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  • Lama Jigme Gyatso

CELIBACY: is it Beneficial or even Healthy?


J. asked:

Do you think it is necessary/ healthy

to live a celibate life?


It really depends upon whether or not

the celibacy is spontaneous

or contrived


Approximately twenty-seven centuries ago

Lao Tzu taught

that the three treasures of the Tao

were: simplicity, patience, and compassion.

What did he mean by simplicity?

The antidote to scatteredness

is the mindfulness

that gives birth to centeredness.


And the antidote to the contrivance

of our controlling tendencies

is the mindfulness

that gives birth to spontaneity.


The team of centeredness and spontaneity

create the simplicity of the Taoist Sage

as well as the Tantric archetype of the Sky Dancer

or Da-ki-ni, if you prefer Sanskrit.

Five centuries elapsed

between the assassination of the Buddha


and the time when at last

the teachings attributed to Buddha

were at last written down.


We really don’t know

precisely what the Buddha taught.


But we do know of a test

with which to evaluate the trustworthiness of the writings

claiming to be the Buddha’s words.

It is a method that is deliciously pragmatic

and smacks of the scientific method

that would not be codified

until many centuries in the future.


A tale is told

that the Buddha explained

that the test of any teaching or its teacher


is NOT their popularity, prestige, wealth, beauty, nor age,

nor their credentials nor letters of recommendation,

nor even our evaluation of them

be it intellectual or intuitive.

No, the ONLY test of any teaching

are the results that they generate

when we apply them


as often as once every morning

as well as once every evening

and for as little

as seven consecutive days.


Although we don’t really know for certain

what the Buddha instructed…

we can see the results

of certain actions and practices

in our lives.


We know what it is like

to feel attached to a romantic partner

and many report that the attachment they feel for their children

is even ten times stronger.


Some have little attachment

and feel no need for children or spouse.

Some feel the desire for a life partner

some desire merely a lover,

and some are rather content with solitude.


In the Tibetan tradition

of the wild, mountain yogis.


Aging lamas were often advised

to accept a life partner

to act both as tantric partner

and personal assistant.

What is paramount

is to exercise the vulnerable mindfulness

that honestly observes

our needs and desires;


for we turn a deaf ear to them

at our peril.


Beware the tyranny of patriarchy

that seeks to tell people

who to love

and how to love.

For living life

in the shadow of should

is a quick path

to great neurosis.


Beware of Hindu tantra’s instructions

to chase orgasmic intensification

as well as Taoist tantra’s imperatives

to chase orgasmic sublimation


for both are contrivances

that can crush our hearts.

Better to bring centered spontaneity

into all actions:

both naked and clothed


and bring all experiences

into the Buddha’s path

of contemplation and meditation.


For by applying the same set of antidotes

to every experience both pleasurable and painful

the duality of dread and desire

is quickly overcome.

Some require solitude,

some require lovers,

some require sweethearts,

some require families.


Our worth is not determined by our needs

but by our ability and desire

to serve the common good.


So let us turn away

from the folly

of judging both self

and others.

Traversing centered-spontaneity’s path

of the dancing dakini

it is imperative that we neither flee our dreads

nor chase our desires


but flow in simplicity

for the Tibetan yogis insist

that the highest compassion

is spontaneous and uncontrived.


And really,

shouldn’t that apply

to our sensuality

and relationships as well?

Tonight’s guided meditations

could help cultivate

the centered spontaneity

of the archetypical sky dancer.

Let us conclude

with a simple

call to action


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