Sutta where couple is married but don't have sex

Hi friends,

I am wondering if anyone remembers off hand the sutta where two people get married and they decide they don’t want to have sex (or even sleep in the same bed I believe) because they want to practice the dhamma and that is more important to them than sex.

I have been in a relationship for about a year now and my desire to have sex has completely disappeared. I don’t see the point in it and the pleasure is so so fleeting and pointless. I know the greater pleasure from meditating and contemplating the dhamma and renouncing and I’m hoping by my partner reading this sutta it might give her some understanding.

I took the Anigarika ordination a few years ago but came back to lay life. At this time, I have chosen to remain in lay life in a relationship, but I really just don’t want to have sex at all.

If anyone knows the sutta I’m referring to or any other suttas or references to read that you think might be helpful for myself or my girlfriend, I would really appreciate it.

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I remember this sutta (or just a story from Ajahn Brahm?) where a king (I think) marries a woman, but they are both practicing at a high level, so they leave a lotus flower between them in the marriage bed.

Also, I think maybe the king has a statue of a beautiful woman made, and is like “I’ll marry the girl who looks like this statue”

They both ordain, and the woman (as a nun) is harassed while on alms round, and the man (as a monk) decides to go on alms round for her so she doesn’t have to get harassed. They both become arahants.

Sorry I know this is super vague, but maybe it will jog someone’s memory.

AFAIK, there is no sutta about this, but in the commentary there is a story of Mahakassapa and his wife Bhadda Kalyani who are married because of their parents request, but they are both desiring to be samana, so they didn’t have sex until they separated and went forth. The story can be read here: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/hecker/wheel345.html#ch1

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I think there is a sutta where a once returner decides to be celibate, while living a lay life with his wife. Then there is Citta with his 5 wives who gives them all away after becoming a non-returner and still living a lay life!

A relationship is a ‘contract’, IMO to look after each other’s requirements. We must consider the other person’s wishes as well and they, your wishes and arrive at mutual understanding. Communication in relationships is difficult at the best of times.

with metta

I can’t think of anything in the EBT. But in some Hindu yoga traditions, they IMO do a much better job than EBT (targeted to lay people) in giving practical advice on brahmacariya for married people, and the energetic reasons on how that strengthens samadhi. If you google for brahmacariya for free articles and ebooks, you’ll come across some of them.

The very sensible advice goes something like this. From this day on, you and your wife should become like spiritual brother and sister, wearing the white robes of a brahamcari. You should have separate bedrooms, maintain chaste relationship and spend most of your time in quiet, solitary, contemplation, chanting gods name, meditating. Lay people living the holy life like this, most of them in 5 to 10 years, powered by brahmacariya, would have very powerful samadhi.

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The point is the lifestyle change to a quieter one, not running after and in doing so ruining one’s samadhi in enjoying the sense pleasures. There isn’t any ‘loss of energy’ in sense of vital energy, with the act of sex, in the Dhamma AFAIK.

with metta

Your statement is too terse for me to understand your point. In the EBT, which is targeted to monastics, not lay people, brahmacariya is required, so there is no need to for the Buddha to talk about the energetic benefits of being celibate. There isn’t a choice to make. Monastics can still dissipate lots of vital internal energy by thinking too much, whether the nature of the thoughts is kusala or not (for example MN 19).

Anybody who meditates a lot , in any contemplative tradition, and experiments with keeping or not keeping brahmacariya, the difference it makes energetically is immense, it’s not even debatable.

@frankk, I wonder if you are using the term energy in a clear sense of vital energy or praana. This concept is not found in the suttas (not that it matters I guess for this conversation, but…)… or maybe you mean it as a metaphorical sense, as in ‘spiritual energy’.

with metta

There’s AN 6.16, where a married couple is celibate for sixteen years. In Bodhi’s translation, he adds a note saying it was not uncommon in buddhist cultures for couples with children to observe celibacy.

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I mean energy in a sense qi, jing, shen. How prana corresponds to that, I’m not sure. When qi is gathered and full, one feels no need to eat. When shen is gathered and full, one has no need to sleep. When jing is gathered through brahmacariya, one has viriya, virility, vigor, vitality. When shen is full, the luminosity perceived in meditation is bright, like the sun, all day all night, mind is sharp and clear, memory is excellent, samadhi is powerful and 6 abhinna are possible. Body is light, strong, reflexes are quick. The internal energy felt within jhana is strong, one sits straight effortlessly, energetically, for hours.