I was hoping I could get some of your thoughts on a something that has been troubling me since I decided to sincerely practice the Buddhadhamma.
According to Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation of the Vanijja Sutta, there are five kinds of business a layperson shouldn't engage in: business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poision. As somebody about to begin a career in music, I won't be participating in any of those things. However, in the Talaputa Sutta, the Buddha seems to have a low opinion of professional entertainers, because they excite passion, aversion, and delusion in their audience. Even though the Buddha is technically only talking about actors, I can't help but feel that the same thing applies to singers, instrumentalists, etc. Are professional musicians engaging in a form of wrong livelihood? The last thing I want to do is impede the spiritual progress of others simply because I enjoy music, and because I take pleasure in performing.
Additionally, I have trouble keeping the Eight Precepts on observance days. Practicing and listening, which are essential to good musicianship, seem to constitute a breach of the seventh precept. I thought maybe it wouldn't be a problem, since what most other people do for entertainment and distraction I do for work, but that seems like a really big stretch. Maybe the frustration I'm experiencing is just a manifestation of my attachment to sensual pleasure. What do you think? I would especially appreciate the input of a member of the sangha, if any happen to come across this.