Buddhism and Celibacy

Penetrate the Empty Mind Ground

The Vinaya Discipline exists to put an end to the agency of human desire. Greed is desire, hatred is desire and delusion is desire. All desire is negative in that it fuels human ignorance and ensures the continuation of the cycle of suffering (samsara), either life to life (rebirth), or moment to moment (re-becoming). Although the Buddhist laity may engage in consensual (moral and legal) sexuality, a fully ordained Buddhist monk and nun must ‘stop’ each and every manifestation of ‘desire’ in word, deed, and thought. A more ‘Buddhist expression would be ‘thought’, ‘deed’ and ‘speech’. Desire (tanha) is a burning fire which destroys all it encounters. Indeed, the only ‘positive’ desire within Buddhist philosophy is the desire to pursue the path leading to ‘enlightenment’, and the (pure) will-power generated in the mind to uproot all negative desire in the mind, body and environment. Although lay-people can achieve enlightenment, the presence of corrupting desire within their lives often delays, blocks or hinders the process of purification. This is because as soon as a desirous thought is born in the mind, it simultaneously manifests in the body and the environment. This is to say, that a desirous thought unchecked, is not only a rarefied manifestation within the fabric of the mind, but as it spontaneously expands through the body and out into the environment, it solidifies into a concrete, material reality. As human existence is defined through greed, hatred and delusion, these three taints define, justify and maintain the world of dualistic suffering that all life inhabits. As ‘desire’ is the root of all this suffering, it must be uprooted from the mind (which must be ‘stilled’), so that this pure-mind then ‘expands’ to permeate the physical body (whilst embracing the entirety of material existence), and ‘desire’ is completely extinguished and replaced with wisdom, loving kindness and compassion. A practitioner of Chinese Ch’an should seek (whether a monastic or lay-person), to completely ‘uproot’ ALL delusion ‘here and now’ – in this very instant! Quite often, lay Chinese Ch’an practitioners apply the full Vinaya Discipline for a short-time during Ch’an Week Retreats. Lay-people can chose to voluntarily uphold the Vinaya Discipline and achieve enlightenment. This transforms all the facets of ordinary life into a type of practical yoga. This is why the Vinaya Discipline should be respected and followed with diligence! 

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