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A Guide for Laypeople

Chapter 2 - Relationships

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Bhikkhus cannot live in complete isolation from lay people, for the mutual support relationship is intrinsic to their way of life. However, it should never become an intimate relationship for this goes against the whole purpose of leaving the family life with its endless enclosed complications.[1]

The Holy Life or Brahmacariya is one that checks the display of any form of sexual desire through the actions and speech of the bhikkhu. (In fact restraint from gross sexual misconduct is already part of the Five Precepts [see End Note 4]. The Eight and Ten Precepts immediately refine this and then the Vinaya manages it with even greater subtlety.) Ones Dhamma life can then advance towards the ending of all desire through mind development and meditation. The most potent object for such sexual desire, that which the mind is most tenaciously grasping after, is usually associated with the opposite sex, so many rules involve this relationship.[2]

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- Footnotes:

1.

"Confined is the household life, a path of dust; the going forth is open and spacious. Not easy is it living in a house to lead the religious life absolutely fulfilled and purified, as polished as mother of pearl. Suppose I were to shave off my hair and beard, clothe myself in ochre robes and go forth from homelife into homelessness?" (HS ch.19)

2.

"The Buddhist religious life aims at complete sexual (and sensual) purity and relinquishment of all sexual activity. It should be emphasized that this is not based merely upon a condemnation or denial of sexuality but a clear recognition and understanding of the nature and effects of sexuality. The Buddha exhorted his disciples to comprehend the gratification, danger and escape from sensual pleasures." (HS ch.13)

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