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Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics - Dhamma Wheel

Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
vitellius
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Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics

Postby vitellius » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:00 pm

Dear friends,

I am now trying to find out which businesses are suitable for a practitioner.

Definitions of "Right Livelihood" that I am acquainted to do not exclude entertainment industry (e.g. organizing music shows), but 8 precepts and further sets of precepts propose practitioner to abstain from attending entertainments. Sigalovada sutta also recommends layman not to be a frequent theater-goer. Finally, there is a sutta where Buddha says that actors are going to hell (anyway, it seems unrealistic to me that Buddha could say that ALL actors will be reborn in hell).

Having an experience in public relations, I know that it often deals with half-truth. Especially when everything that is stated by a PR person is true but the real situation is different from one formed in minds of receivers of such information :)

And at least some types (I guess, most types) of modern advertising are aimed to developing kama[-chandha] to the advertised objects.

Buddha recommended to Rahula to reflect on his actions in such way: "Whether this action creates happiness or suffering for me and other beings?" So, the question I ask is "If this business develops skillful or unskillful qualities in me and its' contact groups / stakeholders?"

So please help me to find a limit of suitable work for a practitioner.

I'm especially interested in answers from those well-versed in Tipitaka and those who have already researched this topic and made such decisions.
Last edited by vitellius on Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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kiss
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Re: Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics

Postby kiss » Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:49 pm

hi! i'm not a professional, sorry that i can't be of any help. just like to give you some encouragement :smile:

let us live happily, not hating those who hate us.
among those who hate us, let us live free from hatred.
let us live happily and free free from ailment.
let us live happily and be free from greed; among those who are greedy

(Dhammapada 197,200)
keep it simple, stupid~ my lifehack

keeping it simply said: 'i'm learning from Buddha to be wise and kind'

- an invaluable piece of advice to learn from, time to time.

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:51 pm

Lay people are not barred from entertainment, except on those rare days when they choose to take the 8 precepts.

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.” Anguttara Nikaya 5.177

Does the business involve any of the above 5 prohibitions?
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BubbaBuddhist
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Re: Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:24 pm

Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?

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salmon
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Re: Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics

Postby salmon » Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:29 am

Like Bubba, I'm also in the media industry. And while I'm not a performer, my job requires me to craft stories that will bring emotions out of people, and make people believe in what film-makers want them to believe in.

When I first started seriously practising a few years ago, my teacher made me take the 8 precepts on every full moon day. I protested, insisting that I couldn't, as my job required me to be surrounded by music and imagery, dwelling in a world of make believe. That was met with a Zen-ish smile and the silent insistence that I took my precepts weekly.

The first year was the toughest as I argued constantly with my mind on every full moon day, picking on my actions and challenging my creative decisions. Everything I did seemed to be violating the my precepts. I fretted that I would now "burn in hell" for taking the precepts and not seemingly being able to live up to them. Even senior practitioners were chiding me of taking the 8 precepts "frivolously" and even criticizing my teacher making me take the precepts. I went back to my teacher, telling him all the cons on why I shouldn't take the precepts weekly. But once again, he just laughed it off.

In the second year, it became easier to juggle precept days with normal days. In fact, they almost blended in with one another. And with that I realized that what was happening to me was that I had subconsciously build up my mindfulness level to quickly catch when my actions as not in line with the dhamma. And this consistent enforcement of being mindful now has a momentum of its own, such that even when I have not officially taken my precepts, my mind is aware of when I'm too close to overstepping the boundary. I have since been able to separate work with "enjoyment", and separating practice from work. True, there were times when I failed, but the precepts are not commandments, they are training rules. So as long as you don't make the same mistake twice, you'll be fine.

I have since gone back to my teacher to apologize and to tell him that I have understood the benefits of his insistence on me taking the 8 precepts weekly. There is no perfect moment, perfect place to practice the precepts. The practice is about how you live in the middle path of your life. The best time to start practicing...is now.

:anjali:
~ swimming upstream is tough work! ~

Individual
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Re: Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics

Postby Individual » Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:52 am

The best things in life aren't things.


vitellius
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Re: Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics

Postby vitellius » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:34 am

Hello kiss, your quote has really made me to cool down a bit and to look on a problem from a more uninvolved position. So thank you :)

Dear Bubbabuddhist and salmon, thanks for sharing, have you ever tried to examine whether products of your job make people more attached (e.g. to music, to movies) or unattached? If they develop 5 hindrances or 7 enlightenment factors in your audience? If you did, and found out that they were developing unskillful qualities, have you found a way to make them more conductive to better qualities, and what was that way?

Hi Individual, I can't agree with such point. As for me, abstaining from supporting unskillful qualities in other people is quite important for safe development of Buddhist practice. "Little changes in the world if you quit" argument may justify in the same way almost any "wrong livelihood". I guess it's more about changing something to a practitioner, not to the world. But I certainly agree with you that we should measure our ethics not only by Buddha's words, but also by outcomes of our actions.

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salmon
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Re: Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics

Postby salmon » Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:40 am

~ swimming upstream is tough work! ~

vitellius
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Re: Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics

Postby vitellius » Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:20 am

salmon, thanks, this was helpful.

By "unskillful" I just mean Pali word "akusala", labeling any quality or mental/verbal/bodily action that has suffering as it's result, e.g. indulging in sensual pleasures or hostile thoughts.

rowyourboat
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Re: Entertainment Industry, Advertising, PR and Buddhist Ethics

Postby rowyourboat » Mon May 04, 2009 12:39 pm

what is more conducive to the practice in my opnion is the health sector- doctors, nurses, social workers, and admin staff in such places help. -it helps that the only thing is not just making other people money- meaningful work i suppose.

another very important consideration is taking a job which allow you to practice regularly at home.- having enough free time to practice.
With Metta

Karuna
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