Tuesday, August 20, 2019

middle path does not mean reduce sex , drugs and rock and roll by 50% and then you're good,

Re: I don’t understand rejecting life’s pleasures

Post by frank k » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:07 am
Sunflower wrote: 
Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:42 pm
When I look at the Eightfold Path I do not see them as asking people to abandon music, sex, food entirely, only to behave in an ethical manner and avoid excess. In my view, for the lay person and practitioner, it’s all about the Middle Path and being present for all of life- leaning in to pain, physical difficulties, a tasty sandwich or a beautiful song- it’s all part of the integrated experience of life, good and bad.
I see the idea that one must give up life’s pleasures to reach “enlightenment”...where is this supported in scripture or in Buddha’s words?
I am sincerely asking, by the way, not saying that it’s untrue. I just want to understand better.
It's all over the scripture suttas, and completely embedded into the noble eightfold path. Look for passages that explain 5 cords of sense pleasure (b.bodhi) or 5 strands of sensuality (b. thanissaro).

The middle path doesn't mean you reduce sensual pleasure by 50% to arrive at a middle or compromise. It means you transcend coarse sensual pleasures entirely by understanding and developing spiritual pleasures (such as jhana) that are far more sublime than coarse worldly sensual pleasures. The reason its comparable to a 'middle', is because previously, the Buddha and contemporary ascetics believed that any kind of pleasure, including the spiritual pleasure from jhana, was also dangerous, liable for attachment, an obstruction for spiritual progress.

Maybe what you're referring to is 8 precepts, rather than noble eightfold path. Completely different thing.


Middle way does not mean compromise half the time indulging in sensual pleasure and half the time restrain yourself.

The Buddha has a precise technical definition of middle way: It refers to the noble eightfold path, a "middle way" that avoids the pain of useless austerities that have no spiritual benefit, and the coarse sensual pleasures of ordinary people (sex, eating, etc.).

The pleasure of the 'middle way' of the noble eightfold path comes from rejoicing in performing skillful Dharmas, such as refraining from harming others, yourself, purifying actions and mind so you don't harms others, yourself, etc.

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