Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Love and Pleasure, Sex and Buddhism

Sri Lankan Theravada monk Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda (Malaysia), A Happy Married Life: A Buddhist Perspective; Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, CC Liu, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
The Thai male on the left is a novice (temporary trainee) NOT a monk. He has yet to establish himself in the fruits of recluseship. Until then he must guard his senses or come under the spell of Mara Devaputra (Cupid) craving sensuality. Thai males are temporary novices before marrying.
2. The Nature of Love and Pleasure
Waiting my whole life to be swept off my feet
Agape (Ancient Greek agapē) is a Greek term referring to "the highest form of love, charity" and "the divine love. It differs from philia, brotherly love, or philautia, self-love, as it embraces a universal, unconditional Buddist metta, altruistic friendliness, or love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstances.

It goes beyond emotions in seeking the best for others. The noun form first occurs in the Septuagint, but the verb form goes as far back as Homer (author of The Odyssey), translated literally as "affection," as in "greet with affection" and "show affection for the dead."

Other ancient authors have used forms of the word to designate love of a spouse or a family, or even affection for a particular activity (avocation, hobby, craft), in contrast to eros (affection in a sexual sense).

So there are different kinds of loving. These are variously expressed in one all-encompassing English word LOVE. Other languages differentiate, and even our modern American English recognizes many shades of it.

There is sexual love, eros, which is far more selfish than agape. Sanskrit says maitri (Pali metta) in India and Buddhist countries, which also recognize patriotism, maternal, paternal, fraternal, sensual, emotional, selfish, selfless, and universal (altruistic) love.

Who cares?
I like the pleasures of the senses lol.
If we only develop our carnal or selfish love towards each other, that cannot last long. In a truly loving relationship, we ask now how much we can get but rather how much we can give.

When youth, beauty, and complexion begin to fade away, a husband who considers only the physical may think of acquiring another younger mate, a co-wife. That type of love is more animal, selfish and carnal rather than companionate and spiritual. It is lust.

If a person develops love as an expression of human concern for another being, one will not place emphasis only on marks of external beauty and physical attractiveness of partners. Beauty and attractiveness of partners have a different, deeper source -- the heart/mind, not in the eyes.

Likewise, a wife who follows Buddhist teachings will not neglect her husband even though he has become poor, sick, or old.

"I have a fear that the modern girl loves to be Juliet, to have a dozen Romeos. She loves adventure.... The modern girl dresses not to protect herself from wind, rain, and sun, but to attract attention. She improves upon nature by painting herself..."
— Gandhi

Lust and Sex
Tough manly men don't need head.
Sex in of itself is not bad or wrong, although the temptation and craving for it always disturbs our peace of mind. That's its nature. So it is hardly conducive to emotional, mental, or spiritual development.

In ideal situations sex is the physical culmination of a deeply satisfying emotional/mental relationship, wherein both partners share more or less equally.

The portrayal of love by commercial interests in the mass media in Western culture is not "real" love, not deep or satisfying expressions of this very human impulse.

When an animal wants to have sex, it shows its "love." It is usually controlled by the female in estrus (heat) inviting it. Humans conceal this receptivity, keeping males always on the lookout for signs, hints, the mere suggestion or promise of a potential for mating.

But after having experienced sex, animals just forget all about love. For animals, sex remains an instinctive drive necessary for procreation, below the threshold of conscious will.

But human beings have much more to offer regarding the concept of love. Duties and responsibilities are important ingredients to maintain harmony, unity, fulfillment, and understanding in a relationship.

*When Things Fall Apart (
Contrary to physical sensations, impulses, or drives, sex is not the most important ingredient for happiness in a relationship. Those who have become slaves to sex, such as sex addicts (something that really exists even beyond very horny people who are not actually pathetic addicts caught in a whirlpool that's gotten beyond their control even in the face of negative consequences) would only ruin love, their humanity, and their marriages.

Apart from that women must cease to consider themselves -- as they have so long been considered by men in the patriarchy -- as objects of men's lust. The remedy may rest more in her hands than in his, even if the fault lies more with him than her.

One must refuse to adorn herself simply to please men, even if he is her date or mate, friend or husband. If she wants to be any kind of equal partner with a man, she will dress to enhance her dignity rather than cheapen it. She does not have to try to be a sex symbol.

Dating or marriage for the satisfaction of prurient sexual appetites is not much of a relationship. It is concupiscence, as Gandhi would say.

Love may indeed be a product of sex, but the reverse is likewise true: Sex is an expression of love. In the ideally happy married life, both love and sex would be together.

The Buddha's Explanation
Lacking mindfulness, we are lured in unaware.
We can study the Buddha's teachings, the Dharma, regarding the feelings or emotions men and women have for each other.

The Buddha said he had never seen any object in this world that attracts man's attention more than the form of a woman. He also said at the same time the main attraction for women is the form of a man.

This seems to say that by nature, females and males give each other worldly pleasure -- or at least extend the promise of it in our reptilian imaginations and brainstems.

When objectifying "objects" of lust, we cannot gain happiness of this kind from any other object. When we observe very carefully, we notice that among all the things that can provide pleasure, there is no other that can please all the five senses at the same time beside the human form, even for gays and transsexuals.

The ancient Greeks knew this when they said that originally males and females were one. They were separated, and the two parts that were divided are constantly seeking to be reunited as man and woman. The furtive woodland devas (fairies and shapeshifters) would probably agree.

I like how fair the Buddha is. He understands. Craving hurts, but the pleasant is pleasant.
Youthful people by nature like to indulge in sensual pleasures, which can include both skillful and unskillful things.

Good things, like the enjoyment of music, poetry, dance, good food, dress (fashion), and similar pursuits do no great harm to the body. They only distract us from noticing the fleeting nature and uncertainty of samsaric existence, so we are delayed in being able to perceive the true nature of existence and the self.
  • Prince Siddhartha's son, Prince Rahula, became at age 7 the youngest monk to be ordained. He was filled with lust, particularly around the ages of 18-20. Then only did he mature enough to be taught such things as to gain insight, attain full enlightenment, and curb his ordinary worldling interest and fancies. And he had the help of great disciples like Ananda and Sariputra, and the Buddha was often at his side or very nearby.
I need, uh. steady love. - Uh, me, too.
The faculties and senses of young people are often very fresh and alert. They are very keen to satisfy all six senses, the mind being the sixth.

Almost everyday, they plan and scheme ways and means to experience some form of pleasure. By the very nature of existence in this Sensual Sphere (Kama-Loka), one will never be completely satisfied with whatever pleasure one experiences. And the resultant craving and pining, in turn, only create more anxieties and worries.

When we ponder it deeply, we can understand that life is but a dream. In the end, what do we gain from attachment to this life, this form, these views and attachments?

Only more worries, disappointments, and frustrations, that's what. We may enjoy brief moments of pleasure, but in the final analysis, we must try to find out what the real purpose of our lives is. What is the meaning of it all? Youth rarely asks this question. It's too eager to strive for fulfillment and ignore the constant disappointments sensuality offers.

Family ties: Rahula, the Buddha, Ananda.
If one ceased to crave for sensual pleasures and did not seek to find fulfillment (lasting satisfaction, contentment) in physical comforts or the company of others, the need for marriage would not arise.

Suffering (disappointment) and worldly enjoyment are the outcome of grasping, craving, attachment, and our clingy emotions. If we try to control and suppress emotions by adopting unrealistic tactics, we create disturbances in our immaterial minds and physical bodies.

Therefore, we must learn to handle and control our human passions. Without misusing or abusing this passion, we can tame our desires through proper understanding. More

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