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Is sensual pleasure and stimulation necessary for a healthy life?

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  • nori
    Hi Dhamma friends, I was curious to know what everyones opinions were on this? It is a well known fact that infants that are held, touched, cuddled, caressed
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 18, 2004
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      Hi Dhamma friends,

      I was curious to know what everyones opinions were on this?

      It is a well known fact that infants that are held, touched, cuddled,
      caressed and gently massaged (A.K.A. - Loved) grow up to be healthier
      children with improved mental function and healthier immune systems.

      "...It is essential -- essential to their health and well-being.
      According to a research study in the 1940's, babies who were not
      touched and cuddled often died from lack of human contact. According
      to one renown child psychologist, touch stimulates the newborn's
      physical as well as emotional health and may indeed be necessary to
      stimulate the release of certain neurohormones and chemicals that
      promote health, sharpen mental functions, and build a healthier
      immune system." - excerpt from internet article


      The Dhamma - as taught by Gotama tells us that it is possible to be
      free from sensual desire; That one could dwell content in
      renunciation from sensual pleasures and stimulation.

      But then considering the necessity of sensual stimulation in infants
      and children I ask:

      ... is it ever truly possible to be free from the desire of sensual
      pleasure and stimulation?


      with metta,

      nori
    • Andrew
      Dear Nori Infants deprived of sensual stimulation grow up damaged. Infants given lots of love and cuddles grow up to watch their dear parents age, get ill and
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 18, 2004
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        Dear Nori

        Infants deprived of sensual stimulation grow up damaged. Infants
        given lots of love and cuddles grow up to watch their dear parents
        age, get ill and die, and then do so themselves.

        Nori: considering the necessity of sensual stimulation in infants
        > and children I ask:
        >
        > ... is it ever truly possible to be free from the desire of sensual
        > pleasure and stimulation?

        IMHO the answer to your question is "No, not while one is in
        samsara". All the children you have referred to, loved and unloved
        alike, are in samsara.

        I note that the anagami (non-returner) still has-
        craving for fine-material existence;
        craving for immaterial existence;
        conceit;
        restlessness; and
        ignorance,
        BUT has abandoned sensous craving (kama raga).

        Best wishes
        Andrew
      • huajun_tang
        Dear Nori, My understaning of the Dhamma is that onyl those who have established in higher pleasure can give up sensual pleasure. It has been mentioned many
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 20, 2004
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          Dear Nori,

          My understaning of the Dhamma is that onyl those who have established
          in higher pleasure can give up sensual pleasure. It has been
          mentioned many times in the sutta that the pleasure born of seclusion
          is superior than any sensual pleasure. As in the case of an ordinary
          human baby, sensual pleasure of course is important to him/her.
          Buddha encourages all the people live happily,please see (S iv
          42,Rasiya).

          With metta,
          Huajun

          --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "nori" <nori_public@a...>
          wrote:
          > Hi Dhamma friends,
          >
          > I was curious to know what everyones opinions were on this?
          >
          > It is a well known fact that infants that are held, touched,
          cuddled,
          > caressed and gently massaged (A.K.A. - Loved) grow up to be
          healthier
          > children with improved mental function and healthier immune
          systems.
          >
          > "...It is essential -- essential to their health and well-being.
          > According to a research study in the 1940's, babies who were not
          > touched and cuddled often died from lack of human contact.
          According
          > to one renown child psychologist, touch stimulates the newborn's
          > physical as well as emotional health and may indeed be necessary to
          > stimulate the release of certain neurohormones and chemicals that
          > promote health, sharpen mental functions, and build a healthier
          > immune system." - excerpt from internet article
          >
          >
          > The Dhamma - as taught by Gotama tells us that it is possible to be
          > free from sensual desire; That one could dwell content in
          > renunciation from sensual pleasures and stimulation.
          >
          > But then considering the necessity of sensual stimulation in
          infants
          > and children I ask:
          >
          > ... is it ever truly possible to be free from the desire of sensual
          > pleasure and stimulation?
          >
          >
          > with metta,
          >
          > nori
        • nori
          hi Dhamma friends, Thank you Andrew and Huajun for your comments. The reason for my post ... Throughout most of my life I have kept myself happy with - (apart
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 21, 2004
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            hi Dhamma friends,

            Thank you Andrew and Huajun for your comments.

            The reason for my post ...

            Throughout most of my life I have kept myself happy with - (apart
            from the striving for becoming to satisfy my ego) ... sensual
            pleasures; pursuing them and indulging in them.

            As a kid, I sought sensual pleasures by going outside and playing
            with friends, climbing on things, jumping off of things and
            performing daring stunts, playing games and various sports, watching
            TV shows, going to the movies, playing with toys, video games, etc.
            As I got older: going to parties, listening to music, playing music,
            drinking alchohol & smoking ganga with friends, indulging in sensual
            sex with girlfriends, hanging out acting foolish, etc.; your typical
            American life.

            I went from sensual pleasure to sensual pleasure, and kept myself
            fairly happy as long as they lasted. In some moments between these
            pleasures, I was faced with loss, craving and suffering when there
            was no fun to be had due to whatever reasons (e.g. friendships
            breaking up, working a full time job, etc.)

            In the doctrine of Gotama Buddha, he teaches how sensual pleasures
            will never lead to fullfillment, that they are temporary, and will
            ultimately lead to craving and suffering, thus he teaches:

            [1]
            Majjhima Nikaya 66
            Latukikopama Sutta
            The Quail Simile
            http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/sutta/majjhima/mn066.html

            "And, Udayin, there are these five strings of sensuality. Which
            five? Forms cognizable via the eye -- agreeable, pleasing, charming,
            endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the
            ear... Aromas cognizable via the nose... Flavors cognizable via the
            tongue... Tactile sensations cognizable via the body -- agreeable,
            pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. These are
            the five strings of sensuality. Now, any pleasure & happiness that
            arises dependent on these five strings of sensuality is called
            sensual pleasure, a filthy pleasure, a run-of-the-mill pleasure, an
            ignoble pleasure. And of this pleasure I say that it is not to be
            cultivated, not to be developed, not to be pursued, that it is to be
            feared."


            ... and so having faith in the Gotama, I ceased to have the intention
            and agenda of seeking out and indulging in sensual pleasures.
            Currently I am trying to cultivate a life of peace, solitude and
            contemplation, happiness free from my dependence on sensual pleasures.

            But going from living a life which was so full of sensual pleasures
            to a life of peace, solitude and contemplation, I started feeling
            depravation of sensual pleasures and stimulation; as if my body
            needed it like food. I was going through withdrawal.

            Instead of feeling happiness - freedom, pleasure and satisfaction
            from renunciation of sensual pleasure, I felt stress from the
            repression of my desire for sensual pleasure and stimulation.

            I started wondering if this was really healthy for me, and whether it
            was indeed the right path to take. I wondered in my times of stress
            if whether my life was better off in my old ways of seeking sensual
            pleasures to gain my temporary moments of happiness. I thought to
            myself : `at least in this way, I had some sort of happiness; and who
            knows for sure if there is transmigration anyway, maybe you die and
            that's that. Might as well have some kind of fun while we are here.'
            I didn't think this was a very good thought so I sought consolation
            by creating this post.

            I have to say, however uncertain, that overall I think I feel better
            and have less stress in my new life. I still do activities to satisfy
            my desires for sensual pleasure in more benign ways by going hiking
            in the mountains, riding my bike or something.

            I wondered if this desire for sensual pleasures would ever subside.

            I am informed by many in their replies that it would not completely
            subside until the stage of arahat. At that point, I suspect desires
            for sensual pleasure will be satisfied by the contentment of the
            Jhanas and knowing.

            I am comforted by knowing from some replies in other groups that
            there are those who have felt and experienced this.


            metta,
            nori
          • Herman Hofman
            Hi Nori, Thank you for your post. I can relate to what you are saying. James is writing on the same wavelength too. (Thanks, James :-)) There is another
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 22, 2004
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              Hi Nori,

              Thank you for your post. I can relate to what you are saying. James is
              writing on the same wavelength too. (Thanks, James :-))

              There is another sensual pleasure I am aware of which, when it goes
              unnoticed, is a big black hole that soaks up all the effort and
              determination a person can muster and brings them to naught. It is the
              feeding of the intellect, the thinking machine.

              It does not matter what the activity is, it is the motivation that
              underlies the activity that bears its fruit. Even the filling of the
              mind with wholesome thoughts and ideas can be just a smokescreen to
              avert the awareness from the intolerable dukkha of "just being". And as
              long as that dukkha is prevented from rising to awareness, we will keep
              feeding that untamed monster, the mind, as though we are feeding a
              dearly-loved friend.

              All the best

              Herman


              hi Dhamma friends,

              Thank you Andrew and Huajun for your comments.

              The reason for my post ...

              Throughout most of my life I have kept myself happy with - (apart
              from the striving for becoming to satisfy my ego) ... sensual
              pleasures; pursuing them and indulging in them.
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