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If a person have a small Buddha statue in their room and they (sorry) masturbated in that room, is it considered sexual misconduct?

Sorry if this question is unappropiate.

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  • Not at all. I've been known to stick googly eyes on my Buddha statue! I sometimes use it as a hat rest too. Sexual misconduct involves how you present your sexual escapades in the presence of other people; for instance, forcing yourself onto another or manipulating others into sexual relations. I'm sure there are other definitions. – NeuroMax Apr 7 at 13:29
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If a person have a small Buddha statue in their room and they (sorry) masturbated in that room, is it considered sexual misconduct?

No, it's not.

The 3rd Precept is only broken if 2 conditions are met, namely:

  • sevanacittam -- the intention to have sexual intercourse.
  • maggena maggap-pati-padanam - sexual contact through any one of the 'paths' (i.e., genitals, anus or mouth)
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No. Unskillful bodily action, which encompasses sexual misconduct as it pertains to the five precepts of the laity, was defined by the Buddha thusly:

He engages in sexual misconduct. He gets sexually involved with those who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man. This is how one is made impure in three ways by bodily action.

AN 10:165

The main point, it seems, as with most things pertaining to the ethics of lay people, is to refrain from causing harm. Would you cause suffering to yourself or to another living being by engaging in a certain sexual act? If so, then that is unskillful. This view is supported by AN 8:39, in which the Buddha explains that the reasoning behind the precepts is that by behaving within those guidelines, one gives "freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings."

Now, what is considered misconduct for monks and nuns is a different matter. Should you be curious about that, I'd encourage you to read the Pāṭimokkha. In that case, just as a tangential point, the unskillfulness doesn't seem to be about disrespect to the Buddha, but just about the fact that engaging in the act of masturbation obstructs one from shedding one's clinging to bodily pleasure.

With Metta.

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