Buddhist Masculinities and Semen Retention

There are separate rules about sexual intercourse and masturbation, and they fall into different categories. Perhaps that’s why he added this, to make clear which category he is talking about.

  1. I don’t know what the Buddha think about semen retention, and it was not mentioned anywhere in the scriptures. But the idea that semen contain life energy is a common belief in India, and China.
    Life energy, prana, Chi, is circulating throughout the body, and even in the universe. A lot of methods are devised to cultivate this energy.

  2. Buddhist meditation generally do not deal with energy. Except Tantrayana, where the energy is used as a tool, developing pyschic powers and aiding Enlightenment.
    Now actually it is simple. If one release too much energy (through semen), he will be tired and drowsy. The lack of energy will simply obstruct his meditation.
    In contrary, someone who retain, accumulating tapas, will have much vigor and can meditate better.

When someone meditate, the prana will circulate. This is automatic. Especially when one enter jhana, the energy circulate faster and faster. But because Buddhist meditation generally did not pursue pyschic powers, this side effect is usually ignored.

How it would affect women practitioner? Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, bhiksuni who train in Tantrayana meditation, said that women actually can train in Tantrayana style meditation more effectively in the beginning. Because their organ located inside the body, and so it is easier… Man’s organ where they store lots of prana is located outside, and it took effort to pull energy from there and circulate it throughout the body.

  1. I have heard the legend about Phowa practice. I don’t know the truth, but the rumor said, successful Phowa practice + done for a long time, will have effect such as: the top of the skull have small protrusion, an image of Buddha imprinted on the skull (visible after being cremated etc).

lol! Whaaaah? No. Seriously. What do you mean? I don’t understand. That’s a mushroom in my profile pick :neutral_face:???

Oh gawd! I get it now. Yes. What is up with those caterpillars, indeed?

A very weird distinction. :face_with_monocle: not spiders, not bees, just caterpillars.

I think the higher attainments that were considered unobtainable to women were becoming a Buddha, being a bodhisattva, becoming a wheel-turning king, becoming Indra, etc. Arhattva was the best they could hope for in the bodies of women. To attain anything higher, they would need to be reborn as men.

Mahayana sources are a mixed bag. Some maintain this early Buddhist attitude, such as the views that we find in Kumarajiva’s commentary on the Prajnaparamita Sutra. Kumarajiva was very much a hybrid Buddhist who presented Sarvastivada and Mahayana teachings side by side on equal footing with each other.

On the other hand, there was definitely a strain of Mahayana writings that attempted to deconstruct the entire concept of “male” and “female.” They also wrote sutras that depicted girls (yes, girls, not women) upstaging supposedly wise men and conversing with the Buddha on equal footing. Probably the most famous examples are in the Vimalakirti Sutra and the Lotus Sutra. In the Vimalakirti, a goddess dresses down Sariputra for having attachments, and in the Lotus Sutra (chapter 12), a dragon king’s eight-year-old daughter transforms herself into a man and instantly accomplishes the bodhisattva practice when Sariputra tells her women can’t do that. So, there was definitely a kind of protest movement among Mahayanists - maybe they were even women writing these texts?