Could watching Porn be harmful from a Buddhist point of view?

Via on Dec 30, 2012

yabyum vajrasattva

Question: Could watching Porn be harmful from a Buddhist point of view?
I know that personally the less distractions I have in daily life the more I can stay focused, grounded and be mindful on what’s going on in and around me. Too much TV, internet, drugs and porn can create a confused and stressed mind. So if one needs to masturbate it’s better without looking at porn of any kind, just be mindful on what’s going on in the here and now, the sensations etc. What do you think?

My answer:

From a “Hinayana” point of view, less is definitely more. It’s good to focus on building a foundation of sanity and mindfulness. But there’s certainly no moralistic problem with porn, beyond the fact that it could (or not) wrap your mind up in lust, not getting out and meeting actual men or women…that said, masturbation is healthy, of course, no problem there morally either.

That said, some porn is degraded, and that’s probably the equivalent of eating factory farmed food vs. wholesome food that came from a local farm. Some porn is more respectful and fun and uplifted, and that might be more healthy, mentally, to spend time enjoying.

Just my two cents.

Going beyond that, from a “Vajrayana” point of view, as Trungpa Rinpoche said, “Chaos should be regarded as extremely good news.” IE lust, porn, distractions generally (you see that too with the “fly” in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind being a symbol of how distraction can remind us to wake up, and actually be a vehicle to speed our path if regarded as such) are not a problem, and are in fact fun—distractions are welcome, transmuted, and celebrated. Still, that can be tough work…lust gets many of us and encouraging lust can be unhealthy…and philosophizing on transmuting lust can be easier than actually self-liberating it (which can be…hard).

Either way, practice makes perfect!

 

For the full discussion and other points of view, click over to r/Buddhism

 

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

3,819 views

If you liked this, you might like these:

9 Responses to “Could watching Porn be harmful from a Buddhist point of view?”

  1. chucky says:

    What a bunch of crap. Now you are going to be the Buddhist Dr. Phil? with about the same quality of credentials.

    Masturbation is a no-no from the Hinayana point of view. Not supposed to use that energy for nothing but meditation.

    Your Vajrayana answer is completely non-sensical. Just throw out a Trunpa quote and some shit and see what sticks to the wall.

    Next time you get a question like that you should say something like. . . ” I know someone who is qualifed to give you an answer,(clearly you are not) let me give you her email address.

    If you keep abusing your noteriety you are going to hurt someone eventually.

    • Hey Chucky, you know what else is a no no. Judgement that you are separate from everyone else. But hey, if masturbation is a no no, I suppose you don't do it then right? lol. Of course you do. You're just a pompous ego blowing in the wind.

  2. Joe Elliott says:

    Something about the use of the word ‘Hinayana’ that is so ironic. It’s strange that there’s not more respect for the teachings that embody the words and experiences of the historical Buddha. Let’s use ‘Theravada’ (the way of the elders). Such an important question. I think that the practice essentially is about attunement to relationships. Porn touches that place of deep, hot yearning for connection that we have as human beings but leaves us feeling more isolated from people and more trapped in our deluded perceptions about things. With great patience and great love, mindfulness can be used to examine the consequences of this behavior and help us to strengthen a healthy resolve to engage in more whole and satisfying activities with our time and attention.

  3. What I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned is the impact on the people performing in the videos. While I'm sure there are people for whom it's a lifestyle choice they are content with, for many it's not a happy life and it also is facilitating drug abuse and unhealthy choices. While for the people using the porn, you could argue that it could be a positive choice if done in moderation, I think it's a little naive to exclude the fact that that choice is often facilitating the harm of others. When you choose to support that industry, it affects the people in it. Just like many would argue that using dairy products constitutes support of the veal industry, if you are purchasing or viewing porn, it's worth considering who that industry harms. Not saying it's all bad…just surprised we've left out this part of the discussion.

  4. Sam W. says:

    I’m not sure if Buddhism was ever meant to be a liberal religion. It is only here in the West that we seem to think that we can customize a Eastern religion to consumer preferences.

    Do what you will, masterbate, watch porn, smoke pot, or whatever.You Don’t need anyone else’s permission, nor do you need a religious absolution.

  5. Padma Kadag says:

    The vajrayana…the vajrayana…. there are many many vows and precepts within the vajrayana which actually are clear about negative consequences regarding the losing of one's "bindu" ;which would be the resut of masterbation. It is also very clear about smoking anything which enters your lungs as having a negative effect on your path to liberation. But these are only a few of the many codes of conduct. The difference is in the vajrayana is that one can transform habits into wisdom no matter the frequency of the negativity. But we are ignorant and foolish if we think that the vajrayana gives the opportunity play with our habits as if we can keep on masterbating till our hearts content thinking that we are on the Buddha's path. We are in this life because of our habits. The vajrayana will transform all of them until liberation into wisdom.

  6. [...] My belief is once we, as adults, cultivate a healing relationship with our sex and become masters of our own boundaries (without building walls), we can then encourage the sexual curiosity and development of our children in an open, safe and loving way. Then porn will no longer be this dirty, cryptic, calorie-deficient candy bar we stuff down to stop feeling our sexual hunger, but a tool for education, responsible play and maybe even a step towards spiritual growth. [...]

  7. [...] build and sort and help and extend and connect…or it can disconnect, suck away our power and passion and dreams into a lost world of stale cocoon. The [...]

Leave a Reply