How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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rhinoceroshorn
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How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

From Khuddakapāṭha 2:

vii. Naccagītavāditavisūkadassanā veramaṇīsikkhāpadaṁ,
I undertake the training rule of refraining from dances, songs, music, and watching shows.


I'm intrigued with this watching shows. Does it mean that watching a YouTube video breaks the precept? It's a kind of remote show. :shrug:
I know the 8 precepts are about restraint, but I struggle to understand what are the boundaries of this.
I read that some people interpret this part of the precept as refraining from entertainment but this is utterly vague. For example, I'm currently reading nutrition/health books. Do they break the precept? They entertain me, but I read them mostly due to their utility.
Last edited by rhinoceroshorn on Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
See, Ānanda! All those conditioned phenomena have passed, ceased, and perished. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable are conditions, so unreliable are conditions. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.
Dīgha Nikāya 17
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

DN 1 wrote:There are some ascetics and brahmins who, while enjoying food given in faith, still engage in seeing shows. This includes such things as dancing, singing, music, performances, and storytelling; clapping, gongs, and kettle-drums; art exhibitions and acrobatic displays; battles of elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, goats, rams, chickens, and quails; staff-fights, boxing, and wrestling; combat, roll calls of the armed forces, battle-formations, and regimental reviews. The ascetic Gotama refrains from such shows.’ Such is an ordinary person’s praise of the Realized One.
So, if I don't watch such videos, I'm ok? :lol:
The ascetic Gotama refrains from such shows.’
From such shows may indicate that not all shows are condemned.

Thoughts?
Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
See, Ānanda! All those conditioned phenomena have passed, ceased, and perished. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable are conditions, so unreliable are conditions. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.
Dīgha Nikāya 17
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

From another topic:
Goofaholix wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:42 pm
lyndon taylor wrote:Several of our online Bhikkhu's have mentioned reading novels in their spare time, I believe, aren't you being a bit strict, making up a rule that didn't ever exist before??
The precept doesn't explicitly warn against reading novels for the same reason it doesn't explicitly warn against watching TV, curling up with a good book wasn't an option in those days.

If this precept means literally anything which amuses you other than meditation, it's very severe. Even the internet could be in it.
Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
See, Ānanda! All those conditioned phenomena have passed, ceased, and perished. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable are conditions, so unreliable are conditions. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.
Dīgha Nikāya 17
dharmacorps
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by dharmacorps »

It is important how you translate the precept. In the monastery I go to, we translate it as "I undertake the precept to refrain from going to inappropriate shows, beautification, and adornment". Beautification and adornment is easy to understand, but inappropriate shows is not so simple. I would think strip clubs, pornography, dramatic violent or disturbing shows would be included. I would also think primarily that "shows" would mean especially in-person entertainment. There is some variation in interpretation of this though.
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

dharmacorps wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:47 pm It is important how you translate the precept. In the monastery I go to, we translate it as "I undertake the precept to refrain from going to inappropriate shows, beautification, and adornment". Beautification and adornment is easy to understand, but inappropriate shows is not so simple. I would think strip clubs, pornography, dramatic violent or disturbing shows would be included. I would also think primarily that "shows" would mean especially in-person entertainment. There is some variation in interpretation of this though.
This interpretation doesn't sound so severe. I like it. Thanks.
Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
See, Ānanda! All those conditioned phenomena have passed, ceased, and perished. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable are conditions, so unreliable are conditions. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.
Dīgha Nikāya 17
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

I would like to remember that Buddhism isn't Jainism.
We don't avoid pleasurable skillful things. So, there is a space for healthy entertainment, it seems.

I would like to read your thoughts.
Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
See, Ānanda! All those conditioned phenomena have passed, ceased, and perished. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable are conditions, so unreliable are conditions. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.
Dīgha Nikāya 17
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

I was reading our Mahāyāna sister forum and found interesting posts!

Different monks take different vows depending on the tradition they ordain in. The first five precepts are generally the same throughout most traditions but after that they begin to differ. There isn't just "one set of precepts" that all Buddhist monks around the world follow. Many monks never take the "No eating after noon" precept so many don't follow that. Same with the music precept. Monks who play music generally aren't breaking any rules because they never vowed to follow that set of rules to begin with
The purpose of the precepts and commandments is to help you help yourself to avoiding things that "hook" your brain and cause you to have a reaction, causing mind to emerge towards that hook and so losing your 'emptiness', so to speak.

Different paths have different levels of precepts and teachings because different people have different capacities :shrug:

For music, for example, from a purely neurological standpoint, you'll be listening to some tune, and your brain will automatically dig through your memory and such, hooking into anything that is associated with that music, giving rise to emotional responses and recollections and so on.. Much of that happens in the "subconscious", but things are happening anyway that will directly affect your mind. This is all very good and entertaining, but if your purpose is to "attain the Dharma", having things dragging your mind every which way is very counter-productive
https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=11658
Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
See, Ānanda! All those conditioned phenomena have passed, ceased, and perished. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable are conditions, so unreliable are conditions. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.
Dīgha Nikāya 17
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Good perspective from retrofuturist.
Is it the intention behind an action? If it is purely for pleasure, it should be avoided. In this case, the amusement I get from reading health books is subsidiary.
retrofuturist wrote: Thu May 07, 2009 1:40 am Regarding #7: I would consider these to fall under the banner of entertainments. I would ask myself, "What is the motive for doing this?" and if it is entertainment or even engagement with the world, I'm likely to try to avoid it. Admittedly, I don't control what potentially entertaining stimuli others put into my environment, but I don't add to it, and don't passively accept it.
:anjali:
Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
See, Ānanda! All those conditioned phenomena have passed, ceased, and perished. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable are conditions, so unreliable are conditions. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.
Dīgha Nikāya 17
sunnat
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Post by sunnat »

Ven. Ledi Sayadaw in the 'Noble Eightfold Path and its Factors Explained' footnotes : 'The reference is obviously to literature and drama which is liable to lead to deterioration, not to growth in Dhamma.'
Mr. Seek
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by Mr. Seek »

An old friend used to say... "If you have to ask before doing something, you likely shouldn't do it."

No entertainment.
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
chownah
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by chownah »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:25 pm From Khuddakapāṭha 2:

vii. Naccagītavāditavisūkadassanā veramaṇīsikkhāpadaṁ,
I undertake the training rule of refraining from dances, songs, music, and watching shows.


I'm intrigued with this watching shows. Does it mean that watching a YouTube video breaks the precept? It's a kind of remote show. :shrug:
I know the 8 precepts are about restraint, but I struggle to understand what are the boundaries of this.
I read that some people interpret this part of the precept as refraining from entertainment but this is utterly vague. For example, I'm currently reading nutrition/health books. Do they break the precept? They entertain me, but I read them mostly due to their utility.
I think the list (dances, songs, music, and watching shows) are typical of content free presentations which are watched for entertainment. I think that a good way think about this is to focus on the concept of "delight".

To get familiar with the buddha's teachings with respect to delight one can just go to accesstoinsight and search for "delight".

I think that the content free list is used in that the only reason people go to these things is to delight although as you mention some things can be attended to for information AND for delight.

I think that an understanding of how "delight" arises will illuminate various aspects of the path. With respect to reading a book for entertainmenet and utility one might find that one delights in utility....and if one delights in finding utility then an understanding of this dynamic will benefit one.

In summary: My view is that to understand this precept one would do well to focus on "delight"...how and why it arises and how and why it fades. There may be other ways to understand this precept as well.

chownah
pegembara
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by pegembara »

I suspect the list is more restrictive than one imagines. Politics, celebrity news, fashion, food/drink shows, travel, homes ... that leads to passion and delight and engagement with the world. The criteria being the effects on one's mind.
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now at that time a large number of monks, after the meal, on returning from their alms round, had gathered at the meeting hall and were engaged in many kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.

"There are these ten topics of [proper] conversation. Which ten? Talk on modesty, on contentment, on seclusion, on non-entanglement, on arousing persistence, on virtue, on concentration, on discernment, on release, and on the knowledge & vision of release.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"Just as when boys or girls are playing with little sand castles:[4] as long as they are not free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, that's how long they have fun with those sand castles, enjoy them, treasure them, feel possessive of them. But when they become free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, then they smash them, scatter them, demolish them with their hands or feet and make them unfit for play.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by Alino »

From absolute point of view - all what distracts you from watching one's mind - is distraction. All what turns your mind outward your body, feelings, mind and mind objects - is distraction. All what floods your mind - is distraction. All what plunge your mind into the fog of Avijja - is distraction.

Imagine a man in the middle of the ocean. He have a little boat and he throws all his garbage out into the ocean. As he do it, the garbage fulls complitely the ocean and make surface. The sight and smell of the garbage pointing out of water is unpleasant for the man, so he open his 5 pipes of sensual stimulation and flood his mind with it, it makes the water level rise up so he no more experiance the dukkha of the garbage in his mind.

And now imagine a man who dont throws out his garbage but uses it to strenghten his little boat. As he do it, his boat becomes more and more solid, more and more stable. As his kamma is good, and the sun shines bright, the water level falls down and garbage from previous lives comes out. As it appears in his mind, he dont distract himself, he font open his sensual pipes and dont flood his mind. But he takes this wrek and continue to use it, learn from in, and strengthen his boat. As he do it diligently, time to time there is a storm and big waves that rises. But as he dont distracted himself from building the boat, as he dont flooded his mind with water, waves on the ocean are not so big as they could be, and his boat is strong enought to endure is with ease. And as the storm passes away he continue his work with diligence, experiance the pleasure and hapiness born from having a strong and resilient shelter, having a mind as big as Earth, that nothing can shake or disturb, even a nuclear bomb can only make him smile as he enjoy the peace and warmth of his great mind.

Distraction is the death. Those who endlessly floods their minds with distractions are almost dead already. As old age sickness and death will come to them, they will realise that yesterday they had 20, and today they have to die... Life is short, dont loose it in distractions.

How many billions of trillions of good kamma we spended out to get this precious human body and mind during the time when Buddha's Teaching is available? Spend this wealth on distractions is like gain many times in the lottery and spend all the money on candy...
We don't live Samsara, Samsara is living us...

"Form, feelings, perceptions, formations, consciousness - don't care about us, we don't exist for them"
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by confusedlayman »

Alino wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:04 pm From absolute point of view - all what distracts you from watching one's mind - is distraction. All what turns your mind outward your body, feelings, mind and mind objects - is distraction. All what floods your mind - is distraction. All what plunge your mind into the fog of Avijja - is distraction.

Imagine a man in the middle of the ocean. He have a little boat and he throws all his garbage out into the ocean. As he do it, the garbage fulls complitely the ocean and make surface. The sight and smell of the garbage pointing out of water is unpleasant for the man, so he open his 5 pipes of sensual stimulation and flood his mind with it, it makes the water level rise up so he no more experiance the dukkha of the garbage in his mind.

And now imagine a man who dont throws out his garbage but uses it to strenghten his little boat. As he do it, his boat becomes more and more solid, more and more stable. As his kamma is good, and the sun shines bright, the water level falls down and garbage from previous lives comes out. As it appears in his mind, he dont distract himself, he font open his sensual pipes and dont flood his mind. But he takes this wrek and continue to use it, learn from in, and strengthen his boat. As he do it diligently, time to time there is a storm and big waves that rises. But as he dont distracted himself from building the boat, as he dont flooded his mind with water, waves on the ocean are not so big as they could be, and his boat is strong enought to endure is with ease. And as the storm passes away he continue his work with diligence, experiance the pleasure and hapiness born from having a strong and resilient shelter, having a mind as big as Earth, that nothing can shake or disturb, even a nuclear bomb can only make him smile as he enjoy the peace and warmth of his great mind.

Distraction is the death. Those who endlessly floods their minds with distractions are almost dead already. As old age sickness and death will come to them, they will realise that yesterday they had 20, and today they have to die... Life is short, dont loose it in distractions.

How many billions of trillions of good kamma we spended out to get this precious human body and mind during the time when Buddha's Teaching is available? Spend this wealth on distractions is like gain many times in the lottery and spend all the money on candy...
thanks this helps me as I also think why waste time in ill thoughts etc...
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
Maranasati
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Re: How to follow the seventh precept in modern days?

Post by Maranasati »

Buddhas advice to a monk who admitted he could not remember all the rules of the ordained, was to give him one rule to remember: be mindful. In the end, rules are a means to an end. You would not require rules if your mindfulness was perfect at every moment. I believe it is true that we can intuitively know whether something is skillful or unskillful, as long as we pay close attention to every relevant aspect of it and are being honest with ourselves, and tie it to the Dhamma we already know. So I think with regards to entertainment, one should simply be mindful and reflect on whether and how such entertainment is either skillful or unskillful.
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