It is well known that maintaining a journal in a NoFap streak improves chances of success. Usually fapstronauts can take it one day at a time, just writing down their thoughts and actions according to how they think and feel. However, there is also the additional option of using a template. The template can include objectives or aspects to avoid during the day and see if we have achieved/renounced them. I will share what I did within these 120 days in terms of using a template, so that others may choose to incorporate aspects of that to their NoFap streak. During these days I am living as a lay resident in a Buddhist monastery where it is compulsory to live under the 8 Precepts (Atta Sila) which also includes the modified and upgraded version of the 3rd Precept for lay people. Abrahmacariya veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from any intentional sexual activity. We as Buddhists are aware that Brahmacharya is the term used for living a spiritually-oriented celibate life. Whiles it does include celibacy as a vital component, it also encompasses sensual restraint on all 6 sense domains (eyes -vision, ear-sound, nose-smell, tongue-taste, body-tangibles and mind-mind objects). In addition to this, the Buddhist Brahmacharya also includes the Brahmavihara/Apramana (Sublime abodes/Immeasurables). So overall I came up with 3 aspects to maintain and develop Buddhist Brahmacharya which are the following - 1. Celibacy - C 2. Sensual restraint - S 3. Sublime abodes/Immeasurables - I For each aspect I would give myself a score at the end of the day. This is not with the intention of attaching myself to scores but instead it would help me to look more deeper into which areas I need to work on and sort out. CELIBACY This is about maintaining celibacy in body, speech and mind. Even though I am a Buddhist, I did find the Hindu teachings on the 8 breaks of Brahmacharya helpful and I decided to have these as part of my template given that there is nothing in there that was inherently contradictory with Buddhist teachings. The 8 breaks of Brahmacharya is common knowledge among Hindus who follow Brahmacharya, but as for me, being a Buddhist I first came across these 8 breaks of Brahmacharya in the book 'Practice of Brahmacharya' by Swami Sivananda. Once again I want to stress that before incorporating these as guidelines for my celibacy as being part of my template, I made sure that they did not contradict Buddhist teachings. Here are the 8 breaks of Brahmacharya (according to what is accepted by Hindus) 1. Sankalpa - carnal thoughts - Sa 2. Dharshan - looking at the opposite sex with carnal desire - Dh 3. Guhya Bhaashan - engaging in conversation with the opposite sex in private - Gu 4. Adhyavasaaya - searching for sexual knowledge (whether educational or aesthetic purposes) - Ad 5. Keertan/Kirtan - praising the opposite sex (like saying "you're hot" or "you're sexy" etc.) - Ki 6. Keli - amorous sport (such as playfulness, flirting, flirtatious behavior) - Ke 7. Sparsha - coming into physical contact with the opposite sex (any type of physical contact) - Sp 8. Kriya Nivritti - the sexual enjoyment (including MO) - Kr For each aspect I would give a score of 1 or 0. If I maintained an aspect without violating then at the end of the day I will give a score of 1 for that aspect. If I failed then I give 0. For example, on most days I was not in situations where I was talking with the opposite sex in a private secluded environment and therefore on most days I scored 1 with respect to the Guhya Bhaashan aspect. Every single day I had at least one thought about sex which meant that everyday I scored 0 for Sankalpa. Each and every day I set the intention to give myself an overall score out of 8 (given that there are 8 aspects where Brahmacharya can be broken). I used the first two letters of each aspect and next to that I wrote down the score (0 or 1). And then under 'C' (for Celibacy) I give the overall score. Here is how they appear on my template showing my scores from a typical day. Sa - 0 Ad - 0 Ki - 1 Sp - 1 C = 5/8 Dh - 0 Gu - 1 Ke - 1 Kr - 1 As sex and masturbation is out of the question given that I am on NoFap Monk Mode plus on 8 Precepts, avoidance of MO was intact. However, when I had wet dreams I gave Kriya Nivritti, 0 marks with an asterisk (as in 0*) because it meant that I did take sexual enjoyment in dreams. Also this was also to give myself a bigger safety margin, so that I am also not being too lenient on myself for wet dreams thinking that it is unintentional and considering that it is okay because of that. SENSUAL RESTRAINT 1. Eye-vision (Chakku-Rupa) - C/R 2. Ear-sound (Sota-Sadda) - S/S 3. Nose-smell (Ghana-Ghanda) - G/G 4. Tongue-taste (Jiva-Rasa) - J/R 5. Body-tangibles (Kaya-Potabbha) - K/P 6. Mind-mind objects (Mano-Dhamma) - M/D The idea here is to observe whatever that arises from the 6 sense bases with mindfulness (Sati) with clear comprehension (Sampajañña) and equanimity (Upeksa/Upekkha) letting go of the views of desire and aversion. This means that throughout the day I would make effort to let go of showing desire or aversion to any object that arises through these sense bases. If desire or aversion is shown to any sense object then a score of 0 is given for that sense base at the end of the day. During the day if there is no aversion or desire generated with respect to a sense domain then a score of 1 can be given for that. An overall score is given out of 6. Overall score is given under 'S' (for Sensual restraint). Here is this aspect of the template with scores from a typical day - C/R - 0 G/G - 1 K/P - 0 S = 1/6 S/S - 0 J/R - 0 M/D - 0 NB - the idea here is to be mindful and be more attentive towards objects which arises through the 6 sense doors. It is to be more aware that I should be reflecting on these objects in the present moment with clear comprehension. This is not about artificially trying to shut away opportunities for insight to develop at the level of the sense bases during the meditation break. This is not about trying to score higher numbers or else this defeats the purpose of using this template. IMMEASURABLES/SUBLIME ABODES For Buddhist Brahmacharya, the Brahmavihara are an important aspect of this. As Buddhists we are aware of the 4 aspects of Brahmavihara/Apramana (Sublime Abodes/Immeasurables) which are: 1. Loving-Kindness/Loving-Friendliness (Metta/Maitri) - Me 2. Compassion (Karuna/Daya/Anukampa) - Ka 3. Altruistic Joy/Gladness (Mudita) - Mu 4. Equanimity (Upekkha/Upeksa) - Up When it comes to this aspect of Brahmacharya, it is two-fold. Firstly it is about taking time to contemplate these four qualities in the form of meditations (I have my own way of doing this which I can share with you). Secondly it is about avoiding the development of unwholesome states of mind which are the opposite of the Immeasureables such as - 1. hatred/anger/hostility as the opposite of Loving-Kindness (Metta) 2. cruelty/malice as the opposite of Compassion (Karuna) 3. envy/covetousness/jealousy as the opposite of Altruistic Joy (Mudita) 4. prejudice/preference/bias as the opposite of Equanimity (Upekkha) To score, I have to have spent the day doing the Brahmavihara meditation (5 minutes for each Immeasurable) as well as to avoid thoughts of hatred, cruelty, jealousy and prejudice within the day. Also if loving-kindness is lost during the day at any point then not only Metta scores 0 but the rest of the other Sublime Abodes also get a score of 0 because Loving-Kindness is the foundation Immeasurable quality where the rest of the other Immeasurables build upon (I could share how this is so in a different post). The overall score comes under 'I' (to mean Immeasurables). Here is the template and score from a typical day - Me - 0 Ka - 0 Mu - 0 Up - 0 I = 0/4 Note - this aspect is by far the most difficult given that it is very easy to lose loving-kindness during the day. There can be times during the day when there is impatience or irritation which means for that instance the loving-kindness is gone which also means that feelings of compassion, altruistic joy and equanimity are also gone in that moment. BRAHMACHARYA At the bottom I include the overall score in the form of 'B' which is the sum of C, S and I. B is for Brahmacharya which is out of a score of 18. C(8) + S(6) + I(4) = B(18) Template from a day from my journal - Sa - 0 Ad - 1 Ki - 1 Sp - 1 C = 6/8 Dh - 0 Gu - 1 Ke - 1 Kr - 1 C/R - 0 G/G - 1 K/P - 0 S = 1/6 S/S - 0 J/R - 0 M/D - 0 Me - 0 Ka - 0 Mu - 0 Up - 0 I = 0/4 B = 7/18 For each page of my journal this just took up 6 lines where the rest of the lines I used to write down my thoughts, feelings, my strengths and weaknesses throughout the day. The template helped me to focus on which aspects I needed to write about. I tried to make it an honest reflection the same way as I would score myself honestly but also being careful not to miss the true purpose of giving myself a score - to see areas which can be further developed as well as weaknesses that need addressing without getting attached to marks. Those who are outside of Buddhist as well as outside of spiritual/religious circles who do NoFap for secular benefits, even such individuals do try to do dopamine fasts. One could include items such as cold showers, urge surfing, fasting or power nap as self-improvement tools which are not inherently spiritual but which would facilitate the rebooting process. As Buddhists we can always add a Buddhist twist to our NoFap streak regardless of whether we are doing Hard Mode or Monk Mode. Apart from including the non-spiritual aspects in our streak (such as abstaining from PMO) the avoidance of the 8 breaks of Brahmacharya can be seen as a Buddhist spin to upgrade the avoidance of PMO to stretch that into a spiritual domain as well as make our NoFap streak more relevant to our Buddhist lifestyle. The full sensual restraint at the level of the 6 sense bases as well as the 8 Precepts can be seen as a Buddhist-oriented upgraded extension of a dopamine fast. The transformation aspect can include the development of the Immeasurables. So whiles we take up the benefits on non-spiritual levels, we are also adding an additional layer of spirituality where we do NoFap with a Buddhist orientation. Feel free to incorporate this template to your written/electronic journal. Feel free to adjust and tailor it according to your requirements and needs. I named my journal as Brahmacharya/NoFap Monk Mode Journal so I am that equally mindful about this streak from a Buddhist as well as a from secular point of viewpoint where the Buddhist standards builds on top of the secular NoFap Monk Mode. And finally I would love to know your thoughts, suggestions, feedback, possible improvements that can be made to this template. May the Triple Gem bless you all on the Righteous Path!