using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Fall 2008
21 fall 2 00 8 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly it’s a natural expression of life. How ever, when we are seeking pleasure as an end to itself, what has the potential to be beautiful becomes suffering. At tachment to selfinterest creates an ob stacle, making it difficult to examine our intentions and actions. Fortunately, the Buddha gave us one guiding principle in areas where discernment is difficult: it is the wisdom of restraint. In other words, he recommended pausing before acting, to question an action before taking it, if there is any question about its skillfulness or wholesomeness. We need to step back and ask, will this action cause harm? The expression of our sexuality often involves the desire to meet our conscious or unconscious needs. Because of this, we may not be able to immediately dis cern the impact of our actions. This is especially apparent in situations involv ing casual sex. Given how complex our histories are, sexuality is a charged area for many people. The only way to assure that our actions will not cause harm is to know the person and his or her situ ation very well. Knowing someone well means there is an established intimacy before having sex. I have a friend who, when involved with many partners simultaneously, asked a Tibetan lama if it was OK. He reassured the lama that no one was get ting hurt. The lama was silent for a time, and then quietly asked, “Are you sure?” Of course, my friend realized he was not at all sure. As for teacherstudent relationships, they do happen. It is more likely for peo ple who are devoted to the dharma to meet at a meditation center than a bar. To protect students, the guidelines for the Insight Meditation Society and the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center teachers suggest that, following a mu tual attraction that has the potential to be an enduring relationship, a teacher must immediately disengage from the teacher’s role with that student and wait at least three months before beginning a sexual relationship. As some sanghas know all too well, sexual misconduct on a teacher’s part can be extremely divisive as well as deeply harmful. compromise the student’s relationship to the teachings. The more you see this de struction as a probable consequence, the less likely you are to jump into a sexual relationship. The less aware you are of the consequences, the stronger the at traction and the more likely you are to follow your desire. Is it possible to integrate sexuality with one’s open awareness? Yes, of course. Is it recommended as a path? No. Most people think they are capable of it. The basic principle of being open is not a misguided principle—burn and release desire and everything is clear and open. And of course, all good qualities come from being clear and open. But is it easy? No. Often the result is emotional pain, the direct consequence of following de sires and grasping rather than liberating them. So what one imagines is possible and what one can actually do are not the same things. Desire always gives one this sense of “Yes!” But it is important to have a realistic perspective, a sense of consequence. Relatively speaking— which means for most of us—desire is a question of pain, not a question of bliss. If you are overly excited about the ques tion of bringing sexuality to the path of transformation, perhaps that is a sign that it is not for you. narayan lieBenson grady: I agree that sexuality is not discussed much in Bud dhist circles, and I think it is essential, as lay practitioners, to hold this subject up to the light of the dharma. As a col league of mine says, most of us have made fools of ourselves at one point or another because of the strong tug of sexual desire. It is an arena in which delusion often reigns supreme. On an individual level, in our sanghas, and as teachers, it is necessary to learn how to use our sexual energies wisely and with the utmost compassion. Sexual activity, when aligned with ethical sensitivity, can encourage a greater degree of connectedness and in timacy. Woven naturally into a loving re lationship, it can be one of the beautiful aspects of life. Sexuality in and of itself is not a problem. As a matter of fact, BUDDHIST CHAPLAINCY Affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, and Ryukoku University, Kyoto Information regarding admissions requirements and application process available at: A three-year program of education for students seeking to serve as professional chaplains in hospitals, prisons, and the military. www.shin-ibs.edu Combine Wisdom and Compassion by Acting in Service to All Living Beings INSTITUTE OF BUDDHIST STUDIES 2140 Durant Ave., Suite 30 Berkeley, California 94704 USA (510) 809-1444 Fax (510) 809-1411