Many of my friends, including myself, have two or three sexual partners. How do you suggest I can keep the Third Precept?

(taken from Thich Nhat Hanh, For a Future to Be Possible, 2007, Appendix 1, p107)

When you do two or three things at the same time, like eating your dinner, watching television, and having a conversation with friends at the dinner table, you do not do any of the three things deeply. You cannot truly taste and enjoy each morsel of food that your beloved one prepared for you. You cannot give your full attention to the television programme, and you will be unable to listen carefully to what your friends are saying. It is even more difficult if you have several sexual partners at the same time. Please examine this deeply. None of your relationships will be profound. Ask your heart whether you are really happy. It may seem all right now, but are you certain that you are not causing suffering to yourself or your partners? A superficial, non-committed relationship never leads to real happiness or peace.

2 thoughts on “Many of my friends, including myself, have two or three sexual partners. How do you suggest I can keep the Third Precept?”

  1. If one is blessed with a ‘crazy mind’ and upset childhood, one cannot help but have a ‘sinful’ youth and young adulthood, so what does one do to atone when one’s mind is too restless to meditate?

    1. The precepts are basic guidelines that help us not to harm ourselves and others. If our mind is “crazy”, it is important that we don’t turn that crazy thought into action; hence the precepts set the boundaries for us and it is important to have some self discipline to self manage/control. While we might have a upset childhood and sinful youth, the reality is we cannot go back to erase the past. Rather, it is important for us to LET GO of our past unhappiness. The first step is to love and forgive yourself and then move forward in life. While we make mistake in life, remember the mistake is not ME. From the Buddhist perspective, we all have the potential to develop ourselves to the fullest (like the Buddha). We all have this Buddha nature in us. In the ancient text, our Buddha nature is just like the clear blue sky, while our mistakes are like the dark clouds. The clear blue sky is always there, while the clouds come and go. When we sincerely practise, we CAN remove the clouds. So don’t identify yourself with the cloud (mistakes / defilements) but identify yourself with the clear blue sky. Practice more Loving Kindness, it will help you to become a better and healthier SELF. Meditation need not necessary be sitting on cushion. You may go for a walk in nature n be conscious / aware of the scene surrounding you (trees / sound of birds or insects etc). or do some exercise and be really focused on your exercise. Hope the above helps and may you be well and happy.

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