Third Precept And Sexual Responsibility By Thich Nath Hanh

So many individuals, children, couples,and families have been destroyed by sexual misconduct. To practice the Third Precept — sexual responsibility — is to heal ourselves and heal our society. This is mindful living.The Fifth Precept — not to consume alcohol, toxins, or drugs — and the Third Precept are linked. Both concern destructive and destabilising behaviour.These precepts are the right medicine to heal us. In the Buddhist tradition,we speak of the oneness of body and mind. Whatever happens to the body also happens to the mind.The sanity of the body is sanity of the mind; the violation of body is violation of mind. When we love someone, we want to be close to that person physically, but when we are angry at someone, we don’t want to touch or be touched by that person.
We cannot say that body and mind are separate. A sexual relationship is an act of communion between body and spirit. This is a very important encounter,not to be done in a casual manner.You know that in your soul there are certain areas — memories,pain,secrets — that are private,that you would only share with the person you love and trust the most.You do not open your heart and show it to just anyone. In the imperial city, there is a zone you cannot approach called the Forbidden City; only the king and his family are permitted to circulate there.There is a place like that in your soul that you do not allow anyone to approach except the one you trust and love the most. The same is true of our body. Our bodies have areas that we do not want anyone to touch or approach unless they are the one we respect, trust, and love the most. When we are approached casually or carelessly, with an attitude that is less than tender, we feel insulted in our body and soul.

Someone who approaches us with respect, tenderness, and utmost care is offering us deep communication, deep communion. It is only in that case that we will not feel hurt, misused, or abused, even a little. This cannot be attained unless there is true love and commitment. Casual sex cannot be described as love. Love is deep, beautiful, and whole. True love contains respect. In my tradition,husband and wife are expected to respect each other like guests,and when you practice this kind of respect, your love and happiness will continue for a long time. In sexual relationships, respect is one of the most important elements. Sexual communion should be like a rite, a ritual performed in mindfulness with great respect, care, and love. If you are motivated by some desire, that is not love. Desire is not love.Love is something much more responsible. It has care in it. We have to restore the meaning of the word ‘love’.We have been using it in a careless way.When we say, “I love hamburgers,”we are not talking about love.We are talking about our appetite, our desire for hamburgers. We should not dramatise our speech and misuse words like that.We make words like ‘love’ sick that way. We have to make an effort to heal our language by using words carefully. ‘Love’ is a beautiful word.We have to restore its meaning. “I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment.” If the word ‘love’ is understood in the deepest way, why do we need to say “long-term commitment”? If love is real, we do not need long or short-term commitments, or even a wedding ceremony. True love includes the sense of responsibility, accepting the other person as he is, with all his strengths and weaknesses. If we like only the best things in the person that is not love.We have to accept his weaknesses and bring our patience, understanding, and energy to help him transform. Love is maitri, the capacity to bring joy and happiness, and karuna, the capacity to transform pain and suffering. This kind of love can only be good for people. It cannot be described as negative or destructive. It is safe. It guarantees everything. Abridged from ‘For A Future To Be Possible’

source and courtesy:speakingtree 

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