Viscid wrote:Masturbation and looking at pornography is practically harmless
Masturbation can be healthy in fact, helping prevent prostate cancer among other things. But health of rupa at what cost for nama? That's perhaps a better place to go looking for the harm, with the same sort of issues cropping up as happen in vegetarian discussions. It's for the layperson to decide.
Porn, however, isn't quite so harmless. In the Anguttara Nikaya, the Buddha says that trade in humans is among the five livelihoods one oughtn't to undertake. Given that porn materials are created in various environments, many exploitative, the porn industry might fit in under 'trade in humans' in this respect, which is one problem. Furthermore, using porn to masturbate trains the mind to see a sexual other as a mere object, a vehicle for one's lust - where is the compassion there, the equanimity even? You can't look at porn while masturbating and practice the brahmaviharas, and that means porn is a choice to abandon the Dhamma, even if only for a few minutes.
This isn't tantrism.
Viscid wrote:you shouldn't want, and don't need, to overcome lust.
Oh? You probably mean a specific kind of lust, because abandoning lust generally is sort of the point. Which sort of lust doesn't cause suffering, I wonder...