Buddha Dharma & Polyamory

River

New member
I chose "Buddha Dharma," rather than the more popular and familiar "Buddhism" because ... well, it's a little complicated. Is the Dharma of Siddhattha Gotama best understood as an "-ism"? Maybe not. In any case, we could just as well have called this "Buddhism & Polyamory" -- but it didn't work out like that.

Firstly, I'm not a Buddhist. Rather, I draw spiritual inspiration from the Buddha Dharma. I doubt that I'll ever be a card-carrying member of any religion or quasi-religious quasi-philosophical anything. What inspires me, mainly, about the Buddha's Dharma is its integrity, its wholeness. Scrape away any superstitions or occlusions to its luminosity, and the heart of the Buddha's Dharma is pratītyasamutpāda (dependent arising) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratitya-samutpada .

If everything that is exists only in profound interdependence with everything else, it follows that there are no separate selves (or souls). Yet in all of this fundamental non-separateness, there are distinctions. The Dharma of the Buddha may be best described as a Way (a Dharma is like a Way or a Tao) of discovering what distinction is and is not. If a distinction is not a separation -- because nothing exists separately or unchangingly -- what could this mean and what does this imply about our human lives?

Most of us humans appear to believe we are fundamentally separate, apart, from others and the world, and beyond. We tend to think that we can personally benefit from X while, generally, others do not. Or we think we can be harmed by Y while others are not. We think we are fundamentally alone. And we are -- in a way. And yet we are not.

The Buddha Dharma helps us realize the significance of giving, of caring, of lovingkindness. It helps us to realize our distinctness without falling for the illusion of separation. We realize, deeper and deeper, that while we are distinct individuals we are also utterly continuous and identical with all of life, all of existence. These apparently dualistic entities are realized as identical: non-dual. Self and other are both identical and not identical. A seeming paradox. Who do we ever give to? That's a koan. Of sorts. Rilke (poet) famously said,

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions”​

But this koan of the gift (which we may live) goes one further. We do not so much seek an answer to the koan as the falling away of the problem--the very question--, which is borne of an illusion. There is real giving because there is distinction. There is no giving because there is no self apart to give. There is only giving because "There are nothing but gifts on this poor, poor Earth." - Czeslaw Milosz (also a poet).

And, yes, there is the problem of taking, of greed and selfishness -- all borne of the illusion of separation -- a basic failure of comprehension and experience of distinction, of actual otherness! The actual otherness of the other, his/her alterity, is obscured, occluded, by our sense of ourselves as separate rather than distinct.

And let's be real about it.... Whole cultures and civilizations -- epochs -- are borne of, imbued by, stained within this illusion. The Dharma, if it is to mean anything, must be both personal and transpersonal, individual and social. The sangha is all of life, everywhere and everywhen. The practice is giving, without self-grasping. Who gives? (Flipside of the other giving koan.) We cannot know, as grasping, who gives. Letting go, we breathe.
 
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berserker239

New member
Wow, im gonna have to reread this xD

im a buddhist myself and im rather confused on how youve crossed the title Buddha with the way of Dharma. Most confuse Buddha as being that big jigggly guy that is the god of Buddhism, but obviously their wrong, ofcourse the founder of buddhism was Siddhattha Gotama and he wasnt fat xD

anyway, off to reread
 
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glenfoxman

New member
Buddha Dharma Polyamory

Interesting replies, and a great post to start it off

For myself, I don't see the two as being inherently linked.

That said, I also know for a fact that you can have some amazingly spiritual experiences with other people... you don't even need to be in a relationship beyond friendship or casual acquaintance. Could polyamory feed into a spiritual system, or the reverse? I don't see why not. I don't think though, as I said, that the two are necessarily bound to one another.
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Website I designed for bad credit payday loans company.
 

River

New member
.... For myself, I don't see the two as being inherently linked.

I don't either. That is, I see no inherent link between Buddhism/Buddha Dharma and polyamory -- or monogamy.... Nor do I see any conflict -- as some traditionalists do and will.

Glen,

Please do not include links to commercial websites in your future posts (e.g., signature) unless they are links to polyamory related websites. It's a matter of policy in this forum that we don't allow such posts/signatures. Thank you. And welcome to the forum!
 

River

New member
I was recently browsing a local bookstore when I stumbled upon a book, Touching Enlightenment, by Reggie Ray. Subtitle: Finding Realization in the Body. Sounded like my cup of tea, so I opened it and examined it to see if it wanted to come home with me. It did. And since then I've purchased Reggie's ten CD audio set, Your Breathing Body, part one--and I've been listening and viewing his stuff online. Wow! What a fine man and teacher/teaching! I'm hooked. - - - Interesting thing -- I've never been attracted to the vajrayana / Tibetan traditions until now. I've always been most attracted to zen, primarily, and to the insight/vipassana approaches. But Reggie is a unique dude, and a one-time very close student of Chögyam Trungpa.

Just over the last couple of weeks I feel real shifting happening in my awareness. Somatic (bodily) mindfulness is the essential key!

http://www.dharmaocean.org/default/index.cfm
 
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Sweetheart

New member
I have been involved with Buddhism for many years, and have never found any conflict with my poly lifestyle.

The Buddhist concept of Right Sexuality is that, as long as no one is being harmed or made unhappy, it is fine.
 

River

New member
Buddhism in the West can be quite varried on matters like polyamory, "homosexuality," and sexuality in general -- among many other things. It appears to me that as contemporary/modern "the West" continues to embrace the Buddha's dharma, that dharma often becomes modernized, updated -- and increasingly distinquishable from various rather conservative cultures, e.g., Tibet, Japan....

Much of Buddhist culture, and many sanghas, etc., are almost as unappealing to me as, say, a fundamentalist Christian church. As far as I am concerned, if a sangha isn't feminist, sex-positive, body-positive, this-worldly, pro-democracy, anti-racist, engaged (with continuing lapses in social justice, animal welfare, economic injustice...), it's just more popycock on a stick.
 

Athena

New member
I am not strictly speaking a follower of Buddha myself, though I see much positive in the Buddha's message to humankind, as I see much positive in many other religions gifts to humankind. Let us say I am born into Jewish culture but consider myself religiously multicultural in many ways, and am even familiar with some parts of the neo-pagan movement, and think it has a lot to teach 'traditional' religion. Pretty much any religion can be construed and taught in a really restrictive and negative way, and any religion practiced in a way that would make me see it as a worthwhile religion cares that people respect living beings, care about honesty, and respect the integrity of the world they live in. To me sex is both a wonderful but very private thing that comes about as the culmination/fruition of a relationship that is emotionally satisfying before it becomes physically satisfying, but I do not force that view on anyone.
 

JimmyTH

New member
Buddhist Thoughts

If I have a religion (something in doubt at this point) it's Buddhism, but I've come to understand Buddhism as having many paths and many levels. The one most people see is all about self-denial and discipline, or at least that's the way it's interpreted. I think that's a Christian interpretation of Buddhism and a way to explain what it looks like, in terms westerners already know. But Buddhism has very ancient roots, in beliefs which were extremely shamanic, and the early forms thought of passion as a route to enlightenment and not a trap or a distraction. Loving more instead of loving less probably is more effective if you're looking for truth. I don't know that I've explained that very well but it looks pretty sensible from here. Many of the rules we now associate with Buddhist practice were set in place after the core experience of Gotama, and that probably wasn't the first core experience or the first human reaction to it. The rules of the Sangha came about to foster order in the "Buddhist family" of people who came together to practice and pursue high ideals. One of the first rules was "no kids" because kids are disruptive, lots of other rules got put into place after that. In some countries monks aren't allowed to touch money or women because in older times monks had a reputation for abusing those privileges. But it was just a way of keeping order, and sexuality was considered a viable spiritual path in older days, still is in some traditions. I think I wandered way off topic, meant to say something like, I'm Buddhist. Mostly.

Jimmy
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
Okay, somewhat old-ish thread, but hey, I'll post my two cents anyway.

From a Tibetan perspective, the Buddhist teaching (dharma) is a ladder, composed of three steps;

1) Theravana or Souther Buddhist tradition, which is mostly concerned with liberating an individual. This is sometimes in the West seen as the 'essence' of or 'original' Buddhism, as per our obsession with age (the older it is, the more original it must be, and originality is good).
2) Mahayana or Northern Buddhist tradition, which is concerned with grasping two spiritual concepts; 'emptiness' and 'lovingkindness' or 'compassion', and cultivating a 'boddhichitta' consciousness instead of the 'arhat' consciousness of the Southern Tradition..
3) Vajrayana or Tibetan Buddhism, which is concerned with becoming a Buddha through meditation, yoga and adequate grasp of the two, from this perspective, 'preliminary' steps.

Mahayana tradition is in general more accepting of women and homosexuality. However, the Western idea of Buddhism being a sort of 'If it harms none, do as thou wilt' of the East in what comes to issues of sexuality is often somewhat wishful thinking. I understand the thorough disappointment with Western patriarchal monotheist traditions which fuels this search for a more accepting tradition, but there is no religion on Earth which is free from prejudice or can be totally harmonized with our personal understanding of sexuality.

That being said, I feel that the Vajrayana Tradition is perhaps most accessible to Westerners who seek to transform desire and positive self-image into spiritual tools. Buddhist concerns of non-duality and interbeingness speak to profoundly feminist concerns, as well. However, polyamory coming from a language of 'needs' isn't really coherent with Buddhism in my mind. The point in most Eastern esoteric traditions is realizing that the Experience, the Experiencer and the Experienced are one and the same. Thus I seek to become free of addictions in the form of 'needs' and 'wants' instead of constantly looking for new partners to feed into them.
 

River

New member
Mahayana tradition is in general more accepting of women and homosexuality. However, the Western idea of Buddhism being a sort of 'If it harms none, do as thou wilt' of the East in what comes to issues of sexuality is often somewhat wishful thinking. I understand the thorough disappointment with Western patriarchal monotheist traditions which fuels this search for a more accepting tradition, but there is no religion on Earth which is free from prejudice or can be totally harmonized with our personal understanding of sexuality.

As I see it, a modern and Western tradition is gradually emerging which has most or all of the virtues of the various traditions, sans the historical cultural baggage (e.g., heterosexism, monogamism, sexism...). The Dharma has always taken on new forms and variations when it enters another culture. There's no avoiding that, and I find the "purists" / traditionalists are too often missing the point.

Anyhow, I don't think of the Dharma as religion, per se. It's fine if anyone wants to do so, but it's not how I see it. I see it as a wisdom tradition, as medicine, as a way of life. As such, it evolves over time and is adapted to changing culture/s.

By the way, it seems that most of Tibetan Buddhism / -ists are quite unwelcoming toward "homosexuality". It's a cultural thing, not a "religious" one. Tibetans are actually pretty conservative, generally.
 

BlackUnicorn

New member
Anyhow, I don't think of the Dharma as religion, per se. It's fine if anyone wants to do so, but it's not how I see it. I see it as a wisdom tradition, as medicine, as a way of life. As such, it evolves over time and is adapted to changing culture/s.

I think most 'successful' (I define success here to mean they have survived the death of their founder and gain new members either through birth or conversion) religions need to adapt and change to their environments. I have been obsessed with originality, thinking that for example if I could somehow deduct what Jesus actually said from the New Testament hagiography I would find 'real Christianity', which is absolute bull of course.

By the way, it seems that most of Tibetan Buddhism / -ists are quite unwelcoming toward "homosexuality". It's a cultural thing, not a "religious" one. Tibetans are actually pretty conservative, generally.

Absolutely. More to the point of us projecting our own needs and values on to a religion. I've read that 'bottoms' were ostracized in Indian sanghas but in China and Japan monks actively chased after young novices. So yes, people mold religion to fit their cultural beliefs (in this case cultural ideas of acceptable standards of 'manhood'), if we can even speak of the two as separate entities.
 

River

New member
Non-attachment.

I am a follower of the Way of Dharma, and non-attachment figures importantly in that. I am a beginner along the way, really. I've drawn inspiration from the Way all of my life, nearly, but only now am I really beginning to practice, really practice.

Or should I say the Dharma is practicing me?

Every now and then I have a true breath, the kind that opens and clears and liberates, that soothes and heals and opens. (I repeat, opens. Again, opens.)

A life truly lived, fully embraced, occurs moment by moment.

So, I'm thinking and feeling and wondering and contemplating non-attachment. It must mean non-grasping, non-clinging.... And any of us can see that a person can become attached to non-attachment, can avoid -- run screaming from -- his or her own desires, longings.... The more intense a longing the more some might want to avoid, in order not to have attachment. Running from non-attachment is silly. Running headlong into attachment is silly. So what is the middle way? This is what my heart is palpably wondering, opening to as a question -- what I am wondering with my whole heart.

What I'm realizing, bit by bit, is that this thing I'm wanting so much, longing for so much, I already have. Have always had. Can never lose. In its essence, that is. And this
felt insight is what allows me to be with my intense desire and longing in a soft and open way. I don't need to dampen the intensity of my longing. I only need to hold it in the space of openness, of gentleness, of tenderness, of love. And that's all I ever wanted.
 

Charlie

New member
I had this spoken into my ear this evening by a complete stranger:

"Why does the monk smile as he sweeps out his temple? He smiles because he knows he is moving dust."
 

River

New member
What a gift!

Ultimately, seen rightly, there are no strangers here.
 
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