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.