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Thread: Overcoming urges and desires of the flesh

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadrunner570 #7:
    After discussing things with my wife, we came up with a set of baseline, acceptable sexual behaviors. Once I've settled into those things, I'm not obsesing about "not doing it". I'm also not riddled with shame and guilt . By allowing myself certain behaviors that I know will not cause suffering, I'm able to work on other things.
    That parts sounds good to me based on my understanding of ethical sexual conduct.

  2. #12
    Forums Member Glow's Avatar
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    Rather than trying to "overcome" or "control" your sexuality, you might want to explore why your sexuality has become a problem for you. Do you have an addictive relationship with it? If so, remember that the addiction is a symptom of the problem and not the problem itself. Josh Korda of the New York City Dharma Punx group recently wrote an interesting blog post on addiction that you can find here: http://dharmapunxnyc.blogspot.com/2010/01/few-thoughts-on-addiction-sh ort-term.html

    As mentioned by roadrunner above, sexual excitement is a natural occurrence. Whether we like it or not, it's how human beings evolved. Individuals who did not have high sexual motivation would not be as likely to reproduce. If you have a receptive partner, you have the option of engaging in sexual activity. If not, and you have a particularly addictive relationship with sex, remember that your behavior is simply a pattern. You have the option of "unpacking" sexual patterns in the same way as you do unpleasant emotions in Buddhism, using the three seals: notice (1) the physical sensations and (2) notice the accompanying thoughts without reacting to them (e.g., remembering that they are not "yours"/"you" [anatta]), that clinging to them causes stress [dukkha] and letting them pass like clouds in the sky [anicca].

    If, however, you are using sexuality as a means of escaping stress or mediating suffering, problems occur. Sometimes compulsive sexual behavior is the result of stressful or disturbing childhood/adolescent experiences that the psyche attempts to neutralize by reliving the experience in a safe environment. If this is the case, the important thing is to uproot any tendencies towards self-recrimination for compulsive sexual behaviors (e.g., reminding yourself that it's not your fault) while gently undoing the reactive patterns that keep this behavior in existence. (A good book for this is Jack Morin's The Erotic Mind.)

  3. #13
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    The biological imperative is also capable of being manipulated, and even eliminated. Being horny is simply one state among the states that human physiology is capable of.

  4. #14
    Forums Member Glow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sobeh #13:
    The biological imperative is also capable of being manipulated, and even eliminated. Being horny is simply one state among the states that human physiology is capable of.
    Again, I think it would be advantageous to understand where the impulse to "manipulate" and "eliminate" comes from. IME, this sort of terminology betrays an underlying schema of personal associations that needs to be uprooted.

  5. #15
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    I see it as causing to cease those unwholesome behaviors which have arisen, and sustaining the cessation of already-ended unwholesome behaviors.

  6. #16
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    Take refuge in the Dharma ...

    "Attracted by light and heat, a moth flies into a flame
    Stunned by the sounds of a guitar,
    a deer stands unaware of a hunter.
    Drawn by the scent of a flower, a bug is trapped inside.
    Attached to taste, a fish rushes to a hook.
    Pulled to mud, an elephant cannot escape."

    Paltrul Rinpoche's Sacred Word

    In the Dalai Lama's book - How to see yourself as you really are - he writes:

    "Our senses contribute to our ignorance ... when you see that all troublesome emotions - and indeed all problems - arise from a basic misunderstanding, you will want to get rid of such ignorance." He quotes Chandrakirti:

    "Seeing with their minds that all afflictive emotions and defects arise from viewing oneself as inherently existent and knowing that the self is the object of this, Yogi's refute their own inherent existence."

    And Aryadeva

    "When selflessness is seen in objects, the seed of cyclic existence is destroyed."

    He says "when the roots of the tree are all cut, all the branches, twigs, and leaves dry up" and speaks of how "we superimpose on people and things a status of solidarity and permanence that actually is not there"

    He says there are 3 ways of seeing:

    1) As if the thing was inherently existing as you see it and relate to it (ignorance).

    2) As not inherently existing (i.e. a result of dependent arising) - which insight does.

    3) Conceiving it without qualifying it with either inherent existence or an absence of inherent existence, as when just ordinarily seeing something, such as a house. (Mindfulness)

    How you are perceiving will result in the karma of that perception - as felt in your body.

    Dalai Lama writes on an excited state of mind:

    Excitement is an agitated state of mind, most often due to an attraction to an external object of lust. It can also be any scattering of the mind, whether the new object is virtuous, such as charity, nonvirtuous, such as lust, or neutral, such as sewing. There are coarse and subtle forms of excitement. In coarse excitement, you forget the object of your meditation and stray off into your other thoughts. Although in subtle excitement the object is not lost, a corner of your mind is involved in fast-moving thought, like water flowing under the frozen surface of a river.

    In between sessions of meditation, it is important to restrain your senses, to eat a moderate amount of food, and to maintain conscientious introspection of body and mind. Otherwise, these can serve as causes of laxity, whereas having unrealistic expectations about the pleasures of life tend to lead to excitement."

    and he offers remedies for excitement as:

    In times when your mind is excited and you have tried to loosen the tighteness of the mind, but this has not worked, you need a further technique to withdraw the mind. At this point, it can help to lower the object and imagine it as heavier. If this does not work, then while continuing to meditate, leave the object temporarily and think about a topic that makes you more sober, such as how ignorance induces sufferings of cyclic existence by putting us under the influence of destructive emotions. Or you could reflect on the imminence of death. It also helps to think of the disadvantages of the object to which you have strayed, and the disadvantages of distraction itself. Such reflections will cause the mind's excessive tightness to loosen a little, making you better able to keep your mind on the object of observation. When that happens, immediately return to the original object. Sometimes, I find that if my time for meditation is limited, because of work I have to do, this sense of urgency will promote greater exertion in a way that strengthens mindfulness."

    And lastly from the Buddha himself:

    "Here even the various mind-pleasuring blossoming flowers and attractive shining supreme golden houses have no inherent existence maker at all. They are set up through the powers of thought. Through the power of conceptuality the world is established."

    In a nutshell - we create the reality we are experiencing, by the way we are choosing to perceive something, that is disturbing us, in our mind.

    Choose differently.

    Then apply disciplined practice, following the advice of the teachers with pure intention, to learn how to achieve inner peace, for the benefit of all beings.

    We are all in Samsara together, and as you do, take refuge in the Buddha, Sangha, and Dharma to find our way through.

  7. #17
    Forums Member Glow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sobeh #15:
    I see it as causing to cease those unwholesome behaviors which have arisen, and sustaining the cessation of already-ended unwholesome behaviors.
    What exactly are these unwholesome behaviors? Is it something the OP said? I don't see anything in that post that is unwholesome except the aversive attitude towards the sexual urges. That is what is causing dukkha -- not the urges themselves.

    (For the record, Sobeh, this is just a general post, not directed at you specifically, but at a general mindlessly Puritan mindset I come across from time to time on Buddhist forums. I think you probably mean something different that what I initially interpreted your post to suggest.) The reason I bring this up is because, IME, when you seek to manipulate or eliminate aspects of your physical experience directly, you are working on a very superficial level. People do this all the time, and it's the very thing we are meant to grow out of in Buddhism. The Buddhist path is one in which we correct our unskillful relationship with whatever we experience, rather than attempting to apprehend and manipulate the experience itself. Any resulting change in our experience (decreasing of unskillful body/mind-states, increasing of skillful body/mind-states) is a side-effect of this practice; we achieve it indirectly, as collateral but not as the goal. The goal is to get at what is deeper -- the clinging/aversive relationship with our life, that keeps us ensnared in the compulsive world of samsara.

    The reason we approach it this way is because, if we don't stop to question our motivations for trying to change ourselves, we will be blind victims to our conditioned prejudices and impulses. We end up trying to change ourselves without any understanding of what is driving us. This manifests itself in both everyday life as well as our attitude towards the practice life. Buddhism is meant to go beyond our own peculiar hang-ups about sex.

    To give an example, experiences early in life can cause one to have an unskillful relationship with sex. It can be addictive (clinging) or repressive (aversion), or some combination of the two. If we go after the sexuality itself, rather than mediating the underlying thought-constructs that make us relate to sex in such an unskillful way, we add in the third kilesa (ignorance), and establish a precedent for further suffering. What if the sexual urges don't go away? There is no guarantee that they will, just as there is no guarantee that we will not experience fear, sadness or anger. If the underlying infrastructure of aversion or clinging is still there, we will suffer no matter what we do.

  8. #18
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glow #17:
    We end up trying to change ourselves without any understanding of what is driving us.
    Well said Glow. That is a very important point. We are born into 'form' and it conditions our behaviour at every level. Our addiction to the sense sphere is a given. Unlocking that and comprehending it, is not the same as denial.

  9. #19
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    What I wrote was definitely misunderstood, easily mis-written.

    My point is that sexual urges - whether psychological or biological or whatever you care to say - are just another sensual pursuit, and once seen for what it is the struggle involving sexual urges becomes a non-struggle.

    They are just one sort among the many ways we crave sensual desires. Sexual urges are sensual cravings.

    Alagaddupama Sutta (MN 22):

    "Is it true, Arittha, that you have conceived this pernicious view: 'There are things called "obstructions" by the Blessed One. As I understand his teaching those things are not necessarily obstructive for him who pursues them'?" — "Yes, indeed, Lord, I understand the teaching of the Blessed One in this way that those things called 'obstructions' by the Blessed One, are not necessarily obstructive for him who pursues them."

    6. "Of whom do you know, foolish man, that I have taught to him the teaching in that manner? Did I not, foolish man, speak in many ways of those obstructive things that they are obstructions indeed, and that they necessarily obstruct him who pursues them? Sense desires, so I have said, bring little enjoyment, and much suffering and disappointment. The perils in them are greater. Sense desires are like bare bones, have I said; they are like a lump of flesh... they are like a snake's head, have I said. They bring much suffering and disappointment. The perils in them are greater. But you, O foolish man, have misrepresented us by what you personally have wrongly grasped. You have undermined your own (future) and have created much demerit. This, foolish man, will bring you much harm and suffering for a long time."
    ...
    "Monks, it is impossible indeed, that one can pursue sense gratification without sensual desire, without perceptions of sensual desire, without thoughts of sensual desire."

  10. #20
    ]
    Quote Originally Posted by Replying to Blueseasparkling:
    from post #16
    Hi Bss,

    Can I request that you name where quotes come from in the future, please - eg author and title and/or internet ]http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/img/smilies/hands.gif[/img]

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