Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/17/2017

Gaining Control

How, then, can control of sexuality be achieved? A large measure of control can certainly be gained by concentrative (samatha) meditation practice, which stills the mind and can lead to the jhana states. In non-Buddhist systems this is probably the best that can be hoped for, and it is not to be despised. Indeed, many people, especially in the West (and probably also, e.g., in modern Japan), are so disturbed that some such calming practice is almost essential, perhaps for a very long time. But the other way, and the truly Buddhist way, which can lead right to the goal, is the way of Insight. The main scriptural basis for this is the Satipatthana Sutta.

The four foundations of mindfulness as set forth there are: mindfulness as to body, feelings, states of mind, and mind-contents. With reference to “states of mind,” it is said: “He knows lustful mind and the mind that is free from lust. He knows how lust arises and how it ceases.” This is not a manual of meditation, and it must suffice here just to indicate how by mindfulness one comes to discover how mental and physical phenomena arise and cease, and therefore, ultimately, how to bring about their cessation.

In this method, there is no forcing. Rigid suppression by an act of will is not required — and will not anyway lead to the goal. When even quite intractable-seeming personal problems are fully seen in their true nature, they will dissolve. It may take time and much perseverance, but it is a way of gentleness, which does no violence to one’s nature. Eventually, if steadfastly pursued, it can lead to the solution of all our problems, not only those connected with sex. Slowly and patiently, we can disentangle by mindfulness all the guilt feelings and other complications which may have developed. And we come to realize, probably to our surprise, that the seeing is the cure, when the seeing is deep enough.

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