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

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

 

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Kenny Jan 1, 2013 10:07pm

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Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & 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 | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.