Sexual misconduct and prostitute

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Mr Man
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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by Mr Man » Mon May 25, 2015 8:37 am

mikenz66 wrote:Lyndon, I think you are confusing the question:
"Does it violate the precepts?"
with the question:
"Is it behaviour that should be encouraged?"

The article you linked to certainly advises against prostitution, but it does not mention the precepts.

I think that Ven Dhammanando has made it quite clear, that he would also not advise such action, but that, like many other actions that would be best avoided, it is not a violation of the basic precepts. Since it is, in any case, a personal choice to follow the basic precepts, or a more refined form, (or not) then I'm not sure why this is an issue.
Ven. Dhammanando Said:

"Q. Is sex with a prostitute akusala?
A. Yes, but only in the sense that all sex is akusala."

So is it your opinion Mike, and generally speaking, would you agree that, in terms of unskilful behaviour, sex with a prostitute is equal to sex within a relationship?

Would you see engaging in prostitution either as the client or the provider as skilful?

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon May 25, 2015 8:49 am

Ambapāli was a courtesan (not a common prostitute), who was a good supporter of the Sangha. She had a son by King Bimbasāra, Vimala Kondañña who became a monk and an Arahant.
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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by daverupa » Mon May 25, 2015 1:27 pm

Mr Man wrote:Ven. Dhammanando Said:

"Q. Is sex with a prostitute akusala?
A. Yes, but only in the sense that all sex is akusala."

...in terms of unskilful behaviour, sex with a prostitute is equal to sex within a relationship?

Would you see engaging in prostitution either as the client or the provider as skilful?
About as skillful as hitting a singles bar:
Dhammanando wrote:I stated that the two acts were essentially similar in their ephemerality and casualness, which is to say, my comparison was confined to the factors of duration and significance (or momentousness).

Now as for the “fun” factor, my omission of this was not because I consider this difference to be a slight one. But nor do I agree with you that it’s a huge one. As I see it, the difference in the two cases is simply an incommensurable one...
A clear price-list & menu, or the more traditional dinner & drinks: the difference is a molehill being made into a mountain, by certain people here.

---

This sort of moral overreation happened recently with cigarettes, too: they aren't against the precepts, and they are a bad choice.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Mr Man
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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by Mr Man » Mon May 25, 2015 2:30 pm

daverupa wrote:
A clear price-list & menu, or the more traditional dinner & drinks: the difference is a molehill being made into a mountain, by certain people here.
daverupa. I'm not quite clear what you are saying. It seems that you are saying engaging a prostitute and going to dinner with someone is the same?

This sort of moral overreation happened recently with cigarettes, too: they aren't against the precepts, and they are a bad choice.
Where is the moral over overreaction?

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by daverupa » Mon May 25, 2015 2:42 pm

Mr Man wrote:daverupa. I'm not quite clear what you are saying.
I'm comparing the scenarios of a prostitution sale & a casual sexual encounter, often set up with dinner & drinks.

Maybe people are under the impression that engaging a prostitute requires a certain motivation that other forms of casual sex does not?
Where is the moral over overreaction?
Various discussions in various forae. I recall seeing it come up a few times.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by Mr Man » Mon May 25, 2015 3:07 pm

daverupa wrote:
Mr Man wrote:daverupa. I'm not quite clear what you are saying.
I'm comparing the scenarios of a prostitution sale & a casual sexual encounter, often set up with dinner & drinks.

Maybe people are under the impression that engaging a prostitute requires a certain motivation that other forms of casual sex does not?
Well Ven. Dhammanando, where quoted be me, had not mentioned "casual sex":

"Q. Is sex with a prostitute akusala?
A. Yes, but only in the sense that all sex is akusala."

But do you think engaging a prostitute and casual consensual sex are generally equivalent? You don't think there would be a different dynamic?

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by daverupa » Mon May 25, 2015 3:41 pm

Mr Man wrote:You don't think there would be a different dynamic?
Of course; the problem is in your & others' assumptions about what that dynamic must necessarily entail; for the most part, nothing yet has been presented as a uniquely relevant ethical quality apart from a general "gasp! 'tis prostitution!" attitude.

Perhaps most modern prostitution happens in unsavory circumstances, but that is not a problem with prostitution in and of itself. It's like cigarettes: they are a directly harmful sensual pursuit and off-target, but not against the precept related to substances of heedlessness. It's similar here: prostitution may not happen in good environments these days, but the simple act of paying for sex is not in and if itself specifically troublesome.

Context matters: a prostitution situation could be a caring one, while a married sex act could be aggressive & harmful.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by Mr Man » Mon May 25, 2015 4:57 pm

daverupa wrote:
Mr Man wrote:You don't think there would be a different dynamic?
Of course; the problem is in your & others' assumptions about what that dynamic must necessarily entail; for the most part, nothing yet has been presented as a uniquely relevant ethical quality apart from a general "gasp! 'tis prostitution!" attitude.

Perhaps most modern prostitution happens in unsavory circumstances, but that is not a problem with prostitution in and of itself. It's like cigarettes: they are a directly harmful sensual pursuit and off-target, but not against the precept related to substances of heedlessness. It's similar here: prostitution may not happen in good environments these days, but the simple act of paying for sex is not in and if itself specifically troublesome.

Context matters: a prostitution situation could be a caring one, while a married sex act could be aggressive & harmful.
As with the "molehill being made into a mountain" and the "moral overreaction" comment, I don't see the "gasp! 'tis prostitution!" attitude.

A problem with paying for sex in my opinion is that it commodifies sex and objectifies the seller and dehumanizers both the seller and the buyer.

No doubt, on occasion, there are caring interactions between client and seller + unsavoury incidents within other types of relationships but in my opinion that is a bit of a red herring.

--

"The most unethical economic activities are those that feed tanha while undermining well-being. Trade in tobacco, drugs, and prostitution are
examples of detrimental economic activities geared solely toward satisfying a craving for pleasure." From Buddhist Economics A Middle Way for the Market Place by Ven. P. A. Payutto

http://www.midamericadharma.org/cdl/DPP/Econ_2.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by daverupa » Mon May 25, 2015 5:23 pm

More examples of "detrimental economic activities geared solely toward satisfying a craving for pleasure" are television, movies, and music.

More examples of "commodification of sex which objectifies the seller and dehumanizers both the seller and the buyer" could involve arranged marriages, polygamous arrangements, and even something as simple as makeup (which is attractive because it is based on & simulates the flush face of mid-orgasm).

And, calling the presence or absence of a caring attitude a "red herring" is a mistake.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by rowboat » Mon May 25, 2015 6:23 pm

There is a pyramid-like hierarchy in prostitution. At the top are a very few women - only about 2% of
all those in prostitution - who service a few men for a lot of money in a short period of time in their lives
- and then they get out, or are bought by one man who supports them.
In the middle section of the pyramid are women who need the money, who have had the option of sexual
exploitation as a survival mechanism made very real to them by a history of incest or childhood sexual
abuse, and who may face an emergency situation such as escaping a violent partner, losing a job, or having
children with special needs. These are about 38% of all those in prostitution.
The farther you descend in the hierarchy, the greater the numbers of women in prostitution, and the less
meaningful any discussion of choice is for them. At the bottom of the hierarchy are the largest number of
women in prostitution, about 60%. These are the poorest people in prostitution. They have enormously
restricted life choices. Many of these women have been physically coerced into prostitution.
Prostitution Research & Education
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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by Mr Man » Mon May 25, 2015 6:34 pm

daverupa wrote:More examples of "detrimental economic activities geared solely toward satisfying a craving for pleasure" are television, movies, and music.
"The most unethical economic activities are those that feed tanha while undermining well-being. Trade in tobacco, drugs, and prostitution are
examples of detrimental economic activities geared solely toward satisfying a craving for pleasure." And it is also a question of degree.
More examples of "commodification of sex which objectifies the seller and dehumanizers both the seller and the buyer" could involve arranged marriages, polygamous arrangements, and even something as simple as makeup (which is attractive because it is based on & simulates the flush face of mid-orgasm).
Yes
And, calling the presence or absence of a caring attitude a "red herring" is a mistake.
I was not calling the presence or absence of a caring attitude a "red herring". What is a red herring is introducing the exception to what is the norm.

daverupa do you think consensual sex within a relationship and sex with a prostitute as being equally unskilful (as a general guideline)?

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by daverupa » Mon May 25, 2015 7:19 pm

Mr Man wrote:daverupa do you think consensual sex within a relationship and sex with a prostitute as being equally unskilful (as a general guideline)?
They're both lust-based, but different contexts obtain in each case. So, unwholesome to the same & then differing degrees, depending on our point of view of the facts of any individual event.

"Undermining well-being" is a broad term, as they all were in those phrases, which is why I pointed out examples that fit the terms but not the overall context here; in short, those phrases aren't useful because they are too vague. They allow us to imprint our subjective assessments on events as though they were objective descriptions.

Notice how that's happening here: "consensual sex within a romantic (or another word?) relationship vs. consensual sex within a mercantile relationship" is the way to phrase it if we want to be clear-headed, and once again it can be seen how the mere presence of capital cannot carry the ethical weight people seem to want it to have.

The harms are to do with that 80-90% population, via the research linked above by rowboat (yay! facts!), and the ills of that lifestyle; in and of itself, prostitution is not a good idea, is not a wholesome activity, but it's also not directly against the precept about sex; it might be something to look at via livelihood, however...

The precepts are not the end-all-be-all of ethics. Much more is to be said about action than what the precepts address.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by retrofuturist » Mon May 25, 2015 7:48 pm

Greetings Dave,
daverupa wrote:Much more is to be said about action than what the precepts address.
Agreed. I think came across well in venerable Dhammanando's earlier comment...
Dhammanando wrote:The five precepts are not the sīla of a brahmacari renunciate, but rather of a householder furnished with the five strands of sense-pleasure. As such they are not really concerned with subtle levels. They’re concerned with ensuring that a householder’s unskilful states of mind don’t find expression in grossly unskilful actions of body or speech.
The precepts provide a minimum expected standard as a protection to self and other from "grossly unskilful actions".

It is then up to the individual, their motivation and the goals, to determine precisely how elevated they shall strive to be.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by Mr Man » Mon May 25, 2015 8:05 pm

daverupa wrote:
(yay! facts!).
Yep both Aloka and rowboat have provided good links to facts throughout this thread

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by Feathers » Mon May 25, 2015 9:32 pm

If the precepts are only about not doing harm to yourself, the whole not killing and not stealing stuff becomes a lot more flexible, I would think? If the precepts are also about not doing harm to others, then I would think they prohibit all but the most carefully researched sex with prostitutes, to the point where from a practical point of view, it's pretty much out.
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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by chownah » Tue May 26, 2015 3:57 am

Mr Man wrote:
mikenz66 wrote: Ven. Dhammanando Said:

"Q. Is sex with a prostitute akusala?
A. Yes, but only in the sense that all sex is akusala."

So is it your opinion Mike, and generally speaking, would you agree that, in terms of unskilful behaviour, sex with a prostitute is equal to sex within a relationship?

Would you see engaging in prostitution either as the client or the provider as skilful?
People seem to be missing a very important point:
One can have a relationship with a spouse and one an have a relationship with a sex worker.
A relationship with a spouse has many different aspects and a relationship with a sex worker has many different aspects.
Usually one aspect of a relationship with a spouse is sexual activity and one aspect of a relationship with a sex worker is sexual activity.
If one asks about sex with a sex worker then one is speaking of that one particular aspect of a relationship with a sex worker called "sexual activity". There are many other aspects and considerations that one could consider but if one wants to consider some other aspect then it is best if one describes what that aspect is and for clarity of discussion it is probably better to continuially remind ones self that it is not the sex one is discussing but some other aspect of the relationship.
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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by Dhammanando » Tue May 26, 2015 4:51 am

lyndon taylor wrote:You have made the assertion that every Buddhist scholar agrees with your position without quoting or referencing one single Buddhist scholar or scripture to support your interpretation.
In the Suttas the stock definition for sexual misconduct is:
  • “He is one who misconducts himself in sensual pleasures (kāmesumicchācārī); he has intercourse with women...

    1. who are protected by their mother (māturakkhitā),
    2. who are protected by their father (piturakkhitā),
    3. who are protected by their mother and father (mātāpiturakkhitā),
    4. who are protected by their brother (bhāturakkhitā),
    5. who are protected by their sister (bhaginirakkhitā),
    6. who are protected by their relations (ñātirakkhitā),
    7. who are protected by dhamma (dhammarakkhitā),
    8. who have a husband (sassāmikā),
    9. whose use involves punishment (saparidaṇḍā),
    10. who are garlanded in token of betrothal (mālāguḷaparikkhittā).

    (Sāleyyaka Sutta MN. 41)
In some texts one meets with a variant reading in which mātāpiturakkhitā is absent and the list of ten is made up by inserting gottarakkhitā (“protected by their lineage”) in between ñātirakkhitā and dhammarakkhitā.

In no canonical list are prostitutes included in the classes of prohibited women. Nor are they included in any commentator’s gloss on any canonical list. If you consult any competent Pali scholar, he will confirm that this is so.

On the other hand, if you consult a textually ignorant SE Asian village monk, then it’s likely that he will define the third precept according to the received opinion of his culture. In that case he might well say something like:
lyndon taylor wrote:I was taught "No sex outside a committed relationship", which obviously would exclude prostitution,
Or he might define the third precept as forbidding homosexual acts or masturbation or having sex in the same room as a Buddha statue without first covering the statue’s head with a piece of cloth. It will depend on where he comes from, but in all cases what he will be telling you is not the Buddha’s teaching but merely how sexual morality is traditionally conceived in his culture.

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by Mr Man » Tue May 26, 2015 6:15 am

Dhammanando wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:You have made the assertion that every Buddhist scholar agrees with your position without quoting or referencing one single Buddhist scholar or scripture to support your interpretation.
In the Suttas the stock definition for sexual misconduct is:
  • “He is one who misconducts himself in sensual pleasures (kāmesumicchācārī); he has intercourse with women...

    1. who are protected by their mother (māturakkhitā),
    2. who are protected by their father (piturakkhitā),
    3. who are protected by their mother and father (mātāpiturakkhitā),
    4. who are protected by their brother (bhāturakkhitā),
    5. who are protected by their sister (bhaginirakkhitā),
    6. who are protected by their relations (ñātirakkhitā),
    7. who are protected by dhamma (dhammarakkhitā),
    8. who have a husband (sassāmikā),
    9. whose use involves punishment (saparidaṇḍā),
    10. who are garlanded in token of betrothal (mālāguḷaparikkhittā).

    (Sāleyyaka Sutta MN. 41)
In some texts one meets with a variant reading in which mātāpiturakkhitā is absent and the list of ten is made up by inserting gottarakkhitā (“protected by their lineage”) in between ñātirakkhitā and dhammarakkhitā.

In no canonical list are prostitutes included in the classes of prohibited women. Nor are they included in any commentator’s gloss on any canonical list. If you consult any competent Pali scholar, he will confirm that this is so.

On the other hand, if you consult a textually ignorant SE Asian village monk, then it’s likely that he will define the third precept according to the received opinion of his culture. In that case he might well say something like:
Hi Ven. Dhammanando
Is there reference to classes of prohibited men? Or references to same sex relationships? How about sexual acts with animals does that break the precepts? Or with corpses?

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by Dhammanando » Tue May 26, 2015 7:04 am

Mr Man wrote:Is there reference to classes of prohibited men? Or references to same sex relationships? How about sexual acts with animals does that break the precepts? Or with corpses?
I think my response to your question about homosexuality in the womanizing thread can be applied mutatis mutandis to your latest questions.

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Re: Sexual misconduct and prostitute

Post by steve19800 » Tue May 26, 2015 7:26 am

Dear Bhante,

When one sees Buddha statue, one (wants to) remember Buddha qualities such as his purity and perfection, etc.. In front of the Buddha, while paying respect, practitioners make effort to cultivate these qualities inside him/herself. It's expected that everytime Buddhist practitioners see Buddha statue, respect and other good qualities arise in them. When one having sex in front of Buddha statue for example, all they want is probably having lust in front of Buddha statue. In my opinion it's general conscience, just like Buddha did not mention/ list words that are considered as harsh words on any Sutta.

In regard to five precepts, for example, one person visits a prostitute today and will visit another prostitute two days later and another prostitute next week and so on. Heaven realms are more subtler than other/ human realm and vice versa.
Although sexual activities above are not gross, as some people might think but I'm not sure if it's subtler enough to be reborn as a human being. Most Buddhist practitioners I believe are keeping precepts by not visiting prostitutes, this probably corresponds to what Buddha said, it's not easy and rare to be born as a human being.

To take rebirth in a happy destination, I think it's not sufficient to just practice five precepts. Some people said five precepts can deliver them to human realm or lower level of heaven but not sure if it's mentioned in the Sutta.

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