How can a person be abstinent and overcome all sexual urges including self-gratification in accordance with the Buddhist tradition ? What prescription do the teachers give to get over such obstacles ?

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    As a monk or as a layperson? Which variety of Buddhism? – MatthewMartin Aug 10 '14 at 18:30
  • @MatthewMartin, would it make a difference ? isn't every person's salvation found through overcoming obstacles ? or do the scriptures say otherwise ? Pardon me for my lack of knowledge. – user638 Aug 11 '14 at 20:16
  • Buddhism isn't a single monolithic system anymore. In most Buddhisms, the laity aren't expected to be celibate. In some Buddhisms, the laity can also become enlightened in this life. In some Buddhisms, even the monks marry and have kids. In secular Buddhism, the whole topic of asceticism and no-sex/no-booze morality are a non issue. – MatthewMartin Aug 12 '14 at 1:24
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    I find that quite strange. How can one claim virtue if he does not follow the path, diluting words to mean nothing is not the way of the virtuous. Thank you for the input @MatthewMartin – user638 Aug 12 '14 at 8:11
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    My point is that many sects exist, since Buddhism.SE is about getting people the answers they want, then careful tagging helps. It's in your own interest to tag & indicate your favorite tradition else you will get answers that seem odd your current style of practice. This Sri Lankan Buddhism? Navayana? – MatthewMartin Aug 15 '14 at 2:43

Any such urge gives rise to feelings. What you should do is look at the feeling equanimously and objectively so that cravings for sensual pleasures do not arise. This is in Dependent Origination.

Initially the success would be very limited with only a few seconds of success, but as you go on the duration would increase and at one point you would be able to continuously be equanimous. To be able to do this you have to do Vipassana Meditation.

For a lay person the general recommendation is to abstain from sexual misconduct. You do not have to go to this extent, but this would become natural when you become Anāgāmi which is one Stage of Enlightenment.

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  • Also the method by @Sankha-Kulathantille is also effective if your mind is very lustful to bring some balance before Vipassana. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Aug 11 '14 at 14:31
  • Thank you for your comment, so practicing mindfulness is a prescription for this case. I will definitely take that into note. – user638 Aug 11 '14 at 20:18

Patikulamanasikara is a special meditation recommended for lustful personalities. Back in the day, in India, they used to wrap dead bodies in robes(Pansukula) and throw to a designated land without burying or burning. These places are ideal to do this kind of meditation as you can observe the rotting bodies. Nowadays, it's pretty difficult to get access to a corpse, unless you work in the morgue. Although you could google for pictures and videos of decomposing bodies. Better to start it under the guidance of a teacher. At some point, you will have to turn the meditation in to Vipassana, if you are looking for a lasting solution.

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  • Thank you for the comment Sankha, I find this quite interesting, but one could argue this act within itself could deaden the heart and make one unresponsive or in some cases traumatized, is this type of meditation not considered extreme ? – user638 Aug 11 '14 at 20:21
  • It is actually good, if one can become mentally unresponsive to sexual temptations. Subduing lust is one of the main goals of this meditation. The trauma or the shock effect can be useful to weaken the notion of 'self'. Because you will notice that what you consider to be yourself is really a heap of dirty, repulsive things. That would be an ideal platform to convert it into Vipassana. Read the benefits section here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patikulamanasikara – Sankha Kulathantille Aug 11 '14 at 21:40

Check out the Third Mindfulness training listed here: The Five Mindfulness Trainings (Page 8). These are the precepts written by Thich Nhat Hanh. I am not going to summarize his commentary, but hopefully his writing can help shed light on what you are looking at. May you be happy.

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  • Thank you Christopher, I will have a look at the link. May your life be happy and blessed as well. – user638 Aug 11 '14 at 20:22

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