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Monks and sex

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Comments

  • 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
    too late!!!
  • What a great topic! The speed of this thread is amazing too. I think that just adds to the evidence that this is such a valuable thing to discuss.

    Let me start by saying that this is a topic dear to my heart, and I'd be one of the men that would find it difficult to abstain. I know my wife would have no trouble at all, but I also have girlfriends who might struggle with having to abstain from sexual stimulation. The best book I've read on this difference between men & women is "The sex diaries" by Bettina Arndt, where men and women each keep a private diary of their experience in regard to sex.

    Quick question - for nuns, would the rule about not spilling semen mean that they are free to masturbate? Maybe its not an issue for nuns because a) generally women have lower libidos, and b) theres no rule against masturbation for women?

    That aside, what I would like to add is that the first thing I have found in myself is the idea that my desires are unacceptable, dirty, not up to meeting the higher standard that everyone expects of you. Have a look at the language used to discuss this on this thread where everyone is being very careful not to cause offense - such things as: This is an 'issue' for men; women are 'more in touch' with (something); men's sexual desires are associated with sexual abuse, rape, child molestation. This kind of language wont affect all men/women the same, my point is that it has affected me. In the past I have even felt really awkward kissing/hugging my sons and daughter in front of others for fear it is taken the wrong way.

    So buddhists see sex as an issue and need to have complex 'rules' as advice on what to do. Well I quite like Osho's approach to it, which was (possibly) similar to the tantric way of accepting physical desire and using it to free you from personal blocks (such as I developed) to help you on your journey to enlightenment.


  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    No masturbation is the rule for all monastics, male and female.
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    There is pleasure when a sore is scratched,
    But to be without sores is more pleasurable still;
    There are pleasures in worldy desires,
    But to be without desires is more pleasurable still.

    -Nagarjuna (The Precious Garland)

    That to me, is the crux of it. Easier said than done of course and this thread seems to be more about the doing than the saying.

    I would assume that most, if not all, people on this forum have given up one or more attachments in their life at one point or another. The worst times are right as you're giving it up then the craving starts to subside over time. Sex is possibly the strongest craving for most but the principle is the same.
  • No masturbation is the rule for all monastics, male and female.
    And that makes complete sense to me. Freedom from suffering should include freedom from the desire for physical pleasure as much as it means freedom from fear of physical discomfort.

  • Ok.

    Women might be more shy talking about sexual matters in public, but can often be more at peace with their own sexuality than men. For instance I think women are more comfortable with a spectrum of gender eroticism than men, less black and white.

    Men seem to create forms to contain and repress. All the sex talk is compensatory. Men are better at locking their embarrassing things in dungeons. Or covering up woman who might tempt them into terrible things.

    It's an interesting topic....

    Can you provide evidence for your statements? Generalizations, especially about people, are rarely true and are especially laughable when only backed up with anecdotes. I can find so many examples to violate everything you just said, but then I'd be doing your work for you.
    Yes. I participated in an extensive study at the University of kiss my ass.

    Notice terms like "men seem" "often be more at peace" etc.. that speaks to my experience which you are happy to laugh at, but stupid to dismiss offhand.

    Because it takes two to tango and 47 years of sex and human interaction combined with not being a total fool in a vacuum builds a picture.... but hey. Make of it what you will.



    ....trash talk all in fun BTW. Just finished a long day at work. ...and don't really care about being right. maybe tomorrow I will.

    :zombie:
  • @Richard:
    Hmm OK that came out wrong. I apologize. What I meant to say was I think those are generalizations which always have exceptions, especially when dealing with human beings who are complex. I would just ask that we, including myself, keep that in mind when talking about the differences between men and women. I think Buddhism would teach us we have much more in common than different, even in regard to sexuality.
    In case you didn't see.

  • @Richard:
    Hmm OK that came out wrong. I apologize. What I meant to say was I think those are generalizations which always have exceptions, especially when dealing with human beings who are complex. I would just ask that we, including myself, keep that in mind when talking about the differences between men and women. I think Buddhism would teach us we have much more in common than different, even in regard to sexuality.
    In case you didn't see.

    Hi Clay.. now that I'm freshened up and in my pajamas.....

    I agree that my post consisted of subjective impressions and first person observations....



    Regarding differences between men and women...or even difference and distinction in general.. In Buddhism, as I have been taught , non-difference is half the story, the other half is difference. Both in equal measure, with neither prevailing, precisely. ...but that's another thread.
    .
  • I think seeing and believing in differences is normal behavior of the human mind. Seeing past the differences is the hard part.
  • I think seeing and believing in differences is normal behavior of the human mind. Seeing past the differences is the hard part.
    For sure.... looking past preconceptions and prejudices, and superficial differences, to see deep shared qualities and values.


    I was referring to something else in practice .. it's another thread.
  • andyrobynandyrobyn Veteran
    edited March 2012
    I can say that too, Tom, And because of my previous commitments to children and husband it is not what is happening now.
    Do you go on Buddhist forums that are in other languages? I'm sure people of other hemispheres and cultures have sexual urges too...

    :scratch:
    My comment about different cultures was in relation to the Brad Warner video, at the end, where he describes that it is stated in the vinyana that it is not a break in the precept if a monk is to have sex whilst he is asleep. This statement is indictive of the culture at the time it was written.
    Likewise, I maintain it is socially more acceptable in modern western culture for men to discuss their sexual needs than it is for woman and for women to discuss sexual abuse than it is for men ... I am not saying that woman can not and do not discuss their sexual needs and that men can not and do not discuss the sexual abuse, rather that social conditioning has a big influence on how we perceive and feel about sexual issues.
    In regards to gender differences, gender generalisations seem to lead to seperation and do not seem helpful to me around the issue.

  • So we have two discussions going on, first about monks and sexual abstinance and the pros and cons and wherefors. Second, is there a difference between men and women when it comes to wanting sex.

    That there is a difference between men and women is self evident from the fact that almost all the world's pornography is consumed by men. That does not mean women don't have and enjoy a few toys in the nightstand drawer and a favorite fantasy and an orgasm or two or six at night. The sex drive just seems to take a different form, on average. In college, the psychology class on sex is the most confusing of the bunch because everyone is fascinated by but has a different pet theory on specifics.

    And it's generally acknowledged that the public perception of monks giving up orgasms for life with a shrug of their shoulders and some cold showers is -- shall we say -- not completely accurate. Neither in expectations nor practice. The debate is if we can and should expect this of anyone, even someone devoted to such a life.

    It's a fun topic and I love reading all the opinions.
  • why not the only eating before noon?
    Not all traditions prohibit meals after noon, but this one does seem like a biggie.
    why do men seem to think that celibacy will be such a stumbling block?
    Men have more testosterone than women. And it's not socially acceptable for women to talk about their sex drive. We did have a thread recently, though, that discussed a woman's difficulty in readjusting to single life after a divorce. That one didn't sound any different than the guys. o.0



    2 things to add to this,

    Eating rules would exclude me seriously. I have thought about retreats and even at one point the Peace Corp but my high metabolism and inability to eat fruit made me rethink the whole thing. I am NOT okay without eating often and without undue restriction, like being beyond cranky and even passing out.

    And I agree with Dakini, it is harder for women to talk about sex drive. I feel very awkward about it, and for me there is a need for relationship in general. However when I have been in a relationship it is equal as far as interest and desire. I have learned one thing, even in this day and age what a man does because of a sex drive (not talking aggresive or innapropriate) is understood but I still feel women can be judged even though they are with the men with whom it is accepted.

    I would also not look at being a monastic because of this reason. (btw I am female)

  • Why worry about the urges and desires that someone else may have. Control yourself and get on with your life.

    Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you leave 'em all over everything you do. ~ Elvis Presley

    Every one of us must practice looking deeply into our perceptions, whether we are a father, mother, child, partner, of friend. --Thich Nhat Hanh--
    It isn't that we "worry" about it. Many of us see monks as an example in following the Precepts, and it therefore helps to see monks who are dedicated to their vows...and in this case, determining just what those vows are.

    My comment is based on that we should not judge monks or anyone else on how they work their own path. Many of the posts above are based on conjecture and their own perceptions on how someone else controls their own urges; monk or lay person. My comment is based on that this should not be of our concern and that we need to control or own thoughts, our own actions. Don't look at what others are doing or not doing and look at yourself. Many of the post in this blog can be solved by just looking at your own thoughts and your own actions. Seeing things external from us allow us identify or own faults and issues so that we can make the changes within.

    Identifying change starts from without but the real change starts from within.

    This builds wisdom and lets you see the truth in all things
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Why worry about the urges and desires that someone else may have. Control yourself and get on with your life.

    Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you leave 'em all over everything you do. ~ Elvis Presley

    Every one of us must practice looking deeply into our perceptions, whether we are a father, mother, child, partner, of friend. --Thich Nhat Hanh--
    It isn't that we "worry" about it. Many of us see monks as an example in following the Precepts, and it therefore helps to see monks who are dedicated to their vows...and in this case, determining just what those vows are.

    My comment is based on that we should not judge monks or anyone else on how they work their own path. Many of the posts above are based on conjecture and their own perceptions on how someone else controls their own urges; monk or lay person. My comment is based on that this should not be of our concern and that we need to control or own thoughts, our own actions. Don't look at what others are doing or not doing and look at yourself. Many of the post in this blog can be solved by just looking at your own thoughts and your own actions. Seeing things external from us allow us identify or own faults and issues so that we can make the changes within.

    Identifying change starts from without but the real change starts from within.

    This builds wisdom and lets you see the truth in all things
    I don't necessarily disagree with what you have said above.

    But how we see the supposedly most committed adherents of a religion behave, does influence the degree of respect people have for the religion, and does affect how adherents of a lesser level of commitment perceive the religion and how they behave.

    We have certainly seen this with the Catholic religion here in the West as the priest-scandals developed and continued, and for a long while were covered up and not addressed.

    And it is a matter of great concern in Thailand, where people see monks on a daily basis (unlike here in the West where one rarely sees a monk).

    For example, why are monks buying Blackberries (and the like) at the main technology shopping mall in Bangkok? Why are monks involved in sex scandals? Etc.

    Now, I fully realize that some monks in Thailand are not truly committed to the required vows. I also realize they are human and humans sometimes fail. I'm simply presenting the idea that it does matter how visible examples of any belief system behave.

  • Why worry about the urges and desires that someone else may have. Control yourself and get on with your life.

    Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you leave 'em all over everything you do. ~ Elvis Presley

    Every one of us must practice looking deeply into our perceptions, whether we are a father, mother, child, partner, of friend. --Thich Nhat Hanh--
    It isn't that we "worry" about it. Many of us see monks as an example in following the Precepts, and it therefore helps to see monks who are dedicated to their vows...and in this case, determining just what those vows are.

    My comment is based on that we should not judge monks or anyone else on how they work their own path. Many of the posts above are based on conjecture and their own perceptions on how someone else controls their own urges; monk or lay person. My comment is based on that this should not be of our concern and that we need to control or own thoughts, our own actions. Don't look at what others are doing or not doing and look at yourself. Many of the post in this blog can be solved by just looking at your own thoughts and your own actions. Seeing things external from us allow us identify or own faults and issues so that we can make the changes within.

    Identifying change starts from without but the real change starts from within.

    This builds wisdom and lets you see the truth in all things
    I don't necessarily disagree with what you have said above.

    But how we see the supposedly most committed adherents of a religion behave, does influence the degree of respect people have for the religion, and does affect how adherents of a lesser level of commitment perceive the religion and how they behave.

    We have certainly seen this with the Catholic religion here in the West as the priest-scandals developed and continued, and for a long while were covered up and not addressed.

    And it is a matter of great concern in Thailand, where people see monks on a daily basis (unlike here in the West where one rarely sees a monk).

    For example, why are monks buying Blackberries (and the like) at the main technology shopping mall in Bangkok? Why are monks involved in sex scandals? Etc.

    Now, I fully realize that some monks in Thailand are not truly committed to the required vows. I also realize they are human and humans sometimes fail. I'm simply presenting the idea that it does matter how visible examples of any belief system behave.

    I think enough has been said... I understand your point and can appreciate your view.
  • tintrantintran victoria bc canada Explorer

    I wonder if sperms are considered sentient beings? if so masterbation is like killing them before they are naturally absorbed into the body. If not then i think it's like considered a great temptation and must be over come in order to not become slavery to physical senses (5 senses).

    If you practive Pureland Buddhism, your mind should focus on Amida Buddha chants and are so busy focusing on the chants that all other things become less important and your mind doesn't focus on it including sex...

    I listened to this Vietnamese monk on youtube saying that there was this pureland practitioner that chanted Amida Buddha's name every time he saw a light posts, the later every time he saw a car.. and so on and so on..until everything he saw reminded him of Amida Buddha chant. So for that person, every time he had sexual urges, he probably was reminded of Amida Buddha's chants as well... I am trying to practice this... I have decided that every time i see a car or pavement since i see a lot of that while driving around, i'll chant Amida Buddha's name, but i just started and not professional so sometimes i remember other times i forget.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited January 2016

    @Dakini said:
    Sexual abuse of child novices is reportedly widespread in Sri Lanka where occasionally court cases result.

    Gananath Obeyesekere, a Sri Lankan professor at Harvard has published a number of articles on this issue in his country. He's pushing to limit entry into the monastic life to those who are past high-school age:

    this is the first time i heard something like this happened/ happening in sri lanka

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Wow...You dug up a thread from March 2012?

  • 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
    edited January 2016

    @how said:
    Wow...You dug up a thread from March 2012?

    Yes, he did. And we all know what happens now, don't we...? :lol:

    @tintran , plase read link. Thanks! ;)

This discussion has been closed.