Do you have faith in celibacy?

When it comes to hardcore celibacy, we cannot lose, yet how many of us actually go all the way with it?

In fact,most of the world’s problems would be cured with celibacy, but obviously, this being samsara, it will never happen. However, the Buddha did declare that saying no to sensuality forever would result in freedom from all the dangers of sensuality forever, it will result in Nibbana.
In the methuna sutta, the attitude of full celibacy forever, is praised by the Buddha, and anything less is just not good enough.

It’s clear to most people, that sexual intercourse or sensual addictions of one kind or another are burdens,they make us feel dirty, they control us, we are pulled in all sorts of directions trying to satisfy this itch MN.79, and I think that nobody wants to be in that position.

Then we have the Buddha or other wise people praising full celibacy , saying, what we know deep inside,that renouncing sensuality forever would be truly satisfying.

Yet, for the most part, we only restrain for short periods of time. We go on retreat ,but still intend to go back to sensuality. Even the attitude of ‘never again in this lifetime’ is good but not good enough, because it implies that ’ in future lives i MIGHT go back to sensuality’, one entertains a possibility.

Full hardcore celibacy is when one does not entertain even the smallest of possibilities for sensuality ever again.

Saying no to sensuality until Monday or saying NO forever, are two very different levels of commitment. They feel very different.

When you go all out with celibacy, you are actually putting yourself in a position which is secluded from the senses (jhanas), you free yourself there and then from many dangers, it’s a peaceful abiding praised by the Buddha.
One cannot lose.

So why is it not done?
If you have faith in the Buddha, then why give in to that weakness of indulging in sense pleasures?
Why can’t you just say NO forever?


Greetings Noahsark and welcome to the forum. Celibacy is one of the areas that is frequently discussed, and there are quite a few topics on the subject.

This forum is run in such a way as to allow for searches on specific subjects, and remains available via archiving. In order to minimise duplication of popular topics, members are encouraged to have a look through existing topics, before starting a new one. This can easily be done using the large Q icon on the upper right hand side of the menu.

When typing celibacy into the search, these are the results that come up.
Some of the issues you mention have led to interesting discussions here



Habit, ignorance and not having enough time to practice jhana all the time, not working on defilements come to mind.

1 Like

Sure, no problem, I will try that in the future.
I just thought that those past topics were ‘old’ and quite general, so I didn’t want to throw in a random ‘essay’ there ,dealing with a specific sutta.

Maybe I should have just labelled this topic as AN7:50?, because the question I raise is in regard to this sutta, or am I somehow missing your point?

If I want to speak about MN1 , for example,you are suggesting that I should do a search for the topic and then just add my discussion point there?
Hopefully I can get it right?

1 Like

Yes those are the ‘usual suspects’.

Being celibate , however,is pretty much going in the same direction as jhana. So if someone were to think that the reason why they aren’t celibate is because they do not do jhana enough, I think that’s because they have maybe a secret desire that jhana will make celibacy easier because celibacy is hard.
But what is difficult, in reality, is saying YES to sensuality; its a whole lot of work.

The habit of saying yes,is an obstacle,and changing that is not just as easy as saying no. But how else to do it, than to just keep saying no persistently? By pressing the tongue to the roof of the mouth and keep going with faith😛

Not being celibate, I would say is the biggest obstacle to being celibate.

Not necessarily. One might renounce sensual lust… only to fall into the trap of identifying with, and delighting in, views and nonsensual abstract thoughts.


Often we find that people ask very similar questions so, as per the guidelines, a quick look through existing topics can be a useful first step. If there is a relevant topic, then yes, just add in to the existing topic. If there is something you wish to discuss that isn’t there, then go ahead and start a new topic :slight_smile: We try to keep topics ‘tidy’ and sticking to the subject of the opening post. This forum isn’t like a general chat room, but much more specifically targetted to EBTs. It was initially developed to act as a support to the people working on Sutta Central, sourcing texts and translations and developing the site to make them easily accessible. The scope of the forum has widened a little, but for general dhamma discussions other sites like dhammawheel and the BSWA forum are more appropriate. I hope this clarifies things a bit more :slight_smile:


Same direction as jhana as in, being secluded from the senses.

Renunciation, celibacy, generosity all emulate the right ‘order’, they are acts that emulate Nibbana,they emulate the action of an arahant, they partake in the same direction as anatta etc and that’s why they are meritorious.

Meritorious because they are ,however slightly, aligned with non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion.

Yes, one can still fail , change direction or veer off, so to speak.

1 Like

Ok, I will try keep it tidy.
Let me know if a mess occurs.

Very true. In my own meditation practice, though, the greatest obstacle isn’t lust. It’s sitting on the cushion and thinking thoughts about the dhamma – when I ought to be paying attention to my meditation object instead.


Look :eyes:

so long as they don’t achieve the rapture and bliss that are apart from sensual pleasures and unskillful qualities, or something even more peaceful than that, they might still return to sensual pleasures. SuttaCentral

1 Like

Yes, experiencing a higher pleasure indeed.

One must first be celibate and then discern that ‘pleasure’ of renunciation, which is there immediately actually, but what one looks for instead, is a sense pleasure because that’s all one knows.
The pleasure beyond senses, one is not familiar with, but it is there simultaneously with renunciation.

For example, being celibate one can see also that one is peaceful, and not being overcome with sensuality at that time.

If one does not discern the pleasure of renunciation which is there, then most likely one will return to sensuality.

I cheat. I listen to DN33 while walking. DN33 is my meditation focus. I can’t lose because even my distracted thoughts are about the Dhamma.

The oddest thing about sex is that after sex one does not want sex. Every time, right?

So essentially the desire for sex is the desire to not want sex. So why not just skip the middle and arrive at the end?


If one doesn’t stop, one will not stop.


Well I guess you could say that, but only in the sense that the problems would be “cured” by exterminating the human race. I think that’s a cure many people would find far worse than the disease.


It would not be an exterminating, as in someone killing others. If it was some kind of forced celibacy, then ok, because people would not want that.

The cure, indeed, is not starving,or killing all humans to end samsara.
But on a more personal level, not on the level of the world, most of ones own problems in regards to the world an existence would be solved.

Celibacy would in a way, end the world or solve all the world’s problems for you.


328: ?

Just as, mendicants, even a tiny bit of feces still stinks,“Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, appamattakopi gūthoduggandho hoti;so too I don’t approve of even a tiny bit of existence, not even for the length of a finger snap.”evamevaṃ kho ahaṃ, bhikkhave, appamattakampibhavaṃ na vaṇṇemi, antamasoaccharāsaṅghātamattampi”.

Yes, @Thaniyo_Bhikkhu, I don’t challenge the idea that the Buddha taught that celibacy is an essential component of the path to ultimate peace and the complete cessstion of suffering.

But it is also true that those who live in the world and build healthy families and communities, with an economic surplus capable of sustaining monastics, make it possible for some people to pursue that path.

Also, while I think it is no doubt true that sexual craving is burdensome, and thus in some sense always unsatisfactory or suffering, I don’t think it is true that people universally feel dirty when they participate in sexual activity. I think many people, if they are fortunate enough to have a kind and loving partner, can feel relaxed and fulfilled and comforted.


“If there were not pleasure in form, beings would not delight in it” … said somewhere in some sutta?

Yes,I agree people can have harmonious relationships while being engaged in sensuality because they do not see the danger that they are exposed to. No matter how hard they love within sensuality, they are still within it.
If they saw the danger, they would not be doing it.

Craving and ignorance make the world go round.

Which is not the Nibbana that the Buddha speaks of as the goal.

If, Mahali, this form were exclusively suffering, immersed in suffering, steeped in suffering, and if it were not also steeped in pleasure, beings would not become enamoured with it. But because form is pleasurable, immersed in pleasure, steeped in pleasure, and is not steeped only in suffering, beings become enamoured with it. By being enamoured with it, they are captivated by it, and by being captivated by it they are defiled. This, Mahali, is a cause and condition for the defilement of beings; it is thus that beings are defiled with cause and condition"

No indeed. But it need not involve feeling “dirty”.