Friday, February 24, 2012

Condoms and Buddhism

Buddhists like fertility and are a little hesitant about contraception if it's for selfish purposes, but they preach compassionate family planning. Thai Buddhists can be a little shy about sex topics, and tend to be embarrassed about condoms.

The typically Thai solution is practical. 

Mechai Viravaidya, a famous Thailand politician, points out that monks often pray over and sprinkle holy water on condoms destined for the provinces.

Mechai counsels Buddhists "don't be embarrassed by a condom. It's just from a rubber tree, like a tennis ball. If you're embarrassed by a condom, you must be more embarrassed by the tennis ball. There's more rubber in it. You could use it as a balloon, as a tourniquet for snake bites and deep cuts and use the ring of the condom as a hair band. What a wonderful product."

You'd have to know Thai psychology better than I do to tell how far Mechai's tongue was in his cheek, but there's no doubt he's promoting condom use through Buddhist teachings.  In contrast, the founder of Thailand's most famous restaurant chain is not kidding at all.The chain is Cabbages and Condoms. I've eaten there often.  The food is good and cheap (and "guaranteed not to cause pregnancy.") It's also served with free condoms, the founder's  very serious contribution to healthy contraception and STD control.

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