Author Topic: Pornography and Masturbation  (Read 2637 times)

Orihh

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Pornography and Masturbation
« on: August 18, 2016, 02:47:14 AM »
From all my encounters with other seekers, almost everyone has had trouble with losing the appetite for lust.  So far, the most effective way that I've found to weaken this vasana has been to mindfully engage in lustful acts or to simply analyze the human body with a pure intention.  However, this has only taken me so far, and I'm eager to end this hindrance.

What advice do you have?  What have jnanis said with regards to this topic?
Om Namo Saradamma

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4017
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2016, 03:43:05 AM »
Orihh,

Quote
So far, the most effective way that I've found to weaken this vasana has been to mindfully engage in lustful acts or to simply analyze the human body with a pure intention.  However, this has only taken me so far, and I'm eager to end this hindrance.

You need to be clear....if it is an 'effective' way as you have said,why do you deem it a 'hindrance'?What do you mean by 'pure intention'?

Orihh

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2016, 03:58:03 AM »
By effective, I mean that it has lessened my desire for lust much more than any other method.  By trying to remove my conditioning and habit of viewing the human body as sexual, I can avoid temptation far better than simply suppressing temptation.  I believe Lakshmana Swamy says that suppressing desire is like pouring kerosene on a fire to put it out.

By pure intention, I mean to watch pornography or to engage in lustful acts whilst holding onto equanimity and repeating the word "watching" in the mind.  I've found that in doing this, acts which previously were coated in name and form became more pure and blank. 

Despite my efforts, these lustful desires have remained, and they can't seem to just vanish completely.  Saradamma says "Most importantly, Women, Wealth, and Power are Maha Maya.  These are very dangerous things.  People caught by these three things don't know what they're doing".  So, I feel the urge to remove this vasana quickly, if possible.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2016, 04:17:56 AM by Orihh »
Om Namo Saradamma

Orihh

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2016, 04:06:57 AM »
When I had what I believe to be an experience of the Self, I remember seeing everything to be stripped of its name and form.  Nothing had any labels or meaning, and I couldn't differentiate objects in my vision.  If I saw an apple, all I saw was an apple and nothing else.  I apologize if this doesn't make much sense...

When I practiced this mindful watching/engaging in lustful acts as I've mentioned above, I seemed to grow closer to this view (or lack of view) that I had during my experience.  I could see a human body just as it is, without any meaning placed on it, and as a result, I could remove some of the power that it once had over my mind.  I could reach a point of view where I could no longer see why anyone would find a body sexual, or would want to engage in a lustful act.  Pleasure as it was lost its value.
Om Namo Saradamma

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4017
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2016, 05:15:08 AM »
Orihh,
To stay detached as the storm of lustful emotions rise to lay seige is one way...and this is for the strong willed and certainly can be effective....but to give it a full play by watching pornography and then try to be 'mindful' is just not recommended.Why?For this simple reason that you are adding more ammunition and 'references and clues' for a future eruption .
The Recommended , time tested and honourable way is to enter into matrimony-the householder's way of living wherein the same act has a responsibility associated with it....and the focus shifts from a narcissistic outlook to a care giver approach....this refinement is a sure way to channelize the sexual energy....there is the tantric approach where in the energy can be sublimated and the awareness heightened without dissipating the sexual energy.....One develops a respectful attitude towards the spouse and instead of viewing the opposite sex as 'mere object' ,one tends to look upon them as a companion soul,a partner in the journey.
The fundamental point is this...if you do not address a 'problem' adequately it tends to grow out of proportion and takes on a totally unnatural and quirky form.

Yes...to enter into a married life is a huge responsibility...and one should be prepared for it in full measure....hence the prior stage of Brahmacharya  asrama provides the needed preparation for it....and Brahmacharya is needed for a householder as well.

So for all those who are not in a position to handle the fundamental sexual urge,the householder life is the only honorable and effective recourse....
I recommend this wonderful book by Swami Ashokananda called 'spiritual Practice'...It deals with all fundamentals in a lucid way....You may download it here:
http://www.estudantedavedanta.net/spiritual%20practice.pdf

I can only give some general guidelines here...If you push me to summarize,it will be this passage from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna :

"Suppose there are two magnets, one big and the other small. Which one will attract the iron? The big one, of course. God is the big magnet. Compared to Him, woman is a small one. What can 'woman' do?"

We need to focus on discovering this Bhakti for God and turn our energies in that direction...Make God the top priority.

The other thing I would recommend is ....do not keep referring to that 'experience'....If it had been that of the Self,you would have gained the clarity....this is not to discourage you but to help you keep focused on the most important thing....Develop the yearning for God and sustain it in whatever way.

Wishing you the very best.

Namaskar.

Sadhak

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 247
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2016, 08:30:44 AM »
Dear Orihh,

Desire and fear are two sides of the same coin.  One cannot exist without the other. Bodily functions that happen naturally is one thing. But the mind craves for more of a particular experience such as pornography etc. This craving contains its own opposite which is the fear of straying away from the 'religious path' by pornography.  The mind wants both, the pleasure of pornography in the present and the assurance of liberation in the future. (It is always in this order and it is never liberation in the present). As a compromise to have both, various methods have been cleverly devised through the centuries.  'Watching oneself 'during pornography could be one such method that I have not heard about. Others like grahastha etc are well established.  They all have the same intent of acting as a brake on craving driven by the fear of straying on the wrong path.

The basic question you are asking is 'what pleasures can I seek or what cravings are allowed and to what extent without losing my chance of liberation in the future?'.  Can we see that the question itself is false, that so long as the mind itself exists through craving and fear, liberation (Mano Nasha) is not possible.  But we can perhaps start by watching such tricks that the mind constantly plays on itself to keep it active and rejuvenated.

Orihh

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2016, 08:48:42 AM »
Thank you very much Ravi.N for your help!

I'm a slow reader, and with all the books that you recommend, I can hardly keep track!  At the moment I'm patiently getting through Swami Vivekananda's Bhakti Yoga, and I'm surely going to read The Gospel of Ramakrishna at some point. But tell me, would it be wrong to think that Truth can be found in a single sentence of these books?

I'll be moving to China in a few days, and with less distractions there I can hopefully do tapas.  If I devote all my efforts towards God, I have faith that most my problems will be put on his shoulders...

The Buddha taught that desire comes from misunderstanding.  So by seeing truthfully, one can essentially lose a desire.  This was why I decided to take up that method.  What harm could be done in viewing pornography if the intention is to discover what is actually happening, without clinging to name and form?  Perhaps we could take a look at an example: smoking addiction.  People have been relieving themselves of their smoking addictions by mindfully smoking, with the intention of discovering whatever misunderstanding they once had.  In doing so, they find that the taste of cigarettes are repulsive, and that the  feeling of smoke in their lungs is uncomfortable.  When they establish this truth, addicts find that they no longer have a desire to smoke.

Anyway, I saw Nagaraj's post in this thread http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/forum/index.php?topic=6727.msg23751#msg23751 and found Bhagavan's words to be very true.  By simply reminding myself that I'm not the body, all thoughts of lust evaporate like morning dew in the sun!  I will try this if any urges appear again.

With love,

Om Namo Saradamma

Orihh

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2016, 08:56:52 AM »
Sadhak,
What you've said is very true.  There is a dialogue in my mind of guilt and desire that plays itself out quite often.  When I stray farther from what I think is the "right path", a part of me creates a compensation based on guilt, and I will spend a moment in prayer.  When this moment passes, the dialogue resumes and my ego decides that it will be alright if I get away with a bit of sinning. 

Isn't the guilt just as harmful as the desire?  Are they not the same thing, as you mentioned?  Thank you for letting me see this reality.  What would you suggest I do to let go of the guilt and desire?  Is surrendrance and devotion to God sufficient?  Can I keep my mind on my guru to evade the ego?
Om Namo Saradamma

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4017
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2016, 09:42:12 AM »
Orihh,
You have asked:
Quote
But tell me, would it be wrong to think that Truth can be found in a single sentence of these books?

That depends on one's maturity....I am not sure whether you have heard this incident....In 1889, Swami Vivekananda visited Jaffna and made a deep impression on the 18-year-old yogaswami. During his visit, a large crowd took him in festive procession along Colombuthurai Road. As he neared the olive (illuppai) tree that Yogaswami later performed his tapas under, Vivekananda stopped the procession and disembarked from his carriage. He explained that this was sacred ground and that he preferred to walk past. He described the area around the tree as an "oasis in the desert." The next day, Yogaswami attended Vivekananda's public speech. Vivekananda began his address with "The time is short but the subject is vast." This statement went deep into Yogaswami's psyche. He repeated it like a mantra to himself and spoke it to devotees throughout his life.

you may like to read it here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogaswami

You are asking:
Quote
"What harm could be done in viewing pornography if the intention is to discover what is actually happening, without clinging to name and form?  Perhaps we could take a look at an example: smoking addiction.  People have been relieving themselves of their smoking addictions by mindfully smoking, with the intention of discovering whatever misunderstanding they once had.  In doing so, they find that the taste of cigarettes are repulsive, and that the  feeling of smoke in their lungs is uncomfortable.  When they establish this truth, addicts find that they no longer have a desire to smoke"
.

That is for you to come to grips with....The Reason is  as Sri Ramakrishna points out in this conversation:

ACTOR: "Sir, what is the difference between lust and desire?"
MASTER: "Lust is like the root of the tree, and desires are branches and twigs".

Cigarette smoking is an  acquired habit and can be got rid off fairly easily (in comparison to this urge of Lust)....Lust is deep rooted and is something that humans share with other animals in general...It is part and parcel of the physical/vital /mental dimension(annamaya ,pranamaya manomaya kosha) of homosapiens...To get rid of it is tantamount to getting rid of 'I am the Body' idea.....and to get rid of 'I am the Body idea' it is necessary to subdue lust(so this is the rationale...no fear is involved in this)....For most people ,Sex urge can be sublimated and this is only possible through trust,cooperation and understanding between couples,and this cannot be had in indulging in fetish....Only one who has practical experience can understand the nature of sublimation and how it can be done.For the advanced sadhaka,this is something that is already attenuated....although he too must be careful and aware of such onslaughts and nip it in the bud-it will be at a thought level(as an idea) and not at a vital level(as desire and urge)...He must take care to not allow it to get onto the vital level.

There is this example in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
" I have seen with my own eyes that God dwells even in the sexual organ. I saw Him once in the sexual intercourse of a dog and a bitch".
There are Tantric practices that are close to what you have mentioned....and these are termed as 'backdoor' entry to God by Sri Ramakrishna ....and he always discouraged such practices for instead of becoming backdoor entry to god they become backdoor entry to indulgence...and an ordinary man without spiritual aspiration whatsoever would be better off than the one caught up in such a predicament.

So,please take whatever you deem fit...exercise your judgement...and wish you all the very best in your new assignment to china and the life of tapasya there.

Namaskar.

Orihh

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2016, 09:57:50 AM »
Thank you so much Ravi.N, you're very generous and patient!
Om Namo Saradamma

Nagaraj

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5130
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2016, 10:49:06 AM »
Dear Orihh,

I would like to just add the following thoughts: Always remember, that darkness disappears automatically when the Sun rises. Just remember that you need not destroy darkness (and you cannot destroy it in truth). Likewise, all the issues you have before you, overcoming the lust and other vices, should be a by-product of your Bhakti (love - Bhakti is Sadhana) towards your God or Guru, and it never the other way - that God is beyond the vices and you need to overcome your vices to realise God! Realise God and the vices disappear themselves like darkness disappears when the Sun rises.

No matter how guilty one may be, no matter how bad one may be, know well that God sees you and the greatest good person as one and the same. A tear dropping from your eyes from the depths of your heart is the greatest prayer - purifier! Pray to God. He will help you. What is impossible for one who has won the grace of the Lord?

Just remember the real goal. A quote goes in Tamil, (Unnai Ni Arindayeanil unakku or kedum illai) If you know Thyself no harm can fall on you.

all the best
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Orihh

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2016, 11:35:52 AM »
you need not destroy darkness (and you cannot destroy it in truth). Likewise, all the issues you have before you, overcoming the lust and other vices, should be a by-product of your Bhakti (love - Bhakti is Sadhana) towards your God or Guru, and it never the other way


This is quality advice, thank you.  Saradamma says that questions for her arise only when surrender and devotion have been insencere.  I feel this is true even when I pose a question to this forum. Perhaps I need not look outwards for my answers, but rather inwards.  In fact, it's probably best to just look towards God, as you've said, for his light can burn the problem entirely.  Perhaps this is the meaning of Tapas - to look towards God so that he can burn all that is impure.
Om Namo Saradamma

ksksat27

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 951
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2016, 11:48:28 AM »
Dear Orihh

Not sure how far you will accept or read my answers.  but let me put across what I feel.

First and foremost,  rather than focusing your attention on lust,  try to engage in positive sadhana like japa at all other times where lust is not there.  for eg, let us say you spend 3 hours daily in lust,   try to do nama japa and satsang in the remaining 21 hours ( after deducting sleep hours )

the more we engage positively,  the vasanas will loose hold in the time allocated for lust.

Lakshmana Swamy told that satisfying desires is like pouring kerosene on the fire.  he never said that suppressing desire is like pouring kerosene.  can you kindly quote where and when such a quote is found?

And Ravi sir rightly said -- by watchfulness and other witness techniques , giving a free flow for lustful acts will never diminish it.

Orihh

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2016, 09:30:04 PM »
Dear Ksksat27,

I've read every one of your messages/posts directed towards me, each with relish and an attentive  eye!  Have you gotten my email?

Lakshmana Swamy told that satisfying desires is like pouring kerosene on the fire.  he never said that suppressing desire is like pouring kerosene.  can you kindly quote where and when such a quote is found?
You're right, Swamyji used that analogy with regards to satisfying desires, not suppressing them.  I apologize for writing otherwise.

Thank you for your advice.  Everyone's words have helped me much, and I'm sure I'll revisit them again when I encounter another obstacle.
Om Namo Saradamma

Sadhak

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 247
    • View Profile
Re: Pornography and Masturbation
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2016, 09:52:06 AM »
Dear Orihh,

"What would you suggest I do to let go of the guilt and desire?  Is surrendrance and devotion to God sufficient?  Can I keep my mind on my guru to evade the ego?"

You appear to be familiar with the teachings of not only Bhagawan but also the Buddha and I suspect probably Krishnamurti etc.  So you probably know the answer to these questions intellectually.

1. The I cannot 'do' anything to let go of desire, guilt etc.  Desire is the I, it makes up the I. Only the ending of I can end desire.  That is the answer at the absolute level.  The challenge therefore is to remain without mental activity, effort.  Given that the mind is active in a thousand different directions, a start can be made by reducing mental activity, effort. There are many ways to do this and you may call it your sadhana. This is a step at the relative level.

2.  Surrender 'to' and devotion 'to' anything still means the 'I' exists and asserting it has surrendered. Surrender is the same as death of the ego and is different from surrender to anything. Again this is at the absolute level. A small step at the relative level may be to surrender to a 'god' of your choice and allow the burden of certain aspects of your life to be carried by him.

3. Keeping the mind means keeping the ego. And it is the mind that has identified somebody or something as 'my' guru.  We don't have two egos for one to evade the other. All these are mental activities. The mind first creates problems, then tries to solve those problems. In this manner, it constantly strengthens itself. Again, at the relative level one can fix the mind on anything to reduce its activities.

You may or may not find this explanation useful. Take it for what it is worth.