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The Bhikkhus' Conduct Toward Women

The bhikkhus came to the Blessed One and asked him:

"O Tathagata, our Lord and Master, what conduct toward women dost
thou prescribe to the samanas who have left the world?"

And the Blessed One said:

"Guard against looking on a woman.

"If ye see a woman, let it be as though ye saw her not, and have
no conversation with her.

"If, after all, ye must speak with her, let it be with a pure
heart, and think to yourself, 'I as a samana will live in this
sinful world as the spotless leaf of the lotus, unsoiled by the
mud in which it grows.'

"If the woman be old, regard her as your mother, if young, as
your sister, if very young, as your child.

"The samana who looks on a woman as a woman, or touches her as a
woman, has broken his vow and is no longer a disciple of the

"The power of lust is great with men, and is to be feared withal;
take then the bow of earnest perseverance, and the sharp
arrow-points of wisdom.

"Cover your heads with the helmet of right thought, and fight
with fixed resolve against the five desires.

"Lust beclouds a man's heart, when it is confused with woman's
beauty, and the mind is dazed.

"Better far with red-hot irons bore out both your eyes, than
encourage in yourself sensual thoughts, or look upon a woman's
form with lustful desires.

"Better fall into the fierce tiger's mouth, or under the sharp
knife of the executioner, than dwell with a woman and excite in
yourself lustful thoughts.

"A woman of the world is anxious to exhibit her form and shape,
whether walking, standing, sitting, or sleeping. Even when
represented as a picture, she desires to captivate with the
charms of her beauty, and thus to rob men of their steadfast

"How then ought ye to guard yourselves?

"By regarding her tears and her smiles as enemies, her stooping
form, her hanging arms, and her disentangled hair as toils
designed to entrap man's heart.

"Therefore, I say, restrain the heart, give it no unbridled

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