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Wholesome or unwholesome seeds

Wholesome or unwholesome seeds

Photo by Edgaras Jazelis

Having a healthy outlook even while in prison.

A seed just beginning to sprout.

What we see and hear plants seeds in our mind. (Photo by Edgaras Jazelis)

I’ve become aware that what I see and hear plants seeds on my mind, or waters seeds that are there. For example, pornography plants unwholesome seeds on my mindstream. I recognize the potential for harm it causes to myself and others. What is really disturbing to me is how incarcerated people here use pornography to fuel unhealthy and even criminal fantasies. It is mind-boggling that the administration allows people to have porno in their possession and yet we are prohibited from owning a small meditation bench. Can’t they see the harm that porno is for some obsessive types in here? It just doesn’t make sense.

About three years ago, on impulse I bought a couple of pages of porn pics from this guy. I put them in my drawer and there they sat for months. I never really had the desire to look at them, and so after a while I decided to get rid of them. It wasn’t that I was being puritanical, but I just wasn’t interested in keeping them any longer. So I thought, “I’ll just sell them to someone in here. After all, there are many eager buyers.” But then I realized that in doing so, I would be perpetuating unhealthy seeds in someone else’s mindstream. I went to my drawer, tore them up, and that was the last time I had any porno in my possession.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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