Be Cautious About Lust
(Minghui.org) China has since ancient times been a land of propriety for Eastern civilization. The sages of China attached great importance to people's moral cultivation, and especially to proper gender relations. This was not done for the purpose of constraining people, but to protect them.
With the onset of modernization, people gradually came to disbelieve in the idea that good and evil deeds will be repaid accordingly, and stopped following the teachings of the ancient sages. Hence, their morals declined by leaps and bounds. And in regard to gender relations, the level of deterioration is very palpable. Television shows, the Internet, art exhibitions, and advertisements frequently exude erotic messages. People now think that pursuing luxury and beautiful mates is a normal part of life.
The ancient Greek civilizations perished when people's lives had become very corrupt and homosexual culture prevailed. Nowadays modern people, instead of trying to rectify themselves, are looking for precedences in history and even emulate the corruption that existed in ancient Greek civilization. However, that period of civilization was actually the ending time of ancient Greece. So whoever follows it may be courting doom.
Buddha said that all beings have Buddha-nature in them. Kindhearted people in the past were shocked by moral corruption, and were quick to rectify themselves for good. For instance, the famous poet Huang Shangu (Tingjian) liked to compose poems with erotic messages. One time he went to visit monk Yuantongxiu, and overheard the monk admonishing Li Boshi for drawing horses, "Why is a great man's wonderful skill of painting and calligraphy applied to this?” Poet Huang said with a smile, “Will I also reincarnate into a horse?” Monk Yuantongxiu said, “Boshi put too much effort into drawing horses, and it is his own business if he reincarnates into a horse. Your poems with erotic messages have incited people's sexual lust. The punishment for this sin is not only limited to reincarnating into a horse, it is possible that hell is awaiting you.” Poet Huang, after hearing that, became very ashamed and immediately stopped writing poems.
The Benefits of Discarding Lust
1. Maintaining good health
Discarding lust helps one to develop healthy living habits, and is very beneficial to maintaining good health. For example, Bao Hongzhai of the Song Dynasty was strong and healthy, with abundant energy. When he was 85 years old he was invited to be the Prime Minister. Jia Sitao thought that he must have had some secrets to maintaining good health, so he consulted him. Bao Hongzhai replied, "I am taking medicine pills which I had never told anyone else about.” Jia Sitao eagerly asked about these medicine pills. Said Bao Hongzhai slowly, "Thanks to me, I have taken 50 years of the pill--sleeping alone." All the people at the scene laughed.
Confucius also said, “A youth's vital energy has not fully developed yet and he should resist lust.”
2. Cultivating virtue
An old proverb says, “Lewdness is the worst of all sins.” If a man cannot let go of lust, he cannot be called a gentleman, and he may even be an evil person. When looking at either Eastern or Western traditional culture, the moral standards were very strict in this respect. As Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
The five commandments of Buddha Shakyamuni also included "no improper sexual behavior." In ancient China, the morale standards were the same. If one wants to upgrade his own moral standards, he must discard lust.
If someone doesn't believe that good and evil deeds are repaid accordingly, and if a person is only trying to discard lust for the purpose of maintaining good health or for some other reason, the effect of his effort will be very limited.
If one can understand the enormous harm that being lustful can bring, he would then feel fear in his heart and truly rectify his behavior.