and insightful essay to me.

The only thing I find missing from this approach (if anything) is an emphasis on a very deep commitment to the Dhamma, what in Mahayana is called Bodhicitta. Without it, without a radical reorientation, there can be no true insight and no eradication of defilements. Like Jesus said you cannot serve both God and Mamon (money), so we cannot be committed to the Dhamma and to worldly comforts and pleasures at the same time. This is not to say, reject them, don't enjoy them, but to reject them as the prime motivator, and ultimately reject them as important at all. Or so it seems to me now.
_/|\_

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manas
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by manas » Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:03 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Hanzze wrote: § Once, when one of Ajaan Fuang's students was being pressured by her parents to look for a husband so that she could settle down and have children, she asked him, "Is it true what they say, that a woman gains a lot of merit in having a child, in that she gives someone else the chance to be born?"

"If that were true," he answered her, "then dogs would get gobs of merit, because they give birth to whole litters at a time."
That fits perfectly with the life-denying, life-hating views which are found within both Christianity and Buddhism but not - so far as I know - in the direct teachings of either founder.

:namaste:
Kim

(edited for clarity)
It's always problematic when we take a single little quote and extrapolate wider things from it. But while we are on this, maybe having kids is morally neutral, it's how you raise them that counts. One can be a kind and loving parent, or a mean and cold one. Each option would have a different kammic outcome. Just as sex in the context of a loving relationship with one woman must have a different kammic result to meaningless, exploitative one-night-stands taken for pleasure alone. imo.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Hanzze
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Hanzze » Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:08 am

Very creative :smile:
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Kim OHara
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:19 am

Dan74 wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote: Hi, Dan,
You might like this, then:
Walshe wrote:Total sexual control in the sense of perfect abstinence is quite obviously only for the few. It is perhaps one mistake of the Roman Catholic Church that it seeks to impose this discipline on too many people and too absolutely, as some Catholics now recognize. ...

Now there are various possible ways of controlling the sex-urge, some bad, some good. One is through fear: fear of hell fire, fear of venereal diseases, and so on. This is of course not a particularly good way, though it can certainly work, and is perhaps not always wholly harmful. After all, there can be various unfortunate consequences of intercourse and we should be aware of them. Even rebirth in some very unpleasant "hell-state" is not necessarily a complete fantasy. But of course an exaggerated fear of dreadful penalties for minor transgressions is not psychologically very helpful.
That's from Buddhism and Sex on ATI - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el225.html
The language is a bit old-fashioned but the whole thing is, IMO, sensible and very pertinent to the OP.

:namaste:
Kim
Thanks, Kim. Sounds like a well-balanced and insightful essay to me.

The only thing I find missing from this approach (if anything) is an emphasis on a very deep commitment to the Dhamma, what in Mahayana is called Bodhicitta. Without it, without a radical reorientation, there can be no true insight and no eradication of defilements. Like Jesus said you cannot serve both God and Mamon (money), so we cannot be committed to the Dhamma and to worldly comforts and pleasures at the same time. This is not to say, reject them, don't enjoy them, but to reject them as the prime motivator, and ultimately reject them as important at all. Or so it seems to me now.
Hi, Dan,
You are right, of course, that "an emphasis on a very deep commitment to the Dhamma" is missing. But, to me, most of our "demonisation of sex" arises from confusion over the relationship between the level of our commitment to the Dhamma and our response to the normal elements of lay life - including, most problematically, sex.
At one extreme we have the bhikkhu (or the Christian monk), who has renounced everything which does not assist progress on the path. At the other, we have the hedonistic, materialistic householder with a purely nominal attachment to Buddhism or Christianity. Most of us here on DW are somewhere in between. Where I think we fall over ourselves is that we are inclined to idealise monastic levels of renunciation while living lives which do not and cannot allow us to achieve such levels.
Putting it even more plainly than Walshe did, monastics renounce sexual activity, difficult though that is, because their whole focus should be on the dhamma; but lay people should not normally be expected to because it is really difficult in even the best of circumstances (i.e. monastery life or seclusion).
Perhaps we in the west need to move towards the more, let's say, approachable Buddhism of lay people in traditionally Buddhist societies: try to be good people, live a full life, support the sangha and visit the wat regularly, and maybe give more emphasis to the Dhamma in retirement when we have the time for it.

:namaste:
Kim

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Hanzze
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Hanzze » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:39 am

The post from Bhikkhu Pesala (for expamle) was not a glorification of Monkhood, but a kind of glorification of a "perfect" layman (if you have read the link he provided), better a way of perfect acting for one who leads a houselife.
I guess that the hindrence is found somewhere else. Assumed aversion is often simply selfmade, sometimes we fear to lose something.

Do good is much more importand as to try to be good. Fear of being not good is also not needed while fear of doing not good is importand.

There is no such thing as a good person or bad person, a good Buddhist or a bad Buddhist. There are unwholesome and wholesome deed. One after the other.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Alex123
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:56 pm

Sex should not be demonized, but should be seen for what it is and seen as an obstacle to the path.
"This body comes into being through sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is to be abandoned. With regard to sexual intercourse, the Buddha declares the cutting off of the bridge. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"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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Mr Man
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Mr Man » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:06 pm

Alex123 wrote:Sex should not be demonized, but should be seen for what it is and seen as an obstacle to the path.
Along with all the other obstacles (like eating toffee).

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Alex123
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Re: Should sex be demonized so much?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:20 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Sex should not be demonized, but should be seen for what it is and seen as an obstacle to the path.
Along with all the other obstacles (like eating toffee).
toffee or coffee? Coffee can help, sex just gives too many complications and for much longer time.
"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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