I don't understand the Dalai Lama's views on Sex

This is what Dalai Lama said in an interview on sex (Full Inter`view) and being a monk. My comments are below.

You spoke about the wife of the French president being beautiful. But Dalai Lamas don’t marry. So do you miss sex?

No, I don’t miss sex. Not only Buddhist monks don’t marry, Catholic monks don’t too. And many Indians.

How then do they satisfy their physical urges and feelings?

Sexual pressure, sexual desire is short period satisfaction. But often, it leaves more complications. One of my friends, a Canadian, was a Buddhist monk, but after some time, he disrobed. Now he complains about so much sexual pressure, that’s he’s virtually trapped (laughs). Obviously, due to sexual pressure, people marry,soon after, they divorce. Again, they marry, and may divorce again. Divorce in a marriage which has produced children is terrible. In marriage, there is short period of sexual satisfaction, but there are many ups and downs. Monks or nuns have been trained to master their desires, and there is much less ups and downs. Monks, nuns, naturally as human beings have desires for sex, it is biological. But then, those who marry always have trouble, and in some cases it leads to murder or suicide. So, that is the consolation. We miss something, but at the same time, we live better lives. More independence, more freedom.

In marriage, if you live together, happy, and get old, there is the issue of who goes first, who dies first. Human attachment to your children and partner. And it becomes an obstacle to peace of mind. Whether right or wrong, we monks think that way. What do you think? You should join the monkhood (long laughter).

The attachments bring trap. Whether it is to a person, to substances or whatever, it is a trap. Monks are detached. One of the practices in all major religions is detachment. Don’t have too much attachment, and you’ll be contented. You have it in Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, all major religions. You should be contented. Wealth, money, friend, family, contentment is best. It’s the key to peace of mind. Some of my friends are billionaires, but their minds is on more, more money. Contentment means some kind of personal check, but it doesn’t mean we no longer have desire. But attachment and desire should be separate. Without desire, then life is meaningless. Desire for good, for more service to others, desire for more benefit to others. That makes your life more meaningful. Without desire, then you’re a robot. No further progress. Genuine desire, with reasons, with logic, that’s proper desire.

Anger also can be two types. One anger comes spontaneously. That’s okay. But the anger that says this person is my enemy, I have to hit back, that is bad and is based on ignorance, lack of holistic view. If you behave well to your enemy, practice forgiveness, and reach out in all sincerity, one day the enemy and you may become best of friends. We should not close that possibility.

My take on this

The positive aspect to highlight here is that in Buddhism, attaining the status of a Bodhisattva is an achievable goal for anyone. This stands in stark contrast to Western religions like Islam and Christianity, where aspiring to become figures like Jesus Christ or Prophet Muhammad is unattainable, as they are regarded as divinely chosen and forever superior to their followers. Buddhism takes a different approach, with Buddha himself encouraging his disciples to critically examine his teachings.

If one were to embrace Buddhism and aim for the highest spiritual rank, that of a Bodhisattva, it becomes evident that achieving this level necessitates progressing through the ranks of monkhood. Complete renunciation of familial ties, including abstaining from sexual relationships, is seen as a prerequisite on this path.

The argument against marriage, often linked to the rising divorce rates, may be challenging to grasp. It can be likened to the idea of abandoning eating and breathing due to the existence of foodborne and airborne pathogens. Monks appear to have reservations not just about marriage but also about the act of sex itself. This is noteworthy because sex is the very activity that propagates the human race, although it might not align with their ideals.

The philosophy of Buddhism strongly advocates renunciation, compelling individuals to let go of their past, relinquish their aspirations, and detach from family and sexual life. This is akin to someone driving away from their past, attempting to forget their loved ones, and falling in love with the journey itself, as poetically depicted in Tony Hoagland's poem Perpetual Motion.

The path of a Buddhist monk, characterized by the detachment from family, raises questions about their capacity to love strangers when they don't accept their own family members as loved ones. It is advisable for Buddhist monks to reintegrate into the broader human community. If everyone were to adopt monkhood, humanity would cease to exist within a single generation for obvious reasons. The emphasis on renouncing sex as a fundamental principle in a modern context begs for critical examination of Buddha's teachings. It is perhaps time to embrace a more conventional way of life, acknowledging and embracing the natural attachments that connect us as humans, fostering a sense of realism and optimism.

As I think about this, I listen to Guru Gobind Singh's advice on renunciation: