Why is the relationship between gender and sexuality the root cause of the birth-and-death cycle? Supreme Master Ching Hai explains that without the desire for sexual relations there would be no birth and death, and nothing would be created, which would not be to the demons’ liking. Among the demons, the Devaputramara, the subordinates of the Maya (Demon) kings of the Three Realms, hinder the spiritual liberation of souls to a level higher than their own. The desire for sexual relations is extremely powerful, and through persuasion or temptation by the demons, we may be dragged into their realm. Then, after falling to this level, we lose the merits and the spiritual level we had achieved in previous lifetimes. The impact is worse for spiritual practitioners than for non-practitioners, because non-practitioners may have the chance to reincarnate again as humans in their next life. However, those practitioners who violate the Five Precepts and lose their way on the path will fall to the lowest level.
According to the Surangama Sutra, a practitioner who has achieved the state of near perfection and is able to easily enter Samadhi can still be obstructed by the demons. Sexual relations are the strongest binding force for human beings, and the demons know what our weakness is. Through persuasion or black magic we can fall into their trap. Without the guidance of an enlightened Master, an ordinary person who practices Samatha or Vipassana will only experience superficial progress but gain no great wisdom, and thus may be easily seduced by Maya.
In the beginning, many people have faith in Buddha and believe that living simply and keeping the precepts of the monkhood are the best lifestyle to follow. However, due to lack of wisdom, they indulge in sexual relations and thus easily break the precepts under Maya’s influence. Supreme Master Ching Hai expects Her disciples to be ideal renunciates who not only forsake the desire for sexual relations but also possess wisdom, give up the world, and achieve the selfless level.