I'm a Buddhist and an Adult Webcam Model
By - samwega
There was a man, who used to catch fish in order to sell it and also feed his family. He was concerned about this because he practiced Buddhism.
He went to Ajahn Chah and asked him for advice.
Ajahn Chah said, just continue to fish in the meantime, but only enough to feed your family.
Then Ajahn Chah began to teach the man how to make medicines with herbs and stuff. Once the man had learned a lot about this, he began to sell medicines he'd make and was able to support his family.
So, no worries. Just keep being kind. This work isn't going to set you back. It can be material for future understanding. What's important when it comes to kamma, said the Buddha, is the motivation behind our actions.
The attitudes of letting go; being kind; being gentle are the second factor of The Eightfold Path: Right Motivation.
Also, when our formal practice falls apart, it's a great example of anicca (impermanence, uncertainty).
My formal practice has recently fallen apart too. But, we can observe this. Will formal practice return? It might, it might not. But we can work with what is happening now.
It's all very useful manure for the guarden of peace and kindness.
I think we all need to start by learn to know, love, and accept ourselves the way we are. From there we can grow into a fuller practice of the Dharma. Thich Nhat Hanh says when people ask him about eating meat, he doesn’t tell them what to do or not to do. Instead, he instructs them to look deeply into the food they eat, to see where it comes from and how it is connected to everything else. From there he says people begin to gain insight that leads them to make wise decisions. Perhaps this is a path that would serve you as well? Instead of labeling your work as good or bad, perhaps meditate on how the dharma applies to your work. You can also look for teachings on right livelihood. If you ground yourself deeply in the dharma, buddha, and sangha, your insight will grow regarding this and other decisions in life. Good luck, and know you are worthy of love and acceptance exactly as you are right now. <3
"If you want to stand, stand. If you want to sit, sit. But whatever you do, don't wobble"
Do what you gotta do to make yourself happy. Don't take the teachings so seriously. Sometimes we make mistakes, and sometimes we fuck up for a long time, but with right intention we'll most likely come back to the practice.
I would personally say that the Adult Webcam job probably contradicts Buddhist practice, but it seems you're enjoying it. So there's no problem. But perhaps you should spend some time alone asking yourself if you do really enjoy it, and want to continue. Sometimes we don't realise that we don't actually want something until we stop and think about it.
Thich Naht Hahn once said to a woman who had alcohol problems and couldn't seem to quit long enough to gain any positive outcomes that "she should stop trying to quit for herself, and quit for those around her who have problems with alcohol". That mind set certainly helped me give up alcohol and drugs. Drink and Drugs are great fun, but unfortunately there are those out there who have serious problems with them, and when I drank or took drugs in the past, I felt I was supporting those addicts i.e not helping them but encouraging them. So I stopped for them.
Perhaps you could think of the Adult Webcam job in a similar way? Is what you're doing helping others, giving something positive to the world, or is it linked to a world of sexual misconduct, abuse and harrassment.
My poor understanding of the 8 fold path is to attempt to empower practitioners to limit their role in perpetuating suffering.
The pin head upon which some angels might dance would be where the role sex and lively hood in your life could be regarded as furthering suffering.
As it stands, my personal interpretation is that you're providing entertainment.
Were you to find yourself in the situation of encouraging someone to donate more money than they can afford (to your awareness); harming others in their immediate circle (harming the feelings of any partners, etc); etc, then those kinds of situations, in my opinion, would be where you might want to attempt to limit your role in the perpetuation of that suffering.
I have a quick question if you don't mind, and if OP doesn't think I'm hijacking. I'm too shy to post a question here.
What would you think of all of this re: scientists? The original reason I decided to be one was that I think it is good to expand human knowledge in some way, but also because you make a [modest] salary for support whilst not contributing to suffering. We might not be making things better, but at least we are not making it worse.
That said, it tends to be very egoist (publication ratings, impact factors, searches for the next job or for a longer-term one) which makes me feel like a bad buddhist (especially when I apply for grants or think about how actions might affect my search for a position). But if I can contribute to something good (or at least limit my output of badness) I'm okay with it. But I've not had the courage to ask others about this, so I'd be curious what you think.
Expanding human understanding (in my poorly educated opinion) is almost always for the best. The means might, unfortunately, be a cause for suffering, and some people may abuse the knowledge gained, but more understanding is almost always beneficial.
Due to your situation, you have to work such way. Many Buddhists women in Buddhist countries have to deal with life too. Yet, everyone can live by the five precepts and the knowledge of impermanence, suffering, and non-self. This knowledge is useful to contemplate the very nature of the five aggregates. Whatever occupation you have, you can practice the methods suitable for the situation. From it, insight can be developed. In ancient Buddhist tradition, such women were not condemned. Only bad conducts (that are opposed to the precepts) were not appreciated. Everyone is supposed to become more and more mature though.
A remarkable story happened during Emperor Asoka time. Once he arrived to Ganges River, it happened that a prostitute was able to make to river flow upward when she uttered the truth of her being living the five precepts in perfection. I don't fully remember this story. Whoever heard this story before can explain.
Your occupation promotes others to delight in sensory gratification. There's a text called the ~~Sutta of the Bamboo Acrobat~~ Talaputa Sutta which discusses performance arts. Nowhere else is it stated this is wrong livelihood, but the Buddha does make clear that if anyone believes their destination is a heavenly realm for such an occupation, then their destination is actually hell.
Some have interpreted this to suggest performance art in general is wrong livelihood, but that's never been specified elsewhere, only that performance artists are aware that the work is unskillful. That recognition, mindful of what you are stimulating in others, should be enough to mitigate the worst of the karma.
When conditions are more suitable for you, it would be ideal to move into a more wholesome line of work. Until conditions are better for it though, simply be mindful, and cultivate your practice to the best of your ability given the conditions you have been dealt.
> Your occupation promotes others to delight in sensory gratification.
How about people in any sort of comfort food establishment, which in the US would include the vast majority of restaurants? Anyone selling ice cream, snack food, or really any sort of candy at any grocery store or supermarket? Many (arguably most) artists? Actors, and people working at any sort of production studio, cinema, or broadcast / cable company?
Clothing makers and retailers? Most clothing is designed to generate sensual delight, and feminine clothing in particular is often designed to expose their body in an arousing manner. Most toys and games promote some sort of sensual delight, often with little other value. We're barely scratching the surface here, seeing how in secular society, most leisurely activities involve and often focus on sensual pleasure.
The category of occupations "promoting others to delight in sensory gratification" seems huge, especially in developed economies.
I would say that the scriptures are suggesting this applies to every type of artist, yes, as the sutta in question speaks about the *simulation* of sensory pleasures, hence my specifying performance artists of all kinds (of which I include actors, musicians, dancers, etc).
Producers of video games and other kinds of interactive media are likely to fall into this category too.
I'm a fiction writer myself, and I would argue that I also fall into this category. It isn't meant to be a negative criticism of these pursuits. First, I am only reporting what hte scriptures are stating, and I am trying my best to take the most liberal approach in interpreting that text as I can. The Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings go another way on this issue, but I feel it's important to report on the contents of the Early Buddhist Texts.
Now, we have to understand that by doing these things, we are encouraging people to cling to the passions. That is *unless* our creative works are directly related to the dharma and serve as a means of proselytizing the dharma. Otherwise, there is without question some unskillfulness involved, and some promotion of Mara's domain. As long as we can recognize this and do our best to move others toward the dharma whenever we've the chance, we can mitigate some of the unwholesome karma that is naturally inherent in the arts.
> The Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings go another way on this issue, but I feel it's important to report on the contents of the Early Buddhist Texts.
Can you link to the Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings similar to the Talaputa Sutta?
This is basically a complete tangent, but I thought it might be interesting food for thought. No need to respond unless you feel like it, I just thought it would be an interesting quote to share.
>Although it is fairly easy to bring adverse circumstances to the path, doing the same for positive circumstances is very difficult. Even those practitioners who think that they themselves are highly realized beings, can end up becoming trapped by their craving for pleasure, and just distract themselves to ways of becoming important in this life.
>Be very careful. Know that this marks the border line where you can go up or down, where the measure of great meditators is taken.
~ Dudjom Rinpoche
> Even those practitioners who think that they themselves are highly realized beings, can end up becoming trapped by their craving for pleasure
> and just distract themselves to ways of becoming important in this life.
What does it mean "to become important in life", and why should practitioners strive to achieve that?
I'm fairly certain it's a mis-typed quotation, actually. I've seen a few that are seemingly mistyped, and I'm familiar enough with Dudjom Rinpoche that this seems just like a strangely written sentence.
In general, the meaning here, if I may, is essentially that a Buddha is at a point where basically everything is of equal taste, you might say.
For example, if hypothetically someone were to have gone to the Buddha, abducted him, brought him to a brothel, tied him down, and had beautiful women dance over him seductively, there wouldn't have been even an iota of disturbance that arises in his mind, basically speaking.
Contrast that to a view where someone might think that the Buddha is sort of all peaceful and composed, but then if one were to bring him into that circumstance, then his mind would be disturbed in connection with those conditions.
To a highly realized being, there is literally no difference in essence between a palace and a prison, a brothel and a monastery.
However, in general, it might be actually easier for those of us that are sort of on the Path to take difficult situations to the Path than it is to take delightful situations to the Path.
When it comes to the Bodhisattva Path, one must indeed essentially master all of this, in part perhaps so as to be able to manifest in whatever way is necessary for the benefit of beings.
Wrote a long response to this, then thought I might as well make [a new post out of it](https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comments/bbqii0/some_ideas_about_discrimination_and_attachment/?).
To piggyback on this comment -
If you have to pay the bills, you have to pay the bills. It's understandable. But my understanding of the Dhamma is that lust is dangerous, and activities intended to cultivate lust can be understood on the one hand as simply unskillful, and the other hand as sexual misconduct.
In my own life experience I have noticed that sexual misconduct (i am using the term very broadly here) tends to attract the attention of dark beings, evil spirits. If there's one thing demons love, it is sexual misconduct. Attracting their attention by participating in something like this is likely going to make "staying clean" harder.
If you have a problem with addiction, alcoholism, perhaps there is some heavy kamma working its way out. Working in this field might be paying the bills for now, but karmically your problem might be snowballing by participating in something sexually unwholesome as a profession. Short term it might be convenient, but long-term it may do you more harm than good.
I think you have the wrong sutta.
AFAIK its only here, and a similar Sutta about a soldier, where the Buddha describes a profession leading to hell, and you are absolutely right to stress that:
>*That recognition, mindful of what you are stimulating in others, should be enough to mitigate the worst of the karma.*
Good call. I mixed up "acrobat" and "actor" in my head.
Honestly, if neither you nor your partner feel exploited by your cam modeling job I don't think there's too much problem in it -- especially if it's the only reliable source of income you have at the moment.
There's a lot of porn and other adult content on the internet which was created by less than savory means, and if you're providing an alternative to that without the negative impacts and bringing some happiness into people's lives it could even be seen as something beneficial. Being generous with acts of your body/using your body for others is one of the acts of a Bodhisattva after all.
That being said, it's probably not the most sustainable source of income for you in the long run. The other thing to be careful of is if it would potentially cause problems if you do land a good job.
In Buddhist terms, it may not be the most wholesome living in terms of right livelihood, but honestly most livelihoods involve wrongdoing in various ways -- if you're a business owner how much time do you spend misrepresenting your products to make money/get a good deal? If you're working for a company how much of what that company does actually benefits beings?
Keep practicing and I wouldn't worry about it too much; if your girlfriend is also okay with it. Especially if your intention is just to do it to help yourself get by and provide some happiness to others.
I find the suggestion that recorded sex provides any kind of happiness to be very, very questionable.
Well, certainly not any lasting happiness -- but there are a number of lonely people out there who it can provide some temporary relief from loneliness, depression and pent up sexual frustration.
If no one is being harmed or degraded in its production I don't see how this is much worse than any of the other things we do for temporary samsaric relief -- beyond some people ridiculous puritanical belief that sex and nudity are bad/gross/evil. Many of whom turn around and have no problem with graphic violence and murder in their tv shows and video games...
> there are a number of lonely people out there who it can provide some temporary relief from loneliness, depression and pent up sexual frustration.
Relying on video instead of imagination for that brings all kinds of problems with it, at the very least.
I'm not sure which of watching or imagining your sexual desires is better. I think the imagining might be worse as it's actually generating active mental karma.
Don't get me wrong, obsessing over masturbation/sexual desire is not a good thing. But there are people out there who turn to sex workers for reasons beyond that (loneliness being a prime example).
I guess my point was that most work we do as humans directly or indirectly ends up harming people by inflaming their afflictions -- honestly I don't think there's really many ways of making money without doing that in one way shape or form.
But if you acknowledge that you can at least try and turn whatever you do into a way of benefitting others (or making things least worse) by doing it with the intention to be of their benefit. And sex work is no exception to that.
Just as a comment in reference to the possibility of lower realm rebirth, the ripening of kamma is a complex thing: the things you do in between unwholesome thoughts and actions that are wholesome may very well—as I believe, though could be wrong—the cause of a following rebirth, immediately after death of this body or the next.
Still, unwholesomeness is just that, and someone who sees reality for even a moment—a glimpse of anicca, dukkha, anatta—can cause in themselves a brief sobriety, a hint of truth. Hacking away at the defilements by true mindfulness would naturally teach the mind what is not and what IS evil (ie a cause for suffering). I think no amount of money is worth self pollution, which is what mindfulness could teach you—but I am not you and I have not been in your circumstances. The practice is gradual, and I don’t know how your circumstance relates to the third precept, but instead of worrying about that, you should do the heart of the teaching and watch that worry—see it for what it is! Anicca, dukkha, anatta. Practice satipatthana and you will know what is right and what is wrong.
The consensus though is simple: clinging to pleasure and encouraging others to cling to pleasure is not beneficial to your or their awakening.
There's a [sutta](https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/thig/thig.05.02.than.html) about a woman who was a prostitute who went on to become fully enlightened so it's not as if making a living in such a way makes you some sort of irredeemable fuck up or something, but I think it would be viewed as unskillful.
There's another [sutta](https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn42/sn42.002.than.html) where the Buddha says that an actor would be reborn in the "hell of laughter" due to being heedless and intoxicated and increasing the heedlessness of others:
>"Apparently, headman, I haven't been able to get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.' So I will simply answer you. **Any beings who are not devoid of passion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of passion, focus with even more passion on things inspiring passion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of aversion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of aversion, focus with even more aversion on things inspiring aversion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of delusion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of delusion, focus with even more delusion on things inspiring delusion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Thus the actor — himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless — with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter.** But if he holds such a view as this: 'When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb."
I personally don't know what might happen to someone who does porn and dies in that time frame, but we might draw the conclusion from the second sutta that it wouldn't be good.
Refuge Recovery is a Buddhist addiction recovery program that might be a excellent support for abstaining from drugs, alcohol, smoking and other addictions. It’s based on the 4 Noble Truths and 8-Fold Path, so it’s right in line with your Theravada Buddhism.
That's a lot of text.
Most of the strippers and prostitutes in SE Asia identity as Buddhists too and they are no less Buddhist than anyone else.
I might suggest that since you posted here that it is possible that you're experiencing some inner conflict. My advice would be to to follow your instincts and consult scripture.
Buddhist path: Sila, Samadhi, Panna. Morality, Concentration and Wisdom. What is your goal? Nibbana? Then walking along this path seems to be extremely challenging with what you do right now. If it's just a little bit of peace in this present life that you're seeking, then do it with understanding. You're on a knife edge. Prone to unskillful thoughts and deeds everyday, every hour...Chances are very little that you'd able to find peace or the ultimate goal nibbana, but not impossible... Even the sothapanna (stream winners) indulge in sensual pleasures...Bad kamma you accumulate by leading others to excessively indulge in sensual pleasures also needs to be considered...
**A Woman's Sex**
It has the original mouth but remains wordless;
It is surrounded by a magnificent mound of hair.
Sentient beings can get completely lost in it
But it is also the birthplace of all the Buddhas of the ten thousand worlds.
Rinzai's disciples never got the Zen message,
But I, the Blind Donkey, know the truth:
Love play can make you immortal.
The autumn breeze of a single night of love is better than a hundred thousand years of sterile sitting meditation. . .
Stilted koans and convoluted answers are all monks have,
Pandering endlessly to officials and rich patrons.
Good friends of the Dharma, so proud, let me tell you,
A brothel girl in gold brocade is worth more than any of you.
This and the poem are from Wild Ways - Ikkyu - White Pine Press (Translator?)
> Ikkyu interspersed his travels with lengthy retreats deep in the mountains, where
> he grew vegetables and meditated. He counted many artists among his wide circle of
> acquaintances, and Ikkyu's own dynamic art had a profound impact on the development
> of poetry, painting, calligraphy, the tea ceremony, flower arranging, and Noh drama in
> Japan. Periodically, Ikkyu was summoned to serve as chief priest of a temple, only to
> quickly grow disgusted with the hypocrisy of fame-and-fortune Zen:
> Who among Rinzai's descendants really transmits his Zen?
> It is concealed in this Blind Donkey.
> Straw sandals, a bamboo staff, an unfettered life—
> You can have your fancy chairs, meditation platforms, and fame-and-fortune Zen.
> Throughout his life, Ikkyu wanted his Zen to be raw, direct, and authentic. For
> Ikkyu, part of being authentic was to be totally up front about sex: "If one is thirsty, he
> dreams of water; if one is cold, he will dream of a thick robe. It is my nature to dream of
> the pleasures of the bedchamber!" After initial experiences with homosexual love in the
> monastery, Ikkyu turned to women as a constant source of inspiration and unbridled joy.
> There were also difficult periods of deprivation and intense sorrow in Ikkyu's love life,
> which he accepted as being equally valid Zen experiences.
> Following eight decades of wild ways, in 1474 Ikkyu was asked to become head
> abbot of Daitoku-ji, perhaps the most important Zen temple in the cultural history of
> Japan. Daitoku-ji had been destroyed in the senseless Onin War, and in seven years Ikkyu
> succeeded in having it completely rebuilt. The effort exhausted him, however, and Ikkyu
> passed away while seated in the lotus posture in 1481, at age eighty-seven. Not long
> before his death he told his disciples: After I'm gone, some of you will seclude yourselves
> in the forests and mountains to meditate, while others may drink rice wine and enjoy the
> company of women. Both kinds of Zen are fine, but if some become professional clerics,
> babbling about "Zen as the Way," they are my enemies.*
> Ikkyu began composing poetry in his early teens, and more than a thousand
> poems are contained in the Crazy Cloud Anthology compiled by his disciples. Just as in
> everything else, Ikkyu totally ignored the rules of composition, and his poems come in all
> styles and forms. Much of his verse rants against the pervasive hypocrisy of the Buddhist
> establishment and decries the corruption of the imperial court and its officials. Such
> criticism was entirely justified, but even Ikkyu himself felt that he often went too far—
> "How many have I slain with my barbed words?" He ranted against himself as well,
> bemoaning his lack of self-control and his inordinate love of poetry. In addition to poems
> on standard religious subjects, Ikkyu composed a number of poems on koan phrases
> (usually his poems are more difficult to understand than the koans themselves). Ikkyu
> wrote several prose poems on Buddhist themes, the best being "Skeletons," which is
> included at the end of this collection.
> As a poet, Ikkyu was at his finest when writing about what he loved most: the
> unfettered Zen life and the joys of sexual intimacy. The selection presented here in Wild
> Ways consists of verses centering around those two themes. It may seem ironic that a
> Buddhist monk is best remembered for his love songs, but we also have the example of
> the sixth Dalai Lama, who once chanted: If the bar-girl does not falter, The beer will flow
> on and on. This maiden is my refuge And this place my haven.
Ikkyū (一休宗純, Ikkyū Sōjun, 1394–1481) was an eccentric, iconoclastic Japanese Zen Buddhist monk and poet. He had a great impact on the infusion of Japanese art and literature with Zen attitudes and ideals.
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Thanks for bringing this up. I play in a band and will now deepen my practice from what Ive learned here.
I recommend reading "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse and "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran Kahlil.
While the first will show you there is not one path, the latter will inspire you about specific topics.
Thoughtful post! Which aspects of it do you feel aren't in line with your personal beliefs?
It’s clear that you have a very strong will to self actualize and I applaud you for your hard work. Part of being conscious in this world is to see the effects of our actions. If your Cam Modeling what are the effects on others? Are they able to become enlightened through your work? If not...are them being pulled deeper into suffering? I don’t know.
What I do know is that desire, and specifically sexual desire is some thing that does not help me get closer to the true. It make it much harder as it causes me to objectify other sentient beings.
So perhaps the question is: by encouraging others to objectify you are you hurting their spiritual progress?
So I am not a sex worker, but I have been a client of sex workers (though not cam models), and have thought about this a bit. Here's how I see it:
Monastics take a vow of celibacy. I am not (and you are not) a member of the monastic sangha, you are a layperson. The precept we take a vow of is to 'avoid sexual misconduct' which is a rather vague term - what does that entail? For me I think it's simple, to not engage in something where any of the participants have not meaningfully consented or are being harmed. Your job certainly doesn't sound like that to me. On the contrary you say it is 'lucrative and even enjoyable' and works well around your mental and emotional states.
I'd also say from the point of view of a client that sex workers have helped me grow as a person in many ways. It can be much more meaningful and compassionate work than I think many people realise.
I would say that the only uneasiness for me is knowing that very few sanghas are going to share this view, it has made me wonder sometimes whether I can still call myself a Buddhist in a religious sense.
Wow everyone-- Thanks to all of you for your insightful perspectives! You've given me a lot to consider. I look forward to reading what others feel, and soon when I have more time to process your responses I will make an adequate reply!
There is nothing inherently wrong with sex or sex work. It is a worldly pleasure, just as good food, money, power, etc... As long as you are not causing suffering in others or in yourself, you should be perfectly content with what you are doing. The key is not getting too attached to worldly pleasures. It is the attachment to the wolrdly pleasures that can ultimately cause suffering, which will lead you to the stray paths.
In the texts it says "non repetition is the bane of the scriptures"
I think this is in the dhammapada.
There's old Zen story about a pretty young woman who more than anything wants to become a celebate Zen monk but has to marry and bear children due to familial obligations. So she does. Years later, when her children are all grown up, she becomes a monk and quickly achieves enlightenment.
It sounds like you're pragmatically taking personal responsibility for yourself and those who depend on you. You've got a clear idea of where you've been and where you're going. Keep up the good work!
It's paying the bills for the moment, and it sounds like things are going well for you.However, it probably won't be a good source of income in the long term. I think you are on the right track to switching careers by taking classes. Generally there are only five actions that are irreversible ( in most Buddhist Schools). An act of violence to your mom, to your dad, to a monk/nun, killing a monk/nun, or creating a rift in the sangha. Aside from these five things, most negative karma can be mitigated with good deeds. So, cam modeling isn't a big deal. I hope you pass all your classes and you land a great job after graduation. Namo Amida!
What others have already said about the unskillfulness of being an entertainer is correct.
It is great that you have begun to reevaluate the course of your life and are making efforts to choose the wholesome choices available. I encourage you to be diligent in your commitment to developing skillful qualities.
The dhamma is about our long term wellbeing and happiness, and requires renunciation and restraint. This can be uncomfortable and requires a conviction in the dhamma to persist. Following the dhamma is hard and is to go against the stream, but the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices. Following the dhamma is more important than being happy or comfortable in this life.
>Does “entertainer” include musician?
Teachers I respect and follow consider musicians to be entertainers.
>Though I am not in a combat role, I cannot take the precepts because I need to kill if ordered.
This is prudent, but unskillful behavior is unskillful behavior regardless of vow.
>I do everything I can to avoid deployment, and has worked out so far.
I am glad for you. May you finish your enlistment without killing.
>Trouble is, I also have a lot of student loan debt which I’d need to stay in. All these thoughts go round and round daily, and causes my suffering. I don’t know what to do.
As you are experiencing, actions have consequences. Be heedful as you go forward.
This sub does not have the last word on Buddhism, and this is an anonymous Internet forum. Take any advice you get here with pinch of salt. I really see no reason you should quit being a musician just to feel like a 'good Buddhist'.
> When something you’ve pursued your whole life (music) turns out to be unskillful, treading on wrong livelihood,
Not wrong livelihood, no. Music can only be compared to things like trading in weapons and human beings by the dumbest possible logic.
Also keep in mind that not all of Buddhism is entirely in agreement on this. The Theravadin position frequently drives a gulf between lay practitioner and monk, and it has a very particular view of monasticism, and is therefore much more likely to be hostile to anything in the domain of the arts. Bhante Dhammika explains (in *The Broken Buddha*):
"While Tibetan monks have a strong commitment to spirituality this does not prevent them from appreciating the beautiful. Like Ch’an and Zen, Tibetan Buddhism has integrated both the creative impulse and the aesthetic sense into spiritual practice. A number of great meditation masters have
also been poets, painters and sculptors. A Tibetan Buddhist has written ‘Art and meditation are creative states of the human mind. Both are nourished by the same source, but it may seem that they are moving in different directions: art towards the realm of sense-impression, meditation towards the overcoming of forms and sense-impressions. But the difference pertains only to accidentals, not to essentials.’ Theravadin cultures have produced great works of art but Theravadin scholars and meditation masters have long regarded all the fine arts - if they have thought about them at all - as little more than a sop to popular needs rather than expressions of spirituality or a means of awakening and nurturing it. [...] The Dambadeni Katikavata, drawn up after a reform of the Sangha in Sri Lanka in the 13th century tells monks that the literary and visual arts are ‘despised branches of
knowledge’ which should be shunned.
The Theravadin position on art is epitomized by a famous story of Cittagutta from the Visuddhimagga. One day two young monks came to visit Cittagutta in the cave where he had lived for sixty years. One of the monks happened to notice the beautiful paintings on the roof and mentioned these to Cittagutta. The wizened old monk said that despite his long residence in the cave he had never raised his eyes to look at the paintings and in fact didn’t even know they were
there. The only reason he knew that there was a flowering tree at the mouth of his cave was because once a year he saw the fallen petals on the ground. [...] Theravada sees the enlightened person as dead to beauty, indeed dead to every human feeling. The Buddha was able to listen to and enjoy Pancasikha’s sitar playing (D.II,267) but a Theravadin monk could never do such a thing, not in public at least. He might get away with writing poetry, particular if it was about decrepitude, death or the worms that infest the bowels. But the idea of him painting, doing flower arranging or going to an art exhibition, a Shakespeare performance or a concert is unthinkable. The cultivation and appreciation of the arts in Tibetan Buddhism gives it a definite appeal to many people while Theravada has nothing to offer in this area other than the simplistic notion that beauty causes attachment."
As for Mahayana and Vajrayana: for example, *The Ancient Path to Enlightenment* (on YouTube) covers the activities of a Chinese sangha in their duthanga practice period. Music is employed in this documentary, and there are in fact two songs written by the abbot himself. These monks probably practice harder than any of us here, adhere very strictly to the vinaya, and make extensive use of early teachings from the Agamas. Yet they're not afraid of music. In general there's a tradition of Buddhist music in China; I've seen one 30-disc collection of chants and music from all over the country.
Japan has many examples to give as well, but I'll just point out that Kūkai was a proper monk yet he wrote poetry, was the top calligrapher of his time, and the use of highly aesthetic statues and sculptures plays an important role in the context of Shingon. Two other artistic disciplines associated with it are shōmyō, a kind of chanting, and pilgrims' dances.
As with all activities that aren't inherently harmful, music can be an utter waste of time, or it might not. In any case Buddhism isn't about hiding away and staring at the ground for fear that biology might interact with stimulus and give rise to a sensory experience. The fact is, this is what happens to the senses in life, whether you were a caveman living ten thousand years ago or a houseman living today. What's particularly problematic in our time is that we are bombarded by deliberate stimulation or incitement to simulation that is, for the most part, objectively worthless and unskillful.
I have done some cammimg for gay men and I'm straight, previously I did outcall for women and couples. As a life long Buddhist I had to ask myself if I was causing harm or creating suffering, the answer was no. Right livelihood mostly pertains to selling guns and drugs as well as being in a job that causes war and famine . Being a merchant of death and suffering. Causing ecstasy and desire or giving orgasms to lonely people didn't really count for me. I have been a practicing Buddhist for over twenty years. Just be safe and have a good time.
Do what you need to do to survive and fuck rules. Buddhism is not Christianity.