The Dalai Lama is unquestionably one of the greatest living human beings. His life's story is admirable, his philosophical and spiritual writings are necessary reading. He embraces science even if it contradicts the Buddhist sutras. But where I must depart from total admiration for his belief system is in one crucial area–celibacy.
The history of celibacy and religious practices has been historically shared by both Eastern and Western traditions. The possible relationship between celibacy and pedophilia within the Catholic church has become an extremely controversial subject.
It has been essentially absent, however, from Jewish /Kabbalistic tradition. There are reports that perhaps some small, esoteric Essene groups during the time of the Roman occupation of Israel may have dabbled in it. But overall celibacy has been frowned upon. In this regard I am in total agreement.
Celibacy implies a rejection of sexuality as inherently dangerous, even evil. Celibacy posits itself as a more spiritually elevated state of being than sexuality. Celibacy places avoidance, restraint, abstinence of sexuality above acceptance and participation of the "animal instinct". I believe this is a mistaken perspective.
Sexuality is clearly a powerful human force. It is unquestionably capable of ensnaring its participants in actions often deemed immoral or unethical. Yet this is not an inevitable outcome. It is essentially the most basic biological property that living beings possess. Without particularly "horny" ancestors, none of us would be here.
Perhaps it is/was the recognition of the power of this instinct (and its potential for abuse and misuse) that has caused some religious traditons to "abandon" it as a spiritual tool. Of course other spiritual practices throughout history have embraced sexuality as a spiritual gift. The Tantric Hindu tradition utilizes sexual energy for spiritual purposes.
I admire this attitude. Sexuality, like other biological imperatives is inherently neither good or bad. If we recognize its spiritual potential, we will enjoy it and spiritualize it. Kabbalistic interpretation finds sexuality within the Tree of Life. Sexual intercourse simulates the union of the male and female energies as manifest in the Sephirot of Tiferet and Shechina. The Biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply recognizes this truth. The Kabbalistic of original sin is not the sexual act but of disobeying God's injunction. Sexuality is recognized as a gift to be utilized for spiritual as well as physical enlightenment .
If the phyisical world, our bodies and their functions included, are seen as inherently and potentially good, why would be seek to be celibate?
Sorry Dalai. I still think you are the greatest. Let's talk about this celibacy thing. OK?