Listening to Music while Meditating.

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Buddha
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Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby Buddha » Sat May 05, 2012 11:05 am

i listen to music when i meditate: experimental rock,progressive rock,jazz,reggae,classic
but is this good,is it better to meditate in silance and why?
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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby David2 » Sat May 05, 2012 11:33 am

Silence is better. Music is a sense pleasure which is distracting from the meditation.
Not nice to hear for music fans, but this is the reality.

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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby Stephen K » Sat May 05, 2012 11:57 am

Indeed. Sensory desire is the first hindrance to deep meditation. The goal of meditation, as Ajahn Brahm says, is to let go of the five sense world (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches).
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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby reflection » Sat May 05, 2012 12:19 pm

That's not meditating, that's listening to music with your eyes closed. ;)

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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby Buckwheat » Sat May 05, 2012 2:28 pm

Several years back I used to spend a lot of time just listening to music quietly in a dimly lit room - classical, jazz, blues, rock, and heavy metal. I am not going to call this meditation, but I will say that if you find meditation terribly boring and are unwilling to sit quietly in a silent room, then listening to music is better than watching TV. That being said, you really need silence to meditate. I even find those "soothing meditation sounds" to be a distraction. Those are feel-good-ism, not meditation. I also have a hard time meditating if there is somebody in the house that is not meditating (except for my dog).
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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby Buckwheat » Sat May 05, 2012 2:39 pm

And to the question of "why." I used to listen to music all day everyday (more or less) and as I have become used to mostly silence in my life, I find that all the music had been used to cover over my rambling mind processes. Since during meditation we are trying to look squarely at those mind processes, it is necessary to look directly at them instead of having to dig through the overlay of music just to get to the thought processes, which are already hard enough to look at with honesty. And there was a brief time where I though I would benefit from learning to "focus" on the music, looking for what distracts me from the music. Well, that's kind of like learning to focus on a naked woman - any male idiot can do that. Takes no wisdom of restraint. Music pulls you into it. Meditation is going inside your notion of self to disarm it. Music will only distract.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby David2 » Sat May 05, 2012 4:00 pm

but I will say that if you find meditation terribly boring and are unwilling to sit quietly in a silent room, then listening to music is better than watching TV.


True. That's why we have a "What music are you listening to right now?" thread, but no "What TV show are you watching right now?" thread. :lol:

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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby Buddha » Sat May 05, 2012 9:48 pm

and about mantre sound i have an cd for meditation,is that ok to listen


toning will try to meditate without no sound
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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby danieLion » Sat May 05, 2012 9:56 pm

First: "silent" meditation is a luxury (where i live anyway)...the Buddha recommended quiet seclusion, but only when available...part of Buddhist "meditation" is learning to practice in the less than ideal conditions...

Second: music can be based in sensual desire but it also can be contemplated (even during sitting) as sound making contact at the ear, which in turn can be investigated as feeling...recall the famous Ajahn Chah story about how he was meditating one evening and the music from a village nearby kept interrupting him and causing him to have ill-will towards them until he realized the music wasn't coming out to him but that he was going out to the music

Third: one way to do the above is with a "body-scan"...the basic idea is to scan the body while listening to music in that part of the body...sound is vibration, and has an effect on more than just the ear...i like all kinds of music but found the more classical stuff (Mahler, Prokofiev, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach etc..., is more conducive to this (although i've done it with "death metal" et al which gave the contemplation a death and body foulness element)

Fourth: is chanting music?

FIFTH: although i don't know the statistical breakdown, the Buddha's teachings seem to me weighed way more towards how we behave in EVERYTHING we do than when we're "meditating"....this is especially important for "householders" as i think we tend to use "meditation" as more of an escape than anything else...for instance, if you can't go a day without "meditating" doesn't that imply craving/clinging/becoming in regards to your "meditation"?

SIXTH: MEDITATION is probably the WORST TRANSLATION of the cultivations/developments the Buddha taught

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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby Aloka » Sat May 05, 2012 9:58 pm

David2 wrote:Silence is better. Music is a sense pleasure which is distracting from the meditation.
Not nice to hear for music fans, but this is the reality.


Music usually stimulates the emotions in one way or another and I have never used it for meditation and wouldn't recommend it to be used in that way.

In general, I have stopped listening to it most of the time - and silence is preferable in my home life.

An option to meditating at home is doing it outside somewhere - and I prefer that to indoors , weather permitting.
Last edited by Aloka on Sat May 05, 2012 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby Buckwheat » Sat May 05, 2012 10:03 pm

danieLion wrote:First: "silent" meditation is a luxury (where i live anyway)...the Buddha recommended quiet seclusion, but only when available...part of Buddhist "meditation" is learning to practice in the less than ideal conditions...

Second: music can be based in sensual desire but it also can be contemplated (even during sitting) as sound making contact at the ear, which in turn can be investigated as feeling...recall the famous Ajahn Chah story about how he was meditating one evening and the music from a village nearby kept interrupting him and causing him to have ill-will towards them until he realized the music wasn't coming out to him but that he was going out to the music

Third: one way to do the above is with a "body-scan"...the basic idea is to scan the body while listening to music in that part of the body...sound is vibration, and has an effect on more than just the ear...i like all kinds of music but found the more classical stuff (Mahler, Prokofiev, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach etc..., is more conducive to this (although i've done it with "death metal" et al which gave the contemplation a death and body foulness element)

Fourth: is chanting music?

FIFTH: although i don't know the statistical breakdown, the Buddha's teachings seem to me weighed way more towards how we behave in EVERYTHING we do than when we're "meditating"....this is especially important for "householders" as i think we tend to use "meditation" as more of an escape than anything else...for instance, if you can't go a day without "meditating" doesn't that imply craving/clinging/becoming in regards to your "meditation"?

SIXTH: MEDITATION is probably the WORST TRANSLATION of the cultivations/developments the Buddha taught


Several good points here, but would you agree that when meditating it is more conducive to cultivation to find quiet seclusion than to turn on the stereo?
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby danieLion » Sat May 05, 2012 10:24 pm

Buckwheat wrote:Several good points here, but would you agree that when meditating it is more conducive to cultivation to find quiet seclusion than to turn on the stereo?

Absolutely. I was generalizing. Currently my attitude to music is much like Aloka's. In fact, when a song comes into my hearing range and I have no control over it, it usually strikes me as odd, like, what's that weird noise? Unless it's a song I know and like from my past. When that happens lately, I usually have a contemplative feel to it like, look how this song effects your emotions, thoughts, behaviors.... Look at all the hooks it comes with (more true of commercial music, because they want you to get hooked). Music can be a powerful motivator, but it's difficult (for me anyway) to find music that motivates me Path-wise.
Dig?

Now: i'm curious as a (non-commercial) "retired" (semi-renunciate?) singer-song writer, master of the guitar, how does the OP's topic apply to other musicians out there? Does performing music or playing in the privacy of your home have similar issues?

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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby Buckwheat » Sat May 05, 2012 10:28 pm

The last couple years I have been playing a lot less guitar because I am noticing how 70% of the time I am much more aloof and aggravated after playing for a while. There are still days where I finish playing and find myself in a really calm, mindful state, but usually it leaves me slightly aggrevated.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: Listening to Music while Meditating.

Postby danieLion » Sat May 05, 2012 10:36 pm

Buckwheat wrote:The last couple years I have been playing a lot less guitar because I am noticing how 70% of the time I am much more aloof and aggravated after playing for a while. There are still days where I finish playing and find myself in a really calm, mindful state, but usually it leaves me slightly aggrevated.

I know exactly what you mean. It's just better for me these days not to pick it up. I sold all my guitars except for the Spanish/Classical. However, for me, the discipline it took to be good musician is a skill very transferable to Walking The Path.


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