I am determined to abstain from pornography

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

I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby Mawkish1983 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:16 pm

I've been thinking for a while that the kamma generated from watching/viewing pornography must be unskillful. The pornography industry can be terribly damaging to the vulnerable women and men involved, to say nothing of the effect of the mental conditioning on the viewer. I decided to make a determined effort to abstain from pornography, acknowledging that pornography had become another attachment. I am sure many people would be in the same situation, whether they would admit to that or not, so I thought it might be a good idea to start a thread in which people can also make public their decision to abstain and, maybe, to share their experiences. If anyone has any advice on the matter from the pali canon you are very welcome to post it on this thread too!!!

So, to get the ball rolling:

I, Mawkish, hereby vow to abstain from viewing pornography where-ever possible.
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby bodom » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:22 pm

Good for you! I know it is hard to quit and being so readily available just makes it all the harder. I think this is a good idea because i know that i have and still do struggle with lust and am sure that many many people do, this thread would be a good way to come up with solutions.

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby bodom » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:48 pm

Its hard for me to abstain because my girlfriend enjoys watching it as much as any guy does. Even if i dont wanna watch it she does. That makes it even harder.

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby clw_uk » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:55 pm

Ive had some trouble with this I must admit, one thing I find helpful that i read from Ajahn chah is to just watch as the lust rises and contemplate it as no-self and just lust, impermanent.

If this doesnt work then I will bring to mind an image of a badly decomposed corpse and think of it in great detail. This sometimes does the trick, still slip up now and again but it happens less and less now.

:namaste:
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby bodom » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:18 pm

clw_uk wrote:Ive had some trouble with this I must admit, one thing I find helpful that i read from Ajahn chah is to just watch as the lust rises and contemplate it as no-self and just lust, impermanent.

If this doesnt work then I will bring to mind an image of a badly decomposed corpse and think of it in great detail. This sometimes does the trick, still slip up now and again but it happens less and less now.

:namaste:


Yes i have used this technique when i am out at the mall and there are literally a hundred super hott mexican girls all around me and its hard! Lust is the hardest for me to overcome. I should stop going to the mall! :rofl:

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:14 pm

The first step in a direction can be the hardest, aswell as the final giving up, :group:
well done for taking the first step, my only advice is be mindful.

there is a Sutta about Mindfulness in regard to overeating which may be of help.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:45 am

Its actually easy.
The alarm goes , you can either turn over and go back to sleep or put your legs over the edge of the bed and stand up.
Likewise when you feel the need to watch porn....dont. Simple. Everytime, just dont. No analysis, no reflection, just dont.
If that isnt possible because of others in your household then make other living arrangememts.
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby Ravana » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:43 am

clw_uk wrote:Ive had some trouble with this I must admit, one thing I find helpful that i read from Ajahn chah is to just watch as the lust rises and contemplate it as no-self and just lust, impermanent.

If this doesnt work then I will bring to mind an image of a badly decomposed corpse and think of it in great detail. This sometimes does the trick, still slip up now and again but it happens less and less now.

:namaste:

I think Asubhanussati is particularly recommended as suitable for overcoming lust.
“The incomparable Wheel of Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One in the deer sanctuary at Isipatana, and no seeker, brahmin, celestial being, demon, god, or any other being in the world can stop it.”
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby phil » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:31 am

Hi Mawkish

I'm with you man. I go several months without and feeling utterly confident that I've given it up for good, and then comes a backslide for a couple of days, misery, and new vows. But I'm pretty confident that the abstaining gets more and more deeply rooted and the need for the porn less and less.

I find a good passage for recollection is the sutta that says a single hole in the roof and the hole house gets soggy. We really have to be heedful not to indulge at all, not to think, "well, maybe I'll just run a google image search on so and so" thinking we'll enjoy a little eye candy and stop there. It doesn't stop there!" :tongue: The mind is deeply inclined to :pig: out on candy through the six senses, and that form of eye candy is the most powerful of all, as the Buddha said in Anguttara Nikaya, there is nothing like the form of a woman to set the mind off, nothing like the scent of a woman, the touch of a woman, the sound of a woman and so on. (Flip for women and men)

Some will say that reflection on the anattaness of it is valuable and I guess it is but that's no excuse for indulging.

Ravana mentionned asubbhanussati but I have read a commentarial note that it is only a powerful de-luster at the level of the first jhanas. I personally find reflecting on the harm that is being done to ourselves and to others through the industry is better. But everyone will have a different take on it.

May the Dhamma guide us all out of harmful patterns of behaviour! :smile:


Metta,

Phil

p.s as an interesting experiment the next time you...uh, relieve the pressure ducts, try doing it without an accompanying fantasy. It is possible, and it really gives a new perspective on that intense physical experience that there is such a lot of clinging to.
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:53 am

I've been meaning to ask you guys how it is all going with your adhitthana.
So, how is it going?
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:46 pm

Ben wrote:I've been meaning to ask you guys how it is all going with your adhitthana.
So, how is it going?

Well, honesty is the best policy and I've not been able to stick to it 100% yet. One thing I will note is that when I have 'endulged' I have felt completely and wholly unsatisfied... and I try to reflect on that when the urge arises.

I am guessing you're not interested in times/places etc when my determination has lapsed (and, to be honest, I'd probably be too embarrassed to tell you anyway)... needless to say I'm glad you've posted here Ben because you've reminded me of my promise :) Thank you.

:anjali:
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:14 pm

Hi Mawkish

You are right, I am not interested in the gritty details. What I am interested in is to support you and the others here who have made the same great aspiration. Remember to take one day at a time and don't be too hard on yourself if you should stumble. Just resolve to keep persevering.
Metta

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:05 am

Hi Ben,

Yes, I really appreciate that :) thank you. I've just recently felt a boost in my own determination (and I can't honestly say how or why) not just on this issue, but on many aspects of the path to enlightenment. Could it be that the more the path is walked the more it is understood/realised? I don't know, but I think small deliberate changes of behaviour (such as abstainance from pornography and others) add up to a BIG shift in motivation, which helps make more deliberate changes etc. It feels to me like unravelling the bandages applied by old thinking and discarding them... so that the wound can be more clearly seen. I don't want to push the simile too far.

Anyway, thanks for your support (and the support of others, you know who you are)! I'll try to remember to post back on this thread in the future to update on progress.

Incidentally, I read something somewhere that said we have the potential to glipse at unbinding every moment --- it's sustaining it throughout life's trials that is the key. I am, of course, in no way enlightened but the thought that these practices and choices are TRULY making Nibbana more sustainable and attainable is really encouraging.

I am so glad the Dhamma was discovered.

:anjali:
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby fijiNut » Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:15 am

Abstaining from pornography is easy.
Abstaining completely is hard (brahmacariya).

Here are is a good compilation photos for your asubha contemplation which I find helpful at times.

http://www.cyberforums.us/showthread.php?p=229924
(graphic but sobering images)
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby phil » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:04 am

fijiNut wrote:Abstaining from pornography is easy.
Abstaining completely is hard (brahmacariya).

Here are is a good compilation photos for your asubha contemplation which I find helpful at times.

http://www.cyberforums.us/showthread.php?p=229924
(graphic but sobering images)


Hi fijinut and all

Certainly asubha contemplation is worth developing, but unlikely to be a safe protection if it is not developed to level of jhanas. (According to a commentarial note by B.Bodhi.) And in my case I would agree with that, because even if one develops an understanding that the sleek and silky flesh one lusts after in porn (including the mental porn we produce by ourselves, a huge industry) is going to shrivel up and rot away, as far as lust is concerned *it looks pretty damn good now so let's dig it while it lasts!* So while I certainly wouldn't say don't do asubha, I think consideration of other approaches is good too - consideration of the harm porn does to oneself (think of the way the mind is if you try to meditate after using porn) and to others (think of the many suicides of women who were in the industry), reflection on guarding the sense doors (training the mind not to go digging after details immediately following a general appraising of a woman, for example, and other considerations. But it's a full time job for some of us, especially in spring when the lovely little skirts start appearing. Let's fight hard against those degrading temptations guys! (and gals who are prone to this sort of thing, much rarer I think.)

And remember, porn isn't just what you see on the computer screen. It starts playing as soon as you allow the mind to go feeding on the details that it has developed the habit of feeding on!

Metta,

Phil
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby fijiNut » Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:18 am

Good posting phil,
I have not received any asubha meditation instructions from any teacher, and neither do I practice this regularly.
I find the pictures help in dispelling lust in the 'heat' of the moment, and contemplating the loathsome works well to pour 'cold water' on the moods/feelings spontaneously, I do hope this repeated contemplation loosens a little bit of the sankhara/conditionings, but a long term strategy would probably be better.

For example, avoiding 'exciting foods' like excessive meat, eggs, garlic and ginger, keeping good company and noble friends, avoiding exposure to suggestive material where possible, keeping downcast eyes when pretty women are in full view, learning to use up the extra energy in constructive ways - yoga, light physical exercise etc.
You are correct in that knowing 'why' is more powerful than 'how' on the longer term in maintaining brahmacariya.
One needs to contemplate that to keep brahmacariya is like being Brahma - as divine beings in this realm are sexless, devas and humans otherwise are not immune.
Also, Jhana's will always be out of one's reach. If sensual desire is strong , on retreats and during daily meditation the mind wanders off thinking about the opposite sex, indulging in this fantasy, that fantasy; what a complete waste of time!
One also needs to contemplate the real nature of the body, how the body is like a toilet, we need to keep it nice and clean on the surface, but there is lying as to the stink and filth underneath.

On an funny note - I was reading somewhere that one Thai meditation master mentioned that's what causes males to be reborn as women - excessive lust for the female form!

And your last point is the most valid of all, as ultimately, the biggest sex organ of the human is the mind - this is where the pleasure seeking resides.

According to Ajahn Brahm, developing strong piti sukha and samadhi to Jhana levels gives the mind pleasure and bliss that so much better than sex! The mind at this point doesn't need to 'feed' on anything anymore.
And the bliss of seclusion is something that doesn't depend on anything else, it is something that is blameless, and is something that is close to Nibanna, the unconditioned.
One then naturally drops the desire for sex and adopts brahamacariya for something far superior.

In daily life, catching the defilement with mindfulness/sati sampajanna before it manifests into physical action/ speech is the utmost importance. The question then turns to developing a strong kammatthana or meditation object, whether noting, equanimity in awareness of sensation or mantra in observing the contents of the mind.
There is a good simile I once read , about how a camel poked its head into the owners tent wanting rest from the heat. The owner protested but the camel smooth talked the owner saying "Oh I won't stay long. I want to keep my head out of the sun". But it took a few more steps inside, extending to its neck. Once again the owner protested, but the smooth talking camel again said "Listen I won't stay long, you want me to get a good rest right?". But very soon, the camel had his whole body in the tent and the owner was cramped in the corner, not able to move, or stretch his legs to kick the camel out! The defilements of the mind are like that, so smooth talking, and coming under many disguises, and once it grips the mind, its hard to let it loosen its grip.

So remember, give the camel a good whack on the nose once it peaks its head to say hello! Show him/her who is the boss!

My deep respect for everybody who is making the effort of keeping purity of body and mind. :anjali:

May we all reach our aspirations this very lifetime.

metta,
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby Joseph » Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:00 am

Hi Mawkish,
I was searching about coping with a porn addiction on the forum and found your post. It's been over one year since the last member commented on it so I was wondering how you made out since then.

I too, am struggling with porn and starting right this second, I'm making a commitment to stop it from happening in my life.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks...

Metta

G
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby Mawkish1983 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:56 am

I rather hope you're not looking for a role model in me! :). Long story short, failed innumerate times and recommitted innumerate times. I found that making a bold and absolute statement about my intention often made things worse: my mind would rebel against the change. I found just relaxing and, rather than praticing abstainance from porn, practicing respect for myself, my wife and those who are forced to work in the porn industry was much more beneficial and dramatically reduced my porno-intake.

Different strokes for different folks, eh?
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby Annapurna » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:04 am

Good luck with your efforts, everybody.

I was never interested on porn, so I don't need to abstain, but I keep thinking about this, perhaps it helps.

Watching porn is a phenomenon of our modern times. It didn't exist a 100 years ago.

I don't know which medium you are using, but if is the computer, install a children filter and delete all your bookmarks or whatever it is that takes you there with just a click of the mouse.

Make it hard for yourself to get there.

If you indulge, make a donation of any amount that hurts, to a Buddhist monastery.

You should be able to quite very soon, because you'll be so embarrassed.

And I agree with Peter.

Just don't do it. Do something else. Tell your partner you don't want to watch any. "Bad company" ;) is no excuse.
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Re: I am determined to abstain from pornography

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:05 am

Mawkish1983 wrote:I rather hope you're not looking for a role model in me! :). Long story short, failed innumerate times and recommitted innumerate times. I found that making a bold and absolute statement about my intention often made things worse: my mind would rebel against the change. I found just relaxing and, rather than praticing abstainance from porn, practicing respect for myself, my wife and those who are forced to work in the porn industry was much more beneficial and dramatically reduced my porno-intake.

Different strokes for different folks, eh?
Pun intended?
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