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We provide access to over 300 transcripts by Sangharakshita!
Sanghajivini, Newcastle, UK
Ratnaghosha, FBA Chairman
Ratnavyuha, Auckland, NZ
Viveka, San Francisco, USA
Vidyamala, Manchester, UK
Suvarnagarbha, Cambridge, UK
Sangharakshita, Birmingham, UK
Padmavajri, East Sussex
... are more suited to or in a way better at. It's rather difficult for instance to
imagine a women's building team. There was one, a very small one, you know, consisting of
two women some years ago, they did a certain amount of light building work but they did
rather quickly tire of it and it is rather difficult when (?) to imagine them working together in
that sort of situation, although there might be a situation in which they could work together,
such as caring for children or for old people.
So I think one needs to take that into consideration also eh? That one may have to take into
account in this sort of way, the different sort of natural attributes of men and women. Some
people would, of course, say there is no difference, attribute is entirely a matter of social or
cultural conditioning. But after studying both men and women quite intensively for a number
of years that is [seems] not to be the case. I'd say I disagree with that, even though there may
be exceptions on both sides. There may be men who like caring for children, women who are
good at building work, I'm sure there are some of them eh? In New Zealand I heard of women
panel-beaters (laughter). Some of them were quite good at it (pause).
But what was the earlier part of that question?
Voice: Well it was just that you'd seen it as an important development and I wondered why
you'd mentioned it.
S: Well I think if we look back at the history of the FWBO it dies seem that the men usually
have taken the lead in any new development. For instance the first single sex weekend retreat
was a men's retreat. The first single sex community was a men's community but it does 
seem that so far the men have taken the lead and I think the fact that we're having - or we
were having on that occasion a men's order weekend was important because I'm quite
concerned that we should be intensifying activity at all levels. I think there is still, you know,
quite a bit of general slackness throughout the Movement. So I think if one wants to introduce
anything new, if one wants to introduce any new development, improve things in any way,
one has to start with the men. They are in the majority in the Order anyway, because
experience has shown the men really (try?) and do something, the women will follow suit
sooner or later.
So therefore one starts with the men and (discuss among?) order members. For instance,
we've had a Tuscany for men (unclear), and one for women: but not enough women for that
particular purpose and it is a question whether that type of set up is best suited for their needs,
as they themselves are not sure about that; they are quite doubtful. So the sexes don't
necessarily do everything together nor do they necessarily do everything in the same way. So
basically what they are concerned with in the end is the same thing especially in the case for
those who are spiritually committed and the goal is ultimately the same. What else?
Voice: We had our usual run through the Third Precept and one or two questions and
Campbell (unclear) - (laughter)
Campbell: We were talking about the Third Precept.
S: Oh yes? (laughter)
Campbell: We were talking about the dangers of having sexual relationships even though the
ideal thing to do was to practise celibacy. I was wondering whether the practice of
masturbation was actually a backward step for having sexual relationships.
S: Well there's apparently a lot to be said on both sides of the question. I remember some
years ago a friend of mine, a rather eccentric Englishman living in the South of India,
following - well I don't know what you would call it - he followed (?) at one time and he
followed Krishnamirti at one time, he followed (Narayan?) at one time. His name was
(John?) he ran a little paper - I forget what it was called - anyway it was very, very interesting.
I used to say it was the most interesting magazine that I used to receive - "Values" it was
called, that's right "Values".
He ran a whole series of articles on masturbation, its place within the Indian spiritual tradition
etc., and he showed me with a number of quotation that it was regarded in some spiritual
circles in India, by some saddhus, as a healthy and helpful practice and according to him it
was not to be unfavourably compared with the, what shall I say, what does one call it ... the
other oriented form of sexual activities (laughter). So it's really very difficult to say.
The main point about that particular form of sexual activity obviously is that it concerns the
individual himself and not any other party. So one can sat it's characteristic feature from that
point of view is that the element of communication with another person is not present. Now,
obviously one regards communication as a positive thing, one regards it as a value, one
regards it as something to be cultivated.
But of course the question arises, well does one need to be communicating with another
person all the time, or on every occasion, or in every situation. You have solitary retreats, on
the same principle why can't you have solitary sex? You see what I mean? Does one
necessarily have to think in terms of mutually exclusive alternatives. So I would say that even
though, you know, the element of communication isn't present in that form of sexual activity
it cannot therefore solely for that reason be ruled out. Do you see what I mean? But obviously
you can have a neurotic other-dependent form of sexual activities. You can obviously have a
neurotic-auto erotic  sexual activities. So it's those sort of factors I think that one has to pay
Voice: Do you think that one member is more likely to become neurotic than the other? Is one
more dangerous ...
S: No, I must say that would depend on the individual person. It would depend on all sorts of
variable factors, that is to say, I mean some people have, you know, a problem
communicating with other people. In their case perhaps auto-erotic activity is not to be
recommended. Not because there's anything wrong specifically with auto-erotic activity but
because that particular person needs to enter into communication with other people. I think
here we have to be quite careful about our own sort of cultural conditioning in this sort of
area because most people have been brought up to believe that auto-erotic activity is harmful
or that it is sinful et cetera.
So one has to be careful that as such, you know, conditionings are not present. But I would
say that even in the light of the loss of communication one can't say that auto-erotic activity is
to be ruled out altogether, one has to look at the whole situation and the individual person one
has to take into account. But obviously any form of neurotic, addictive sexual activity is
undesired, you can have - talking about relationships - you can have an unhealthy relationship
with yourself too (laughter).
I remember an instance from my own recollection in the army, a member of the same
barrack-room in which I was staying, there was someone from Lancashire. He had a sort of
typical, what I would call, musical Lancashire accent, he was about the same age as I was,
about eighteen. I knew him for a couple of years, he as thin, weedy, pimply ... (laughter) and
as I say this musical Lancashire accent and he took himself very, very seriously indeed. His
name was Tatlock - if that's of any interest to you? (laughter) He was called Tatty or Batty
Tatty (laughter). His prize possession in his life was a photograph album and this
photographic album was filled with photographs of himself from the age of 3 months right
down to last week.
He had a photograph taken at the photographer's nearly every week and he used to spend the
whole of his evening in the barrack-room, you know, just turning over the pages of this album
and just gazing at these pictures of himself. He spent every evening in this way and he wasn't
very other-oriented (laughter), to the other inmates of the barrack-room that he was addicted
to a certain form of sexual indulgence. So in the case of such a person that wasn't surprising
because he was oriented so much towards himself. So therefore, one might say, well for some
of them it can't be, you know they were so self-oriented, so self-absorbed in auto-erotic
activity that it would certainly not be recommended. But it's difficult to lay down any general
rule, one would have to see the principles that are involved.
Voice: (?) Paul.
Paul: It's to do with fantasizing while masturbating. It's sort of ah, it's always in a discussion
of masturbation that is, is ah Campbell's question was, 'Is it a backward step to masturbate, if
you're trying to get out of a relationship, would it be a healthy thing to do'. And I was saying
that perhaps it might not be because sometimes masturbation includes fantasizing which
might actually, sort of, push you back in that direction.
S: Well, we seem to be getting into rat her deep water (laughter). I must confess that this is
going a bit beyond my own experience (laughter) ...mine came from my reading and
observation (laughter). I think that fantasizing with sex is probably quite unhealthy - this 
is the conclusion I've come to because it sometimes does happen that you are having sexual
experiences with one particular person and you're fantasizing about somebody else and this is
quite unskilful inasmuch as you're not fully aware of the person with whom you actually ...