Do you have faith in celibacy?

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@Noahsark interesting name; does it have an intended meaning?

" there is no more walking the path unless one intentionally picks up restraint again. "

If something is intentionally habitual, such that there is no longer much conscious effort in its maintenance, does it not count as restraint or sila? I think perhaps it does; thoughts?




:joy:…ends with a wash.

The sexual act, no matter how caring, gentle or good intentioned, is still bound inherently with the body and bodily based pleasure.
There are many ways one could develop caring attitudes towards the other; there need not be sex involved.
Of course, being in that chosen position of an intentionally engaged in relationship, it’s better to be kind and caring as much as possible, because it’s pretty much impossible for the whole “sex” thing to not be an issue when in a relationship.


This has not been my experience or congruent with observations in this life. Perhaps this statement is missing qualifiers to “relationship” or the implied whom’s possibilities?


Sexual desire is not something everyone experiences.i have met many male monastics, for example, where the thought of sex rarely, if ever, arises; but each and every case has other obsessive thoughts instead i.e they really really love food, or are really really into tea etc

They might not think in terms of celibacy but they still need renunciation of the bodies desires/urges. In the case of food, which is necessary, Mindfulness is required, because giving it up would result in the obvious death experience.


What I mean,is, that when two people are involved, they are involved physically with their bodies. And ‘body’ implies it’s respective ‘parts’. And so sex or no-sex is also implied.
One recognises male or female, and if ones faculties aren’t impaired, one recognises the significance of implications of different genders.


@Noahsark “One recognises male or female, and if ones faculties aren’t impaired, one recognises the significance of implications of different genders.”


edited for references


This is from the Vinaya, showing that lust is not the genital organ.

Vin.3.38 “Monks, an erection occurs for five reasons: because of lust, because of excrement, because of urine, because of wind, because of being bitten by caterpillars. It is impossible, monks, it cannot be, that that monk had an erection because of lust. That monk is an arahant. There is no offence for that monk.”…

The Book of the Discipline
I.B. Horner

And this also from Vinaya, showing that , no matter what one may think or feel about sex, it’s still sex.

Bu-Pj.1.10.15 MS.173 At one time a certain monkʼs faculties were impaired.203 Thinking he would avoid an offence because he felt neither pleasure nor pain, he had sexual intercourse. They informed the Master. “Monks, whether that foolish man felt anything or did not feel anything,204 there is an offence entailing expulsion.”…

The Book of the Discipline
I.B. Horner



“One to whom it might occur,
‘I’m a woman’ or ‘I’m a man’
Or ‘I’m anything at all’—
Is fit for Mara to address”

Yes. Identifying with the body is wrong view, and so is thinking that there is NO such thing as male or female.

Denying gender is being inauthentic.
Denying that there is a body with a specific gender,is denial of an obvious phenomenon,and if one can deny the existence of this body,then one certainly will start denying everything else which arises because of it being there i.e there is no world, there is no craving,there is no ignorance,there is no problem.

The problem is in fact denial, and one denies because one craves.

It does not matter if one says ’ I am a man’,what matters is if one assumes that that is what ‘self’ is.
One could deny ones gender but then that will be what one assumes ones ‘self’ is i.e “I am genderless”.

Even to deny everything "there is nothing that is arisen/present), one will be assuming oneself as that i.e “I am the denial”


And also we should remember, that there is a community trying to live together (in forests, wandering, in rainy-period retreats etc). That all must be livable. This is surely a reason for the monastic rules to forbid something even categorically.


Yes I came to that same conclusion, and was actually just doing further reading on it when your post came up :slight_smile:

Not being ordained or trained in scriptures or the Vinaya, I admit to finding the cross relevance complicated and not-straight forward.

I’ve just been reading Ajahn Chah’s take on the matter, and realise now that utilising restraint for sense desires, and particularly for lust, is a specific technique used to enable clear seeing of the inconstancy and unsatisfactory qualities of conditioned sense desires, and developing a means to change habitual behaviour, in order to make it more mindful and heedful of all such reactions.

This doesn’t, however, negate the effect that there is more than one single sequence of actions that allows focusing on, or analysis of, mind states, and from there to do the investigations necessary for developing Nibbida. Especially when applying it to lay practice, where normally one doesn’t have the structures of the Vinaya to exert an effect. If breaking celibacy results in expulsion, for monastics, then that definitely has a significant impact as a motivating factor in choices that are made.

This is absent in lay life. As such, I find it reasonable to use any and all additional points of focus to lead to the same result, detachment and ultimately Nibidda for sensual desire - as in the personal example I gave.

If I may ask @Noahsark, and with regard to the OP, what are you wanting from this discussion? I’m unsure, given your points, if you think cellibacy is a good or possible practice, or if you are arguing that it is impossible?


Yes, certainly it’s intentional,but it’s not observed directly,it is in the BACKGROUND .
One intends, and that intention goes forth, it remains for as long as one determines it or for as long as one doesn’t intend something opposite to it.

One intends to renounce, and then while you go about your day, that intention is operating in the background. If something arises that is opposed to that intention of renunciation,you will remember it( your intention) and either indulge or restrain. If you remember to restrain often, it will become a strong habit, and when that happens, encountering any sensual possibility will only help to strengthen it even more i.e one will be reminded of the intention of renunciation that you have been developing.

One should not,however, go seek out sensual experiences so as to strengthen the intention of renunciation. Seeking out sensuality is because one is craving it. Life will bring plenty of opportunities for possibility of indulgence.

Taking on percepts, for example, or changing your life so as to remind you of that intention of renunciation,is also helpful to keep it going.

All one has to do to maintain and strengthen the intention of renunciation,is not welcome any sensuality. If one gets sensual, then the intention of renunciation is gone.


No, it was just the first comfortable name that came to mind.


Certainly :slightly_smiling_face:


I have to say I don’t find some these considerations terribly convincing. Dismissing evolutionary biology because it’s not EBT is where I’m afraid I am unable to follow.


Sure, 'being restrained by the patimokkha ’ does involve a commitment that is on show for all to see, and so potential breaking of vinaya exerts pressure on one more so than if one were to take on percepts ‘in secret’ or alone.
However, an authentic person whether lay or monastic, will be ‘pressurised’ or feel the weight of their decision/determination of precepts regardless if others know about it.

Also, ‘being restrained by patimokkha, one then has to see the danger in the slightest fault’ ,i.e one needs to go deeper ‘through’ ones chosen precept field/boundary.

This going deeper ( seeing the danger in the slightest fault’),is not optional, whether lay or monastic,if one wants to progress…i.e ‘deep’ renunciation is required for everyone if you want to be an Arahant, so to speak.

One may not have the rule regarding celibacy,but one has the instructions from the Buddha that ‘lust’ is not to be indulged even slightly.

I am all for serious celibacy, and certainly think it’s possible.
My aim was/is merely to excercise my understanding through discussion. I also have no intention to prove someone wrong or right.
Does that answer the question? I feel I have some ‘answers’ and so by starting a discussion, I can check if there is something contradictory or silly etc My way of starting the discussion may not be the usual way or in line with standards,if so I apologise?


Fare enough. I dismiss evolutionary biology because it’s not essential or relevant to the abandoning of greed,hate or delusion I.e freedom from suffering,

Evolutionary biology may or may not be true.
If it is true, one is still here and now suffering.
If it is not true,one is still here and now suffering.

To bring in evolutionary biology as the producer of lust, is an excuse to deny ones responsibility for making lustful decisions.

Evolution may be an interesting topic but it plays no part in the instructions from the Buddha.


I do not claim that evolutionary biology licences any particular behavior or gives us an excuse to ignore any training rule. I would say, though, that it helps explain many tendencies of both the body and the mind. Such knowledge seems like it might be useful, if it could be considered, rather than disregarded.


I only dismiss the evolution hypothesis because if there is lust arisen in ones experience; ones duty, if one wants it to not arise again, is not to EXPLAIN why it is there or where it came from, because there is no end to hypothesising,ones duty is to not welcome that lust (craving for pleasant feeling), to not indulge it in anyway.

Trying to explain it away, is interfering with it, is being moved by it.
One desires to explain lust away because one is affected by it, and so no matter the convincing argument as to why lust is there, still lust is there making you suffer, making you explain it.

So I have no issue exactly with evolution etc I am just pointing out that trying to ‘deal’ with lust through explaining is self defeating, so to speak.

We, of course can also discuss that evolution theory or whichever ,no problem, but still my idea that it is irrelevant to the abandoning of lust will still stand.

I meant no dismissal of you through the dismissal of evolution…in case that’s not clear.

My personal idea is that it’s not why lust is here, but what needs to be done to not suffer because of it.