Originally given on 8/18/2020 at the Path of Sincerity Tuesday night Sangha, by David Sudar.
Continuing our series on the Noble Eightfold Path, in this talk we’re going to look more closely at the 3rd ethical precept (an application of Right Action), which instructs us to not cause harm with our sexuality.
Sexuality is such a rich topic that doesn’t get nearly enough attention in Buddhist circles, likely due to the classic teachings being more geared towards monastics, who are sexually abstinent. However, as laypeople, sexuality is part of our lives, and in this talk we’ll explore different ways of working with it wisely and lovingly.
We’ll look at sexuality not through absolutist lenses of right/wrong, good/bad, sinful/pure, but rather explore how relating to sexuality “wisely” can lead to connection, love and joy, while relating to it “unwisely” tends to lead to harm and suffering, on both gross and subtle levels. No way we handle it is a cause for shame, but rather an opportunity to learn and develop greater wisdom!
In particular, we’ll focus our attention on “right intention,” and see if can expose what’s motivating our sexual choices, ranging from escaping unpleasant feelings to fostering loving-kindness. We’ll also see the moderating roles of mindfulness, concentration, right view, and the precept on “not taking what hasn’t been freely offered.”
Talk for streaming or download: