Celibacy (brahmacariya) is the practice of abstaining from sexual intercourse. Buddhist monks and nuns must be celibate as will lay people during the time they practice either the eight or the ten Precepts. While sex can give a great deal of pleasure and emotional fulfilment it can also stimulate excessive fantasizing, intense desire and frustration and physical and emotional turbulence. A person trying to develop mental calm and clarity through meditation may find this a hindrance to their practice and choose to minimise it by becoming celibate, at least for certain periods. Thus, Buddhism’s advocacy of celibacy is not because it sees sex as dirty, animalistic or sinful, but for purely practical reasons. However, like other religions in which some people are encouraged to practice celibacy, Buddhism emphasizes the problems of sexuality and the advantages of celibacy but has little to say about the problems of celibacy.
- Buddhism A to Z. Ven. Dhammika, 2007.