Watching movies if you are a monk

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:16 pm

There is an interesting blog article and discussion at Ven. Dhammika's blog here:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2009/01/elephant-man.html

(The Jan. 27, 2009 posting)

I tend to lean toward the opinion that some movies are okay, in this modern world, not because the 'Vinaya is outdated' (it is not), but rather, like the Venerable mentions, some movies today are documentaries, are educational, or have Dhammic overtones to them. What do you think?
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby bodom » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:32 pm

TheDhamma wrote:There is an interesting blog article and discussion at Ven. Dhammika's blog here:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/

(The Jan. 27, 2009 posting)

I tend to lean toward the opinion that some movies are okay, in this modern world, not because the 'Vinaya is outdated' (it is not), but rather, like the Venerable mentions, some movies today are documentaries, are educational, or have Dhammic overtones to them. What do you think?


I guess its up to the Abbot? :shrug:

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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby genkaku » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:08 pm

I loved "The Cup" -- a quasi documentary about monks at a monastery (real monastery, real monks) trying to figure out how to get a TV into the monastery so they can watch the world-championship soccer match. Nice story, nice (and blessedly restrained) lessons in Buddhism.
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:31 pm

At some temples I have seen some monks with their own tv's and some were watching sitcoms.

At one Fo Guang (sp?) temple I saw several nuns huddled around a small tv. When I went into the room to see what they were watching, it was a daytime soap opera. :popcorn: Maybe they were checking out the mundane world, to make sure they didn't miss anything.
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:19 pm

it is my understanding that if it is a program about the Buddha, Dhamma, or Sangha or something that would be of benefit to the practice such as a program on psychology then it is ok, but TV etc that are about the breaking of precepts would be out of the question for a monastic.
that is from a Bhikkhu in Warwick UK
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:53 am

i think it depends on the setting, theres probably no need for a forest monk to watch tv or movies on the other hand when i 1st started attending my Wat a monk there told posed this question to me; " if we dont know who harry potter is or other cultural things how can we be of any help when younger thai people come to us and we dont even know their world?"
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby Individual » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:41 am

TheDhamma wrote:There is an interesting blog article and discussion at Ven. Dhammika's blog here:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/

(The Jan. 27, 2009 posting)

I tend to lean toward the opinion that some movies are okay, in this modern world, not because the 'Vinaya is outdated' (it is not), but rather, like the Venerable mentions, some movies today are documentaries, are educational, or have Dhammic overtones to them. What do you think?

It depends on the context. Being in a layperson's home, seeing a movie... Watching an instructional video on something... These all seem acceptable. Hoarding paper currency and sneaking off to the cinema, no. Regarding Ven. S. Dhammika's visit to see the Elephant Man, again, I couldn't judge without knowing the specific context, on who paid for it, why they paid for it, who he went with, and why he went there. If he's going there to learn something (either about the dhamma or to help him teach dhamma to others), then sure, as he says, it's nice. If he's going there just to have a good time, to screw off, this is very, very bad, of course.

TheDhamma wrote:At one Fo Guang (sp?) temple I saw several nuns huddled around a small tv. When I went into the room to see what they were watching, it was a daytime soap opera. :popcorn: Maybe they were checking out the mundane world, to make sure they didn't miss anything.

That doesn't sound very good. Isn't there already lots of mundane experiences around them to demonstrate this? Don't they already have memories to remind them?

With metta :heart:,
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby appicchato » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:47 am

Question: Why do people NEVER get tired of making value judgments?...endlessly hashing over why someone watches a movie?...fuuu-tile...

Be well... :smile:
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby robertk » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:24 am

genkaku wrote:I loved "The Cup" -- a quasi documentary about monks at a monastery (real monastery, real monks) trying to figure out how to get a TV into the monastery so they can watch the world-championship soccer match. Nice story, nice (and blessedly restrained) lessons in Buddhism.

Some Tibetan monsk are good at soccer. When i was at the temple in Lumbini (where the Buddha was born, one of the four most holy places) directly accross from the temple, a professional looking team , all in robes and with their coach also robed , were playing. I don't know if it concurs with Tibetan Vinaya but they were very earnest.
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby genkaku » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:30 pm

appicchato wrote:Question: Why do people NEVER get tired of making value judgments?...endlessly hashing over why someone watches a movie?...fuuu-tile...

Be well... :smile:


Hell, appicchato -- it's the best movie in town, isn't it? Not very smart, maybe, but fun-er (for the moment) than a barrel of monkeys. :)

Or anyway that's my value judgment.

PS. And speaking of value judgments, why is it that people never get tired of assuming that monks and nuns are any less beset by difficulties than the rest of us? Sure, they may have chosen a profession that tries to address those difficulties and may be honored in that endeavor, but does that change the difficulties?
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:58 pm

appicchato wrote:Question: Why do people NEVER get tired of making value judgments?...endlessly hashing over why someone watches a movie?...fuuu-tile...

Be well... :smile:

I believe it's called papanca, the propensity for the unawakened mind to spin it's wheels.
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:39 pm

Come to think of it, I do get pretty tired of making value judgments, actually.
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:23 pm

Life is full of value judgments. Life is full of decisions, including to go to university or not, which career path to take, who to choose as a spouse or partner, etc. Deciding on pursing the Dhamma or another spiritual path is another decision. These are all value judgments. Where it can go hay wire is when we focus too much on the value judgments of others. We should focus attention to what we do and say and not the actions of others (to paraphrase the Dhammapada verse).

Pretty much any film can be seen as Dhammic as nearly every screen play has some moral to the story. Many years ago there was a movie called 'Groundhog Day' starring Bill Murray. I read in Gary Gach's book that this was a 'Dharmic' movie. At first I wondered how that could be, but then remembered the repeating of the same day was like samsara; repeating it ad nauseum until he 'got it right.'
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby Individual » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:02 pm

appicchato wrote:Question: Why do people NEVER get tired of making value judgments?...endlessly hashing over why someone watches a movie?...fuuu-tile...

Be well... :smile:

Ven. Appicchato, is that not itself a value judgment? :geek:
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby appicchato » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:03 am

Adam: but does that change the difficulties?

Not one iota friend...
Peter: I believe it's called papanca, the propensity for the unawakened mind to spin it's wheels.

Spot on...
David: Life is full of value judgments. Where it can go hay wire is when we focus too much on the value judgments of others.

I would agree...
Individual: Ven. Appicchato, is that not itself a value judgment?

Quite possibly...or maybe a feeling, or a notion, or a sentiment, or an impression, or a perception, or a take, or a conclusion,
or an estimation, or a thought, or a reflection, or a guess, or a hunch, or an angle, or a perspective, or a slant...and, possibly/ultimately, fuuu-tile... :smile:

Or is that an opinion?... :coffee:
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby Individual » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:17 am

appicchato wrote:
Individual: Ven. Appicchato, is that not itself a value judgment?

Quite possibly...or maybe a feeling, or a notion, or a sentiment, or an impression, or a perception, or a take, or a conclusion,
or an estimation, or a thought, or a reflection, or a guess, or a hunch, or an angle, or a perspective, or a slant...and, possibly/ultimately, fuuu-tile... :smile:

Or is that an opinion?... :coffee:

Hmm. How do all the terms you just used above correspond to the language used in the Pali canon? :ugeek:

(I'm just kidding with you! You don't have to answer that last question. You made a good point about value-judgments. :twothumbsup:)
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:11 am

Hi Robert,

robertk wrote:Some Tibetan monks are good at soccer. When i was at the temple in Lumbini (where the Buddha was born, one of the four most holy places) directly accross from the temple, a professional looking team , all in robes and with their coach also robed , were playing. I don't know if it concurs with Tibetan Vinaya but they were very earnest.


Years ago I met an Italian Theravadin monk called Mahinda or Milinda or something like that, who told me about his stay at a certain Tibetan monastery in Italy. While he was there one of the resident monks informed him one day that they would be holding the Vajra Cup later that week and asked him if he'd be interested in taking part.
"Sure," replied Mahinda, thinking that the Vajra Cup must be the name of some Tibetan ritual.
"Great, our team's one player short. Which position would you prefer?"

The Vajra Cup, it turned out, was an annual soccer match between the Tibetan-ordained monks in Italy and those in Germany. Mahinda then explained that it was out of the question — in the Pali Vinaya, balls and other playthings aren't even to be touched by a bhikkhu, let alone played with. His hosts were okay about this, but later one of them approached Mahinda and said: "We understand that your vows prohibit playing football, but would you mind being the referee?"

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby Ben » Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:22 am

Thanks Bhante!
That was just priceless!
Kind regards

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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:22 am

:rofl:
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Watching movies if you are a monk

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:32 am

:lol:
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