Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Third deadly sin : Lust

Author: Paulo Coelho

Dictionary definition: Feminine noun, derived from the Latin Luxuria. Lechery, sensuality, lasciviousness. It can also be defined as luxuriance in plants, or exuberance of sap.

According to the Catholic Church: Inordinate desire for sexual pleasure. Desires and acts are inordinate when they do not conform to the divine purpose, which is to propitiate mutual love between spouses and to beget offspring. It goes against the Sixth Commandment (Thou shalt not sin against chastity).

According to Henry Kissinger: There is nothing more aphrodisiacal than power.

In a Buddhist story: Chu and Wu returned home after a week’s meditation in the monastery. They talked about how temptations appear before man.
They reached the banks of a river. There, a beautiful woman was waiting to cross the river. Chu picked her up in his arms, carried to the other side and continued his journey with his friend.
At a certain point, Wu said:
“We talked about temptation and you picked up that woman in your arms. It provided an opportunity for sin to enter your soul”.
Chu answered:
“My dear Wu, I behaved naturally. I took that woman across and left her on the other side of the river. But you continued carrying her in your thoughts – and for that reason you are closer to sin”.

From a prostitute’s diary: I earn 350 Swiss Francs to spend an hour with a man. I am exaggerating. If we don’t count taking off clothes, pretending to be affectionate, chatting about something obvious and getting dressed, we will reduce this time to eleven minutes of actual sex.
Eleven minutes. The world revolves around something that takes only eleven minutes. It is because of these eleven minutes in a 24-hour day (considering that all make love with their wives, every day, which is truly absurd and a complete lie), that they marry, sustain a family, put up with the children crying, overdo themselves in explanations when they arrive home late, look at dozens or hundred of other women with whom they would like to stroll around Lake Geneva, buy expensive clothes for themselves, and even more expensive clothes for their wives, pay prostitutes to make up for what was missing without knowing what it is, sustain a gigantic industry of cosmetics, diets, gymnastics, pornography, power – and when they get together with other men, contrary to what the myth says, never talk about women. They talk about jobs, money and sport. There is something very wrong with civilization.

Lust and numbers (in 2002): William Lyon, of the Free Speech Coalition, estimates that just on the internet the pornography sector makes an annual profit of between 10 and 12 billion dollars (23 to 26 billion Reals), well over Microsoft’s profit. In 1999, the Video and Software Sellers Association found that the sale or rental of pornographic films was around 4.1 billion dollars (8.7 billion Reals), exceeding the majority of the very expensive films made in Hollywood (Source: Caslon Analytics Profiles)

The Tao Te King says: Keep the sensitive soul and the animal body in one compartment so that they cannot be separated.
Control the vital force, so that you will be transformed again into a newborn child.
When you banish mysterious visions from your imagination you may, then, become unblemished.
Purify yourself and don’t look for intellectual answers for the Mystery.
When discernment penetrates the four regions, perhaps you will not recognize what gives life and sustains it.
That which gives life does not claim any possession. It benefits, but does not demand gratitude. It commands, but does not exercise authority. That is what is called “mysterious quality”.

(next: Wrath)

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