Buddhist Mind-Training Exercise for overcoming lust Part 1

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    Here is a pathway that I try to use as a daily contemplation to transform and renounce sexual desire. I typed this up in a word processor and I try to read through this every day to get my mind geared to keeping sexual urges to a minimum and to re-wire my brain according to the Buddhist way when it comes to letting go of sexual desire. It is still under development and still at the pilot level where I hope to keep making adjustments and improvements as I go along. What I have done here is to combine relevant aspects of the Noble 8Fold Path, 37 Factors Conducive to Englightenment (Bodhipaksadharma / Bodhapakkhiyadhamma) and Perfections (Paramita) and then used these aspects onto the framework of the 3Fold Training to set up a pathway in which Buddhists can go through from time to time to orient their minds away from sexual desire. In addition to the 3Fold Training framework, I included an additional Transformation section where I came across some methods which I couldn't fit into any of the categories within the 3Fold Training. I have made the different aspects of the teachings show how they can be used to counter sexual desire even though their overall use is not limited to this single aspect and they cover a wider depth and breadth. I have tried to relate the methods to more than one school of Buddhism, but if you come across some aspects which are not in line with your school of Buddhism then feel free to omit those aspects and make use of the rest of it. This can be done in isolation or in conjunction with cue-exposure therapy. I just wanted to make a systemic pathway of mind-training to overcome or reduce thoughts of lust which can be helpful for Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhists. Even though I have used gender-specific terms, one can switch that to the gender which their sexual orientation is directed towards.

    Please do note that the Perfections among the different Buddhist traditions can vary. Theravada has 10 Perfections. Mahayana has 6 Perfections but the Perfection of Wisdom further sub-divides into 4 different Paramitas. Bon recognizes Compassion as a Paramita too which is included in Theravada and Mahayana as a vital aspect of their teachings even though it is specifically not recognized as a Paramita. I have included Mudita in this pathway just for the completion of the Immeasurables / Sublime Abodes (Apramanas/Brahmaviharas).

    When I typed this I did it with the intention to maintain complete celibacy in Monk Mode for the duration of my streak. Some of the mind-training rules here may put sex in a negative light. This was not to make sex look bad but rather it is to be used as an aspect of mind-training to maintain celibacy. As Buddhists, we do recognize the importance of sex and its role in healthy Buddhist relationships. It's just that this mind-training exercise I formulated for those who wish to maintain celibacy for their NoFap streak given that most of us are either on Hard Mode or Monk Mode in NoFap. To use the Buddhist term, this is about mind-training to maintain Brahmacharya.

    Brahmacharya in Buddhism has some key important features
    • Full, complete, perfect, immaculate, faultless chastity/celibacy where there is no engagement in any type of sexual behavior in any shape or form and this includes the avoidance of self-stimulation (masturbation). The celibacy in Buddhism is meant to be practiced with body, speech, and mind.
    • Complete sensual restraint of the 6 sense bases where all objects that are received by the 6 sense bases are looked at with equanimity as part of the middle way by avoiding showing desire or aversion towards them (as desire and aversion are the two extremes which the Buddha rejected).
    • To show the Immeasurables/Sublime Abodes (Aparimana/Brahmavihara) to oneself and all sentient beings unconditionally without exception. These are Loving Kindness (Metta/Maitri), Compassion (Karuna), Altruistic Joy (Mudita) and Equanimity (Upekkha/Upeksha). The Brahmaviharas are an essential feature of the Brahmacharya in Buddhism.
    Please feel free to give any feedback on suggestions for improvement as well as pointing out mistakes. The Buddha's words and the content in the Buddhist texts are perfect. The mistakes are mine.


    • Say a personal phrase in mind or in speech (eg. "may you experience the supreme bliss of Nirvana and be free from all suffering")
    • Don't reduce the importance of beings by looking at them through your own limited vision influenced by your own selfish desires. When a woman arises in front of you appreciate her importance as a human, a sentient being who has made its way through Samsara to be fortunate enough to live in a time where there is Dhamma/Dharma.
    • Do not judge women and consider them inferior to feel superior about yourself. Never judge pornstars, prostitutes and those who pose nude. That is a small aspect of their life, there is a lot more to them than what you see with your eyes. These are human beings who are capable of making use of the Dharma to become enlightened. Therefore do not judge. Judgment just leads to more lust and ego.
    • To see our defiled way of looking at women as Mara (the tempter), that attachment to our defiled way of looking at women's bodies influenced by our disturbing emotions. To take responsibility for our own defiled thoughts and not blame external circumstances.
    • If an image or scene of sex arises in the mind ………
      • see the female/girl/woman as a mother of yours and the male/man as a father of yours and imagine yourself as their child. Sexual activity is a form of suffering, and our mothers and father engaged in suffering to give this precious human birth to us. That it was this coming together of the mother and father that gave this precious human birth to us and we should be thankful for that. That our mothers and fathers have suffered for our wellbeing. That we should be grateful to our fathers and mothers and repay their kindness to them (and not to look at them as if they were sexual objects for our selfish desire).
      • see the female/girl/woman as a mother of Buddha (Maya) and the male/man as a father of Buddha (Suddhodhana) ……
      • then see the female/girl/woman as a wife of Bodhisattva (Princess Yasodhara) and the male/man as Prince Siddhartha or any other Bodhisattva ………
      • then see the female/girl/woman as a consort of Padhmasambhava (Mandarava and Yeshe Tsogyal) and the male/man as Padmasambhava
      • Therefore we should not look at those who have sex with lust, but instead with respect and reverence that they are bringing another sentient being from Samsara to human birth. Therefore to let go of lust towards and visions of sex.
    • Consider all females / girls / women as your sister, mother, aunt, daughter, you would not want to see your own sister, mother, aunt or daughter this way as sexual objects. Understand that this could be someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s mother or someone’s aunt. What if you were a brother to them? What if you were a son to them? What if you were their nephew? What if you were their father? Would you want to visualize her in lewd ways? Never.
      • All these females / girls / women have been our sisters in our past lives. But you won’t have sex with your sister. Therefore recognizing all women as our sisters we avoid having thoughts of sex related to women (our sisters), talking about having sex with women (our sisters), and not physically engaging in the sexual act with women (our sisters).
      • All these females / girls / women have been our mothers in our past lives. But you won’t have sex with your mother. Therefore recognizing all women as our mothers we avoid having thoughts of sex related to women (our mothers), talking about having sex with women (our mothers), and not physically engaging in the sexual act with women (our mothers).
      • All these females / girls / women have been our aunts in our past lives. But you won’t have sex with your aunt. Therefore recognizing all women as our aunts we avoid having thoughts of sex related to women (our aunts), talking about having sex with women (our aunts), and not physically engaging in the sexual act with women (our aunts).
      • All these females / girls / women have been our daughters in our past lives. But you won’t have sex with your daughter. Therefore recognizing all women as our daughters we avoid having thoughts of sex-related to women (our daughters), talking about having sex with women (our daughters), and not physically engaging in the sexual act with women (our daughters).
    • See all females / girls / women as human beings (and not as some object for your selfish desire) a human being that feels pain, feels hunger, bleeds, experiences suffering. You have no idea what she is going through
    • See all females / girls / women as your best friend that you unconditionally care for, they have also at some point in Samsara cared for you unconditionally so you would not want to degrade their importance by seeing them as sexual objects
    • See all females / girls / women as your doctor / nurse who cares for you and relieves you from your pain and disease
    • See all females / girls / women as Buddhists. To see them as those who have taken refuge in three jewels from the sufferings of Samsara. Imagine/visualise that they are devout Buddhists who come to temple and serve the monks and nuns taking part in the teachings and meditation in the monastery, prostrating to the shrine and monastics. See them as no different from lay Buddhist disciples of Buddha such as Sujatha (who fed milk rice to Siddhartha the Ascetic when he was on the brink of death), Visakha (who is considered to be the ideal role model for all lay Buddhist women and she was a mother to twenty children of her own), Amrapali (a courtesan who was a devout follower of Buddha)
    • See all females / girls / women as Buddhist nuns – imagine her with her hair shaven off and wearing yellow/orange/saffron/red/maroon/sky blue/grey/black nun’s / priestess’ robes (someone who should be treated with utmost respect and reverence – to have sexual feelings towards a Buddhist nun is a non-virtuous thought and an offense)
    • See all females / girls / women as your Teacher / Guru / Lama (the one that guides you from the sufferings of Samsara)
      • All these women have been our teachers in our past lives. But you won’t have sex with your teacher. Therefore recognising all women as our Teachers/Gurus/Lamas we avoid having thoughts of sex related to women (our teachers), talking about having sex with women (our teachers), and not physically engaging in the sexual act with women (our teachers).
    • Consider all females / girls / women as divine / deity / yidam /yoginis/ dakinis / khandros , once you accept that one is a deity you would not desecrate her by defiling her (sexually). See all females / girls / women as emanations of …….
      • Guanyin (the feminine deity of mercy)
      • Yeshe Tsogyal & Mandarava (consorts of Padmasambhava / Guru Rinpoche)
      • Maya (the mother of Gautama Buddha / Shakyamuni Buddha)
      • Tara (the mother of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas)
      • Avalokitesvara / Chenrezig, the embodiment of the Four Immeasurables / Sublime Abodes of Loving-Kindness (Metta/Maitri), Compassion (Karuna), Altruistic Joy (Mudita) and Equanimity (Upeksha/Upekkha)
    • See that all females / girls / women have Tathagathagarbha (Buddha-Nature) and hence they are all potential future Buddhas
      • All these women have the Tathagathagarbha (Buddha Nature) which means that they are all future Buddhas. But you won’t have sexual feelings motivated by lust towards a Buddha as the Buddha is the figure of the utmost reverence and respect. Therefore recognizing all women as Buddhas we avoid having thoughts of sex-related to women (the Buddhas), talking about having sex with women (Buddhas), and not physically engaging in the sexual act with women (Buddhas).
    • See the primordial purity and wisdom of the feminine in all females / girls / women
      • To see that there is nothing dirty or filthy about the body or the sexiness of a woman, but it is your impure perception which makes them appear that way.
    • That divine beings in the heavenly desire abodes are far more attractive than the most beautiful and sexy woman on Earth in all the three times. Even the animal equivalents of the heavenly abodes are far more attractive than the human females in this realm.
    • The women which we are sexually attracted to have been animals in the past. But you consider to have sex with her but not with an animal. But there is no difference. Therefore to consider having thoughts of sex with a woman is no different from having thoughts of sex for animals.
    • You are a responsible Bodhisattva, and that if you waste time indulging in the desires towards women and their bodies then you will be distracted from Enlightenment and thereby you have failed Bodhicitta motivation. The result of failing in Bodhicitta means the sufferings of all sentient beings will continue to happen. After promising to become enlightened for the sake of all beings we should not foresake that. All these sentient beings have been our mothers, fathers, siblings, relations, best friends; those who have cared for us unconditionally at some point in Samsara. Therefore we owe them all. Therefore to waste time by indulging in sexual desire is equal to letting all sentient beings suffer by failing our Bodhicitta.
    • Loss of Bodhicitta – that loss of semen without the specific intention to make a child within a relationship is equal to the killing of millions of Bodhisattvas. Bodhicitta is a tantric codeword for semen, therefore the wasteful loss of semen (that is when it is not done to make a child), then this is loss of Bodhicitta. Throughout the ages, we have seen the various figures of Buddhism who have been celibate where they did not lose any white essence and see how this was one of the factors that led to their own liberation.


    • Dana is a form of letting go – renunciation is letting go of attachment. But sexual desire works in the opposite gradient to this.
    • People usually go behind sex to seek their own pleasure rather than being motivated by generosity to give pleasure to others out of unselfish reasons. Therefore this is the opposite of Dana.
    • If you made a promise to yourself to be a Brahmachari then to uphold it fully as one needs to be true to one’s promise, even in the most difficult of times, even when it has its inconveniences
    • There are better rewards in the spiritual path which far excels the pleasures from sexual pleasure. These spiritual pleasures can be experienced only if we let go of worldly sensual pleasures such as sexual pleasure. Even though sexual pleasure is easily obtainable, we determine to let go of these immediate pleasures and develop patience to take the long road to ultimate liberation.
    • To have patience, that it is important to delay gratification and hold back. Good things comes to those who wait. To remember that this is not even about Brahmacharya, but to develop that mental attitude to let go of instant gratification and mundane pleasures to take the long road to ultimate happiness.
    • The reason why we renounce sensual desire today, so we can experience the benefits of renunciation tomorrow. Results take time to appear and therefore Patience (Khanti) is necessary.
    • Consider all females / girls / women as being girlfriends to their boyfriends, wives with their own husbands and therefore not to have sexual thoughts and let go of them or else this means you committed sexual misconduct / adultery and therefore broke the 3rd precept for lay Buddhists (“anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” - Matthew 5:28)
    • Imagine that every day is an Uposatha (Observance Day) where the 8 Precepts are taken including the precept of absolute celibacy (Brahmacharya). When this precept taken you strongly determine not break it / violate it / taint it and uphold it. Imagine that every day is Uposatha which is observed on the days of the phases of the moon (new moon, first quarter or waxing moon, full moon, last quarter or waning moon).
    • Women want sex from you because they are unaware that sex leads to suffering. Had they not been under delusion (Moha) then they would see that sexual activity leads to suffering and would not want sex from anyone anymore. Therefore to have thoughts of having sex with them is sadistic and lacks compassion. They would be reluctant to have sex with you if they woke up from their delusions. Therefore to have sex with women is equal to making them suffer, and no one wants to suffer. The women would run away once they know that sex causes suffering. Therefore to have sexual desire towards them is the same as rape because had they truly came to their senses then they wouldn’t want it. One would not have sex with a girl who is intoxicated because she can’t consent whiles being intoxicated, otherwise this is rape. Women who want sex are also intoxicated by Moha (delusion) so to have sexual thoughts or have sex with a woman who wants sex from you is also rape and this is no different frommhaving sex with a girl who is intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. At least the effects of drugs and alcohol wear away with time, but the intoxication of delusions doesn’t and remain till one is enlightened.
    continued in Part 2
    Poetic fool likes this.
  2. Merry Terry

    Merry Terry Fapstronaut

    This is a lot of food for thought! Thanks!
    Paranimmita likes this.
  3. Welcome Merry Terry, any suggestions are welcome.
  4. Another thing which I couldn't specifically mention is that in our past lives we have experienced much greater sensual pleasures than the ones we crave for. But spending time in Samsara running behind those pleasures didn't make us free from suffering so there is probably no point of chasing behind them anyway.
    Merry Terry likes this.
  5. Poetic fool

    Poetic fool Fapstronaut

    Wow!...... reverence to the great awakend buddha.
    Merry Terry and Paranimmita like this.

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