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Sex & Buddhism

Couple in Park
I recently came across this post on the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order while I was preparing my slides for my Moral Studies class; it's titled "Sex and the Single-minded", written by Maitreyabandhu in the summer of 1998. An extract:

Shortly after I encountered Buddhism I confidently predicted that I would be celibate within three years. Why it was three years rather than two or five, I do not know. What I did know was that I wanted to get on with living the spiritual life as wholeheartedly and uncompromisingly as possible. To me that meant being celibate within three years.

About 12 years later I am still sexually active, still involved in the same sexual relationship, and still trying to live the spiritual life in a wholehearted and uncompromising way. It is not that I have given up on celibacy, nor that I no longer experience sexual relationships as a compromise (in some ways I feel the compromise more acutely than ever). But I have a more realistic view of the forces I am trying to transform. I have grown up a bit, and my naive confidence has been tempered by a deeper understanding of the difficulties of trying to transcend sexual desire.

The spiritual life involves transforming one′s whole being, and resolving within oneself the seemingly paradoxical tensions which that throws up. One such tension, you could say, is between the two great poles of meaning and pleasure; and spiritual life involves an attempt to unite and transcend them. A life without meaning is shallow and paltry; a life without pleasure is almost unliveable. In trying to unite and transcend them we need not only to face up to uncomfortable truths about sex and romance but also to find more genuinely satisfying sources of pleasure which, instead of distracting us from meaning, augment it.

[ Continue reading! ]
Not that I mean to preach here (thought: do Buddhists preach?), but the way this article deals with relationships (not just sex) is pretty interesting. Most of us are still in that turbulent period of life when we experience the often painful but blissful ignorance happiness of 'love'.

This article pretty much sums up our dilemma pretty much in a (rather large) nutshell. His insight into this complicated part of our lives proved very... true, at least in my case. I think the rest of you will find it just as interesting too, if not more.

When we enter a relationship at this age, what do we expect from it?
  1. Companionship? [I don't wanna be just a friend!]
  2. Love? [I love you, you love me, we are one big family...]
  3. Sex? [Banzai!]
  4. Status? [I've got one. Have you?]
  5. Pretty presents? [Roses and bouquets and chocolates and teddies and trinkets...]
  6. Fun? [I'm so bored; will you be my boyfriend?]
Seriously, when I got involved in my first relationship - well, it was in 2004, but I don't think it'd qualify as a 'relationship' per se, since it was mostly a one-sided affair on my part - I thought I was looking for 1. and 2. In the end, after countless painful moments and unreturned love - made all the more hurtful due to my reluctance to confess (and the constant circulating rumours) - I gave up entirely. Took me quite awhile to patch up the wounds, though.

In the end, I still have no idea what I was really looking for. I suppose the closest explanation would be that I was looking for someone to cherish, and to be cherished in return as well. Perhaps it was partly because of 4. too; the girl I loved liked had a crush on was one of the crowd favorites. Haven't fallen in with anyone since then.

Well, not in the traditional sense, anyway. I'm sure some of you will understand my meaning. *wink* Hope you find this article interesting. Share it with some of their friends and note their reaction. I guess some things just transcend religious boundaries, eh?

~verus rara avis~

6 mad rant(s):

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  1. Arbitary Juggernaut said...

    "Sex [Banzai]"

    LOL! XD!  

  2. Comrade Cripple said...

    Yet another article lamenting on the culture of instant gratification. Sex being something beautiful is now "commercialised" and solely for pleasure for many people. We are now in an age of hedonism.

    [juggernaut]: Sex [Kamikaze!!] Just like in Worms.  

  3. Arbitary Juggernaut said...

    Woi1 whts that s'posed to mean??!!


  4. Esther said...

    relationships. love.

    i thought i knew and understood what they meant, but in the end, i just don't get it. it's complicated, time consuming, hurtful, but the person experiencing it will gain experience, probably change his/her point of views. people i know changed for better or for worse.

    if you ask me, i'd expect companionship and probably only that for now. let me ask you, do you expect mushiness? (eg. i'd die for you, my love for you is as deep as the deepest ocean in the world, i care for you this (distance between the sun and another universe) much etc) i'm not mushy kind of person, so, i'd probably give the wrong examples.  

  5. Esther said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  6. Maverick said...

    >> comrade,

    Everything today is about instant gratification, from Maggi to Nescafe, that are all good for those on the go. What's next, hot babe action in a little packet?

    >> esther,

    Totally agreed. We're still too young for it. As for the mushiness thingy, perhaps it's something unavoidable when you get involved. Go figure! =)

    ~verus rara avis~  


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