(For lay members): Aware that sexual relations motivated by craving cannot dissipate the feeling of loneliness but will create more suffering, frustration, and isolation, we are determined not to engage in sexual relations without mutual understanding, love, and a long-term commitment. In sexual relations, we must be aware of future suffering that may be caused. We know that to preserve the happiness of ourselves and others, we must respect the rights and commitments of ourselves and others. We will do everything in our power to protect children from sexual abuse and to protect couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. We will treat our bodies with respect and preserve our vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of our bodhisattva ideal. We will be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world, and will meditate on the world into which we are bringing new beings.
In general, in Buddhism, we always try to follow a middle path, and so regarding sexuality, we want to avoid two extremes. One extreme is that of being very strict and severe. This view looks at sexuality as something dirty and, basically, bad. But, then, we also want to avoid the other extreme, which is the attitude toward sex that anything is okay: “Just express yourself.” The Buddhist middle path that teaches an ethical approach toward sexuality avoids these two extremes. To follow it, however, we need to understand the Buddhist view of ethics.
According to Buddhism, the basis for being an ethical person is avoiding action motivated by longing desire, anger, or naivety, and having correct discriminating awareness. The latter means the ability to discriminate between which motivations and actions are constructive and which ones are destructive. Constructive and destructive motivations and behavior, here, refer to ones that build up tendencies and habits on our mental continuums that at some time in the future will cause us to experience happiness or suffering as their consequence.
May we be able to use whatever level or type of sexuality that we are drawn to in a healthy way. May we do this by not making sex the most important thing in life, but just another part of life. May we overcome any obsession we may have with sex, so that we can use our potentials and talents more fully, and avoid unnecessary problems, so that we can be of best help to ourselves and to others.