This topic may be a little bit away from the recent issues we’ve been having on Kinfonet, but it is an aspect of Krishnamurti’s teachings that we don’t often talk much about, and is something worth looking at in its own right.
Sexuality is an inescapable feature of modern culture. There are a dozen or more ways of expressing (or not expressing) one’s sexuality, including being asexual (understood as having a natural lack of sexual interest in other people). For instance there are speculations that historical figures such as Isaac Newton, Henry Thoreau and Frederic Chopin were asexuals.
How sexuality is expressed or not expressed is not the topic of this thread, but rather sexual or (if one identifies as being asexual) sensory desire itself.
As far as I’m aware Krishnamurti’s teachings on sexual desire are quite different from those of orthodox Buddhism and Vedanta. In those traditions the view is - broadly speaking - that sexual desire is something bad, to be suppressed, controlled, or denied. There are some esoteric (or Tantric) schools - such as Vajrayana Buddhism or Kashmir Shaivism - that are more inclusive of sexual desire, or which attempt to find ways of utilising sexual energy. But in all these schools there are a great many layers of superstition and theoretical dogmatism which complicate the basic question of sexual desire.
To ask what is involved in meeting sexual desire for itself, is not the same thing as looking for a way to channel sexual energy, or to use it as a means to some extrinsic theological or ideological end.
Krishnamurti’s approach, as I understand it, is not to judge or condemn sexual desire; not to suppress it or run away from it; not to use it as a means of gaining special energy or esoteric powers; and not to indulge it either.
He sometimes talked about how we are habituated to one or two senses only, and that if one could look at something (like the sea) with all one’s senses, then the whole includes the part - it transforms our relationship to the senses.
Sometimes Krishnamurti said that sexual appetite has its own place - or that where there is love, sex is no longer a problem. He sometimes said that where there is no identification, sexual desire can be something factual, natural, non-contradictory.
But for me Krishnamurti’s most communicative way of talking about sexual desire is through the language of flowering:
I’ve got desires:
I see a car, a woman, a house, a lovely garden, beautiful clothes - whatever it is - and instantly all the desires arise.
And not to have a conflict.
And yet not to yield…
Desire is there, and to cut it off is to suppress it. To control it is to suppress it. To yield to it is another form of… getting and losing.
So, to allow for the flowering of desire without control… The very flowering is the ending of that desire.
But if you chop it off it will come back again…
So… let the desire come, flower, watch it. Watch it, not yield or resist. Just let it flower.
And be fully aware of what is happening…
Allow the thing to flower and watch it, watch it in the sense be totally aware of it, the petals, the subtle forms of desire to possess, not to possess… the whole of that movement of desire…
You have to have a very sensitive… choiceless watching.
(Conversation with Anderson 17, 1974)
It is only in freedom that anything can flourish, not in suppression, control and discipline; these only pervert, corrupt. Flowering and freedom are goodness and all virtue.
So what is involved in this flowering of desire? Can it be done, easily, happily, in daily life? What is our relationship to the senses more generally? And what is the relationship of this flowering to freedom?