This is why Prostitution is evil, hands-down

Warning: for mature audiences only.

While reading this article earlier today from the English-version of the Asahi Shinbun, I damn near threw up at the end. I am a father of a three-year old girl, and I could never imagine abandoning my children to starve and cry for their mommy, and yet reality is stranger than fiction. Never mind the obvious fact that the woman was mentally ill, the reality is that there are other such neglected children in the world, even as their mothers degrade themselves so a man unsatisfied with his wife can have a moment of thrill. Old Roman excavations show how prostitutes abandoned their babies in sewers in mass-graves that still exist today. It’s not an isolated phenomenon, and it’s certainly not isolated to one country either. Even in the Buddhist texts, the Buddha decries this in such texts as the Immeasurable Life Sutra:

Besides, there are evildoers who always harbor vicious thoughts and think only of self-gratification; they are full of worries, sunk in lust and attachment, are restless in their daily lives, greedy and miserly, and desirous of what they have no right to possess. They gloat over fair-skinned women, behave licentiously and commit obscene acts with them, hate their own wives, and secretly frequent brothels.

So the next time you feel like getting a sex worker to satisfy your needs, because your wife doesn’t treat you right and you’re feeling lonely, I want you to think about this article above, and hold the image of those two children realllll clearly in your minds. Think about their neglect, their crying every night, alone and abandoned, and ask yourself if you can still go through with it. If you think going to an exotic country and having cheap, fun sex with beautiful girls there is somehow better, read the previous sentence. While you’re at it, don’t forget that that is someone’s daughter and/or sister you’re humiliating for a few dollars. Way to go, champ.

The Buddha taught how things and people exist in relation to each other, not as isolated “units”, so your lifestyle doesn’t just end with you. It affects those around you, even if they’re not aware of it. It degrades the quality of life for everyone, and ruins the self-respect children may have for their father. Worse, you have no idea what that other person is hiding behind the smiles and easy thrills, who it might be hurting in the long-run. All this does is introduce more poison into the water supply, sickening everyone. And if you think your $40 or so is going to somehow help, think again. This is not the kind of problem you throw money at, it needs a society to come together and to help woman find respectable jobs, education, and to ensure children get proper care.

For your own part, remember that improving life begins with one’s self. This is what the Buddha taught. If one works to reform their own life, it brings peace of mind and freedom from guilt, but also benefits those around you. As the Buddha explained in the Abhisanda Sutta (AN08.039):

“Furthermore, abandoning illicit sex, the disciple of the noble ones abstains from illicit sex. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the third gift, the third great gift… and this is the sixth reward of merit…

If you feel like your marriage life is unsatisfactory, then you’re not investing enough into it, and still expecting too much. Forget about sex for two damn minutes, and be a gentleman and help your wife with the dishes, do laundry for her, spend more time with the kids, or all of the above. That’s what a father and husband should do, and if you invest in the family life, forgetting the stupid short-term gratification, it cannot help but flourish, and you’ll find you feel better about yourself and you’ll earn the respect of your loved ones too. It is the only way to heal one’s mind and those around you, otherwise you will keep introducing poison. People like to focus on Buddhism’s meditation practices as a form of healing, but this is selfish new-age thinking, and ignores the Buddha’s teachings about the importance of personal conduct as a foundation for everything else in Buddhism. Don’t put the cart before the horse. Fuck the meditation teachers who tell you otherwise.

If you are single, and curious, or like cheap thrills, just think about the lives behind the scenes you are still destroying. It is not a isolated act, and will hurt many people in the process, and destroy your self-worth. Self-worth and trust are things that can take years to build, and only 10 minutes to destroy, and I promise you that you will not be able to wipe your hands clean of the shame later, even after many years. As the Yogacara school of Buddhism shows, no act can be erased, even after mutual consent because it still leaves an impression on the mind, that will manifest over and over again.

For those who already have this stain on their lives, one can only begin to heal one’s self through self-reflection and repentance. In Japan’s Kofukuji Temple, there is an ancient statue of a mythical being named Ashura, who spent eons fighting the gods in endless warfare. But the status is curious because Ashura has no weapons, and no fierce expression. Instead, according to one story, after encountering the Buddha, he dropped his weapons and renounced his past deeds, and became a guardian of the Buddha instead. I always found this story inspiration because a moment of self-reflection, and encountering the holy truths can completely change one’s course once and for all. The struggle of the high-road is indeed a struggle, but if one’s sees the alternative and understands its dire consequences, they’ll resume their struggle up the high-road nevertheless.

But don’t forget to help those around you too in the process. There are many children, both at home, and in cold miserable places and mean streets, hungry and needing parental care. The rewards are far greater than what you could get for 10 minutes and $40.

P.S. Impromptu post after reading the article. Not the most polished, sorry.

P.P.S. I have no idea if $40 is a real price or not; I really don’t to know. I’m off to bed now to help my little one have a peaceful sleep, a secure upbringing, and hopefully a more positive relationship with men when she grows up. If I did any less, I would be to blame as a father.

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About Doug

A Buddhist, father and Japanophile / Koreaphile.
This entry was posted in Buddhism, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to This is why Prostitution is evil, hands-down

  1. Ron says:

    Wow. There are no words for this. Today, my oldest son leaves for college. I remember his first day of kindergarten and my wife and I taking pictures of him standing by the door before he went in. Now, he leaves for college. I have two other sons, a 15 yr old and an 8 yr old. I simply cannot fathom how anyone could allow harm to their children, much less cause it.

    And as for the being a gentleman and helping around the house, you couldn’t be more right! Life outside the house is tough enough (both of us working) without one or the other having to do all the household chores alone. The article linked to is extremely upsetting, but your post and the sutras cited are SO needed for today’s society. I honestly wish there was a way to spread that message to everyone. Some would completely ignore it, but others might just see the truth in it and take it as a wake up call and maybe make life easier for everyone around them. As for myself, I’m going to make doubly certain that I try even harder to make life better for my family.

    Great post, though a hard read (the article), I hope the point gets across. Thanks!

  2. Doug says:

    Hi Ron,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I wrote this as an unusually inflammatory post because I really, really hoped someone would read this and at least think about it. Especially knowing that children might be involved and such. Let’s just say it hit a raw nerve.

  3. Marcus says:

    Hi,

    Well said Doug. As I read this I wanted to personally reach out and shake your hand mate. Very very well said. And it’s something not said enough.

    I agree, too often Buddhism is equated as meditation and the basics are left behind. But the basics, the precepts, are themselves a lifetime’s work and practice, and ignoring them leads to suffering.

    Here in Bangkok, where I’ve been – on and off – for the past ten or eleven years, people do so easily get drawn into using sex workers (even those involved in Sangha). I understand why that happens and can even appreciate some of the reasons and justifications, but at the end of the day, when you do this you are causing huge spiritual harm.

    Sadly, the Thai Sangha does little to confront it. Most of the sex industry (over 90%) is Thai, and the temples do little to challenge it. Even within the much smaller sex industry that caters to foriegners, the charities and support groups set up to confront customers and help the workers are run by Christians.

    I think the reason is that Buddhism, rightly, doesn’t like to condemn people for their choices. After all, everyone knows the precepts and everyone knows there will be a karmic come-back. But at the same time, I think an attitude like yours in this post – one not afraid to tell it like it is – is needed sometimes.

    Thank you again Doug, I agree and support every word.

    Marcus

  4. Doug says:

    Hi Marcus,

    Thanks very much for the encouragement. I think you’ve hit upon some great points. Buddhism’s strength is its tolerance and compassion for all beings, foibles and all, but at the same time, one also has to shed light on darkness as well, so to speak. A tricky balance at times. It’s easy to fall into the trap of condemnation (and this post is rather inflammatory), but I guess it’s a matter of whether one is getting an ego trip out of it, or whether you’re trying to help others through awareness. Mindfulness is the key I suppose.

  5. eld says:

    While I agree completely with the intent of your post, I do have a small issue with the use of Buddhist scriptures. Perhaps you have read the story of Sudhana’s encounter with the prostitute Vasumitra in the Avatamsaka Sutra? Vasumitra uses the physical passions to teach the Buddhist way. In fact, her teaching is so powerful that, if i recall correctly, some awaken simply by kissing her. It thus seems that one could, make a pretty strong argument that prostitution is allowed, even approved by certain Buddhist scriptures. Again, while I agree with what you are trying to say; the Buddhist Scholar in me can’t help but cringe when I see scripture used to paint a seemingly black and white picture when examples to the contrary are present. Perhaps though this is the Beauty of the massive Buddhist textual corpus, that makes it hard to pin anything down as absolute?

  6. Doug says:

    Hi Eld,

    Debate aside, please consider this entire post in light of the linked article at the beginning and ask yourself if you still feel the same way.

    One could make the case for a lot of things, but that doesn’t erase the real-life suffering children and adults undergo through neglect and a society that leaves them out in the cold.

    Stories like the one in the Avatamsaka Sutra have been used before, but at the end of the day, I just don’t really care. It is a story, a piece of literature, and can’t hold a candle to what people experience here and now. Of course, being a fellow scholar ( :) ) I share your love of the literature, but this issue is not an academic one.

    P.S. Please take no offense, and do not take this as a direct comment. I knew someone would ask sooner or later, so better to try to answer the question for readers in general. :)

  7. Marcus says:

    Indeed. Texts and tradition might suggest slicing cats in half, but that would be to take them literally and miss their intent. Compassion.

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