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I am practicing celibacy from last 6 months. I cannot control my nocturnal emissions. I have some control but not complete control. In the beginning I used to get wet dreams every 10-12 days and now I get them every 45-50 days. I have extremely pure thoughts all day long. I don't think that I'll ever get sexual thought again. I believe that I have trained my mind very well. One the nights when the emission happens I don't have any erotic dreams, it happens without any sexual thought or an erotic dream.

I practise Halassana & Balasana every day without fail. I also do physical activity running mainly. Why am I still not able to control wet dreams? I want to get rid of them completely.

I researched a lot on the web but couldn't find any satisfactory answer for the following questions:

Do all monks get nocturnal emissions? How often does it happen to them especially young monks age around 24-25? If it happens to them, what do they do about it? If it doesn't then, how does they train themselves to reach that level?

Note: I am new to this site so don't know what would be the appropriate tags for the question so kindly edit if they are not suitable. If the question is not appropriate for the site, instead of downvoting it, let me know via comment, I will take it down myself.

  • The are small monks, large, monks, black, white, smart, foolish... worldlings, Noble Ones and Arahats... which is asked about? It's a matter of fruit and path, Sati and abound of fetters to get ride of such in what ever age, color, cloth, good householder. Mindful going on sleep. (it's not to be expected that a serious monk would share his obstacles) Sadhu for effort! – Samana Johann May 5 at 13:39
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In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with having nocturnal emissions. It's a completely natural physiological function.

I even dare to say that nocturnal emissions should happen in young and healthy males. If you'd have no emissions, it would mean that you have too low testosterone, testicular disease or other problems.

You say you have no "impure" thoughts, therefore there is no reason for you to feel regret or remorse. Quite the opposite, be grateful that your body is healthy and working well.

Please, don't worry about it. Many ascetics are too harsh on themselves and are trying to stop their desires or bodily functions by practising extreme fasting or some even emasculate themselves. These things are extreme and quite opposite to the Middle Path which Buddha taught. Don't damage yourself, be compassionate to yourself.

On the other hand, there is another extremity, which is the commitment to sensual pleasures, but I think it's not your case.

Peace

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For young monks nocturnal emissions could be quite frequent, maybe even more than once a week. For young people, I'm not sure it's possible to completely stop that.

Some of the things Buddhist monks and taoist immortals practice that help reduce emissions. - sleeping in lions posture (easier to stay conscious and alert), don't oversleep (if you dream a lot you may be oversleeping) - adjust your diet (the more meat, salty, spicy and tasty, pungent roots like garlic, onion family tends to stimulate sexual fluid production). - doing the right kinds of exercise, sufficient cardio, right kind of qigong and yoga, will help open up energy channels and reduce stress and potential for emissions.

The most important part, for both Buddhist and Taoist, is keeping the mind pure. You say your thoughts are pure all day, are you sure? When you have your nocturnal emission, what happened at that moment and before?

If you're mind is pure, then the emission happens without erotic imagery or thoughts, and it's just an orgasm with emission. This is blameless, and the best you can do. Don't beat yourself up and obsess over it. Each cell in the body has at most a lifespan of 7 years before it dies, is eliminated and replaced. The biological imperative to continue the species demands that fresh quality semen is always on tap and ready to produce healthy offspring. So in theory, even monks who attained arahantship who were young, probably still had nocturnal emissions, but without lust of course. They also had to eat and shit, bleed, and get ill from viruses, why would they not have emissions?

Adjusting diet, not overeating, eating more vegetarian diet will reduce production of sexual fluid. One monk I spoke to, in his 30's, was averaging he said about 1 nocturnal emission a year. But he's also vegetarian, eating one meal a day.

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  • Once a year is extraordinary. I am vegetarian. Could you throw some more light on it? Please reread my question details. Maybe you can come up with some more ideas. – Heisenberg May 7 at 17:32
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I overcome this issue in the past, I will explain how I did it, but it still remain a concern related to our level of "awarness" (clarity). As Frankk already answered, we are talking about a natural activity rooted to our physical body, so nothing "evil" related to it since it's a fully unintentional phenomenon and just a "biological" function.

So this is the first step: recognize there is nothing "bad" related to it and consider it just another situation in the path where we want to focus/expand our awarness. No matter if we have success or fail correcting it ("nor accept, nor reject").

Frankk already provided good points to start with, correcting diet and sleeping position.

In my case meditating during daylight about the impermanence of the body, illusion of time (how we consider it) and about what is sexual activity itself, helped me a lot into taking control of that during sleeping. If you expand your awarness into these fields and observe them in that presence, you will finally recognize them as illusions and realize the "samsaric" nature of the sexual reproducting act. I suggest to dedicate at least one day of practice to each of that arguments.

Also, practicing "Yoga of the Dream" (or "Dream Yoga") at night, totally ended the issue. I would like to point out that in Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Yoga of the Dream is a fundamental part of one's life practice and not realted to this argument only: during the day we apply our various sadhana and meditation/contemplation practice, but what happens when we go to sleep?

Tibetan Buddhism consider sleeping a similar state as the Bardo of the death: our mind fell asleep loosing clarity and it temporarily stop it's functions. But at a certain point in the night the mind awaken (science call it "REM fase") and we start to dream. Dreams are related to our karmic vision, so are usually based on the actions and situations of our ordinary life, exactly how is described to happen in the Bardo of death. So practicing the Yoga of Dream, ones is able to expand it's awarness (presence, calrity) into the dream state, Western call it "lucid dreaming".

Althoug this practice isn't the same thing as "lucid dreaming" it lead to similar results and beyond: as a relative level you will be able to control dreams as you like, recognize them as illusion while you are dreaming and transform them. On the absolute level, this practice is an important preparation to the Bardo of the Death: if one succeed into realizing this practice, at the moment of death, you will have good chances to recognize Bardo visions as illusions and liberate yourself from Samsara. So that is why it is considered a very important practice.

I don't know from which Buddhist Tradition you come, but if you can find an authorized Master in your country, you could ask to receive transmission/explanation of this practice. Or maybe you can directly search for some teaching retreat related to this practice and partecipate to it.

Of course I suggest to receive this practice to everyone's reading this post, since it is related not only to end any kind of dreaming problems but also a fundamental practice to attain total realization.

(please remember those practices are related to direct transmission, so of course you can read a book about them to get a general idea, but then you will need instructions from a proper master/instructor to get practical results)

Namasté, may all beings benefit from this short explanation.

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  • You have explained a few things quite well. Although I have still some questions unanswered. Firstly, now I don't see anything erotic in my dreams when it happens. It happens without me aware of it. Secondly, I would like to break it to you that I'm not a Buddhist but I am very much influenced by Gautam Buddha and I am drawn towards buddhist way of living. First thing that I want is to attain celibacy then I would like to tread this path further. I am able to control my thoughts completely but I want to reach much higher level than this. Unfortunately,I don't have any master who could teach me – Heisenberg May 7 at 17:29
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I am practicing celibacy from last 6 months. I cannot control my nocturnal emissions.

Buddhism does not teach to control nocturnal emissions, apart from having the mind free from thoughts of lust all day, including before sleep.

I have some control but not complete control.

I doubt you have any control. Teenagers who don't masturbate don't necessarily have very frequent wet dreams. When I was a teenager, I started having wet dreams at 14 years old and did not masturbate until 16 years old and only because a friend kept talking about it. In fact, I even had a few sexual encounters with girls before I ever masturbated. I do not recall ever having very frequent wet dreams as a teenager. Similarly, when I became completely celibate at 23 years old, I don't recall having frequent wet dreams. At most, once a month but generally every six weeks.

In the beginning I used to get wet dreams every 10-12 days

Sounds unusual but if that occurred it occurred.

now I get them every 45-50 days.

Yes. The above is the duration expected, every 30 to 60 days but generally around every six weeks.

I have extremely pure thoughts all day long. I don't think that I'll ever get sexual thought again.

The above irrelevant. There appears no consensus in Buddhism and only one assertion that an Arahant (fully purified mind) cannot emit semen. Refer to book page 97.

I believe that I have trained my mind very well. One the nights when the emission happens I don't have any erotic dreams, it happens without any sexual thought or an erotic dream.

Yes. When the mind is very pure, nocturnal emissions never or rarely occur with sexual dreams.

I practise Halassana & Balasana every day without fail.

This is a Buddhist forum. The above (very dangerous) Hinduism is irrelevant.

I also do physical activity running mainly.

Irrelevant to Buddhism. In Buddhism, the mind is made pure by wisdom & calmness. Buddhism teaches deep meditation calmness (called 'samatha') eliminates lust.

Why am I still not able to control wet dreams? I want to get rid of them completely.

Again, irrelevant to Buddhism.

Do all monks get nocturnal emissions?

There appears no consensus and only one assertion that an Arahant cannot emit semen. Refer to book page 97 and search other uses of the word "emit" & "emission".

How often does it happen to them especially young monks age around 24-25?

This question is irrelevant because each monk is different. I personally gave up having sex with women when I was 22 years old and found Buddhism in a monastery when i was 23.5 years old, where I had immediate calmness from meditation and also stopped any masturbation. I do not recall any high frequency of nocturnal emissions. Generally 30 to 60 days, average 45 days. Sometimes two days in a row or twice in three days during the average 45 day cycle.

If it happens to them, what do they do about it?

Nothing, except wash their sleeping cloth & take a bath.

If it doesn't then, how does they train themselves to reach that level?

They don't, apart from freeing the mind from lust, such as in Bharadvaja Sutta.

Note: I am new to this site so don't know what would be the appropriate tags for the question so kindly edit if they are not suitable. If the question is not appropriate for the site, instead of downvoting it, let me know via comment, I will take it down myself

The questions are not really Buddhist and are the type of obsessiveness Buddhism avoids. The impression is your mind is building ego or self around this matter. Buddhism teaches life has no real self and is only composed of elements of earth, wind, fire, water, space & consciousness. Nocturnal emissions are merely natural phenomena or natural elements. Buddhism teaches to regard nocturnal emissions as: "This is not me, this is not mine, this is not myself", as follows:

And what is the water element? The water element may be interior or exterior. And what is the interior water element? Anything that’s water, watery, and organic that’s internal, pertaining to an individual. This includes: bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, saliva, snot, synovial fluid, urine, or anything else that’s water, watery, and organic that’s internal, pertaining to an individual. This is called the interior water element. The interior water element and the exterior water element are just the water element. This should be truly seen with right understanding like this: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’ When you truly see with right understanding, you reject [nibbindati; become disenchanted with] the water element, detaching the mind from the water element.

https://suttacentral.net/mn62/en/sujato#9

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  • “‘So it is, Ānanda. So it is, Ānanda. Indeed, having falling asleep unalert, with muddled mindfulness, they emitted semen because of a dream. Those monks who fall asleep alert, with mindfulness established, don’t emit semen. Even run-of-the-mill people, having gone beyond sensuality, don’t emit semen.... – Samana Johann May 11 at 14:56
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The Vinaya monastic code has:

‘Intentional emission of semen, except while dreaming, is an offense entailing suspension.’”

In particular, the reason given is important:

“Monks, there’s intention involved, but it’s negligible.

Be mindful and wary of intentions. As intention and the tendency towards intention is relinquished, the problem disappears.

Further discussion should probably happen in private consultation with your teacher, but perhaps the Vinaya reference may provide some useful context in your study.

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  • For me it happens without any intention. And moreover, I don't dream anything erotic, not even on the nights when emission happens. – Heisenberg May 5 at 16:52
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Your thoughts and intentions are what really matters. "Chethanahan bhikkawe kamman wadami". Try practicing maithree bawanawa before sleeping.

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  • 2
    It isn't clear that this answered any of the OP's questions (which were highlighted in bold text) -- unless I misunderstood you, it seems to be advice and not an answer (see Answers vs Advice). – ChrisW May 5 at 18:31
  • @ChrisW Essentially the message is that it's more wholesome to focus on intentions and not involuntarily body functions. Also (even though the poster ideally speaks for him-/herself), he/she seems to imply that the OP could go easier on himself. A perfectly reasonable answer. Upvoted. – Erik May 5 at 19:22

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