Last night I was watching a TV show on the story of The Buddha. There was a part in the story where, “Siddhartha saw a man lying on the ground and moaning. Out of compassion, he rushed over to the man. Channa warned him that the man was sick and that everyone, even noble people like Siddhartha or the king could get sick.” Later, “Siddhartha lost all interest in watching the dancing girls and other such pleasures. He kept on thinking instead about how to free himself and others from sickness, ageing and death.”
When Siddhartha looked at the beautiful young dancers, he saw them as old, dying women and felt empathy for the suffering they would endure in their lives.
This part of the story reminded me of the way mass marketeers often use sexuality to market yoga, and the backlash it creates. I thought that this moment in Siddhartha’s life really captured the “true” spirit of yoga/Buddhism – in stark contrast to so many slick, sexy advertisements. Yoga and meditation – while enjoyed by many young and beautiful people – provides something deeper – a path to cope with the painful, frightening and inexorable loss one’s health, (outer) beauty, memory and breath.
I’d be a hypocrite to say I’m averse to the “sex sells” media, but Siddhartha’s insight is one to keep in mind – and heart.