Actors go to Hell?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:19 am

rowyourboat wrote:I'm just surprised that lobha, Sosa, moha (greed, aversion, delusion) as the roots of karma, has not been clearly stated in this thread. If anyone acts out of these, bad karma results, in their absence good karma results. All we need to do in doubtful situations is to consider which of these karmic roots gave rise to performing a certain act.
As if that is at all easy to tell.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 18361
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Turtle Island

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby legolas » Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:18 am

Wherever Laurel & Hardy have ended up, they will take with them a shed load of merit for bringing joy & laughter (gentle) to the world. Perhaps there are many wrong livliehoods but we can all see the light before its to late (see Angulimala) and I am sure there are varying degrees within professions. Maybe the joy that is brought to the world by actors and comedians is of a sensual nature, but maybe if it is done without exciting the baser passions it is not all bad.
User avatar
legolas
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:58 am

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby Ben » Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:23 am

legolas wrote:Wherever Laurel & Hardy have ended up, they will take with them a shed load of merit for bringing joy & laughter (gentle) to the world. Perhaps there are many wrong livliehoods but we can all see the light before its to late (see Angulimala) and I am sure there are varying degrees within professions. Maybe the joy that is brought to the world by actors and comedians is of a sensual nature, but maybe if it is done without exciting the baser passions it is not all bad.


And you have this on some authority?
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15789
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby phil » Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:42 am

pilgrim wrote:How about other occupations like the advertising industry? isn't that worse as it creates desire when there was none? Surely even the during the Buddha's time there were jobs equivalent to advertising like when a shopkeeper calls out the merits of his wares,..


If I'm not mistaken, the Samyutta in question lays out various occupations or ways of life and according hells they lead to. Let me get my book...

....no, it's not that one. It's somewhere else. If I recall correctly beings are witnessed as emerging from various hells, having earned their way out, perhaps, but they are still afflicted in ways that accord with the ways of life that led to the hells. I remember (as anyone will who read the sutta!) one poor fellow with gigantic testicles he has to drag around, I don't recall if he was a lecher or a pimp or what, and forgive me if the giant testicles are just a figment of my feverish imagination! In any case, I think there were occupations mentionned in that series of suttas, perhaps someone can lead us to them.
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby legolas » Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:55 am

Ben wrote:
legolas wrote:Wherever Laurel & Hardy have ended up, they will take with them a shed load of merit for bringing joy & laughter (gentle) to the world. Perhaps there are many wrong livliehoods but we can all see the light before its to late (see Angulimala) and I am sure there are varying degrees within professions. Maybe the joy that is brought to the world by actors and comedians is of a sensual nature, but maybe if it is done without exciting the baser passions it is not all bad.


And you have this on some authority?


What on earth do you mean. I was quite clearly expressing a personal view. The words "maybe" and "perhaps" might give a clue. As for acquiring "a shed load of merit" I am afraid I have no authority - please forgive me.
User avatar
legolas
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:58 am

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby phil » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:18 am

tiltbillings wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:I'm just surprised that lobha, Sosa, moha (greed, aversion, delusion) as the roots of karma, has not been clearly stated in this thread. If anyone acts out of these, bad karma results, in their absence good karma results. All we need to do in doubtful situations is to consider which of these karmic roots gave rise to performing a certain act.
As if that is at all easy to tell.
I think it is easy to make correct assumptions when deeds that are bad in the conventional sense are involved though people can make good cases for rare cases of kusala potential behind lying, killing etc. It seems to me the unwholesome deed itself comes close enough to telling us what roots are involved, exceptions are outliers. As for wholesome deeds, much harder to know when they are tainted by akusala in many ways.
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:21 am

phil wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:I'm just surprised that lobha, Sosa, moha (greed, aversion, delusion) as the roots of karma, has not been clearly stated in this thread. If anyone acts out of these, bad karma results, in their absence good karma results. All we need to do in doubtful situations is to consider which of these karmic roots gave rise to performing a certain act.
As if that is at all easy to tell.
I think it is easy to make correct assumptions when deeds that are bad in the conventional sense are involved though people can make good cases for rare cases of kusala potential behind lying, killing etc. It seems to me the unwholesome deed itself comes close enough to telling us what roots are involved, exceptions are outliers. As for wholesome deeds, much harder to know when they are tainted by akusala in many ways.
You pretty much make my point.

But actors going to just by being actors? Probably not.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 18361
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Turtle Island

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby PeterB » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:35 am

I rather suspect not too. How can we compare what were being described as "actors" in the Buddhas day with profession that today includes both the most narcissistic AND the most philanthropic of people ? ( and lots of phoney Buddhists AND some genuine ones )
That includes people living in sensual indulgence AND people who devote their time to entertaining sick kids ?

If they do go to hell, do you think they stand in the middle of the hellish throng gazing skyward with the back of their hand against their brow, as they strike a heroic pose ?
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby phil » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:00 am

Well, we can take it as a useful reminder that there is great potential for harmfulness everytime we interact with people, in some professions more than others. Those of us who deal with clients/patients/students/subordinate co-workers have to be particularly careful when there is a relationship akin to willful participation-seeker/willing participant, and we all know that those situations arise even if only in idle chatter (which is of course akusala kamma patha, like it or not.) There are all sorts of situations in life when we act in a way to try to motivate or excite or entertain people in harmful ways. This sutta is a wakeup call, many thanks to whoever posted it.
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:50 am

Hi Tilt,Phil,

I didn't say it was easy, but it does serve as basic teaching which helps us out of dogmatic assertions that actors (we don't even know if we are talking about the same thing as what the Buddha was talking about) or any other category is 'right' or wrong'. The spirit of the dhamma is not that simplistic- it is hard to see, sublime, deep...and certainly need thinking and application. It is not a revealed religion but rather a realised one, someone said. So to say a certain profession or method or lineage is good or bad is to miss the point. It is important to be 'introspective' -or in dhamma terms, be mindful of our own minds when we perform a certain act or do a certain meditation- what is happening in my mind when I do it - is it helpful or harmful or just not useful?

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby PeterB » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:39 pm

:goodpost:
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby phil » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:25 am

rowyourboat wrote: So to say a certain profession or method or lineage is good or bad is to miss the point. It is important to be 'introspective' -or in dhamma terms, be mindful of our own minds when we perform a certain act or do a certain meditation- what is happening in my mind when I do it - is it helpful or harmful or just not useful.


Absolutely, the test of the Rahula sutta. But it is true that certain professions and certain conventional situations have implicit danger. The kind of mindfulness you are talking about may on occasion arise during busy days but as we all know (I assume!) more often than not it doesn't. So it seems a good idea to lay out conventional paramaters ahead of time. So for example, when I know that I will be teaching certain female students on their own (I teach English conversation to adults) I am aware that the conventional situation is rife with dangerous potential (that my boundless lust will make her uncomfortable or subtly scared, Lord knows that in my case their is not much danger of stirring desire in her!) and approach it accordingly. Awareness of mind states may also arise and condition wise abstention from unwholesome, discomforting energy towards her, but that is not to be counted on. First we must protect ourselves and others in conventional ways, that's the way I see it. So I like these suttas that point out particular dangers in particular occupations. But yes, it must eventually come down to what you write nicely about above. So perhaps you're wondering how I would protect myself and her in "conventional" ways. Good question. I guess I don't. It *does* all come down to mind states. So I agree with you. So there! :smile:

By the way, Matheesha, I often remember when you here or elsewhere asked about drinking alchohol, if we drink one drink with mindfulness because of a social need in some situation, what is the danger. That is a good example of what I was trying to get at above. Just not drinking plain and simple, no matter what, that is the way to go rather than counting on awareness of mind states to protect us. That certain act of drinking alcohol, it must be avoided, no matter what, plain and simple. That's the way this formerly booze loving guy feels now. Maybe completely off topic, maybe not.
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:57 am

Hi Phil,

Agreed! I remember reading a sutta where the Buddha categorises keeping precepts under purifying the mind. It surprised me at the time but it is clear that precepts is yet another method (clunky as it is) to control gross mental states. After all, the mind is the forerunner to all things. We may not be able to access the mind directly when we start practice- therefore we can set down sone rules to begin with, which will be helpful to sone degree in keeping our mind under some degree of control, (via controlling speech and action).

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby suriyopama » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:17 am

There are even Buddhist actors such as Richard Gere, and Keanu Reeves, who starred in "Little Buddha".
I honestly can't fathom think they will end up in hell for this. .
What do you think?


Maybe for this:


Feel the urge to buy a Ford Lancia? ;)
User avatar
suriyopama
 
Posts: 290
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:44 am
Location: Thailand

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby octathlon » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:28 am

That's definitely not good, on several levels.
User avatar
octathlon
 
Posts: 599
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:06 am
Location: USA

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby robertk » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:15 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:There's something wrong with this sutta. By the same reasoning, and much more likely due to the intensity of the lust, a person who has sex frequently with his/her partner, would cause lust in the partner leading the former person to hell (the hell of sex). .
Good point. I must try and dampen my love-making skills- for the sake of my partner. :tongue:

I think jechbi put it nicely in this thread.
User avatar
robertk
 
Posts: 1118
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:34 am

robertk wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:There's something wrong with this sutta. By the same reasoning, and much more likely due to the intensity of the lust, a person who has sex frequently with his/her partner, would cause lust in the partner leading the former person to hell (the hell of sex). .
Good point. I must try and dampen my love-making skills-


You would, if you really believed in the negative effects of lobha and had right view.
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby cooran » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:49 am

RobK said: I think jechbi put it nicely in this thread.


Thanks for the reminder Rob. Here is jechbi's post again:

Jechbi wrote:I realize this is an older thread but I had been meaning to put a few other observations in here and have been distracted by other things. In answer to the OP, no, I don't think the sutta says all actors go to hell. More precisely, I don't think it's appropriate to read this sutta as a teaching that all actors under all circumstances are bound for rebirth in a hell realm.

This sutta appears in a part of the Samyutta Nikaya that includes the Buddha's responses to the teachings of other teachers. So in this case, Talaputa asks the Buddha about a teaching he has heard elsewhere that actors will be reborn in a deva realm. There's another sutta in the same group, worded very similarly, in which a fellow named Yodhajiva asks the Buddha about a teaching he has heard elsewhere that a mercenary will be reborn in the "company of battle-slain devas." In another, a fellow named Asibandhakaputta asks the Buddha about "the brahmins of the western region" who are said to guide the dead to heaven. In each case, the Buddha gives particular teachings that address specific misunderstandings with regard to the path.

In the case of Talaputa, the Buddha's description of what happens to actors is conditional. According to the Ven. Bikkhu Bodhi translation, the actor's rebirth is conditioned by that fact that he is "intoxicated and negligent himself." The actor's rebirth would be conditioned differently if the actor does not have this afflicted mindstate.

One sees the idea pop up now and then that the Buddha taught that all actors go to hell. Personally, I think that's an unfortunate oversimpification that could tend to turn people off from hearing the Dhamma. It's important to bear in mind that the Buddha's Dhamma's teachings are not intended for us to use them to judge other people; they are intended to help us see the path for ourselves. There may be religions that make blanket statements about entire classes of people who are going to hell, but Buddhism should not be one of them. If someone inteprets the Buddha's words to then hold the opinion that all actors are bound for hell, I believe that person may have misunderstood the underlying purpose of the Buddha's teachings.

With regard to those of us who are not monks, there are other teachings that can guide us about livelihood, such as this one:
"Monks, a lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.

"These are the five types of business that a lay follower should not engage in."

Could a person be an actor within that framework? That's not even the appropriate question. The appropriate question is: Could I personally continue to be an actor in that framework?

I think a certain amount of harm can come from an unclear presentation about the Buddha's teaching about actors, especially in this day and age when actors are so highly regarded. Many children want to be actors. If a child wants to be an actor, is it our responsibility to teach that child that actors go to hell? I don't think so. Rather, I think it's our responsibility to encourage that child to pursue his or her authentic and healthy interests while also understanding, for example, the importance of moral conduct.

I don't think we have any basis for using this sutta to hold the view that the actors we see all around us are all going to hell, or to make any judgements at all about others. The relevant question is: How does this sutta help to inform my own path of practice?


with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7058
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby phil » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:31 am

rowyourboat wrote:
robertk wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:There's something wrong with this sutta. By the same reasoning, and much more likely due to the intensity of the lust, a person who has sex frequently with his/her partner, would cause lust in the partner leading the former person to hell (the hell of sex). .
Good point. I must try and dampen my love-making skills-


You would, if you really believed in the negative effects of lobha and had right view.


I've heard some devout lay follower couples in Thailand vow celibacy in middle age as a firming up of their commitment to the Dhamma, but out of the question for most of us, the distorted perception of sex as beautiful is so deeply engrained. You have to wonder how many couple who declare celibacy together don't go off the tracks as a result. But what a beautiful gift to each other for those who somehow do transcend the carnal imperative and thereby achieve even more deeply harmonized virtue as a couple. (We all know what that sutta says about couples who whose virtue is harmonized.)
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: Actors go to Hell?

Postby robertk » Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:17 pm

rowyourboat wrote:
robertk wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:There's something wrong with this sutta. By the same reasoning, and much more likely due to the intensity of the lust, a person who has sex frequently with his/her partner, would cause lust in the partner leading the former person to hell (the hell of sex). .
Good point. I must try and dampen my love-making skills-


You would, if you really believed in the negative effects of lobha and had right view.

You're right, only the missionary position for me from now on, plus any signs of pleasure from her , say little gasps, and I'll whip it out and threaten total abstention. That should do it.
User avatar
robertk
 
Posts: 1118
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests