Q: Sex and money are the temptations that are emphasized by many spiritual groups as the traps to be avoided.
A: That tradition has value but also ambiguous results. First, it creates an aversion and a sense of sin or guilt about the issues. It also inflates their importance, thereby creating a fear. It is not sex and money that are problems but the attachments to them. In the nonattached state, there is neither attraction nor aversion. Teachers such as Ramakrishna forbade both sex and money to his young male students. He held that they could be contaminated by even just the energy of sex or money.
Inasmuch as greed and desire calibrate below 200 (they are at 125), avoidance was an attempt to forestall attachment. However, the desire for sex or money stems from within an can remain within the ego, even though it is not indulged in or acted upon. At beginning levels of spiritual training, avoidance may well be the best course because desires are so strong. There mere willingness to sacrifice sensual pleasure or worldly gain is already of value in learning how to transcend attractions and instinctual drives, and the intensity of spiritual commitment is enhanced.
Throughout history and up to the current time, there have been a number of well known 'gurus' who became addicted to sex, power, and money, and who covered up their actions with clever rationalizations. Those who exhibit wealth, a veneer of spiritual trappings, and who approve of sexual acting out attract many followers.
The basis for this paradox was revealed through spiritual research. Often, the early writings of a famous or popular guru calibrate quite high (usually in the high 400s to middle 500s). Then, after much success and acclaim, the calibrated level of the guru drops precipituously, sometimes to even below 200. Thus, it is not uncommon for there to be a wide disparity between the early writings of a teacher and the teacher's later level of consciousness. In some cases, both recent and current, the resultant misbehaviors create scandal and dismay, and residual followers haev to resort to denial to rationalize their continued obedience to a cult or group of adherents. Although the erstwhile guru's own calibration may have fallen significantly, the calibration of the original writings remain the same.