Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Sexual misconduct, good/bad, karma (video)

Sue Tissue/Suburban Lawns ("Janitor"); Whitney Cummings; Ven. Nyanatiloka (Anton Gueth), Buddhist Dictionary; Ananda (Dharma Buddhist Meditation), Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

I want to be sexy, sensual, and live it up.
I want to be good. Everyone, especially my mom, tells me to. But what in the world does "good" mean? It's ALL relative...isn't it?

The Buddha taught that intention (cetana, volition, underlying motive) distinguishes "good" from "bad." There are only six root-motivations for good and bad deeds. These motives color karma (our actions of thought, speech, or deed), making them skillful or unskillful, wholesome or unwholesome, bearing desirable or undesirable results, ripening in pleasure or pain, good or bad:
  1. nongreed (letting go, generosity)
  2. nonhatred (loving kindness, compassion)
  3. nondelusion (wisdom, insight)
  4. greed (liking, clinging)
  5. hatred (disliking, aversion)
  6. delusion (ignorance, wrong view).
When one knows and sees, one agrees with the B
Why did the Buddha call any act "good"? It's good because it ripens in happiness when it finally ripens (which can be many lifetimes from now). It's "bad" because it ripens, when it finally ripens, in disappointment/suffering.

When we do something, we feel either good, bad, or neutral as a result, but that karma has not yet born fruit. When it does, that's what the Buddha was talking about. For example, kill or steal and you may not feel bad about it now. But you sure will when that karma of killing or stealing comes to fruition with unfortunate rebirths in miserable destinations, shortened lifespans, sickliness, poverty, and so on.

It is NOT one to one, one cause to one effect. A single act produces an exponential number of results. (Why? There are many "mind moments" or cittas behind an act, each leaving a trace or seed that bears fruit, or so the Abhidharma explains. Karma is the action, and the results are called the vipaka and the phala, the karmic resultants and fruit).

Our culture says, "You reap what you sow" or "What comes around goes around." These are apt descriptions of karma because one seed leads to many fruits, and what goes around goes around many times. This revolving around making karma and reaping the results is called samsara, the Wheel of Life and Death.

Karma is not one and done. "Cast your bread upon the water" and watch it multiply. But this is actually good news if we use the knowledge skillfully: Doing good produces many more wished for results: one seed, many fruits. Plant many good seeds now when it's possible. There comes a time, reborn in certain places, that it is not possible to do any good. This is the place to plant. "Karma: It's everywhere you're going to be."

Ten deeds are very "good" because they bring about desirable results, wished for outcomes, fortunate destinations.

In one sutra in the Book of Sixes (Numerical Discourses), the Buddha lists six wished for things that are hard to come by. He teaches that they cannot be obtained by wishing, for if they could, Who would not already have them?

The Ten Courses of Action or karma-patha are ten kinds of wholesome deeds and their opposites, the ten unwholesome actions:

I. Ten wholesome courses of action (kusala-kamma-patha)
  • Yeah, but what is "sexual misconduct" exactly?*
    three bodily actions: refraining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct;
  • four verbal actions: refraining from lying/bearing false witness, slandering, speaking harshly, and foolish babbling (and instead engaging in true, conciliatory, mild, and wise speech);
  • three mental actions: letting go (unselfish giving), friendliness, developing right views.
Both lists occur repeatedly, for example, in A.X.28, 176; MN 9; they are explained in detail in MN 114, and in the Commentary to MN 9 (R. Und., p. 14), Atthasālini Tr. I, 126ff.

NOTE: To really do the Pali language terms justice in translation, it would be necessary to include the positive English words. It is not simply a matter of refraining from doing harm, as there is also the active-good implicit in each of the six terms. "Nongreed" literally means letting go, liberality, giving, generosity, unselfishness, sharing. "Nonhatred" means more than the absence of anger and animosity; it means the presence of loving-kindness, friendliness, helpfulness, and goodwill. "Nondelusion" means wisdom, right views, insight, knowing, understanding, penetrating the truth.

II. Ten unwholesome courses of action (akusala-kamma-patha)
  • three bodily actions: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct;
  • four verbal actions: lying/bearing false witness, slandering, speaking harshly, foolish babbling;
  • three mental actions: covetousness, ill-will, wrong views [also called the Three Poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion or passion, aversion, and confusion all rooted in ignorance].
I'm going vegan, recycling, avoiding synthetics.
Unwholesome mental courses of action comprise only extreme forms of defiled thought: The greedy wish to appropriate others' property, the hateful think of harming others, and the foolish cling to pernicious wrong views.

Milder forms of the mental defilements are also unwholesome, but they do not constitute "courses" of action, which have the power to lead to a fortunate or unfortunate rebirth.

"Sexual misconduct" DEFINED
WARNING: Profanity, graphic sexual references, loving relationships, marriage, divorce, and sex!

So then sex between consenting adults is OK?
The meaning of SEXUAL MISCONDUCT (kamesu micchacara) is "to conduct oneself unskillfully (badly, wrongly) in matters of sensuality." The Buddha got much more specific. At a minimum, it means not having sexual intercourse with any of these ten "out of bounds" persons:
  1. those under the protection of a father,
  2. under the protection of a mother,
  3. of a father and mother,
  4. of a brother,
  5. of a sister,
  6. of extended family,
  7. of their religious community (a),
  8. or those promised in [an arranged] marriage (b),
  9. or those forbidden (c),
  10. or those betrothed [engaged] with a garland (d).
One gives up sexual misconduct and abstains from it. One does not have sexual intercourse with any of those ten "off limits" people. In this way, there is success [in living] rather than tainted failure.
  • a) Dhamma-rakkhita. Commentary: sahadhammikehi rakkhita, "protected by one's co-religionists."
  • b) Promised at birth or in childhood.
  • c) Sa-parida.n.da: literally, "under punishment." Commentary to MN 41: "This refers to a [person] about whom [the authorities] announce in the house, street, or village, 'One who consorts (sexually) with a person of such-and-such a name will be punished.'" — An alternative interpretation: "convicts" [who are being punished and are therefore off-limits and "forbidden" by the community or local authority].
  • d) Commentary to MN 41: "One whom another has garlanded [engaged by some token such as a flower-garland or ring] to express the intention, 'This person will be my spouse.'"

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