Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Pornography is media meant to arouse sexual feeling. Unlike erotica, pornography is devoid of subtlety and artistic content and is usually perceived as obscene. Whether reading or looking at pornography would amount to breaking the third Precept would require us to first consider what effect it has on ourselves.
While the Buddha accepted that it is ligitimate for lay people to ‘indulge in and enjoy the pleasures of the senses’ (A.IV,280), he also reminded us that sense pleasures are ‘impermanent, hollow, false, deceptive, illusory, the prattle of fools’ (M.II,261). He further pointed out that sensual desire (kama raga) is a hindrance to mental calm and clarity which ‘overspreads the mind and weakens wisdom’ (A.III,63). Next, we need to think of the effect of pornography on others, as most pornography today consists of images of people. As in the case of prostitution, some of these people may work as ‘models’ because it is an easy source of income, whereas others are compelled to do it because of poverty or social deprivation. Thus, looking at such material may associate one with the exploitation of others and therefore be against the first and third Precepts. Perhaps another factor should be taken into account as well - the so-called Golden Rule. One should ask oneself; ‘How would I feel if I were to see one of my children, one of my siblings or one of my friends in a pornographic magazine of film?’


Masta Mind said...

It reminds me of one of Ben Affleck's second-class movie 'Surviving Christmas'. There's a boy character in the movie who spends his days in front of computer consuming(or consumed by)pornography. Until one day, he clicks on a link and watches the picture of his naked mother posing in spreaded-legs V(for victory)..

It is indeed an idea that's never been thought by most people, what if suddenly he finds out that his(I say his because they're mostly a 'he')sister,mother,etc are the 'objects' of the porn sites or movies he enjoys.

Ken and Visakha said...

Having observed many attempts to censor "pornography" in various settings, I'm not sure it is so easy to define. The impulse to censor usually doesn't stop with entertainment or with matters sexual either.

In Sri Lanka the television screen is digitally masked whenever a drink or a cigarette appears. It can make it difficult to follow a story, but it doesn't seem to have deterred anyone from drinking. If I'm not mistaken, Sri Lanka has a very high rate of alcoholism.

Shravasti Dhammika said...

It does not seem to have stopped the cat in the August 20th posting either. Disgraceful!

saltwetfish said...

Many people are also exploited and deprived to work in sweat shops produce cheap clothes, cheap food and cheap toys for the masses globally. Those are probably a bigger exploitation than those in the porn industry (I suspect).

Also many parents would not feel good to see their children or siblings working as a rubbish man, road sweeper or waste collects, but that does not imply that one should discourage those forms of work. If nobody does it streets are not clean, wastes are not emptied and rubbish just piles up.