Cultivating Disgust for Women
Here is an excerpt from a talk the Dalai Lama gave at UCLA in June, 1997:
"Most attachment to women comes from
the belief that womens bodies are pure.
But in actuality there is no purity
in a womans body at all.
Her mouth is a vessel of impurity,
with putrid saliva and gunk between her teeth;
Her nose is a pot of snot, phlegm and mucous,
and her eyes contain eye-slime and tears.
Her torso is a container of excrement,
holding urine, the lungs, liver and such.
The confused do not see that a woman is such;
thus, they lust after her body.
Like unknowing persons, who have become attached
to an ornamented vessel filled with filth,
Unknowing and worldly beings
are attached to women."
The Dalai Lama was reading from the Precious Garland of Nagarjuna, who is sometimes revered as a "Second Buddha." Here is a link to a recording of the lecture. The above quote is from page 32-33 of the edition of the Precious Garland that was specially produced for the Dalai Lama's series of lectures. This book was handed out to people as they entered the auditorium.
The editorial review of The Precious Garland states, " . . .one of the most revered Mahayana Buddhist scriptures: the Precious Garland by Nagarjuna. Written more than 1,500 years ago, its advice is still lucid and fresh. As counsel for a king, the text is the polar opposite of Machiavelli's The Prince; it elucidates reality, announces the way to cultivate personal virtue, and suggests ways to implement that virtue in public policy. . . . belongs with the most inspiring of spiritual scriptures."
Book Description: Nagarjuna is renowned for his penetrating anaylsis of reality.
The reading of this text was part of an Empowerment of a Meditational Practice.
Can you see now that there are love meditations, that cherish and celebrate life, and hatred meditations, that cultivate disgust? Most meditation teachings are some mixture of nutritional and medicinal, as if you went to a restaurant and they served you delicious food that they secretly added antibiotics to.
When asked about the anti-life nature of this teaching, His Holiness said, "It's for monks."
During His Holiness' visit, a man said, "I want to become a Buddhist," and The Dalai Lama replied, "Please don't. Stay in your own religion, and meditate." In fact, often he encourages people to stay with their own religion. He has said again and again that "it is better to stick with the wisdom traditions of one’s own land than to run from them pursuing in exotica what was under your nose all the time."
I have no idea why the Dalai Lama does anything – and I am not qualified to speculate. I would not be surprised, however, if he selected Nagarjuna's text to read as a warning to Americans to wake up and not be so gullible. What is amazing is that there was almost no discussion of the implications of what he was saying. People love him so much that they ignored the text and just soaked up his presence.
If you are a householder, even listening to this text is like being blasted by x-rays. For some people, this may be healing. For those who are on the edge, thinking about becoming monks or nuns, this may push them over. One wonders what all the women in the audience made of it. "Even the Dalai Lama thinks women are disgusting!" Some people may become radiant, others may just get radiation sickness.
Or, as one bulimic psychotherapist I spoke to said, "It is interesting to see this type of pathological thinking, basically bulimic/anorexic ideology, presented as scripture. It makes me think that Nagarjuna, and others, may have had severe eating disorders and body image disorders."
Buddhist saints tend to be rich, complex, multidimensional characters. They kill people. Seduce women. Live wild lives. Then they meditate.
Nagarjuna is said to have so good at magic that he could turn himself invisible, and he used to sneak into the king's harem and seduce his wives. The king, however, was getting suspicious, and had powder spread on the floor. One night Nagarjuna brought several friends with him, and they were discovered by their footprints. Nagarjuna's three friends were hacked to pieces, and he was saved only because he took a vow to "adopt the spiritual state." Questions need to be asked here: did Nagarjuna sell out his friends and save himself? Anyway, he then went on to become a Buddhist scholar and give us teachings such as we see above.
So meditation is BYOD, Bring Your Own Discernment. Don't even begin to naively absorb teachings because they sound cool. Always ask, "Is this for me? Is this life-supporting for my life?"
As Buddha is said to have said,
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason
and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
This is fearlessness, and it is love.
This sounds quite investigatory and empirical to me. A call to practice discernment.
Or a longer version:
Ma anussavena: Do not believe something just because it has been passed along and retold for many generations. [Simpler: Do not be led by what you are told.]
Ma paramparaya: Do not believe something merely because it has become a traditional practice. [Do not be led by whatever has been handed down from past generations.]
Ma itikiraya: Do not believe something simply because it is well-known everywhere. [Do not be led by hearsay or common opinion.]
Ma Pitakasampadanena: Do not believe something just because it is cited in a text. [Do not be led by what the scriptures say]
Ma takkahetu: Do not believe something solely on the grounds of logical reasoning. [Do not be led by mere logic.]
Ma nayahetu: Do not believe something merely because it accords with your philosophy. [Do not be led by mere deduction or inference.]
Ma akaraparivitakkena: Do not believe something because it appeals to "common sense". [Do not be led by considering only outward appearance.]
Ma ditthinijjhanakkhantiya: Do not believe something just because you like the idea. [Do not be led by preconceived notions (and the theory reflected as an approval)]
Ma bhabbarupataya: Do not believe something because the speaker seems trustworthy. [Do not be led by what seems acceptable; do not be led by what some seeming believable one says.]
Ma samano no garu ti: Do not believe something thinking, "This is what our teacher says". [Do not be led by what your teacher tells you it is so.]
Kalamas, when you yourselves directly know, "This is [these things are] unwholesome, this is blameworthy, this is condemned or censured by the wise, these things when accepted and practised lead to poverty and harm and suffering," then you should give them up.
Kalamas, when you yourselves directly know, "These things are wholesome, blameless, praised by the wise; when adopted and carried out they lead to well-being, prosperity and happiness," then you should accept and practise them."
- Gautama Buddha, Kesamutti Sutta, the fifth sutta (sutra) in the Book of Threes (Mahavagga) in the Gradual Sayings (Tika Nipata).