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Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.

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Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Magga 8/17/18 8:19 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. rik 8/17/18 9:54 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Magga 8/20/18 7:41 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Ward Law 8/17/18 10:09 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Chris 8/17/18 12:34 PM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Magga 8/20/18 7:16 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Chris 8/21/18 8:32 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Peter Mendosa 8/21/18 10:05 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Chris 8/21/18 10:04 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Peter Mendosa 8/21/18 10:07 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Chris 8/21/18 10:24 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Peter Mendosa 8/21/18 10:31 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Chris 8/21/18 10:33 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Peter Mendosa 8/21/18 10:38 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Chris 8/21/18 10:55 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Peter Mendosa 8/21/18 11:11 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Noah D 8/17/18 5:22 PM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. B B 8/18/18 11:27 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Raving Rhubarb 8/20/18 9:14 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Peter Mendosa 8/20/18 11:54 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Ben V. 8/21/18 6:55 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. angelicphase 8/21/18 8:19 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Laurel Carrington 8/21/18 9:19 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Chris 8/21/18 9:37 AM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Todo 8/21/18 1:40 PM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Nick O 8/22/18 6:23 PM
RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness. Peter Mendosa 8/22/18 9:06 PM
Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/17/18 8:19 AM
Dear experienced yogis, 

I have an issue. And the issue is with lust. 
Whenever I come across an attractive girl, the obsession starts and it doesn't let me do my job. The problem is, In the past I've been successful in wooing girls and have been in relationships (not many though). Like most of my friends, who've had tens and tens of relationships, I have this kinda 'wanting' to be in more and more relationships like them, and a notion that it somehow will satisfy me.  So it's a never ending addiction.
 Now there's a conflict. I really don't want to do it anymore since I know that's not going to give me the real happiness or the freedom I'm looking for nor do I have time for it. I know what I want in life, and that is enlightenment. Having crossed A&P in retreats, I have had some blissful and really peaceful states in equanimity. I know the peace and happiness that I get from mediation is nothing compared to the materialistic desire that I'm obsessed over. But then, I lose everything when I come back from retreats. I easily fall back in practice. So I guess, getting a path will be my only best bet to get rid of this cycle (or is it not?) The only way I know to reach my goal is to have a regular practice and do longer retreats, but that's not going to happen for many many more months to come. I do have a regular practice of 30mins a day by the way (can't really afford more time, at this point) but I doesn't seem to be progressing the way I normally do in retreats.

 At my job, I'm involved in a very important project. And for another 6-8  more months, I have to give my best to make it successful. In the leisure time, I'm also preparing for a professional examination which I badly need to get through to become financially stable (I earn too less for the job I do). Even if I want to, I really don't have time for all this bullshit of trying to get into a relationship. Moreover, I don't find any essence in such acts. Just that I'm not able to come out of it in action.

I've tried not watching porn and not masturbate. But frequent masturbation keeps me sane. Else, it's gonna drive me crazy.
And the conflict is seriously hindering my professional life. And when the desire becomes too much, I've even thought of changing my project to the one which is way less useful for me professionally, just because it has lot of attractive females in it (crazy isn't it?). It isn't letting me concentrate on my job and give it the maximum. It's so difficult to choose sides and to decide what I'm supposed to be doing. This conflict leads to immense frustration which makes the already (apparent) meaningless world, more meaningless. More and more misery.

Sometimes I motivate myself by suppressing my obsession telling myself "One day I'll be able to do retreats and one day I'll be able to reduce my suffering to a significant amount by reaching enlightenment. Until then, I should focus just on my job and daily practice." Sometimes such motivation helps.
But there's another conflict. Having read many posts here on DhO where many enlightened practitioners have admitted that they still experience sexual desire and that they still 'suffer', sometimes gives a hard hit on my motivation. Having seen many stories of actual enlightened teachers (including one of Daniel's highly respected teachers who he considers an Arahat) sexually exploiting their students, makes me wonder how does enlightenment help me in any way? Does it really help me come out of my misery? Am I just wasting my time by not living a normal life like most of my friends do (like how they don't feel any conflict in what they're doing. They feel being in more and more relationships and having casual sex is what they're here for. They're quite happy doing that.)? Am I dreaming of something (enlightenment) which finally might not give what I'm looking for?
So, will I never be free of lust even after enlightenment?

I completely understand that these desires are mere sensations which lack essence and that it's not happening to a 'me'. Statements like "hey, don't worry, lust is a natural human thing'' won't help me either. The point is, the drive is so overpowering that I'll feel no motivation to observe these sensations off cushion/ off retreat.

I've tried cultivating strong determination and supression of my desires apart from noticing it and noting it. But none of them seem to work off cushion. The lust seems to overpower everything. I guess no less than 5-6 hours of meditation a day is enough for the kind of chaos my mind is having right now.
How do I stop feeding the desire? How do I stop feeding my mind when it says 'oh, she's too beautiful, too attractive'? What else can I do to help myself?

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/17/18 9:54 AM as a reply to Magga.
It sounds to me like you may be expecting your training in wisdom to overcome problems that would better be addressed with practice in morality (in the sense of the three trainings, as in how you interact in the world, not necessarilt the good/evil sense).  It may be useful to find a therapist with whom you can discuss your conflicted feelings around lust, relationships, and self-image.  Good luck!
 

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/17/18 10:09 AM as a reply to Magga.
This may be of little consolation to you now, but overcoming lust will be easier as you get older and the hormones begin to subside. You will more easily notice the distinction between the physical drive and the mental clinging; and the latter will more easily yield to investigation.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/17/18 12:34 PM as a reply to Magga.
In your situation, you have from the get-go set very specific limitations on how you can realistically help yourself.  So, for the benefit of anyone else that stumbles upon this thread, my advice will be accordingly set within those limitations.

Sensual desire is like a potted plant, and the roots are ignorance.  Sensual desire's roots are component building blocks of your individual ego, and determine your sense of Self.  The long term goal is obvious, you want to pierce this ignorance with the wisdom seeing emptiness, or dependant origination, which you can do by attending some retreats as soon as the time is available to you, or at a slower pace from home doing a dedicated practice.

Knowing you cannot eradicate this plant of sensual desire without cutting away the roots, you're not without tools.  Let me outline for you a brief synopsis of how mind habits are formed, as a kind of looping process:

(1) Ignorance - this false understanding of reality is the root of all mind habits and is the home of your mind's "I", or ego.  This is the launch pad of ego's actions because this is your interpretation of reality.
(2) Volitional formations - these are the warped actions of mind, body, and speech that are tainted with either aversion or clinging; in essence, the judgement we have created via ignorance, taints these actions/habits and is the basis for what is your attachment.
(3) Consciousness - this is where the action/karma leaves its actual footprint, and where we strengthen those actions that we repeat the most.  Even science finally maps this stuff now, except they call them neural pathways.
(4) Craving - this is the driving force of each attachment, and has a kind of inertia waiting in the shadows, and along with all of consciousness' cravings, forms a more refined version of what we identify as the Self, complete with all our likes and dislikes.

This outlines who we are as living beings and how we came to be, in an endlessly long, repeated chain of events.  How does this work in day to day life?  Using your senses, you experience your reality from the above vantage point.  The below process is, like in a computer program, running in an endless loop throughout your current round of rebirth:

(5) Sense Organs - it is through your 6 sense gates (mind being the 6th) that you have the ability to perceive your reality; alone, the gates don't do much, but it's important to know where they are in the chain of mind events.
(6) Sense Contact - you have made contact with an outer object, such as a form, a smell, or perhaps even a memory.  The object is identified, thereby "seemingly" judged as good or bad, which then gives rise to:
(7) Feeling - this is a pleasant feeling for things that are good, or an unpleasant feeling for things that you are averse to; like magnets we are inclined to gravitate towards positive things and we get out of the way of things we are averse to.  Neutral objects give rise to neither pleasant or unpleasant feelings.

Finally...what does feeling give rise to?

(5) Thoughts - Feelings give rise to thoughts/concepts/ideas, which if you're paying attention, was not step 8, but actually a repeat of step 5, this time using the mind gate, your 6th sense gate, which  is a new loop of sense contact with new ideas/concepts/thoughts, which give rise to more feeling, and so forth;

This all occurs blindingly fast, of course.  When actions that are repeating end up triggering the same feeling, the feeling begins to intensify, much like how a bucket begins to fill up with water when we add drops to it, and eventually, the feeling is so intense, you can't take it anymore and need release.  We handle this in different ways like blowing off steam with a fit of rage, or we seek sexual release in the case of lust, or we cry in the case of sad events, and so forth.

Okay, so there you go.  That's your mind in its endless loop of living its life.  Again, you ought to be working on eradicating ignorance, but you can't right now.  So you work on the shorter loop, the day-to-day experience loop, which begins with step 5 above.  Each round of this loop waters the seeds in the outer loop of consciousness.  When you are unalert, unmindful, your life is on auto-pilot, and you're really just a passenger along for the crazy ride.

In your, very specific case, you are dealing with lust.  You can't eradicate your ignorance.  You will never destroy the sensual desire without going deeper.  But you can be skillful, and maybe make it more manageable.  You see a pretty lady, your mind is doing its thing, adding drops to your horny bucket.  What to do?  Well, having an intelligent mind, the 6th gate, you can intervene.

From a Quora post I wrote earlier in life:
If you find it sexually arousing to think about someone's genitals, you automatically know you have a tendency of mind that judges this object, this genitalia as something desirable.  So analyze this object but in all of its distatesful ways.  Think about how dirty it is, how nasty it might sometimes smell.  Imagine it in a state of decay after the body dies, or only 50 years older than what the ideal might be for you.  Whatever.  Main thing is finding counterbalancing views of this object that are not sexually stimulating to you.  This is then practiced, again and again, ad nauseum, until it becomes habit, and you will dull those sexual urges that plague your mind.

This can "dull" your habits to a degree.  But you have to keep in mind, you are battling a lifetime of habit, and a genetic evolution of habit that makes lust one of the nastiest habits in our little brains.  But it can help.  It requires dedication and serious mindfulness.  Renunciation should be a part of your motivating energy.

Incorporate Right Speech / Right Action as much as you are able to, by speaking gently, not harshly, and overal living as morally sound as possible.  Meditate daily to keep a calmed mind.  Focusing on compassion practices helps also, as this takes your attention away from you and places it on the wellbeing of others.  Depending on your situation, this could also work wonders for you, let me know and I can go into more details.

Sorry for the very lenghty post in general, but in this forum it felt appropriate to be a little more detailed since there are some really serious seekers lurking about.  If you have any questions, please ask and I will try to clarify.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/17/18 5:22 PM as a reply to Magga.
Magga:
I have this kinda 'wanting' to be in more and more relationships like them, and a notion that it somehow will satisfy me.  So it's a never ending addiction.

---1st priority listed: sex life
So I guess, getting a path will be my only best bet to get rid of this cycle (or is it not?)

---"Could get better, could get worse, could stay the same."  - Bill Hamilton on what everyday life will be like after a 'path shift.'
The only way I know to reach my goal is to have a regular practice and do longer retreats, but that's not going to happen for many many more months to come.

---2nd priority listed: spiritual progress
I'm also preparing for a professional examination which I badly need to get through to become financially stable (I earn too less for the job I do).

---3rd priority listed: financial stability

---I would suggest that you make clear within yourself your priorities, even writing them down, if necessary (if you have not already done so).  The 4 requisites listed in the pali canon are food, shelter, clothing & medicine.  This means that financial stability is most important, by those standards.  Financial stability provides a platform for spiritual progres.  Spiritual progress includes  the 8fold path, which in turn includes having a good sex life as a lay person.  Living the 8fold path fully will likely mean developing new skills, which may include communication skills to be able to pursue harm-free, positive romantic encounters.
Sometimes I motivate myself by suppressing my obsession telling myself "One day I'll be able to do retreats and one day I'll be able to reduce my suffering to a significant amount by reaching enlightenment. Until then, I should focus just on my job and daily practice." Sometimes such motivation helps.

---Good, keep doing this (but in a gentle, easeful, 'inclining the mind' kind of way.
Having seen many stories of actual enlightened teachers (including one of Daniel's highly respected teachers who he considers an Arahat) sexually exploiting their students, makes me wonder how does enlightenment help me in any way?  Does it really help me come out of my misery?

---I'll provide a clumsy computer allegory (I'm no tech SME): operating system -> software -> hardware.  The 'path shifts' change your operating system.  This then slowly begins to affect your software (psychoemotional self structure) over time.  Once the software is updated (slow to come), eventually the hardware (the body/nervous system/energetic winds/etc.) will begin to be affected.  However, this process will take a long time, so it is not good enough to wait for this trickle down effect.

---Instead, you should 'burn the candle at both ends' as one of my friends says.  Meaning, you should practice outside-in-morality & inside-out-meditation training.  Consciously change your attitudes, moods, behavior & lifestyle based on what produces the most clarity & joy.  Choicelessly observe & investigate all that arises during formal meditation.  This combined process DOES help you come out of your misery.  Meditation alone does not help you with this fast enough.  
Am I just wasting my time by not living a normal life like most of my friends do (like how they don't feel any conflict in what they're doing. They feel being in more and more relationships and having casual sex is what they're here for. They're quite happy doing that.)? Am I dreaming of something (enlightenment) which finally might not give what I'm looking for?

---Everyone needs to work with tensions that arise in life from all the baggage they carry around.  However, people have varying degrees of suppression mechanism, repression mechanisms & sensitivity to their unconscious.  Warning: I don't know your friends, but I'm going to pretend I do for the sake of explanation.  In traditional Buddhist terms, your friends would be considered those who have less merit, thus they are reborn in the mood of a titan or demi-god realm.  They have yet to develop the metacognitive capacity to observe the causal chains of their actions & mind states.  If they did, then they would understand that the goal of life is *balance* - which includes an inward journey into one's being as well as outward development in relationships & the world in general.  

---The other thing that is going on here is sex negativity (based on a few of your references, including the nofap idea).  There are several factors including your gender (I'm assuming male), your lifestage (I'm assuming 20's or 30's & high libido), the culture you live in (likely one that socially rewards promiscuity in males), our zeitgeist (i.e. the 'MeToo' movement, pick up artistry, mainstream film & music, etc).  It's hard to pick all these strands apart to uncover whatever core emotional-self wounds are at the beating heart of this ball of yarn, but I promise that whatever they are, seeing them truly will be related to correcting for dualistic misperception ('path shifts').  I would highly advice **consciously favoring sex positivity**.  That might mean a few things, including assuming that gamifying romantic courtship is not necessary.  However, as I mentioned above, working to gain new communication skills, as well as on psychotherapy, might be necessary.
So, will I never be free of lust even after enlightenment?

---It is possible to be free within libido.  Meaning, you can be super horny all the time & it's utterly not a problem.  Merely the sound & light show emerging from the vast blissful expanse of mind.  However, this could hardly be called "lust" at that point.  You wouldn't want to not have libido, that would make you damaged in some way or another.
The point is, the drive is so overpowering that I'll feel no motivation to observe these sensations off cushion/ off retreat.

---You probably need to learn some ways to suppress this urge.  I would start with this sutta:https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.020.soma.html Those are good exercises to do off cushion when you are completely flooded with lust.

How do I stop feeding the desire? How do I stop feeding my mind when it says 'oh, she's too beautiful, too attractive'? What else can I do to help myself?

---I bet it will be a combination of multiple things, working their way in & out, over a period of time.  Working smart, consistently, with patience.  Those things would be the stuff I mentioned above.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/18/18 11:27 AM as a reply to Magga.
Dear Magga,

Words can't convey how fortunate you are to have found the dharma, to have this desire for enlightenment. You might not realize this, but you are effectively living in total darkness right now, crawling around on your hands and knees in a cave deep underground. The sexual experiences you crave are like clumps of moss or small trickles of water running down the cave walls. The dharma is like a tiny point of light in the distance, sometimes visible, sometimes obscured. 

Move towards the light as quickly as you can. Make it grow, it won't let you down. It will illuminate your circumstances. These obstacles and problems will gradually loosen and vanish into thin air. You will learn to stand on your own two legs for the first time. You will learn to walk, and then to run, until finally you are bathed in and non-dual with the light.

  • Contemplate the four thoughts that turn the mind, e.g. as described in chapter 1 - 4 of Words of My Perfect Teacher.
  • Learn to use every situation as an opportunity for practice. If you are feeling distracted try saying a mantra. 
  • Practice mindfulness and presence as much as possible. This is an indispensible basis for taking control of your actions.
  • Practice generosity & kindness. Think about how your actions impact others, and the potential you have to help others.
  • Never turn away, on any level. This is an extremely important principle. You seem to be rejecting certain aspects of your experience. As long as you do this you will be repeatedly confronted by these aspects until you learn to open to them. Stay with the experience and relax. Persevere.
  • There are also methods for transforming especially strong desires into wisdom, e.g. karmamudra. Moreover there are methods of looking into the nature of the desire so that it self-liberates, e.g. Dzogchen/Mahamudra. So don't lose hope. What you're experiencing isn't necessarily a problem. It can actually be fual for realization.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/20/18 7:16 AM as a reply to Chris.
It is very nice to see people on this forum being so understanding and responsive.

Hey Chris, that was helpful.

I just noticed, you have mentioned about having 'right effort' in an other post. I kinda understood the approach that you're suggesting there. But Could you elaborate more on that? I guess I need more practical tips of cultivating right effort. Or if you could suggest me a link where I would get something useful in that regard?
Chris:
"So analyze this object but in all of its distatesful ways.  Think about how dirty it is, how nasty it might sometimes smell.  Imagine it in a state of decay after the body dies."
Interesting that you mentioned this. I've been practicing patikula mansikara for couple of weeks now. Though I guess it has helped me a bit, I don't think it's making a big difference when I'm in the 'heat'! Anyway, I guess I need some more time to see significant changes.
By the way, I've been unknowingly contemplating on the ugly side of the body for as long as I know, from a very young age, when I first learned in detail of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. I knew that behind the skin, there's ugly, stinky mass of 'undesirable tissue'. And that has had certainly helped me a lot in not getting involved in unnecessary meaningless relationships all these years including my teens and twenties.
I always knew I was getting fooled by the biological programming of the brain. So I knew I could overcome this by spiritual practices.
But then, what happened when I actually got into spiritual practices is different. I started coming across stories of actual enlightened gurus having a screwed up sexual relationships, abusing their disciples, amongst other things.
This, along with the kind of circle I live in, my brain started getting an excuse to stop contemplating in that way. Slowly I started giving into it and here I am. Now, whenever I contemplate the body in such a way during the times of growing lust, the other part of me somehow tries to say "fuck it! I'm a human being. When enlightened ones have lust, who am I here to run away from it? What's the point of it all?" And then I give into it. Hence I'm struggling how exactly to go about it.
"It requires dedication and serious mindfulness. "
Yes, I guess this is the most important thing I require.

"Renunciation should be a part of your motivating energy."
What exactly do you mean by this? 

"Meditate daily to keep a calmed mind.  Focusing on compassion practices helps also, as this takes your attention away from you and places it on the wellbeing of others.  Depending on your situation, this could also work wonders for you, let me know and I can go into more details."
Yes, please do. I would love to hear more from you.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/20/18 7:41 AM as a reply to rik.
 
Rik:
It sounds to me like you may be expecting your training in wisdom to overcome problems that would better be addressed with practice in morality"

Hey Rik,
I agree that practice in morality will address my problem to an extent. But I'm specifically talking about the suffering that's arising from lust. My suffering is not because I think I'm doing an immoral act. I don't think I'm being immoral here. I've always involved in relationships with mutual understanding that I won't be emotionally available. But the other part of the thing is, such relationships are rare to get and they easily end. I haven't cheated on anyone nor do I have any plan to. Just that when a relationship ends, there is an intense urge to start another. And that makes me spend a lot of time and energy, which I don't have at this point. Please note that in the society that I live in, casual sex is rare to find. 'Let's date and see how it goes' attitude is also a rare thing to find. Most of them directly start a seriously involved romantic relationship or they never do it at all. So, for some one like me who's not ready for a serious romantic relationship, it's hard to convince the partner about my needs. And all these takes a lot of time and energy, a lot of searching for the right partner and hence a lot of suffering. While I'm trying to do all this stupid stuff, the spiritual part of me reminds 'why the hell am I doing what I'm doing. Why suffer so much for something that is so transient, unsatisfactory and meaningless?' And then the conflict arises and then more suffering...


Hey Noah,
NoahD:
"1st priority listed: sex life"

Nope. Sorry if I gave that kind of an impression. My 1st priority is always enlightenment. Just that I'm unable to handle my sexual urges. My first priority is definitely to eliminate the suffering that's arising from lust. Why do I have to do that? Well, for a fact that I know they're just crazy addictive sensations which have no essence and because they're  definitely hindering my spiritual and professional progress. Lust makes me spend so much time and energy like I've explained above in the reply to Rik.

"You should 'burn the candle at both ends' as one of my friends says.  Meaning, you should practice outside-in-morality & inside-out-meditation training.  Consciously change your attitudes, moods, behavior & lifestyle based on what produces the most clarity & joy.  Choicelessly observe & investigate all that arises during formal meditation.  This combined process DOES help you come out of your misery.  Meditation alone does not help you with this fast enough."
Thanks for this. I must keep reminding this myself often.

"I would start with this sutta:https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.020.soma.html Those are good exercises to do off cushion when you are completely flooded with lust."
Interesting. Thanks for the link.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/20/18 9:14 AM as a reply to Magga.
As an experiment: what happens if you invoke Metta/Karuna/Mudita in those situations?
Either for the girls or for yourself?

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/20/18 11:54 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
"When enlightened ones have lust"

thats only possible until attaining anagami

and for your situation -> Contemplating the 32 parts of the body

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 6:55 AM as a reply to Magga.
Hi Magga,
You say: "I've always involved in relationships with mutual understanding that I won't be emotionally available".

It is sometimes the case that strong lust is a mechanism to compensate an emotional cutoff, a cutting off from emotional bonding (cutting off because emotional bonding is associated with some painful memory). One discards emotional bonding to others and this leaves a sense of inner emptiness. The lust and sexual pleasure then becomes the means to attempt to fill that inner sense of emptiness. All this is usually unconscious. And since the role of the lust is to patch such a painful area of inner life, it becomes all the more harder to reduce clinging to lust.  If that is the case, that is something that can be worked on with a competent therapist that understands such unconscious mechanisms.

Best wishes on your path,

Benoit


RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 8:32 AM as a reply to Magga.
I just noticed, you have mentioned about having 'right effort' in an other post. I kinda understood the approach that you're suggesting there. But Could you elaborate more on that?
Right Effort
is a close companion of Right Mindfulness.  When we are off the cushion, Buddha implored us to guard our sense gates as if our very lives depended on it.  The Guarding of the mind is the job of Mindfulness.  Right Effort is your second line of defense.  Having noticed that an enemy has slipped through the gates, and is now sabotaging your mind, Right Effort is the recognition of this intruder, much like we do in Meditation.  We aren't repressing the intruder, going about our activities and letting him carry on, pretending we can make him go away by doing something else.  No, we have to acknowledge it, focus briefly on the intruder if necessary, then with a concentrated mind, letting go.  Basically you're taking active control over what was happening.  Before, Karma was ripening as it does, festering and multiplying itself, by itself, requiring no active participant.  By taking your full awareness and taking ownership of those mind activities, you can let go, and then immediately after, you take up a wholesome object.  Immediately bring up a known-to-you habit, like a Meta practice for example.  That's Right Effort in a nutshell. The less we perform actions of one type, they will weaken over time, like any a neglected skill.

"Renunciation should be a part of your motivating energy." What exactly do you mean by this?

Motivation is the key in all activity.  If you do your practice in slacker mode, thinking, oh, today I will try to be less this, or less that, but the next day you let everything slide, because, well, that chocolate cake is looking really good today, you're not operating from Renunciation.  You know you're not really committed.  You're trying to be sneaky, and pick and choose.  So, while that's a choice you can make, just know that you are reducing your chances of getting anywhere.  It depends on what you want to do with your life, of course.

Ultimately, your goal should be in destroying ignorance itself, which is the root of it all anyway.  Renunciation, if you can muster that kind of motivation, is added fuel to "sanding down" the thorns you keep getting snagged on.

Which leads us very nicely into the next part...
Focusing on compassion practices helps also, as this takes your attention away from you and places it on the wellbeing of others.
Many spiritual seekers are motivated in getting themselves freed from suffering.  Hey, it's still noble.  You're doing infinitely more than those that don't try to change anything and blame the world for all their problems.

But the Mahayana masters aren't making stuff up when they say you really supercharge your practice through the motivation to benefit others, isintsead of yourself.  They call it Bodhicitta, and it's often referred to as the second wing of a fully enlightened Buddha.

One, tangible reason for this, is that when you perform actions for the benefit of someone else, truly for someone else and not on the sly for yourself, then you only receive the benefits of happiness in doing that work.  You don't suffer from any karmas because you aren't creating any karmas for yourself.  You take awareness away from your own Self, from your problems, and thereby also weaken inertia from all those karmas waiting for the right conditions so they can ripen.

This takes practice, as does anything, but you really get the best returns for your effort.  Try sitting in a park, or a busy shopping mall.  Some place where people are constantly walking by, or where you can slowly walk past them.  Always a new face.  Always a new focus, like a body sweep, except it's a people sweep.  Register someone's face, then look away so you don't act like a creep, keep that face in your mind until you were successfully able to acknowledge that this person is your long lost mother.

That might sound nuts, but hear me out.  If you were told your long lost, real biological mother was going to meet you in the park today, you would right away begin any such encounter with the hope of love, belonging, and acceptance.  Most of us hang very deeply on our mothers, but you can use your father, or anyone else that means just as much to you.  So, having not known this person, but finally getting to meet them, you first have to get past that stranger's face.  They really aren't a stranger, they're your mom, and wow, you can feel happy about finally getting to meet her!  But as soon as you have met her, acknowledged her, move on to the next stranger.  This is the sweeping part.  You're practicing the recognition part.

Move on to the next, and the next, and if enough people are passing you by, you might just feel a swelling, ever increasing fount of happiness as you discover again and again, over and over, your mother.  Let that happiness rise and increase, and let it motivate you to keep looking more and more.  Be skillful, and don't dwell on one.  Be skillful, and do this for ten to fifteen minutes, every day.  Once you get the hang of it, you can meet any stranger, and instantly love them.  You will have an aura of joy about you and in your eyes, and you will engange them in a more wholesome way.

Once this practice is built up, there are ways to improve it, and there are wholesome ways to apply this recognition.  Especially when you realize, through right effort, that you encountered a beautiful sense object that you are very attracted to.  Skillfully you drop this unwholesome view, and you recognize your mother instead.  Suddenly, you transformed your unwholesome, ripening karma into wholesome meta work, saving the world, saving yourself.

Best wishes to you.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 8:19 AM as a reply to Magga.
Hi Magga.

Denying your sexuality will only make the sexual temptations grow stronger. Unless your intent is to take a vow of celibacy and join a monastery, what you might need is to learn to have a healthy relationship with your sexuality, and possibly even evaluate how you might be objectifying the opposite sex and sexual intimacy. This is extremely common, as porn is not exactly a healthy depiction of human sexuality. 

I agree with Ben V. Many people attempt to replace emotional intimacy with masturbation or sex as they’re emotionally cut off from themselves and have difficulty developing healthy and fulfilling romantic relationships.

I would seriously advise talking to a therapist if you are finding it is becoming such a big issue, as there might be something more to what you're experiencing.

Angelicphase

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 9:19 AM as a reply to angelicphase.
angelicphase:
Hi Magga.

Denying your sexuality will only make the sexual temptations grow stronger. Unless your intent is to take a vow of celibacy and join a monastery, what you might need is to learn to have a healthy relationship with your sexuality, and possibly even evaluate how you might be objectifying the opposite sex and sexual intimacy. This is extremely common, as porn is not exactly a healthy depiction of human sexuality. 

I agree with Ben V. Many people attempt to replace emotional intimacy with masturbation or sex as they’re emotionally cut off from themselves and have difficulty developing healthy and fulfilling romantic relationships.


I would seriously advise talking to a therapist if you are finding it is becoming such a big issue, as there might be something more to what you're experiencing.

Angelic phase
I second this emotion. Practices that emphasize the disgusting nature of the human body, especially the female body, can easily lead to misogyny. Christian Patristic writers (the so-called Fathers of the Church, theologians of the first few centuries C.E.) set the stage with their rejection of sexuality for a millenia-long tradition of Christian woman-hatred, regarding females as temptresses (the Adam and Eve story didn’t help). We don’t want to go there, even if the protective meditations are part of a cherished tradition. 

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 9:37 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
I will concur on one point, and disagree on a second.

Yes, if we want to "get rid of" an attachment, this is just another form of clinging, only inverted.  We ought to be accepting the attachment and dealing with its causes instead.  That's much more skillful.

I will have to disagree that aversion practices are unwise.  A practitioner can practice unwisely, but that is not the fault of a teaching.  If we consider some other form of clinging, such as a hatred for purple colored people, we could apply the very same kind of inverted teaching, learning to find the beauty and the kindness of these people, looking more than skin deep, so to speak.  Looking for all the desireable qualities, we can dull our strong, piercing hatred.

In the same way, we can dull our clinging to objects to which we feel ourselves strongly pulled.  If this ends up resulting in a hatred, we have applied the teaching incorrectly.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 10:05 AM as a reply to Chris.
You don't suffer from any karmas because you aren't creating any karmas for yourself.  



please stop spreading wrong information, this isnt how the mind works, you are generating karma no matter what is your intention, as long as there is a volition, you will generate karma 

(the word karma isnt negative ) it means action or the sum of  either good or bad volition 


Kamma is volitional activity associated with wholesome
or unwholesome cittas; its results are other cittas which experience the
maturation of kamma.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 10:04 AM as a reply to Peter Mendosa.
I stand by what I wrote, but will add a subtle correction that might please you and is a bit more accurate.

You don't suffer from any karmas because you aren't creating any karmas for your Self.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 10:07 AM as a reply to Chris.
Chris:
I stand by what I wrote, but will add a subtle correction that might please you and is a bit more accurate.

You don't suffer from any karmas because you aren't creating any karmas for your Self.


but you do know thats not how it works right?

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 10:24 AM as a reply to Peter Mendosa.
You're forcing me to infer that you understand my meaning to be that no karma is created.  My meaning is that there is no karma created that has the typical self-grasping flavor.  Bodhicitta karmas, which we might call merits, will never ripen into suffering as a result of self-cherishing.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 10:31 AM as a reply to Chris.
Chris:
You're forcing me to infer that you understand my meaning to be that no karma is created.  My meaning is that there is no karma created that has the typical self-grasping flavor.  Bodhicitta karmas, which we might call merits, will never ripen into suffering as a result of self-cherishing.


conceit is only eridacted by arahants, so even the bodhicitta generates self-producing karma(as bodhisattvas are reborn )

if you are talking about the brahmaviharas then its another topic entirely as those are working towards the 10 paramis

still karma is being generated by the volition, but as you specified those arent producing suffering due to their conditioned cittas

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 10:33 AM as a reply to Chris.
I will add that I am grateful to you, Peter.

You've reminded me that regardless of intent, choice of words and expression always matter, and especially in a setting like this where you don't have just one listener, but possibly many more, the choice of expression is even more important, because a meaning taken wrongly can misguide, lead astray, cause so much damage.

Thank you for this teaching.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 10:38 AM as a reply to Chris.
Chris:
I will add that I am grateful to you, Peter.

You've reminded me that regardless of intent, choice of words and expression always matter, and especially in a setting like this where you don't have just one listener, but possibly many more, the choice of expression is even more important, because a meaning taken wrongly can misguide, lead astray, cause so much damage.

Thank you for this teaching.


ahh come on emoticon

Its difficult to get the meaning through by only using words and typing, and its such a subtle thing, even just one word can make a whole lot of difference

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 10:55 AM as a reply to Peter Mendosa.
No, but it's true what you say.  What about all those that never speak up, never bother to ask for clarification, or raise the point.  Everyone might understand what a message says, except that one guy.  That's the real beauty behind the Sutras, I think.  Buddha answered single topics, with single, simple explanations.  There's no way to go wrong there.  He didn't write long blogs or essays or books.

In any direct student-teacher relationship, you can call it skillful means, but in any other situation, you're really taking some risks the longer and longer you babble on about some topic.  It is important.  I can't willingly, or through neglect, bring harm to someone, or cause doubt in someone's practice.  What a horrible thought.

I have this blog I've been working on.  Dharma stuff.  Already there I have this tendency to avoid traps.  You just don't know who your audience is.  Valuable food for thought, really.

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 11:11 AM as a reply to Chris.
Chris:
No, but it's true what you say.  What about all those that never speak up, never bother to ask for clarification, or raise the point.  Everyone might understand what a message says, except that one guy.  That's the real beauty behind the Sutras, I think.  Buddha answered single topics, with single, simple explanations.  There's no way to go wrong there.  He didn't write long blogs or essays or books.

In any direct student-teacher relationship, you can call it skillful means, but in any other situation, you're really taking some risks the longer and longer you babble on about some topic.  It is important.  I can't willingly, or through neglect, bring harm to someone, or cause doubt in someone's practice.  What a horrible thought.

I have this blog I've been working on.  Dharma stuff.  Already there I have this tendency to avoid traps.  You just don't know who your audience is.  Valuable food for thought, really.

yea specially for those who prefer to read rather than sit

this is why im always referring back to the text ( abhidhamma, visuddhimagga, vimuttimagga ) to avoid confusion 

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/21/18 1:40 PM as a reply to Magga.
Why do you want to make a problem out of a natural phenomenon?

Let what comes, come and let what goes, go!

This has nothing to do with realization: whether you indulge in lust or abstinate is besides the point!

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/22/18 6:23 PM as a reply to Todo.
Todo:

This has nothing to do with realization: whether you indulge in lust or abstinate is besides the point!
That's a bold way to put it, but the above is absolutely true.

During battles with alcohol, I came to this same conclusion. The problem was beyond drinking vs. sobriety. Shortly after realizing that, I stumbled upon Dharma teachings and meditation. Did this cure the drinking problem? Not at all, but it changed my life and I looked at the drinking problem differently. All the teachings boil down to one thing. That you take care to notice closely and consistently everything that happens in your experience, every day, every hour, every minute. When you look that close, you allow your mind, your subminds and your subminds' subminds realize the fighting and suffering they cause themselves and each other. After realizing that the problem was beyond drinking vs not drinking, it took me over 3 years to become free of drinking vs. non drinking. At first, I would beat myself up for drinking and then beat myself up for not drinking when it could have been a really fun night. Then I realized that you have to practice self compassion and not favor one or the other, but yet closely watch your drinking and not drinking. After a while my mind began to autonomously crave alcohol less, because I was putting in the work having the subminds train themselves and closely watching what happend when I let alcohol seep too deeply into my life. After a while drinking became less of a big deal, as did not drinking. I'd watch myself drink and not drink and I began to cling less to either. After a while it just became not drinking but if there's a drink in the future, it'll be fine because drinking and not drinking have made a truce.

You see, when you practice in this way, someday you'll see a pretty lady, feel some lust and think, "wow she's really attractive" but there won't be a problem.        

RE: Lust, Arahats and meaninglessness.
Answer
8/22/18 9:06 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
Todo:

This has nothing to do with realization: whether you indulge in lust or abstinate is besides the point!
That's a bold way to put it, but the above is absolutely true.

During battles with alcohol, I came to this same conclusion. The problem was beyond drinking vs. sobriety. Shortly after realizing that, I stumbled upon Dharma teachings and meditation. Did this cure the drinking problem? Not at all, but it changed my life and I looked at the drinking problem differently. All the teachings boil down to one thing. That you take care to notice closely and consistently everything that happens in your experience, every day, every hour, every minute. When you look that close, you allow your mind, your subminds and your subminds' subminds realize the fighting and suffering they cause themselves and each other. After realizing that the problem was beyond drinking vs not drinking, it took me over 3 years to become free of drinking vs. non drinking. At first, I would beat myself up for drinking and then beat myself up for not drinking when it could have been a really fun night. Then I realized that you have to practice self compassion and not favor one or the other, but yet closely watch your drinking and not drinking. After a while my mind began to autonomously crave alcohol less, because I was putting in the work having the subminds train themselves and closely watching what happend when I let alcohol seep too deeply into my life. After a while drinking became less of a big deal, as did not drinking. I'd watch myself drink and not drink and I began to cling less to either. After a while it just became not drinking but if there's a drink in the future, it'll be fine because drinking and not drinking have made a truce.

You see, when you practice in this way, someday you'll see a pretty lady, feel some lust and think, "wow she's really attractive" but there won't be a problem.        
Excatly, this whole thing goes beyond being good or bad, Or being a good Buddhist or a bad Buddhist.
Like those people in the west who are acting like a Bodhisattva and being all nice happy cheerful well that doesnt mean jackshit. Denying your shadows and trying to put on an act is not getting you closer to your goal. The sooner you embrace your character, the sooner you can move on and solve the puzzle. 

however if you are serious about your practice there are methods that can help you cut down your lust ie , brahmaviharas, meditation on 32 bodyparts etc