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White skeleton meditation

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

Has anyone got any experience with this? I'm trying a period of complete sexual abstinence and am getting some intense flare ups of desire disrupting my meditation and my sleep, and this was a recommended method in a few places for dealing with that.

There is a discussion of the problem here... How wonderful that there is a stackexchange for Buddhism!

You can read a basic description of a version of the meditation here... Bill Bodri says there are over 30 variations, unfortunately. Seems it is an old meditation and used to be much practiced.

Comments

  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran
    edited August 2016

    OP, if you don't mind my asking, for what purpose are you abstaining? I think there are many reasons to do this sort of practice, but not all of them would benefit from le squellette blanc. I personally find sexual activity to be one of the most mindful times I have ever found.

  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    @person has a good point here. The craving is the naughty bit, not the sexuality in and of itself. After all, Buddha wanted his fellowes to abstain from harmful sexuality. Complete abstinence is not the middle way at all. I also find that negative reinforcement is troublesome... in this case, imagining your body disintigrating. Great for impermanence, and even no-self, but why for lust?

    silverSwaroop
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kerome said:
    Has anyone got any experience with this? I'm trying a period of complete sexual abstinence ...

    Is there a partner you're imposing this enforced abstinence upon?

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @RuddyDuck9 said:
    Complete abstinence is not the middle way at all. I also find that negative reinforcement is troublesome...

    True, but monks and nuns the world over do it, as a technique for raising energy levels. So why not, even as a lay practitioner, try it? I'm not sure if the meditation qualifies as negative reinforcement, it isn't actually unpleasant.

    @federica said:

    @Kerome said:
    Has anyone got any experience with this? I'm trying a period of complete sexual abstinence ...

    Is there a partner you're imposing this enforced abstinence upon?

    At the moment not... I am taking advantage of the situation to see what develops, supposedly the brain rewires itself within about 30 days and you don't feel it so much anymore. It is an experiment.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kerome said: True, but monks and nuns the world over do it, as a technique for raising energy levels. So why not, even as a lay practitioner, try it? I'm not sure if the meditation qualifies as negative reinforcement, it isn't actually unpleasant.

    Monks also do not lead the ordinary lives of a Lay practitioner. It's much easier to resist temptation, when there is none. Monks rise super-early, meditate and follow practices which we, as laypeople could not possibly incorporate into our daily lives to the exclusion of everything else. A Monk is expected to conform to the Precepts. No layperson is, other than the first 5. And the only sexual practice advised against, is one that would do volitional harm either to the practitioner themselves, or to another who is not willing...

    @federica said:

    @Kerome said:
    Has anyone got any experience with this? I'm trying a period of complete sexual abstinence ...

    Is there a partner you're imposing this enforced abstinence upon?

    At the moment not... I am taking advantage of the situation to see what develops, supposedly the brain rewires itself within about 30 days and you don't feel it so much anymore. It is an experiment.

    It's not a simple case of the 'brain re-wiring itself' and the 30 days applies to some zones of the brain, not all of them. Remember that as a species, we have hopelessly intermingled emotions to inextricably perform with the sexual impulse.
    What you have to do, is not only suppress the physical desire, (Which includes masturbation) but also the romanticised illusion of finding any special someone to be romantic with....

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @federica said:
    What you have to do, is not only suppress the physical desire, (Which includes masturbation) but also the romanticised illusion of finding any special someone to be romantic with....

    That's correct. So far I am about 20 days in, and am coping reasonably well except for the odd flare-up. Stopping fantasies which lead to difficult-to-control outbursts is about the hardest part of it.

    I think the emotional part of this is easier for men than women, as women seem to attach more to emotions, or so I have read. I suspect men have the most difficulty with the physical aspect.

    I'm noticing a few changes so far, actually. Mostly a kind of solidity of the inner world, which has increased. And very few sensual outbursts except when triggered... For instance by my very sexy cousin in very high heels and a revealing dress at a recent family do... Oh well. Challenges are part of life.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:
    I've heard teachings often about reflecting on the unpleasant aspects of the body, especially when dead and decomposing as a method for reducing sexual craving.

    For myself I focus more on the unpleasant feeling of lust and craving. As Nagarjuna says:

    There is pleasure when a sore is scratched,
    But to be without sores is more pleasurable still:
    There are pleasures in worldly desires,
    But to be without desires is more pleasurable still.

    Good tips, thanks! I have been trying to focus on the impermanence of the body as a means of dealing with getting carried away by desire, but may try focussing on the craving part of the chain of sensations and seeing that for the unpleasant thing it is.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @Kerome said:Good tips, thanks! I have been trying to focus on the impermanence of the body as a means of dealing with getting carried away by desire, but may try focussing on the craving part of the chain of sensations and seeing that for the unpleasant thing it is.

    Another option is to just reflect on what the body is made from. You don't have to do the Full Monty 32 parts routine, I usually just do a quick run-through based on the four elements, eg solid bits, runny bits and so on.

    Eew! :p

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @Kerome said:

    @person said:
    I've heard teachings often about reflecting on the unpleasant aspects of the body, especially when dead and decomposing as a method for reducing sexual craving.

    For myself I focus more on the unpleasant feeling of lust and craving. As Nagarjuna says:

    There is pleasure when a sore is scratched,
    But to be without sores is more pleasurable still:
    There are pleasures in worldly desires,
    But to be without desires is more pleasurable still.

    Good tips, thanks! I have been trying to focus on the impermanence of the body as a means of dealing with getting carried away by desire, but may try focussing on the craving part of the chain of sensations and seeing that for the unpleasant thing it is.

    Not even just in meditation, like when your craving gets triggered how those feelings are unpleasant compared to the ease from the lack of them just prior.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    There have been earlier posts on this topic that you may like to check out too......

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited August 2016

    Interesting... For me it seems to have subsided. Most days I don't get triggered so much so it's not very confrontational. It is good to know the techniques though, I often spend time at the beach and there are some good looking women there.

    It's an interesting question what we actually perceive when we view an object of our lust. I find I'm not even really looking at the body but instead I am focussing on something internal... The external object just functions as a trigger, and then kind of an internal obsession takes over, and the view gets obscured.

    lobsterpegembara
  • Thanks @Jayantha for the pic. What a stunner. Are they on FacelessBook? o:)

    RuddyDuck9
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran
    edited August 2016

    I think meditating on the 32 parts of the body works as well.

    http://www.arrowriver.ca/dhamma/body.html

    I have not tried meditating at a cemetery, but I have attended plenty of funeral processions as a monastic. I think death meditation would yield the same effect if not being more suitable for some.

    RuddyDuck9
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran
    edited August 2016

    Here's a link that explains a bit about death meditation:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maranasati

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited August 2016

    This may also be useful advice. You don't desire for things you don't think about or "pick up".

    Sometimes when one thinks, 'Let's regard this as unattractive,' it actually comes to be attractive. Is there another reason, another cause, why young monks... without having played with sensual pleasures nevertheless follow the lifelong chaste life, perfect & pure, and make it last their entire lives?"

    "Great king, this was said by the Blessed One who knows & sees, worthy and rightly self-awakened: 'Come now, monks: Keep guarding the doors to your sense faculties. On seeing a form with the eye, do not grasp at any theme or variations by which — if you were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the eye — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail you. Practice with restraint. Guard the faculty of the eye. Achieve restraint with regard to the faculty of the eye.

    "'On hearing a sound with the ear...

    "'On smelling an aroma with the nose...

    "'On tasting a flavor with the tongue...

    "'On feeling a tactile sensation with the body...

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.127.than.html

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