The Prostitute and the Buddha’s Hidden Organ


Finally, the Blessed One led Ananda and, walking in space, came to the debate hall. The Buddha took a seat and briefly taught about suffering, emptiness, Impermanence, and the perfections (paramila) to the assembly, but the women did not accept [his teaching].

Among the group of women, a prostitute, lovable (Keai) by name, said to the women: “The ascetic Gautama has no desire by nature, and people say that he is impotent. That is why he denounces desire in public. If his bodily pans are complete, he should clearly show us that he has this mark like the Jains did.“ [If he does so], we will become his disciples. If he does not have this mark, he denounces impurity in vain. This person without an organ has no desire by nature; why would he not preach that desire is impure?”

[The prostitute] having thus spoken, the Tathagata magically created an elephant. A white lotus emerged between the legs of the elephant and touched the ground. Having seen this, the women burst into laughter. They said to one another: “The ascetic is good at conjuration.” The Buddha also magically created an image of a horse king, who extended his retracted organ. It hung like a beryl cylinder and reached his knees. Having seen it, the women said even more that it was conjuration.

After that, the Buddha dismissed the entire audience and confronted the prostitutes by himself. The women laughed loudly and said: “Ascetic, do you have the bodily pan or not?” The Buddha said: “l have a complete male body. I am a sound”.  At that time,  the Blessed One opened his undergarment (nihuanseng, nivasana). [The women] saw the Buddha’s body, [which was] entirely flat. Then, [his organ] gradually emerged like that of a horse king. When it first appeared, it was like the bodily organ of an eight-year-old boy, and it gradually grew into the shape of that of an adolescent. Seeing this, all the women rejoiced. Then the hidden organ gradually grew [and became] like a cylindrical banner of lotus flowers. In each layer there were ten billion lotuses; each lotus had ten billion jewel colors; each color had ten billion emanation Buddhas: and each emanation Buddha was served by ten billion bodhisattvas and a boundless assembly.

Then the emanation Buddhas unanimously criticized the faults of the bad desires of the women. Upon hearing this, the prostitutes were overcome by shame and submitted to the Buddha’s teaching. Listening to the Buddha’s sermon, they reached spiritual attainments of various degrees


India in the Chinese Imagination: Myth, Religion, and Thought

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6 Responses to The Prostitute and the Buddha’s Hidden Organ

  1. n. yeti says:

    Siddhartha had a son (Rahula), so it is noteworthy that he chose in this myth to prove his attainments in defeating desire. I am not so clear on what the import of this myth is, but I would explain it thusly: desire is not a function of physicality, which emerges through stages (physical capability of the sexual act which emerges over time and space in form), but of mind. As such the “fertile” mind seed is capable of bringing into to being buddhas and bodhisattvas (via birth) but that the nature of bodily desire — and the mental craving for pleasure — is deceptive, multifarious, like a magic trick that once seen for its true nature (lotus imagery) is revealed as unstained and pure, even symbolic of the freedom with which bodhisattvas may choose birth for the liberation of others, and enter the world of desire in the same form, with the same bodily functions as the worldling, which can be overcome and liberation achieved.

    • Vajragoni says:

      Most interesting insight

      • n. yeti says:

        This story is a perfect example of why many Buddhists convince themselves the teachings cannot be trusted or somehow “pale” in comparison to material reality, for example that rebirth is really only a metaphor for different states of mind in a single lifetime, etc. What do you make of it? Knowing well your penetration of mystic arcana, how would you respond to materialists who approach such teachings with jaundice, and use such tales of magical members as justification for distorting Buddhism’s hard-to-understand metaphysical teachings to conform with contemporary (and transient) prejudices?

        • Vajragoni says:

          The Buddha had an enormous Schwanzstucker!

          In point of fact, there are many stories in Buddhist lore that depict the immense size of his “member.” What this member also contains is an immense seedbed (well-endowed with spiritual-seed); the Buddha inseminated the Bodhi-seed into his disciples, many of them lay-folk, like the prostitute in the story. The word “seminary” also means seedbed–a place that nourishes the spiritual life of prospected candidates for priesthood. In like fashion, the Buddha’s Life-Giving Word is the spiritual sustenance (seed) that further propagates the Buddhadharma. Of course this Spiritual-Member far out-measures any physical counterpart…It is boundless.

          • n. yeti says:

            Indeed, in the lens of the Great Mirror Mind wisdom – dharma, the Buddha reflected unto the pleasure women their own magic (which they themselves conjured as did the roadhouse woman Matangi, who by means of Kapila magic, ensnared Ananda in his own desires). In their delusion of dualism they did not at first recognize the bewitchment they see as the lotus-lingam is none other than a charm they wrought for themselves. Residue of life habits exist like this at the subtle layers of consciousness, not bound by limits of proportion, neither of prurience. To see them in stories is to see them in mind! It should also not be overlooked that Buddha did not bring into being harmful karma that would violate the precepts of good conduct, nor did he scold the jade women, but through the powerful energies of desire, as expedient means, helped these worldlings to attain some degree of freedom from delusion.

  2. Mahasidhra says:

    This is incredibly entertaining. The way I read it is, while the ascetic ideal is noble, to some Chinese it seemed effeminate; “Is buddha an eunuch?” – This story tells us that he was “well-hung”! – which makes for great comedy but also has the meaning (I’m guessing), that the Buddha was virile, manly, and so his asceticism doesn’t grow from some deficiency… He can perform like a horse king if he wants, but he purposefully decides not to. This restores his image as powerful, virile, energetic, while at the same time explaining his asceticism as a decision, not compulsion. This is the way I read the story. Of course the essence is the “billion lotuses” part which I read as “transmuting desire into bodhi” – using the red energy of the desire and turning into golden enlightenment.

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