I recently, and accidentally, found out one of my very close family members has been watching pornography on my computer. He had borrowed it and had used it apparently for his own purposes one night. I am not too bothered by this, but I did find that in recent history he had watched some very extreme videos in sexual nature. I had to think about it for a long awhile. On one hand I know I cannot control his karma and what decisions he makes. On the other I still question whether or not it is considered a break of the sexual immorality precept.

I do not wish to judge anyone, but I was just so shocked to see one of my family members watching some very extreme videos in nature. Again, we are related, but his karma is not mine. I cannot push such a thought away, and I constantly wonder, not to my choosing, whether to consider it his personal free will and to let everyone be or if I should be worried if a relative was enjoying videos almost abusive in nature. I suppose some of this suffering stems from attachment to this relative, but I am just asking for advice from fellow Buddhists.

I am pondering whether or not pornography is considered a violation of the precepts? How should I view such a situation? Should I ignore it and move on? What is the buddhist response to a situation like this? I am dearly confused.

Thank you to all.

1 Answer 1


It is not officially a breach of the 3rd precept, which, per definition, relates to actual sexual activity with specifically defined people (such as another person's husband or wife or children/teenagers still living under the care of their parents).

However, pornography is of the kind of extreme "dangerous" (ādīnavā) potentially addictive vices found in the 'six causes ruin a man' in the Sigalovada Sutta.

Also, extreme pornography is particularly discordant with Buddhist views about the aims & needs of women (AN 6:52); it is often 'sexual objectification'; is a 'delusion' about reality; & thus does not abide with metta (wishing good welfare) & compassion (mitigating suffering).

Since, it was your computer, you have a duty of care (towards yourself) to mention it to your relative because it was a breach of your trust & something that could potentially have imperiled you (such as if it was an illegal kind of pornography that could be traced to your computer or if it was a work computer supplied by an employer).

If the relative is your child, again, the Sigalovada Sutta states a parent has the duty to restrain their children from evil & encourage them to do good.

Similarly, as a genuine friend, the Sigalovada Sutta states to protect a friend when he is heedless, to not forsake him in his troubles, to give good counsel, to discourage from doing evil encourage & to do good.

The Sigalovada Sutta contains most answers to Buddhist personal & social conduct.

As for pornography, it is a very powerful (alluring) sense object, even if looked at out of curiosity. Since it is freely accessible on the public internet, many people watch it or have viewed it.

I have noticed more than a few members on a certain Buddhist chatsite that have brought up their problems with & addictions to pornography.

About sensual pleasures (which includes pornography) the scriptures advise to be cognizant of: (i) the origin (all lifeforms are sexual/reproductive/filial beings); (ii) the allure/attraction; (iii) the drawback/danger; & (iv) the method to escape the danger (which is appropriate healthy use of appropriate sexual relationship or, otherwise, restraint). Some links below.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.010.than.html http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.054x.than.html

Pornography can have a powerful allure but I assume many people grow out of it (just as many people get addicted to it).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .