Author Topic: prostitution  (Read 34281 times)

hope rainbow

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prostitution
« on: November 16, 2011, 12:02:11 PM »
Is prostitution sexual misconduct?
What is the Buddhist stand on the topic?

diamond girl

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2011, 04:22:30 PM »
Based on what I understand one of the vows is no sexual misconduct. The definition of sexual misconduct generally means sex which causes harm or hurt to others. Such examples would be adultery, rape, etc. In view of this understanding (which may be too simplistic), prostitution would not be sexual misconduct per se, right?

One who is a prostitute is selling sex. This would therefore mean that it is consenting or a "willing service".

There is of course another view whereby one is forced to sell one's body for sex because they have been sold to a "prostitute manager". They may have been sold because their families could not survive, which is some stories I have heard of in Thailand. This case would mean it is against will, thus there is hurt and harm. Would this mean sexual misconduct? Or negative karma?

hope rainbow

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2011, 02:22:31 PM »
Based on what I understand one of the vows is no sexual misconduct. The definition of sexual misconduct generally means sex which causes harm or hurt to others. Such examples would be adultery, rape, etc. In view of this understanding (which may be too simplistic), prostitution would not be sexual misconduct per se, right?

Yet a prostitute may have a sexual intercourse with someone else's partner, so it would then be sexual misconduct. Would it mean that prostitution be ok then for as long as it does not involve doing it with someone else's partner?

shugdentruth

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011, 08:03:45 PM »
If a person has sex with a prostitute and his/her partner does not mind, is it still sexual misconduct??

DSFriend

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2011, 11:33:27 AM »
Did a little research on this topic and found the following :

http://www.sexwork.com/Thailand/buddhism.html
The Influence Of Thai Buddhism on Prostitution
Traditional Acceptance / Encouragement vs. Modern Reform Views

While Buddhist attitudes prevail about women as inferior beings, their status is karmic, or fated, and not due to a personal failing or moral flaw. Temporary work in the sex industry may be seen as fate or karma, not a moral flaw in the girl herself, or it may be seen as work for her family that gains her karmic merit.

Comment : The above article and view is the first i've ever come across and I am referring to the point it is to gain her karmic merit.

http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/precepts.html
The Five Mindfulness Trainings - according to Thich Nath Hanh

-Third Training-

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct.


Comment : It's abit long but do read it. I found the teaching here very clear on what the precept entails



hope rainbow

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2011, 01:50:49 PM »
Thank you very much DS friend for taking the time to research on the subject.
I have read the two links.

The second link is very clear to me, and I do find the explanation of sexual misconduct limpid.
(as copied in your post)

The first link I found a bit long and turning around the issue.
I read it twice trying to find the thread and came to the conclusion that the only reason it is turning in circle is because a direct answer is expected to the question: "is prostitution a sexual misconduct or not?" and as far as Buddhism is concerned, the topic is always placed in a larger context of sexual activities, desire or attachment (and enlightenment).
So the answer seems to be YES, it is sexual misconduct but we must contemplate on why, within a larger understanding of the Buddhist teachings, for this is not about going prostitutes-bashing as this would also be working against Buddhist precepts.

Then I found this sentence in the thread:

"Buddhism is often criticized as a religion that, being mainly concerned with personal salvation, lacks a social ethics."

I think that is a very interesting topic. For indeed, a governement or even perhaps another religion would have a definite answer to that "prostitution question" and solve a typical question of social ethic that prostitution raises.

Buddhism gives us teachings on how things work and on how acts have consequences without moral judgment such as "this is good" or "this is bad", but instead "this leads to that".

kurava

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2011, 01:47:37 PM »
Dear all,
It appears that the assumption so far is - prostitutes are female adults .
1)What happen if men were the prostitutes and their customers are men and women. Would this be sexual misconduct?
2) under-aged people working as prostitutes. Who then are guilty of sexual misconduct - the child prostitutes , the pimps or the parents?


Tammy

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2011, 03:22:34 PM »
my view:

It is all depends on the MOTIVATION of the prostitutes. It does not matter if the prostitutes are male or female and who their customers are.

If the motivation of being a prostitute is to earn quick bucks, while this person has a choice of other professions - this is sexual misconduct

If the motivation is pure - e.g. this is the only way he or she knows how to earn a living; if this person had been forced into being one; if he or she prostituting to help put family members thru school - them the act of prostitution is just a way to make money.

Just my 2-cents worth
Down with the BAN!!!

DSFriend

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2011, 05:23:01 PM »
Let's take a look at what The Eightfold Path has to say :

Source : http://buddhism.about.com/od/theeightfoldpath/a/eightfoldpath.htm


The Fourth Noble Truth Is the Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path is the means by which enlightenment may be realized. The historical Buddha first explained the Eightfold Path in his first sermon after his enlightenment, preserved in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.

Right View
Right Intention
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration

The Path is divided into three main sections: wisdom, ethical conduct and mental discipline.

Wisdom: Right View and Right Intention are the wisdom path. Right View is not about believing in doctrine, but in perceiving the true nature of ourselves and the world around us. Right Intention refers to the energy and commitment one needs to be fully engaged in Buddhist practice.

Ethical Conduct: Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood are the ethical conduct path. This calls us to take care in our speech, our actions, and our daily lives to do no harm to others and to cultivate wholesomeness in ourselves. This part of the path ties into the Precepts.

Mental Discipline: Through Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration we develop the mental discipline to cut through delusion. Many schools of Buddhism encourage seekers to meditate to achieve clarity and focus of mind.


In this case, prostitution irregardless of female, male, or child and for whatever reasons even though it's for a "good"  cause such as paying thru college or helping out in a poor family will violate the "Ethical Conduct". Please correct me if i am wrong.

Question : Is prostitution a Livelihood which is wholesome?
It may bring in money for ones own family, but is it a wholesome activity for the people involved. Just as what hope rainbow pointed out,..where will it lead us.

Ethical conduct includes speech and action also. It'd be quite impossible to keep right speech and right action for such a livelihood.

I have no right to judge especially the intentions of others and I do not mean any disrespect to anyone. Who's motivation is pure? - "let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!"

May conditions arise that we will always be able to take refuge, observe the precepts and uphold the 8 fold path.

dondrup

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2011, 07:04:49 PM »
Is prostitution sexual misconduct?
What is the Buddhist stand on the topic?

Prostitution arises because of the demand (desire) for sexual pleasures. When there is demand there is supply. Why is there desire?

Samsara can be classified into three realms of existence – Form Realm, Formless Realm and Desire Realm.  Humans are beings of the Desire realm.  Desire is a delusion that is innate in humans.  From desire, humans develop attachment.  And attachment is one of the root causes of samsara i.e. ignorance, attachment and anger.

Prostitution is a means the humans use to satisfy their unquenchable desires. 

Even if someone uses prostitution as a livelihood for a good cause like earning to keep a family, it is still a sexual misconduct because it is causing harm to others and oneself.  By providing sex, the prostitute is causing some of the following major effects:

1) The spread of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS which is fatal
2) Cause the breakdown of family
3) Encourage the development of desire leading to attachment – a root cause of suffering in samsara
4) Prostitution will bring harm to human bodies of the parties involved in the sexual acts. Human body is a precious vehicle that can be used to accomplish Enlightenment. Prostitution abuses the preciousness of the human body
5) Against the normally accepted social etiquette
6) Breaking the law of a country

According to the Eightfold Path as clearly explained by DS Friend above, prostitution is not a Right Livelihood. Furthermore it is not a Right Action.  Prostitution is a form of sexual misconduct.  All parties involved in the act of prostitution are guilty of committing a negative action.

In samsara, no matter how pure the intention of the prostitutes (sentient beings) in providing their sexual services, they are still creating the causes of suffering. If prostitution is done with bodhichitta intention, it will create both the positive and negative effects. 


Klein

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2011, 07:42:58 PM »
I think in Buddhism, prostitution is not sexual misconduct because the definition of sexual misconduct means performing the act of intercourse without the consent of the partner and or hurting someone as a result of the act.
 
Is prostitution sexual misconduct?
What is the Buddhist stand on the topic?

Galen

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2011, 10:48:58 AM »
I think prostitution itself is not sexual misconduct. It is an occupation and the are consent between the two parties to be involved in the business deal.

However, if the prostitute has diseases which is transmittal, and still engages in the business without telling the client, then I think that constitute sexual misconduct. This is because she knows that she is not well and still accepts the business deal. Then she is causing serious harm and hurt to the other party. In that sense, Buddhism applies here too.


Tammy

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2011, 08:55:07 AM »
If a person has sex with a prostitute and his/her partner does not mind, is it still sexual misconduct??

Yes, I think this constitutes sexual misconduct! This is morally wrong and how can it NOT be a misconduct? In Taiwan, one who is caught having sex with person other than one's legal partner, will be charged and if found guilty, he or she could be sentenced to jail term.

Of course the above mentioned in from a secular point of view, from religious point of view, sex is one form of desire of which we should not be attached to.

Down with the BAN!!!

kris

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2011, 02:20:48 PM »
I think a lot of the discussions here are based upon the concept of monogamy. What happen if we are in a society of polygamy? Where, for example, a female can have more than one husband? Also, does Buddhism specifically discuss about monogamy and/or polygamy?

yontenjamyang

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Re: prostitution
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2011, 02:42:47 PM »
Prostitution in the conventional sense denotes selling sex. Does not matter male or female or whatever configuration. Putting aside pimps, forced prostitution etc and considering prostitution only, if the sex hurts another, whether the person knows it or not, it is consider sexual misconduct. Hence, if a prostitute's client is married or have a commitment to a girlfriend then the act is SM.
Prostitution itself is not SM but leads to very high chance of SM. Technically, if a prostitute somehow only have client who are not committed to another, then prostitution is not SM.
Of course for SM to be complete we need the 4 factors to be present including penetration and rejoicing. Ironically, if a prostitute is forced into the trade and never rejoice the act, then it is not SM.