About Sex and Semen Retention
Semen retention was mentioned few days ago in one of the discussions. It reminded me of this video of this sifu who has become famous in the internet. Here are my own view and experiences of this matter.
First of all, semen retention or sexual abstinence is not a requirement for awakening experiences or even full enlightenment (buddhahood). One can have a satisfying sexual life, have orgasms and ejaculate without it having any effect on awakening as it is understood on mahayana and vajrayana buddhism. In excess, however, like anything else, too much sexual activity will cause imbalance, lack of energy and energetical disharmony in the body.
A further point against abstinence from sex is the fact that across history those who refrain from sex, often hoping it to make one holier and purer, have become greatest sexual perverts and abusers. Based on this simple fact it is entirely misleading to say that being sexually active would be harmful or detrimental to one's spiritual or martial life.
One of my spiritual and martial heroes is Yamaoka Tesshu, a famous master of zen buddhism, swordmanship and calligraphy who lived in 19th century Japan. Tesshu was known, not in erratic sense, but he greatly enjoyed partying, drinking and having sex with women. He seemed to have a great appetite for the joys of life, while he was also committed to his spiritual, martial and art practices, as well as his work as an imperial advisor and as a familyman. He is said to have been a huge man with huge energy. I own a collection of Tesshu's calligraphies and can testify that none of his eagerness for drink or sex had a detrimental impact on his calligraphy (where the black ink stores his energy to this date). In fact, his energy is much fuller and more abundant than the works of many monks who assumably were celibates.
When it comes to sex, I have followed Tesshu's example. Since I was a teenager, I have never been a celibate except for one 5-week period, around the age of 30. That I have been sexually active has had no harmful effect on my realisation whatsoever. In fact, being sexually active has made my mind much more relaxed and emotionally balanced than I'd imagine I would have been without. Sex has also been fun (!).
Now, because I have not practiced celibacy and have been a steady ejaculator for the past 30 years, I do not have authority to say that the recommendation to remain a celibate wouldn't have all the benefits the sifu and other sources say. However, I can say is that celibacy, refraining from sex or ejaculations is not necessary for spiritual enlightenment (as it is understood in mahayana buddhism) because it simply isn't. The sifu on the video doesn't give any meaningful definition what he means by enlightenment but what comes to buddhist enlightenment, there is very little or no relation to sexuality at all. Dealing with sexual desire, on the other hand, is important but this is a practice of meditation that has no relation to sex, sex organs or such.
We can surely become fully enlightened beings and great martial artists by having a balanced and healthy life style.