Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 12/10/2012


In some ways I think you could easily boil down the entire Doctrine and Discipline to the process of freeing oneself from desire. However, as far as lay practice is concerned, there seem to be precious few teachers who focus on this aspect of the path. As always, i/m writing from within the cramped confines of my own experience but struggling with sexual desire has been a major challenge for me since the first time I realized that restraint was a necessary part of the Path. I guess what has me so unnervecd is simplthe sheer strength and power of sexual energy–it seems to possess the potential to ravage all in its path and quicklymakes mincemeat of all of my resolves.

So far I haven’t found the silver bullet and it surprises me that that’s precisely what I’m looking for. Still, beyond sheer force of will and distraction there must be something more in the toolbox. I have experimented with asubha contemplations and the 5 subjects for frequent recollection but the tsunami of sexual energy washes all of that away when the mind is unconcentrated and it is a theory of mine that these practices do little for a scattered mind in the first place. For now will-power and reflection where I can get it will have to do but this morning’s sit felt more like triage then meditation.


  1. I have days where sexual urges seem to try to dominate, but it seems to be linked to occasions when either my wife and I have been particularly “active” or when I’ve been exposed to a lot of “entertainment” activities like movies (is it even possible to watch a movie without seeing something sexual on screen anymore?).

    in my case, I have come to the conclusion that it is nearly impossible to maintain a marriage while also subduing sexual desire (unless one’s partner is also working toward the same goal).

    That isn’t to say it is pointless to put forth the effort.

    I do think it is useful to, in addition to foulness contemplation and the 5 recollections, visualize what I think the subject of my desire will look like in 10, 20,40, 80, etc. years.

    Ultimately, I think the best tool in the box is sheer mindfulness. When we see the mind wandering off into these desires, we can choose to control it (or not). I’ve chosen to hold the reins for the greater part of the last year and, while I stumble a bit here and there, I can’t imagine ever intentionally letting go again.

    May you find peace in your search for command over the mind, and be well, friend.

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