Sensual desire as a Layman

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
easymitch2
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Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by easymitch2 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:17 pm

Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any experience with overcoming sensual desire, more specifically sexual tension? This is a subject I wouldn't feel comfortable asking about at my temple so I thought i'd ask here. I've had some success with watching the comings and goings of various feelings (sadness, happiness, anger, embarrassment etc.) but the one I can't seem to see through is sexual tension. I can go days and sometimes weeks without even a thought of this desire coming to mind but it always seems to come out of nowhere and with full force.

I have accepted that this happens and I no longer feel down when I give into these urges but I'm left still wondering how I can dig this desire out by the root? It can be so powerful, the way it can cause such uncomfortable feelings really makes me want to investigate but it's very hard. I don't think I've ever really seen it through to the end, I've only ever suppressed it in the past which I know isn't the wisest thing to do.

If anyone has any advice or past experience with this subject then I'll be very grateful.

budo
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by budo » Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:29 pm

Sexual desire/tension is one of the hardest desires to overcome, along with desire for food.

Don't be so hard on yourself, remember to practice Right thinking, and virtue in regards to right thoughts, while at the same time striving to reduce these desires.

For me personally, it is a process of elimination of desires, just like when you age you no longer find satisfaction in immature things, like say playing with toys for 5 year olds, likewise as your wisdom grows you will no longer find satisfaction in immature things.

You could do meditation on unattractive things in regards to the body (phlegm, period blood, mucus, dandruff, urine, poo, etc..) as one form of an attack on sexual desire, and to perhaps increase wisdom. Others can share more strategies.

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DooDoot
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by DooDoot » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:16 am

easymitch2 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:17 pm
... I can't seem to see through is sexual tension. I can go days and sometimes weeks without even a thought of this desire coming to mind but it always seems to come out of nowhere and with full force. I have accepted that this happens and I no longer feel down when I give into these urges but I'm left still wondering how I can dig this desire out by the root?
Giving in to the urges will result in their coming back again in the future. That is what sexual kamma (deed) & result (vipaka) is. It is a cycle. The cycle starts when sexual tension builds up & concentrates in central zones in the body and then, if the deed is done, there is a feeling of relief because, by doing the deed, the sexual tension is scattered into the limbs & other extremities & hidden places of the body. But, at a later time, the sexual tension will start gathering or concentrating itself again and, by doing so, it will become a hindrance.

So if you want to dig out this desire - when it comes out of nowhere with full force - you must not given in to it. You must endure it; until it passes.

The sexual tension comes out of nowhere into a central zone of the body so it can literally be "breathed out" of the body. But if the deed is done, you send the sexual tension back into the extremes of the body and you must start again.

The way to overcome it is to simply clarify your purpose. What are you interested in? What do you aspire to? Sex? Or calmness? Or concentration? Or jhana? Or Nibbana? If you are interested in the later things then don't give in to the sex tension. In MN 19, when sexual desire arose, the Buddha-To-Be reflected - "This leads to vexation. This does not lead to Nibbana".
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

alfa
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by alfa » Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:33 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:16 am



The sexual tension comes out of nowhere into a central zone of the body so it can literally be "breathed out" of the body.
Can you elucidate upon this breathing out? Thanks. :anjali:

thang
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by thang » Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:10 am

A sequential suggestion.
1) Arammana changing: give the mind something else (kusala object) to think.
(Just ignore it and move in to next moment and next ; like we don't think about just passed vehicles while driving)
if it didn't work then:
2) Asubha (feces/intestines/skeleton/corpse)
[Asubha torch have to be well charged in advance in order to see successfully]
if it didn't work then:
3) Anapana (breath: any akusala will instantly disappear for your surprise)
if it didn't work then:
4) Adinava (contemplating the consequences of sexual-desire-akusala; there are many.)
if it didn't work then:
5) Viriya (enduring by heroic energy; vira=hero;)
[to put effort successfully, we have to maintain a good faith because the cause of Viriya is Saddha ]

Hard to control desire is a 'OGHA' (flood). Following quote is about winning OGHAs.
Āḷavaka:
How can the flood be overcrossed?
How overcrossed the sea?
How dukkha can be overcome?
How win to purity?

Buddha:
By faith the flood is overcrossed.
By vigilance the sea.
By effort dukkha’s overcome.
By wisdom, purity.
If it is always hard to control, then it means we have less Viriya.
If we have less Viriya, then it means we have less Saddha.
"Bhikkhus, whatever the Tathāgata speaks, _ all that is just so and NOT otherwise."

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DooDoot
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by DooDoot » Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:27 am

alfa wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:33 am
Can you elucidate upon this breathing out? Thanks.
hi Alfa. It is not directly related to breathing. It is underlying sexual tension arising into a place in the body, nervous system & consciousness where it can dissolve & be expelled.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Bundokji
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by Bundokji » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:31 pm

I remember Ajahn Jayasaro when talking about Ajahn Chah mentioned how he struggled with sexual desire when he was young. He mentioned patience as the ultimate solution.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

rolling_boulder
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by rolling_boulder » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:27 am

It is very difficult to overcome.
Here is what has helped for me:

Get away from your triggers. If you are serious about this, maybe you even have to get rid of your computer and phone, leave it at a friends place or something. Practice sense restraint especially with the eyes. Don't go a wandering.

A big one for me has been paying attention to how the desire makes you feel, before the act and after indulging. This way you're not judging yourself or feeling guilty about it but just asking "how does this actually feel in the body?" Before it's an unpleasant tension in the chest and groin, and after indulging it's an unpleasant burned-out or hungover feeling. Really try to see that both ways it is unpleasant. Then, if you can resist the indulgence a few times, really make sure to reflect on how that feels. Not feeling burned out. Not feeling that sense hangover. Lightness. Clarity. Really rejoice in that, again and again. Eventually the mind will start to see that it is stupid to want sense pleasures, because it just hurts and it is inferior to the alternative.

Then when that impulse arises, to act on desire in some way, ask yourself "How will this make me feel?" or "Yeah, but then what?" This can take a lot of the immediacy out of it, by considering what you know from experience the result will be.

This will make its effect over time, gradually and not instantly, but you may find your resources growing and growing and your cravings tending to lessen.

The ultimate way to go beyond lust is the jhanas, but that might not be feasible.
The world is swept away. It does not endure...
The world is without shelter, without protector...
The world is without ownership. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind...
The world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving.


sunnat
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by sunnat » Wed May 08, 2019 12:02 pm

from the Satippatthana Sutta :

(the contemplation of repulsiveness has been mentioned)

"And further, monks, a monk reflects on this very body, however it be placed or disposed, by way of the material elements: "There are in this body the element of earth, the element of water, the element of fire, the element of wind."

Just as if, monks, a clever cow-butcher or his apprentice, having slaughtered a cow and divided it into portions, should be sitting at the junction of four high roads, in the same way, a monk reflects on this very body, as it is placed or disposed, by way of the material elements: "There are in this body the elements of earth, water, fire, and wind."

Thus he lives contemplating the body in the body..."

"And how does a monk live contemplating the body in the body?

Herein, monks, a monk, having gone to the forest, to the foot of a tree or to an empty place, sits down with his legs crossed, keeps his body erect and his mindfulness alert.

Ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out. Breathing in a long breath, he knows, "I am breathing in a long breath"; breathing out a long breath, he knows, "I am breathing out a long breath"; breathing in a short breath, he knows, "I am breathing in a short breath"; breathing out a short breath, he knows, "I am breathing out a short breath."

"Herein, monks, a monk when experiencing a pleasant feeling knows, "I experience a pleasant feeling"; when experiencing a painful feeling, he knows, "I experience a painful feeling"; when experiencing a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling," he knows,..."

Keep coming back to the awareness of the breath in the area of the mouth.

Sensual desire is like a hot wind. Detach from sensual desire by contemplating the elements: "at the moment the elements of fire and air are rising within the body...let me see how long this lasts". Keep coming back to the breath when the desire is overwhelming. Continuity of awareness, observation of the rising and passing away all component things leads to liberation.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by Ceisiwr » Wed May 08, 2019 12:32 pm

Apart from basic mindfulness I found meditation and reflections upon a corpse to be quite helpful. Also, if encountering a sexually attractive person face to face I found it helpful to shift attention away from what I found so attractive about them to visualising their insides; organs, blood, intestines etc.

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Nwad
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by Nwad » Sun May 12, 2019 6:42 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:16 am

The sexual tension comes out of nowhere into a central zone of the body so it can literally be "breathed out" of the body.
Greatings dear DooDoot, dear easymitch

Your suggestion to "breath out" the tension is a simile, so i shouldnt react ont it, but its a good transision to what i wanted to suggest to Easymith.

The Air element is about growing things, and as sexual tension is about Fire element I think the best way to overcome this energy is to use Earth element.

Earth element is about what can be touched, so for me the best way will be to see this sexual tension just as feeling of tension in the body, as it is, not interpret this feeling as sexual, just as feeling in the body. By this means this feeling will be seen as not me, not mine, as "external" "tangible" object in the body, as earth element, so it will loose its fire qualities...

With more simple words, what works for me is to:
1. Avoid conditions (guarding of senses)
2. If feeling is already here, do not interpret it as "sexual" feeling, but just as bodily feeling as it is, feeling on itself with no link to any mental condition. So without nutriment and covered by earth this fire go to cessation...

:juggling:
:anjali:

SarathW
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by SarathW » Sun May 12, 2019 7:32 am

When a monk attends appropriately, unarisen fermentations do not arise, and arisen fermentations are abandoned. There are fermentations to be abandoned by seeing, those to be abandoned by restraining, those to be abandoned by using, those to be abandoned by tolerating, those to be abandoned by avoiding, those to be abandoned by dispelling, and those to be abandoned by developing.

Sabbasava Sutta.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

santa100
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by santa100 » Sun May 12, 2019 5:56 pm

easymitch2 wrote:If anyone has any advice or past experience with this subject then I'll be very grateful.
Try the various strategies as taught in MN 20. Also try some tactical measures when it's still too strong, like contemplation on foulness of the body. Imagine when your desire for a young voluptuous woman is so strong, it'd be difficult to maintain the same level of excitement simply by imagining her having diarrhea and just recently got out of the toilet, or she's just recently put on some yeast infection cream, etc. Needless to say, sexual desire is one of the strongest forces out there and it'd take much time and effort, together with various different approaches both strategic and tactical to handle it.

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manas
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Re: Sensual desire as a Layman

Post by manas » Fri May 24, 2019 2:39 pm

Hi easymitch
there are some mental states I can simply watch arise and pass away; sexual desire isn't one of them. If I don't wipe a lustful impulse out of existence as soon as it appears, if I allow it to linger in the mind and body, it gets more difficult with each passing second to see my way clear of it. It's too powerful a desire to simply 'watch arise and cease'. In my experience - if you are indeed trying to become free from sexual desire, ultimately - don't give such thoughts any space in the mind at all. Wipe them out by replacing them with a more skillful thought instead (especially the antidote of contemplation of the 32 parts of the body). I find that, the faster I do this, the easier it is to be rid of the lustful thought, and to move on. As for no longer having it arise at all, well to my understanding, when you reach anagami stage, sensual passion ceases. Until then, to some extent or other, you will need to be vigilant and guard the mind. It won't give up easy.
:anjali:
From what's dear is born grief,
from what's dear is born fear.
For one freed from what's dear
there's no grief
— so how fear?


Dhp 212

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