November 29, 2008

"Naturally as a human being ... some kind of desire for sex comes, but then you use human intelligence..."

"... to make comprehension that those couples always full of trouble. And in some cases there is suicide, murder cases."

The Dalai Lama -- not using a translator but speaking in English -- explains why celibacy is the best way of life: "We miss something, but at the same time, compare whole life, it's better, more independence, more freedom."
Considered a Buddhist Master exempt from the religion's wheel of death and reincarnation, the Dalai Lama waxed eloquent on the Buddhist credo of non-attachment.

"Too much attachment towards your children, towards your partner," was "one of the obstacle or hindrance of peace of mind," he said.
Less attachment, more peace and freedom.

Comments please... if you are not too distracted by your own personal obstacles and hindrances.

IN THE COMMENTS: Paddy O says:
This is little different than Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7.
... I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided.

And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband.

I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.
That people assume hypocrisy on such comments is sad, but probably deserved in some cases. Not most, however. It's just the hypocrites that get in the news and cause such terrible problems.

Those that live up to this, who have lived as the Dalai Lama, do in fact find a focus and dedication. But it's hard. It's hard just like any kind of discipline is hard. Especially in a culture that equates sexual activity with identity.

Those who can face this passion, feel the burn and use the energy for positive directions, do in fact find an enlightenment of a kind that those consumed with sex can't, and won't, understand.

There was a Seinfeld episode on this... George gets entirely smarter when he can't have sex.
That "Seinfeld" episode is "The Abstinence."
Jerry: You're no longer pre-occupied with sex, so your mind is able to focus.

George: You think?

Jerry: Yeah. I mean, let's say this is your brain. (Holds lettuce head) Okay, from what I know about you, your brain consists of two parts: the intellect, represented here (Pulls off tiny piece of lettuce), and the part obsessed with sex. (Shows large piece) Now granted, you have extracted an astonishing amount from this little scrap. But with no-sex-Louise, this previously useless lump, is now functioning for the first time in its existence. (Eats tiny piece of lettuce)

George: Oh my God. I just remembered where I left my retainer in second grade. I'll see ya. (He throws finished Rubik's cube to Jerry and he exits.)....

...

Elaine: What is with all these books?

George: I stopped having sex.
But let's not forget, if we're going to believe "Seinfeld," that "the no sex thing" has a "reverse effect" on women:
Jerry: To a woman, sex is like the garbage man. You just take for granted the fact that any time you put some trash out on the street, a guy in a jumpsuit's gonna come along and pick it up. But now, it's like a garbage strike. The bags are piling up in your head. The sidewalk is blocked. Nothing's getting through. You're stupid.

Elaine: I don't understand.

Jerry: Exactly.

So this promotion of celibacy, in "Seinfeld" logic, is a male supremacy scheme.

Ah, but recognize that the "Seinfeld" logic is also a male supremacy scheme.

Which male supremacy scheme is more powerful?

49 comments:

Chris said...

Isn't it typical for religious leaders to preach celibacy while fucking everyone in sight?

David said...

Too many Oprah gigs.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

Women have more obstacles.

kynefski said...

"Too much attachment towards your children, towards your partner," was "one of the obstacle or hindrance of peace of mind," he said.

There's that Buddhist - religious, really - devotion to denigrating human experience as experienced by humans.

Original George said...

I love it when an exempt master waxes eloquent about the Wheel of Death. Gives me such a tingle.

Meade said...

"Women have more obstacles."

Sure, but it only takes one. One giant monster-like beautiful evil obstacle, and - boom - no peace of mind.

rhhardin said...

The priest of religions heads the procession, holding in one hand a white flag, the sign of peace, and in the other a golden device depicting the male and female privy parts, as if to indicate that these carnal members are most of the time, all metaphor apart, very dangerous tools in the hands of those employing them, when manipulated blindly to different and conflicting ends, instead of engendering a timely reaction against that well-known passion which causes nearly all our ills. To the small of his back is attached (artificially, of course) a horse's tail, thick and flowing, which sweeps dust off the ground. It means, beware of debasing ourselves by our behaviour to the level of animals. The coffin knows the way and moves behind the billowing vestment of the comforter. The relatives and friends of the deceased, demonstrating their position, have decided to bring up the rear of the procession.

Lautreamont

Chris said...

I still think the whole Too much attachment towards your children, towards your partner is just a move toward I'm going to do things to your children and partner that you probably wouldn't like if you weren't so enlightened

dbp said...

What is the point of all this, you know life and all. If not to become attached to things worth becoming attached to?

save_the_rustbelt said...

My wife, children and grandchildren have caused me much stress, and I wouldn't trade them for all of the nirvana in the universe.

Did I mention my grandchildren are smart and adorable?

And the celibacy thing, well, having tried it once for 48 hours, it was really overrated. Reminded me too much of junior high school, and that really sucked.

Women do have more obstacles, and they have to put up with men, but sitting around alone waiting for nirvana ain't all that hot either.

Freeman Hunt said...

He seems to have a very negative view of family life. I would not characterize family life as "always full of trouble." I do not think most families feel themselves to be on the brink of suicide or murder.

Maybe one could use human intelligence to pick a good and compatible partner and become such a partner oneself. Detaching oneself entirely from deep feelings for other people seems like an artificial path to peace of mind.

AllenS said...

Real men wear a loincloth so our testicles don't become obstacles.

Darcy said...

I cannot wrap myself around this kind of thinking. Thankfully.

Chris said...

What is the point of all this, you know life and all. If not to become attached to things worth becoming attached to?

It's actually a bit bizarre now that I think of it. The Dalai Lama isn't telling us to give up on those material things that social scientists keep trying to argue don't make us happy, he's telling us to give up on those social connections that I bet every single person who ever had a friend or sex knows are the only things that really make one happy. On the other hand, he may just be saying that one shouldn't kill one's wife and family if one catches one's wife in bed with one's best friend.

rastajenk said...

It works as a solid basis for handicapping and betting horses.

Jay said...

Ann: the character of Buddhism as a belief system has come straight from the whore's mouth itself. As a religion, it is misanthropic and has led to great mediocrity and passivity. I don't think there is another religion that teaches its followers to hate the state of being human so much. Just like what kynefski said: "devotion to denigrating human experience as experienced by humans."

And this characterization is hard to take "out of context" considering the source.

Michael_H said...

Just a guess here....doesn't celibacy sort of naturally limit the number of adherents after a generation or two?

Since Buddhism (and Buddhists) have been around since 400 AD, it's a good guess that celibacy hasn't been included in the Dharma.

Also, I'm pretty sure Richard didn't practice non-attachment when he was married to Cindy Crawford. He probably did a lot of attaching. Who wouldn't?

Michael_H said...

/Richard Gere/

Paddy O. said...

I don't know if it's a lot of negativity towards family. It is an honest suggestion that family life is a lot of trouble, though that trouble isn't always, or even often, negative.

This is little different than Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7.

Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that.

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided.

And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband.

I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.


That people assume hypocrisy on such comments is sad, but probably deserved in some cases. Not most, however. It's just the hypocrites that get in the news and cause such terrible problems.

Those that live up to this, who have lived as the Dalai Lama, do in fact find a focus and dedication. But it's hard. It's hard just like any kind of discipline is hard. Especially in a culture that equates sexual activity with identity.

Those who can face this passion, feel the burn and use the energy for positive directions, do in fact find an enlightenment of a kind that those consumed with sex can't, and won't, understand.

There was a Seinfeld episode on this... George gets entirely smarter when he can't have sex.

Meade said...

Speaking as a (albeit unconsecrated) hermit who lives in the desert and subsists on grasshoppers, I'll confess - sure I have more independence and freedom. And getting off that dizzying wheel of death and reincarnation has been a real relief.

But every now and then, just when enlightenment and nirvana seem to be right around the next seguro cactus, I'm hit by this nagging sense that a little trouble, an obstacle or two, a few ups and downs, ins and outs, some attachment and complication, in other words - a good old-fashioned roll in the hay - might be just what the doctor ordered.

ricpic said...

And once you've attained peace of mind...then what?

Chris said...

This is the fundamental problem with dogma. There is no "then what". It boggles my mind that very smart people seem to think they can draw some static picture of existence.

save_the_rustbelt said...

The Dalai Lama might want to use a translator:

"The Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual and temporal leader, on Friday said sex spelt fleeting satisfaction and trouble later, while chastity offered a better life and "more freedom."
"Sexual pressure, sexual desire, actually I think is short period satisfaction and often, that leads to more complication," the Dalai Lama told reporters in a Lagos hotel, speaking in English without a translator.

He said conjugal life caused "too much ups and downs."

Paddy O. said...

Some interesting tidbits on celibacy, From the Times

There is no "then what".

Entirely the opposite. It's all about the "then what." Celibacy is only, really, understandable if there is a very conscious, very strong perspective on the 'then what'. It's not rejected gratification, it's delayed gratification, saying people will give up what is fun for what is better.

Those who are hypocrites are revealing they don't believe in the 'then what' as much as they might say.

The 'then what' in temporal terms includes using the time and energy for other pursuits, such as charity or prayer or activism.

The goal of any abstinence, whether sex or food or sleep or whatever, is to then emphasize what it higher and better, and that's not just in vague religious ways.

William said...

Some people achieve celibacy and others have celibacy thrust upon them. If you live long enough, lust is no longer a problem. Gluttony is the abiding problem. God save me from French bakeries, but not just yet.

Chris said...

Paddy O.

"Then what" in the context I was reading it was suggestive of some Platonic end point. It's a bit like the problem of Heaven--no one really understands it. Hell is easy for all but the most privileged to understand. The Dalai Lama doesn't seem to be advocating a "wait until you are ready" view of celibacy. He seems to be saying that sex will fuck with your reason and you and others will suffer for it.

nansealinks said...

a culture that equates sexual activity with identity.

add to that career and location.

those are three primary identifiers.

Introduction #1

I am single (fe)male who is a lawyer, or doctor, or banker lving in a Manhattan apartment.

Just start reading blogger profiles. It's all we need to know in the first two seconds.

contrast with this introduction:

I am a person who tries hard to treat my body as my temple. No religion needed.

Oligonicella said...

I'm pretty certain attaining detachment from your mate and offspring will bring strife right on back into your life. Unless by detachment you mean walking off and leaving them -- and those people are not nice people.

I've actually met and talked with the monks forced into exile. Nice guys, but pretty shallow on discussion.

Chris said...

How can you treat your body as a temple without religion? You have to at least accept the notion of a temple, which has a lot of religious baggage.

nansealinks said...

I am bad at vocabulary. That part of my mind inside this body still needs work.

How about sanctuary, or oasis, or port in a storm?

Meade said...

"Which male supremacy scheme is more powerful?"

Neither. Either way, you end up in prison, in an orange jumpsuit, telling jokes no one finds funny except for Kramer.

TitusisBackfromhaving Turkey said...

I have been celibate over the past month.

Thank you.

James Wigderson said...

Do you think the celibacy improves the Lama's golf game?

And I guess he's not as much of a heavy hitter as we thought.

Meade said...

"I have been celibate over the past month. Thank you."

You're welcome.

Trooper York said...

"Also, I'm pretty sure Richard (Gere) didn't practice non-attachment when he was married to Cindy Crawford. He probably did a lot of attaching. Who wouldn't?"

I think he pretty much stopped practicing attachment after that gerbil incident.

Howard said...

To be a high priest or demi-god like the Daily Llama, I can see how doing all sorts of crazy things can help you think you are closer to the devine. Starvation, hair shirts, no sex, etc. Nothing new here.

For everyday life, there is some benefit in having a bit of non-attachment to the family. That is how one can be discipline the kids and not be consumed by petty jealousy.

I can also see his words as an opportunity to slam Buddhism and religion in general. This is a sign of attachment that makes one weak and pathetic. Always parsing words and looking for the negative in others in order to give an empty, ephemeral boost to the ego.... hey, that's what I'm doing...

HELP, HELP, PLEASE HELP ME!!!

I am hopelessly attached to my lame attempts at detachment

rhhardin said...

I am a person who tries hard to treat my body as my temple.

My body is more of a living room.

chuck b. said...

"Considered a Buddhist Master exempt from the religion's wheel of death and reincarnation..."

Meanwhile the rest of us are stuck on the goddamn hamster wheel.

Lettuce... remember the Seinfeld ep where Kramer installs a garbage disposal in his bathtub so he can cook while he showers? Lol. He made salad for the germ-phobic woman at Elaine's office. That's one of my favorites.

jdeeripper said...

Michael_H said...Richard Gere

Howard Stern's flunky Stuttering John once attempted to interview Richard Gere at a Buddhist press conference and Stuttering John said - "Whe, Whe, When you meet the Da, Da, Dalai Lama do you sa, say, say 'Hello, Dalai'".

Darcy said...

chuck b., that episode was crazy! Mixing a salad in his shower, lol!
I had to laugh, but I must say it turned my stomach as well. :)

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't think that the Dalai Lama sounds like Paul. Yes, both speak of the focus that can be acheived though celibacy, but that's where the similarity ends. Paul doesn't cast the family in a negative light, talking about marriage as always full of trouble and then bringing up suicides and murders. The Dalai Lama does. That is a major difference in tone.

Paddy O. said...

Freeman, I think your reading of Paul is right, but Paul does say "in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are" and "those who marry will experience distress in this life." I'm not sure the Dalai Lama and Paul are that far off, unless we are bringing other factors into how we read them.

Indeed, the early church, and many centuries after, did have such a strong emphasis on celibacy as a "higher calling" that it seems family life was indeed dismissed. We could even say this is still echoed in the Roman Catholic demand that all priests and other religious not marry.

Tone is very interpretive. I think, to be honest, I read the Dalai Lama with more grace, and maybe Paul with less, on their view of family (even as I utterly align with Paul spiritually).

Joe said...

The Dalai Lama is an arrogant spoiled ass. He lives a life of pampered luxury isolated from the cares of the world and pretends he's impoverished and wise to that world. He's a Chance the Gardner--someone of less than average intelligence who everyone takes seriously when he spouts his idiocy. While I don't like what the Chinese have done and are doing to Tibet, the idea of putting this man in charge sends shivers up the spine (and that's not just because he was picked entirely at random.)

Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

To those inclined to concur with Joe, I would suggest you take an open minded look at Pico Iyer's recent book: The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (2008).

And it is simply preposterous to claim (i.e., a reflection of extravagant ignorance) that the current Dalai Lama is "someone of less than average intelligence." Read any of his more technical books on Buddhism and one can get a taste of his uncommon intelligence if not wisdom.

Of course if one is generally ignorant of Buddhism (and the Hindu traditions from which it emerged), especially its psychological and philosophical dimensions, then it will be a bit difficult to appreciate much of what the Dalai Lama has taught and written, apart, that is, from his statements relating to the status of Tibet and other pronouncements intended for general consumption.

There's some material by way of an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism in a post on Pico's book at the Ratio Juris Blog: http://ratiojuris.blogspot.com/2008/03/pico-iyer-on-14th-dalai-lama.html (My biases are clearly evidenced in the post.)

Should anyone be interested in introductory books on Buddhism, please see, for example, the titles by Conze, Harvey, and Gethin, from my bibliography (see under "1. General") available here: http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/bibliography.htm

blake said...

It is possible to transcend through celibacy--but also through sex.

Or through fasting--but also through eating.

Through deprivation but also through abundance.

AllenS said...

Labels: Buddhism, celibacy, Christianity, Dalai Lama, lettuce, marriage, relationships, sex, suicide

Bill Clinton taught us that relationships and sex are not what they're made out to be.

nansealinks said...

My body is more of a living room.

that's great if you have a nice living room. The living room I live in leaves much to be desired. The floors and ceiling are painted with a white sealer primer and i swear that stuff must still give off vapors that are not suitable for breathing. Hence my cough since I've been indoors quite a bit more this month. That and the recycled milk carton carpet. IF i treat my body like that...

FWIW...I know I'll take heat as some green weirdo, but I do consider the best temple I've ever attended is the one i go outside to recreate in.

nansealinks said...

too carify my lack of vocabulary and explanation above.:

On sex, celibacy, cleanses, revirgination, honking for peace, but not for piece, and phantasmagoria

sex does not have to wain with age. sex wains with other physical activity in your life. There are plenty of studies done with older, active people who have active sexual lives and/or appetites, maybe even more voracious than in their previous days.

In addition, you may redirect your sexual appetite into a physical appetite in the form of a workout, or you may redirect your appetite with use of your mind or even a religion or faith. Just as if you are dieting or ridding the body of toxins in a body cleanse, the appetite is there; you just find a way to control it until you come to a more ideal state where you know that the food and external matter, bodies, etc you are taking into yourself are ones that are going to benefit your system properly and feel good. that may be purely with mind or may be a return to a physical. that is what you decide. However, if you age and become lazy in whatever way, it is hard to direct any appetite of any kind, hence they may become uncontrollable.

Also, you may go through a health process of eliminating junk food in your diet. It does not mean that you never crave it again or will never eat it. It's just after you know the proper food that your body truly craves, that then stuffing a no value added, chemical laden "nourishment" in your dietary tract, well, the nourishment and value just isn't there where you are wanting or expecting it. On the other hand you can get a proper sized piece of handmade baklava which is high in fat and drenched in syrup, and you can appreciate those rich calories in a newfound way with control.

For the sexual research people taking notes: I can honestly say that my sexual appetite is the same as any other time in my 30 + a bit years of legally being of age to do it. I chose to redirect those energies because I know as a faithful (yet-can-and has been-tripped-up and it hurts) person, I need sensuality/sexuality coupled with sentiments. I mean really: does the guy in that sports car in the right-on-red lane, who was "on my ass" (even wearing a winter jacket and not my short shorts) honking and inching along behind me instead of keeping up with traffic, really think I am going to turn around hop in his car and take a free ride when I was walking at a deliberate pace and face- with direction to a goal. Phantasmagoria, next?