Beauties of Meditation
A Pictorial Guide to the Harmonious Symmetry of the Undraped Meditatrix
The Buddhist nun known as Ryonen was born in 1797. She was a granddaughter of the famous Japanese warrior Shingen. Her poetical genius and alluring beauty were such that at seventeen she was serving the empress as one of the ladies of the court….
The beloved empress died suddenly and Ryonen’s hopeful dreams vanished. She became acutely aware of the impermanency of life in this world. It was then that she desired to study Zen….
She came to the city of Edo and asked Tetsugyu to accept her as a disciple. At one glance the master rejected her because she was too beautiful. Ryonen then went to another master, Hakuo. Hakuo refused her for the same reason, saying that her beauty would only make trouble.
Ryonen obtained a hot iron and placed it against her face. In a few moments her beauty had vanished forever. Hakuo then accepted her as a disciple. Commemorating this occasion, Ryonen wrote a poem on the back of a little mirror:
In the service of my Empress I burned incense to perfume my exquisite clothes / Now as a homeless mendicant I burn my face to enter a Zen temple
—from Zen Flesh, Zen bones, compiled by Paul Reps
Trigger Warning: This post contains images of naked women engaging in non-pornographic religious behavior. If you are offended by nudity, then go away, and have a nice day.
All my life (thus far) I have had a strong, mating-instinct-conditioned admiration and liking for women, especially pretty ones of breeding age. I can’t really help feeling this way, and can’t even sincerely want to help it. Looking at a beautiful woman is pleasant, like hearing beautiful music or tasting delicious food. I just like it, despite of course being a celibate monk. I’ve been human for longer than I have been a monk.
I have noticed over the years that my spirit is rather dumbbell-shaped: it’s relatively well developed at both ends, philosophical and sexual, and rather skimpy in the middle. I don’t care much about money, or lots of possessions, or a social life, or a worldly reputation; but I am, and pretty much always have been, spiritually AND lustfully oriented.
Practices like mindfulness, contemplating death, austerity, and general self-restraint have not been very effective in reducing the vehemence of my libido, which of course conditions my attitude towards healthy, well-proportioned females of breeding age. It is true, though, that as I get older, my blood is cooling down and becoming less hormone-laden, but I suspect that it more a matter of age and impermanence than of Buddhist ethical philosophy and yogic practice.
It used to be that I imagined, half-seriously, the ideal lifestyle as living in a hut or cave as a spiritual renunciant with a voluptuous, sexually uninhibited female spiritual seeker; but of course reality tends not to work that way. As a general rule, when a guy takes a mate he doesn’t just get a woman—a woman is part of an extensive package deal. Along with a woman there is usually concern for supporting her, or at least of chipping in one’s fair share, and also nature takes its course and generates children. It is very unusual for a man mating with a woman not to enmesh himself more deeply in Samsara. Same goes for the woman. So mating almost necessarily goes hand in hand with worldliness, and the ideal of advanced spiritual practice combined with voluptuous sex acts usually doesn’t work out so well in empirical reality.
So a lesser, more modest ideal, the compromise that might bring one closer to the best of both worlds, so to speak, might be hooking up with a beautiful yet wise and spiritual woman, and living a lifestyle as detached as having a family will allow. She would still have to be voluptuous though—I certainly wouldn’t want to marry a nun—you know, angel by day, goddess by night. But of course a very spiritual woman can still be just as emotionally complicated (crazy) as any other woman. From a Buddhist point of view, being celibate is best if one can manage it, but it’s not for everyone.
So anyway, as a kind of symbol of the best of both worlds, I have accumulated some pictures of young lovelies sitting in spiritual poses, some of them without clothes on, or “in a state of nature.” Most of this pictorial post will be a display of aforesaid lovelies.
The meditating nude is reminiscent of another kind of erotic image that I consider to highlight a striking contrast, almost to the point of paradox: a beautiful naked woman sprawled on a bed or couch while thoughtfully reading a thick book, maybe even one written by Hegel (or better yet, F. H. Bradley). This is the great contrast—a being literally designed by nature to be a sex object, via Darwinian sexual selection, yet also possessing an intelligent mind. It’s quasi-paradoxical in the sense of somebody designing a combination musical instrument and calculator; though come to think of it, this computer on which I am typing can be used as either.
The obvious ethical question is: What is wrong with displaying images of beautiful young women with little or no clothing on, adopting spiritual poses? For some civilized and/or religious people it may easily trigger cognitive dissonance to see a naked woman, especially a gorgeous one, meditating, or praying, or doing much of anything. (Then again, the goddess Aphrodite posed naked in her temples, and people came from miles away to worship her there.) Is a woman’s body a sex object? Yes! Obviously! It is evolved that way, to inspire males of the species to want to mate with her. But clearly a woman is not ONLY a sex object. She’s plenty of other things too; although without her body being an erotic object our species might not have survived for very long. In addition to a woman’s body being a sexual “releaser” it may also be a vessel of goodness and wisdom…which may just happen also to look stunning when her tits are exposed.
It is very, very likely that most of the women in the following photos are just faking it, but I’d guess that at least a few of them really are meditating; and who knows, maybe one or two are in some kind of exalted meditative or spiritual state. Whether that would aggravate any lustful mental states directed toward them or not I don’t know. Anyway, enjoy, or not, as you prefer.
|(I would remark on this one that her meditative posture is not good, despite|
her semi lotus. The back should be straight and perpendicular to the earth.)
Twenty monks and one nun, who was named Eshun, were practicing meditation with a certain Zen master. Eshun was very pretty even though her head was shaved and her dress plain. Several monks secretly fell in love with her. One of them wrote her a love letter, insisting upon a private meeting.
Eshun did not reply. The following day the master gave a lecture to the group, and when it was over, Eshun arose. Addressing the one who had written her, she said: “If you really love me so much, come and embrace me now.”
—another Zen story from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
|(May as well observe that in this one I really was meditating. The camera was set|
on a timer.)