whynotme wrote:But, sir, didn't the Buddha in Vinaya say a monk should not watch play and entertainments?
There is a dukkaṭa for going to see dancing, singing, or music. According to the Commentary, dancing includes going to see even peacocks dancing. It also includes dancing oneself and getting others to dance. (The Roṇa Sutta — AN III.103 — notes that, in the discipline of the noble ones, dancing counts as insanity.) Singing includes drama music as well as "sādhu music," which the Commentary to Bhikkhunī Pc 10 defines as songs sung "at the time of the total Unbinding of a noble one, connected with the virtues of the Triple Gem." The Sub-commentary to Cv.V.36 defines it as music dealing with Dhamma themes such as impermanence. Other religious music would come under this prohibition as well. The Commentary adds that singing also includes singing oneself and getting others to sing. The same holds true for "playing music." (The Roṇa Sutta also notes that, in the discipline of the noble ones, singing counts as wailing.) However, there is no offense in snapping one's fingers or clapping one's hands in irritation or exasperation. There is also no offense if, within the monastery, one happens to see/hear dancing, singing, or music, but if one goes from one dwelling to another with the intention to see/hear, one incurs a dukkaṭa. The same holds true for getting up from one's seat with the intention to see/hear; or if, while standing in a road, one turns one's neck to see.
DN 2's list of forbidden shows includes the following: dancing, singing, instrumental music, plays, legend recitations, hand-clapping, cymbals and drums, magic-lantern scenes, acrobatic and conjuring tricks; elephant fights, horse fights, buffalo fights, bull fights, goat fights, ram fights, cock fights, quail fights; fighting with staves, boxing, wrestling, war-games, roll calls, battle arrays, and regimental reviews (see Pc 50). Reasoning from this list, it would seem that a bhikkhu would be forbidden from watching athletic contests of any type. Movies and shadow-puppet plays would fit under the category of magic lantern scenes, and — given the Commentary's prohibition against "sādhu music," above — it would seem that fictional movies, plays, etc., dealing with Dhamma themes would be forbidden as well. Non-fictional documentary films would not seem to come under the rule, and the question of their appropriateness is thus an issue more of Dhamma than of Vinaya. Because many of even the most serious documentaries treat topics that come under "animal talk" (see Pc 85), a bhikkhu should be scrupulously honest with himself when judging whether watching such a documentary would be beneficial for his practice.
Arguing from the Great Standards, a bhikkhu at present would commit an offense if he were to turn on an electronic device such as a television, radio, VCR, computer, or CD/DVD player for the sake of entertainment, or if he were to insert a CD or a tape into such a device for the sake of entertainment. He would also commit an offense if he went out of his way to watch or listen to entertainment on such a device that was already turned on.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .ch10.html
James the Giant wrote:I'm reading the book Cloud Atlas at the moment, I'm almost finished the circle. The book goes like this:
It's a good read, not fantastic, but definitely worthwhile. It is interesting trying to make the connections and links between characters and time periods. Like a mystery where you have to work out who the murderer is.
I look forward to the film.
gavesako wrote:So usually in the Western monasteries there will be some allowance made for watching educational films, or films which contain Dhamma lessons. Although this particular film seems to be fictional, I would dare to guess that Ven. Thanissaro will want to watch it himself (or at least read the original book, he is a sci-fi fan and loves reading) because it is likely to become just as well-known as The Matrix in the near future. Certain films and books are very influential in our culture, they constitute a shared connection of meaning among individuals and even contribute to language that is used by people in society. If one is not familiar with them, one will in effect lose that connection with people and fail to communicate with them on the same level.
Some of the Suttas in the Digha Nikaya in particular, the Jataka stories, Peta and Vimana stories as well as the commentarial ones could be called "fictional", and yet they have been used for teaching purposes for centuries. Not to mention films like Little Buddha...
gavesako wrote:The directors say that when they approached the big movie-making companies in Hollywood, nobody was interested in financing such a strange film which did not fit the usual category of block-busters that bring a lot of profit to them. So the directors had to seek private funding in order to make the film (in Germany), which is already a recommendation I think.
Kim O'Hara wrote:gavesako wrote:The directors say that when they approached the big movie-making companies in Hollywood, nobody was interested in financing such a strange film which did not fit the usual category of block-busters that bring a lot of profit to them. So the directors had to seek private funding in order to make the film (in Germany), which is already a recommendation I think.
As you say, bhante, Hollywood not being interested is a good sign.
Some good, worthwhile, interesting films do come out of Hollywood - The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0338013/) was surprisingly subtle, for instance - but "big budget" equals "mass market" and "mass market" usually equals "dumbed down".
…the Ucchaṅga Jātaka tells the story of a woman who is asked to choose between saving her son, her husband and her brother, if two of the three were to be executed. She chooses to save her brother, on the grounds that "the two others were replaceable" (Malalasekera, q.v. Ucchaṅga). Let us be very clear: this was a story written primarily for the purposes of entertainment, and nobody in their right mind would surmise that the Buddha set down as a rule/principle that that you ought to save your siblings and let your spouse and husband die in such circumstances. Such an attribution to the Buddha (or even to "Buddhism" more generally) would be absurd; and such absurdities are now normal, partly because of the over-arching misunderstanding of what the structure of the canon is, and where we need to look for the answers to various types of questions.
...such absurdities are now normal, partly because of the over-arching misunderstanding of what the structure of the canon is, and where we need to look for the answers to various types of questions.
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