Pornography

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: Pornography

Postby cooran » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:00 pm

Hesitated to watch Guys' video at first - but thought it was good when I did :jumping: ,
then watched plwk's video - :rofl:
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Re: Pornography

Postby Alex123 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:36 pm

daverupa wrote:How does it run afoul of trade in humans? Humans, in pornography, are treated as (sexual) objects, not as suffering persons, just as in slavery humans are treated as (work) objects, not as suffering persons.


Maybe those men and women do enjoy starring in Porn Movies and getting paid well? This is democracy. They are consenting Adults getting paid well.

So maybe they are enjoying every minute of it, and rather than being "slaves", in actuality are free and consenting participants, in mutual pleasuring, and earning easy money along the way?
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Re: Pornography

Postby daverupa » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:03 am

Alex123 wrote:
daverupa wrote:How does it run afoul of trade in humans? Humans, in pornography, are treated as (sexual) objects, not as suffering persons, just as in slavery humans are treated as (work) objects, not as suffering persons.


Maybe those men and women do enjoy starring in Porn Movies and getting paid well? This is democracy. They are consenting Adults getting paid well.

So maybe they are enjoying every minute of it, and rather than being "slaves", in actuality are free and consenting participants, in mutual pleasuring, and earning easy money along the way?


The point is not their relative enjoyment of their situation - which would be a ridiculous standard as sensual pleasure is enjoyable and yet unwholesome, having been compared to meat and bones by the Blessed One. The point was to argue for the unwholesomeness of the objectification undertaken in both cases: in the former case, porn sets up a situation wherein one's delusion of a self is feted and celebrated, and in the Dhamma this "self-encouragement" is anathema. Using other human beings to accomplish this task is trade therein.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Pornography

Postby pulga » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:35 am

Alex123 wrote:
So maybe they are enjoying every minute of it, and rather than being "slaves", in actuality are free and consenting participants, in mutual pleasuring, and earning easy money along the way?


Let's not forget Ambapali.


From the Ambapali Sutta (SN 47.1):

When the courtesan Ambapali heard that the Blessed One was staying in her mango grove, she was exceedingly glad and went in a carriage as far as the ground was passable for carriages. There she alighted and thence proceeding to the place where the Blessed One was, she took her seat respectfully at his feet on one side. As a prudent woman goes forth to perform her religious duties, so she appeared in a simple dress without any ornaments, yet beautiful to look upon. The Blessed One thought to himself: "This woman moves in worldly circles and is a favorite of kings and princes; yet is her heart calm and composed. Young in years, rich, surrounded by pleasures, she is thoughtful and steadfast. This, indeed, is rare in the world. Women, as a rule, are scant in wisdom and deeply immersed in vanity; but she, although living in luxury, has acquired the wisdom of a master, taking delight in piety, and able to receive the truth in its completeness."

When she was seated, the Blessed One instructed, aroused, and gladdened her with religious discourse. As she listened to the law, her face brightened with delight. Then she rose and said to the Blessed One: "Will the Blessed One do me the honor of taking his meal, together with the brethren, at my house tomorrow?" And the Blessed One gave, by silence, his consent.


http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/btg/btg93.htm
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Re: Pornography

Postby chownah » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:40 am

daverupa wrote:How does it run afoul of trade in humans? Humans, in pornography, are treated as (sexual) objects, not as suffering persons, just as in slavery humans are treated as (work) objects, not as suffering persons.

How does it run afoul of trade in humans? Humand, in factory work, are treated as (production) objects, not as suffering persons, just as in slavery humans are treated as (work) objects, not as suffering persons.

How does it run afoul of trade in humans? Humans, in buying things, are treated as (consumer) objects, not as suffering persons, just as in slavery humans are treated as (work) objects, not as suffering persons.

How does it run afoul of trade in humans? Humans, in playing sport, are treated as (opponent) objects, not as suffering persons, just as in slavery humans are treated as (work) objects, not as suffering persons.

How does it run afoul of trade in humans? Humans, in watching TV, are treated as (consumer) objects, not as suffering persons, just as in slavery humans are treated as (work) objects, not as suffering persons.

How does it run afoul of trade in humans? Humans, in becoming monks, are treated as (religious) objects, not as suffering persons, just as in slavery humans are treated as (work) objects, not as suffering persons.

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Re: Pornography

Postby Dina » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:10 am

Though men will be men, and like to look at boobs (so I am not one to judge) Surely the kind of films that involve brutal acts and bodily damaging acts for the entertainment of lustful people can't be a positive thing. You also have to consider the kind of life that has led someone to be in such a film, it is probably not a very pretty one. Seems like taking pleasure in the mental issues someone would have to have to do these things, would have to be incredibly bad.

I'm in for some bad karma. :P
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Re: Pornography

Postby ground » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:23 am

a monk reflects on this very body from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin and full of various kinds of unclean things: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.'


"Furthermore, as if he were to see a corpse cast away in a charnel ground — one day, two days, three days dead — bloated, livid, & festering, ... picked at by crows, vultures, & hawks, by dogs, hyenas, & various other creatures... a skeleton smeared with flesh & blood, connected with tendons... a fleshless skeleton smeared with blood, connected with tendons... a skeleton without flesh or blood, connected with tendons... bones detached from their tendons, scattered in all directions — here a hand bone, there a foot bone, here a shin bone, there a thigh bone, here a hip bone, there a back bone, here a rib, there a breast bone, here a shoulder bone, there a neck bone, here a jaw bone, there a tooth, here a skull... the bones whitened, somewhat like the color of shells... piled up, more than a year old... decomposed into a powder: He applies it to this very body, 'This body, too: Such is its nature, such is its future, such its unavoidable fate.'

"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or externally on the body in & of itself, or both internally & externally on the body in & of itself. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the body. Or his mindfulness that 'There is a body' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Kind regards
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Re: Pornography

Postby chownah » Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:48 am

Dina wrote:Though men will be men, and like to look at boobs (so I am not one to judge) Surely the kind of films that involve brutal acts and bodily damaging acts for the entertainment of lustful people can't be a positive thing. You also have to consider the kind of life that has led someone to be in such a film, it is probably not a very pretty one. Seems like taking pleasure in the mental issues someone would have to have to do these things, would have to be incredibly bad.

I'm in for some bad karma. :P

Dina,
Your post touches on an idea I first encountered in a film titled "It isn't a love story". This film is an old (from the '60's or '70's I think) documentary about the pornography industry. In this film they differentiate between what they call pornography and what they call erotica. Erotica is stuff which is meant to sexually arouse someone but to arouse them in what is considered a wholesome way....like your saying men like to look at aboobs. Pornography on the other hand was used to mean the depiction of sexual acts which denigrates participants...abusive if you will.

I don't know for sure but I think that most people posting here against pornography are objecting to erotica as well and probably don't consider it seperate from pornography as defined above.
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Re: Pornography

Postby Alex123 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:45 am

daverupa wrote:The point is not their relative enjoyment of their situation - which would be a ridiculous standard as sensual pleasure is enjoyable and yet unwholesome, having been compared to meat and bones by the Blessed One. The point was to argue for the unwholesomeness of the objectification undertaken in both cases: in the former case, porn sets up a situation wherein one's delusion of a self is feted and celebrated, and in the Dhamma this "self-encouragement" is anathema. Using other human beings to accomplish this task is trade therein.



You are right in that. Porn promotes more lust and perversion of beauty. But from a purely worldly POV, in a democratic society, people have freedom to choose that kind of livelihood. It is not slave trade in democratic society. Just a very kinky job, that some do enjoy.
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Re: Pornography

Postby chownah » Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:05 am

It is often said "he who benefits us", "he who benefits us", what then does this "he who benefits us" mean?.............There is the case, monk, of one who stirs up trouble on the internet and whose efforts thereof do stimulate arising of thoughts of the Dhamma amongst laypeople and monks alike. He is one who benefits us.....................

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Re: Pornography

Postby plwk » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:11 am

Is that the latest addition to the Khuddaka Nikaya chownah? :lol:
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: Pornography

Postby daverupa » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:02 am

Alex123 wrote:But from a purely worldly POV...


...suffering will arise again and again.

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Pornography

Postby chownah » Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:19 am

pulga wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
So maybe they are enjoying every minute of it, and rather than being "slaves", in actuality are free and consenting participants, in mutual pleasuring, and earning easy money along the way?


Let's not forget Ambapali.


From the Ambapali Sutta (SN 47.1):

When the courtesan Ambapali heard that the Blessed One was staying in her mango grove, she was exceedingly glad and went in a carriage as far as the ground was passable for carriages. There she alighted and thence proceeding to the place where the Blessed One was, she took her seat respectfully at his feet on one side. As a prudent woman goes forth to perform her religious duties, so she appeared in a simple dress without any ornaments, yet beautiful to look upon. The Blessed One thought to himself: "This woman moves in worldly circles and is a favorite of kings and princes; yet is her heart calm and composed. Young in years, rich, surrounded by pleasures, she is thoughtful and steadfast. This, indeed, is rare in the world. Women, as a rule, are scant in wisdom and deeply immersed in vanity; but she, although living in luxury, has acquired the wisdom of a master, taking delight in piety, and able to receive the truth in its completeness."

When she was seated, the Blessed One instructed, aroused, and gladdened her with religious discourse. As she listened to the law, her face brightened with delight. Then she rose and said to the Blessed One: "Will the Blessed One do me the honor of taking his meal, together with the brethren, at my house tomorrow?" And the Blessed One gave, by silence, his consent.


http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/btg/btg93.htm

Pulga,
The term "courtesan" does not always mean "sex worker".....kings had courts and there were many people who were allowed to attend the court....it was a gathering of interesting and important people who attended (can mean "listened to") the king....it was the king's social group I guess......it included the royalty and other famous and interesting people....."courtesan" refers to those people and certainly does not in this context impliy "sex worker" at all....

Also, this part of the text seems sort of out of keeping with other things the Buddha is reported to have said about women: "Women, as a rule, are scant in wisdom and deeply immersed in vanity".....hard for me to accept that the Buddha said this but that is what is reported......

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Re: Pornography

Postby pulga » Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:44 am

chownah wrote:The term "courtesan" does not always mean "sex worker".....kings had courts and there were many people who were allowed to attend the court....it was a gathering of interesting and important people who attended (can mean "listened to") the king....it was the king's social group I guess......it included the royalty and other famous and interesting people....."courtesan" refers to those people and certainly does not in this context impliy "sex worker" at all....

Also, this part of the text seems sort of out of keeping with other things the Buddha is reported to have said about women: "Women, as a rule, are scant in wisdom and deeply immersed in vanity".....hard for me to accept that the Buddha said this but that is what is reported......

chownah



http://www.thefreedictionary.com/courtesan

According to the Dictionary of Pali Proper Names "it is said that she charged fifty kahápanas a night from her patrons".
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Re: Pornography

Postby dhammapal » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:42 am

Hi,

Check out this interesting 16min youtube video by Gary Wilson at TED. He says there is a problem with InterNet porn addiction statistical research because of the rarity of “controls” i.e. young men who have never used porn. He says there is interest in studying the recent movement on the InterNet of men who have quit porn.

He talks about the Coolidge Effect, the sexual desire for variety, for brand-new women. He points out that an InterNet user can see more nude women in a day as someone in 1800 would see in a lifetime. The brain reacts to this as hitting the evolutionary jackpot which profoundly affects the brain chemistry. The Buddha used a very harsh simile:
the Buddha transl. Bodhi wrote:And what, bhikkhus, is the Dhamma exposition on the theme of burning? It would be better, bhikkhus, for the eye-faculty to be lacerated by a red-hot iron pin burning, blazing, and glowing, than for one to grasp the sign through the features in a form cognizable by the eye. For if consciousness should stand tied to gratification in the sign or in the features, and if one should die on that occasion, it is possible that one will go to one of two destinations: hell or the animal realm. Having seen this danger, I speak thus.
From: SN35:235 The Exposition on Burning

The commentary tactfully explains grasping the sign through the features as thinking “What beautiful feet!” An example of thoroughly grasping the sign was a download list on my father's computer with an entry comment “Superb.” Despite the modern technology it can take hours of searching to find satisfactory images which is depressing.

I reckon porn is a root cause of depression, social withdrawal and social anxiety. But videos of people with no clothes on are less harmful than those with violence says Tim Berners-Lee the inventor of the Web when asked about creating a .xxx domain alternative to .com In the Brahmaviharas, the feelings of affection for a nude woman would be the near enemy of metta. I have preferred soft photos of volunteer female nudists with Duchenne smiles, but again the desire to see brand-new women each time is still there.

For lay Buddhists giving up porn, a beginning is to observe some of the Eight Precepts on Uposatha Observance Days (4 days per month). The 2012 calendar is here.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Pornography

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:47 am

Great post and nice quote!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
Dana on the Interwebs:
http://greatergood.com
http://freerice.com
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Re: Pornography

Postby dhammapal » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:51 pm

A lot of my interest in photos of cheerful nude women was curiosity and gratitude. As a child there was so much secrecy about what a nude adult human female looked like. As a ten-year-old I'd search through National Geographic magazines for photos of topless New Guinean tribeswomen (btw I now say mammary glands instead of boobs). As a teenager, and even after I converted to Buddhism at 23, it seems I thought that, as a member of homo sapiens sapiens, it was unfair that I was denied information re what women's bodies looked like. Last year I found a Buddhist quote which helped:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:"The primary practice focused on the sense media is the practice of restraint. Instead of looking to the processes of sensory perception to gain information about the world, one watches them to see how they act as tools of defilement: seeking out details that will give rise to greed, anger, or delusion, or to enflame any greed, anger, and delusion already there in the mind. Because sensory contacts and their resulting feelings are among the foods nourishing the process whereby consciousness proliferates into becoming (§41), one must exercise care not to feed that process. This involves focusing away from details that feed these defilements, and focusing instead on other details that help to starve them. By engaging in this practice, one is in an excellent position to see how the feelings produced by sensory contact are ephemeral and unreliable. This observation helps to develop dispassion for those feelings, thus undercutting any clingings or fetters that might arise based on them."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... fering.pdf
From: The Shape of Suffering: A Study of Dependent Co-arising (112 page pdf)
by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Pornography

Postby dhammapal » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:16 am

When I said that porn was a root cause of depression, social withdrawal and social anxiety, of course the dots of color on the screen aren't the problem, but the world of porn, which broadcasts the message that if women liked you they would take their clothes off for you, becomes alienated from the real world, leading to social withdrawal and social anxiety because when women aren't enthusiastic about flirting etc. it is interpreted as meaning that you are unattractive and inadequate and that the only way to see women in the nude is to watch porn where the women can't reject you. And it is embarrassing to be joining a social tennis club with the sole purpose of meeting a woman who would undress for you.

The only nude photos on my computer (17) I downloaded in a few hours last July. I deleted them all early this morning making a point of throwing out backup CD-ROM versions too. It was a close thing to keeping them. After tossing them in the garbage I had the best sleep in years.

I was a heavy user of videotapes and magazines as a teenager in the 1980's. I couldn't talk with the women in the videos and became socially isolated. At one point I planned to lose my virginity with a prostitute the next morning and then kill myself (I became a Buddhist 3 years later and have never been suicidal since.) I suffered from bipolar disorder since puberty at age 14 which I had blamed on unrequited love but I believe that poor sex education on the topic of pornography was a factor.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Pornography

Postby SDC » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:10 pm

dhammapal wrote:He points out that an InterNet user can see more nude women in a day as someone in 1800 would see in a lifetime.


Wow. That is a really interesting stat. Never even considered this.
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Re: Pornography

Postby manas » Thu May 03, 2012 1:29 am

AnonOfIbid wrote:Can one "use" it non-harmfully?


Hi Anon,

I'm assuming you are a lay Buddhist, which means that (afaik) it is *allowable* for you to view pornography, assuming you are referring to pornography that fits within legal statutes (is between human adults over 18 years of age, etc), and still not be breaching the five basic precepts required to be a lay Buddhist. But 'allowable' doesn't mean 'to be encouraged'! It's something that like so many other things needs to be let go of one day, the sooner the better. But you don't have to despair and feel like you're not even a Buddhist, just because this particular issue has not been resolved as yet. Purification takes time...

If people want to argue that by viewing pornography, a person supports the exploitation of men and/or women, and is thus breaking the precepts, then I might remind them that there are plenty of Buddhists who support their local butcher, who gets his meat from the abbatoir, where animals were quite cruelly killed - but the person buying the meat is not regarded as breaking the precept, because they did not do the actual killing. Afaik, it would be the same with porn, in that yes it is unskilful and unwholesome, but you are just looking at porn, not producing it. Just as with killing and meat, the precept prohibits killing but not meat eating. (Bear in mind that when you buy meat you directly support the killing industry, whereas by contrast, much pornography is available online free, which means that just viewing it doesn't put any money into the pockets of the persons producing it...one might wonder which is the more harmful practice.)

namaste, and I'm sorry if this :stirthepot: but I'm trying to speak truthfully about it!

_/I\_
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