Author Topic: 3rd Precept Question  (Read 1741 times)

Offline Abbot

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3rd Precept Question
« on: January 06, 2014, 03:21:40 pm »
Amituofo.

I  was wondering if the 3rd Precept allows masturbation, or if is means total celibacy. I have meditated on it several times, but I can't seem to find and answer. I was wondering if any of you could help.

 :buddha: :buddha2:

Amituofo.

Offline former monk john

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Re: 3rd Precept Question
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2014, 05:11:12 pm »
The celibacy only applies to monks and nuns.
to me, the signs of a successful practice are happiness and a cessation of suffering, buddhism often gives me this; not all the answers.

Offline Abbot

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Re: 3rd Precept Question
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 05:20:35 pm »
Thank you. Forgive my idiocy.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: 3rd Precept Question
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2014, 05:21:03 pm »
The most used formulation of Buddhist ethics are the Five Precepts and the Eightfold Path, which say that one should follow the right view towards pleasures. These precepts take the form of voluntary, personal undertakings, not divine mandate or instruction. The third of the Five Precepts is "To refrain from committing sexual misconduct". However what defines "sexual misconduct" is vague and often debatable, and different Buddhist schools have different interpretations of the Five Precepts.

It should be understood that Buddhism, in practical terms, was advanced by the Buddha as a method by which human beings could end their suffering, escape cyclic existence and attain enlightenment by conquering their ignorance, cravings and realizing the interpenetrative, void nature of self and phenomena. Normally this entails practicing meditation and following the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path as a way to subdue the passions of the mind which, along with the five aggregates, cause suffering and rebirth in a karmic cycle. Masturbation (Pali: sukkavissaṭṭhi), being a carnal desire and often a craving for some is easily viewed, from this point of view, as problematic for a person who wishes to attain the highest goal of enlightenment.

It can also be argued that even for a layperson, excessive focus on sexual pleasure by any means can be said to be not following the middle path.[citation needed]. However, this needn't necessarily apply to moderate and healthy sexual stimulation, according to many traditions. Buddhism also stresses the importance of compassion and mindfullness, so it is theoretically possible that if masturbation would allow for one to abstain from greater sexual misconduct which may harm another sentient being, it is permissible and even encourageable under the circumstances.

An article from Beliefnet and Brian Schell, a writer for DailyBuddhism.com, both suggest that masturbation is essentially harmless for a layperson, at least outside the realm of karma. The accomplished Theravadin monk Bhante Shravasti Dhammika cites the Vinaya Pitaka in his online Guide to Buddhism A to Z, stating the following:

Masturbation (sukkavissaṭṭhi) is the act of stimulating one’s own sexual organs (sambādha) to the stage of orgasm (adhikavega). In the Kāma Sūtra male masturbation is called "seizing the lion" (simhākāranta). Some people during the Buddha’s time believed that masturbation could have a therapeutic effect on the mind and the body (Vin. III, 109), although the Buddha disagreed with this. According to the Vinaya, it is an offence of some seriousness for monks or nuns to masturbate (Vin. III, 111) although the Buddha gave no guidance on this matter to lay people. However, Buddhism could agree with contemporary medical opinion that masturbation is a normal expression of the sexual drive and is physically and psychologically harmless, as long as it does not become a preoccupation or a substitute for ordinary sexual relations. Guilt and self-disgust about masturbating is certainly more harmful than masturbation itself.

The emphasis on chastity in Buddhism is much more so for bhikkus and bhikkunis (monks and nuns, respectively), who are expected to follow the Vinaya (traditional code of ethics for Buddhist monks and nuns). Not only are monastics celibate, but they also must strive to conquer their desires much more so than a layperson. In the Theravada, masturbation is stressed as being more harmful for Upāsaka and Upāsikā (laypeople with more precepts than usual) who practice Eight Precepts on Uposatha days, leading a more ascetic lifestyle that does not allow for masturbation.

There are also references in the Upasakasila Sutra, particularly as stated:

"If sex is practised under the inappropriate times (times not allowed by precepts), at inappropriate places (places not allowed by precepts), with non-females, with virgins, with a married wife, if sex relates to self-body, it is known as sexual misconduct."

The phrase "if sex relates to self-body" generally refers to masturbation and is defined under the confinement of precepts of no sexual misconduct for Upāsaka and Upāsikā in Chinese Buddhism.

Thus, in Buddhism, masturbation and its permissiveness is most often viewed as situational, depending on one's level of precepts and monastic standing.

Source: Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_on_masturbation
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 05:23:28 pm by Dharmakara »

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: 3rd Precept Question
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2014, 05:29:50 pm »
Quote
In the Kāma Sūtra male masturbation is called "seizing the lion" (simhākāranta). Some people during the Buddha’s time believed that masturbation could have a therapeutic effect on the mind and the body (Vin. III, 109), although the Buddha disagreed with this.


Oh no, say it ain't so... was the Buddha actually wrong? LOL

More info here:

http://www.menshealth.com/health/health-and-sexual-benefits-masturbation

Offline Abbot

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Re: 3rd Precept Question
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2014, 06:38:23 pm »
Oh... LOL. I never thought of it that way.

Thanks guys.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: 3rd Precept Question
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2014, 08:03:35 am »
Quote
Abbot:  "I  was wondering if the 3rd Precept allows masturbation, or if is means total celibacy. I have meditated on it several times, but I can't seem to find and answer.

I was wondering if any of you could help."

My understanding is that masturbation is usually something you must do for yourself. :lmfao:

In either case, it is not considered abuse, unless you are causing harm to others, or yourself.  As a safety engineer (retired), my recommendation is that, like texting, you avoid the practice while driving. :)

What Makes an Elder? :
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But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: 3rd Precept Question
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2014, 12:08:29 pm »
This strange path we are on... It is a lot like this metaphor: after a lifetime of being couch potatoes, we decided to get up off the sofa and start training for a marathon, or a triathlon. In the beginning, the most important thing is to develop endurance. Other topics don't matter to the beginner: technique, diet, affects of altitude on training, etc. As you progress in your training, you will meet other athletes with more experience. Some of them are doing exactly what you are doing, and some of them are adhering to really extreme diets or training regiments. You will have to sort out for yourself how casual or extreme to take your practice, or how comfortable to be with "the middle way".

The eightfold path is like that. For lay people, there is nothing wrong with consensual sexual activity. (I'm assuming masturbation is consensual.) For monks and nuns, all sexual activity including masturbation is not allowed. The serious meditator will at least be somewhat curious about why the Buddha was so strict about celibacy for the monastics. Sexual activity is a distraction, it undermines the quality of one's concentration. For the beginner, this side effect of sexual activity is completely imperceptible. Advanced meditators notice the difference, and have to make some decisions about whether to continue the sexual activity or become celibate.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: 3rd Precept Question
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2014, 03:25:54 pm »
Very true, advanced meditators should notice the difference, where they typically end up making a decision in regard to such activity, but on the other hand it's actually quite widespread among monastics that it's understandable why the common practitioner might disregard any position on the matter one way or another --- for example, the Pattaya newspapers report on police raids of Thai monasteries where box loads of prohibited items are carried away, including a good quantity of pornographic magazines and bottles of lube, so there's a serious problem even on the monastic level.

 


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