If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by Lazy_eye »

Maybe this has already been discussed in the thread (I didn't see it, but my eyes aren't good!), but there's also the question of what you should do if you're an actor who is also a Buddhist. Assuming you don't intend to give up acting. In the West, at least, actors and entertainers seem to gravitate more often towards Vajrayana (or SGI) than to Theravada. Still, Thailand and other Theravada-majority countries produce their share of TV and movies.

I'm thinking the answer would be "the same as for any other layperson." That is, practice the five precepts, be generous, support the sangha, and in general do your best. As others have noted, acting isn't included under Wrong Livelihood, despite this sutta,

Since there seems to be agreement that the lessons can be applied to everyone since we're all acting in one way or another, I suppose the "what to do" applies to all of us as well.
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by cappuccino »

Lazy_eye wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 4:03 pm but there's also the question of what you should do if you're an actor
Now, a trifling evil deed done by what sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment? There is the case where a certain individual is … developed in virtue, developed in mind, developed in discernment … A trifling evil deed done by this sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.

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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by Radix »

Boomerang wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2024 4:26 pm Per the Talaputa Sutta, actors go to hell. But if you listen to other teachings where the Buddha talks about morality, you would never guess that acting is wrong livelihood the way that being a soldier is obviously wrong livelihood.
Any profession that is explicitly about wrong view is wrong livelihood.

So, for example, most secular motivational speakers, psychotherapists, or politicians also fall into this category, because they explicitly espouse wrong view. Primarily in the form of "the solution to the problem of suffering is [activities that are in some way mutually exclusive with Dhamma]". So, for example, a psychotherapist advising a person to listen to "soothing music" in order to overcome anxiety is advising wrong view.

As a further example, being an ordinary cook is not wrong livelihood, but being a high-end specialty chef is (because such a cook specifically makes dishes whose primary goal isn't nutrition, but sensual pleasure).

In short, the deciding factor is wrong view.
From my understanding, acting is bad because actors cause others to enter mental states of "intoxication and heedlessness."
I think it's bad because acting normally entails wrong view.
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by Pulsar »

Ramgutan wrote
Who hasn’t been playing one role or another their whole lives, that they cling to as “me”?
Who here isn’t acting? Who doesn’t play their character for others? Who doesn’t play their character to have a job?
Thus,
What difference does it make if the acting is happening on stage, or at work or at home?
If a theatrical performer is going to hell, then
we all are for the same reason (until free from samsara).
Your thoughtful comment! wish everyone thought like you do, and be mindful of the times when they are forced to role play.
If actors go to hell, then we would all go to hell, when we are engaged in role playing? I doubt that Buddha taught so. Context?
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by Pulsar »

Radix wrote
So, for example, a psychotherapist advising a person to listen to "soothing music" in order to overcome anxiety is advising wrong view.
How do you come to this conclusion. If the person listens to the music without getting attached to the music, is it wrong view?
One could listen to music without thinking "I am listening"
instead get absorbed in the music, thinking, "It is a sound". According to Buddha seeing, hearing, sensing, cognizing without inserting "I" is not a problem at all. See advice to Bahia or Malunkyaputta.
With love :candle:
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by DNS »

Rambutan wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 9:40 am Who here isn’t acting? Who doesn’t play their character for others? Who doesn’t play their character to have a job?
True. I can remember sometimes being helped by a customer service agent either in person or over the phone. They can get very friendly, asking how your day is, the weather and sometimes even more personal questions and friendliness. Then later in the day or week I get an email or text "how was your experience with agent x"? Then can't help but wonder how much of the friendliness was sincere or just to get a good review from me. :tongue:

I think actors can be wholesome in some rare instances, for example in making a documentary or other historical or educational purpose. I'd rank order from wholesome to generally unwholesome something like:

1. A documentary film on the life of the Buddha
2. A documentary film on some other historical person or event
3. A dramatic movie about some historical person or event
4. A dramatic film that conveys some moral point or the value of sila
5. A comedy film
6. A violent action film
7. A mindless film for entertainment purposes only
8. A roast of some famous person

Recently I saw some excerpts of The Roast of Tom Brady (famous NFL Quarterback). It was terrible; besides the vulgar language, the continuous insults of not just Brady, but of others on the stage or even some not on the stage.
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by Pulsar »

Dear DNS: Your ranking, I find it interesting. How would you rank Star Trek: Piccard?
Will the director go to hell, or only some actors? I love Piccard (Patrick Stewart), I sure hope he does not go to hell. There is something about him that inspires me... a kind of wisdom. I have not paid attention to other Star Trek movies.
I simply liked the last season of Piccard.
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by DNS »

Pulsar wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 4:26 pm Dear DNS: Your ranking, I find it interesting. How would you rank Star Trek: Piccard?
Will the director go to hell, or only some actors? I love Piccard (Patrick Stewart), I sure hope he does not go to hell. There is something about him that inspires me... a kind of wisdom. I have not paid attention to other Star Trek movies.
I simply liked the last season of Piccard.
With Love :candle:
Hi Pulsar,

Oh no, I wouldn't dare to presume I know if any of them are going to hell. :D I wouldn't speculate on such things. But I think Star Trek is fine. There are some moral lessons to be gained from those films, so I'd say mostly wholesome.
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by Dhammapardon »

Radix wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:47 pm
Boomerang wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2024 4:26 pm Per the Talaputa Sutta, actors go to hell. But if you listen to other teachings where the Buddha talks about morality, you would never guess that acting is wrong livelihood the way that being a soldier is obviously wrong livelihood.
Any profession that is explicitly about wrong view is wrong livelihood.

So, for example, most secular motivational speakers, psychotherapists, or politicians also fall into this category, because they explicitly espouse wrong view. Primarily in the form of "the solution to the problem of suffering is [activities that are in some way mutually exclusive with Dhamma]". So, for example, a psychotherapist advising a person to listen to "soothing music" in order to overcome anxiety is advising wrong view.

As a further example, being an ordinary cook is not wrong livelihood, but being a high-end specialty chef is (because such a cook specifically makes dishes whose primary goal isn't nutrition, but sensual pleasure).

In short, the deciding factor is wrong view.
From my understanding, acting is bad because actors cause others to enter mental states of "intoxication and heedlessness."
I think it's bad because acting normally entails wrong view.
You'd think this would be obvious but people want to eat their cake and have it too (Myself included). It's a progressive practice.
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by Dhammapardon »

Pulsar wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 3:11 pm Ramgutan wrote
Who hasn’t been playing one role or another their whole lives, that they cling to as “me”?
Who here isn’t acting? Who doesn’t play their character for others? Who doesn’t play their character to have a job?
Thus,
What difference does it make if the acting is happening on stage, or at work or at home?
If a theatrical performer is going to hell, then
we all are for the same reason (until free from samsara).
Your thoughtful comment! wish everyone thought like you do, and be mindful of the times when they are forced to role play.
If actors go to hell, then we would all go to hell, when we are engaged in role playing? I doubt that Buddha taught so. Context?
With Love :candle:
This came to mind
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.021x.than.html wrote: "Once, monks, in this same Savatthi, there was a lady of a household named Vedehika. This good report about Lady Vedehika had circulated: 'Lady Vedehika is gentle. Lady Vedehika is even-tempered. Lady Vedehika is calm.' Now, Lady Vedehika had a slave named Kali who was diligent, deft, & neat in her work. The thought occurred to Kali the slave: 'This good report about my Lady Vedehika has circulated: "Lady Vedehika is even-tempered. Lady Vedehika is gentle. Lady Vedehika is calm." Now, is anger present in my lady without showing, or is it absent? Or is it just because my work is neat that the anger present in my lady doesn't show? Why don't I test her?'

"So Kali the slave got up after daybreak. Then Lady Vedehika said to her: 'Hey, Kali!'

"'Yes, madam?'

"'Why did you get up after daybreak?'

"'No reason, madam.'

"'No reason, you wicked slave, and yet you get up after daybreak?' Angered & displeased, she scowled.

"Then the thought occurred to Kali the slave: 'Anger is present in my lady without showing, and not absent. And it's just because my work is neat that the anger present in my lady doesn't show. Why don't I test her some more?'

"So Kali the slave got up later in the day. Then Lady Vedehika said to her: 'Hey, Kali!'

"'Yes, madam?'

"'Why did you get up later in the day?'

"'No reason, madam.'

"'No reason, you wicked slave, and yet you get up later in the day?' Angered & displeased, she grumbled.

"Then the thought occurred to Kali the slave: 'Anger is present in my lady without showing, and not absent. And it's just because my work is neat that the anger present in my lady doesn't show. Why don't I test her some more?'

"So Kali the slave got up even later in the day. Then Lady Vedehika said to her: 'Hey, Kali!'

"'Yes, madam?'

"'Why did you get up even later in the day?'

"'No reason, madam.'

"'No reason, you wicked slave, and yet you get up even later in the day?' Angered & displeased, she grabbed hold of a rolling pin and gave her a whack over the head, cutting it open.

"Then Kali the slave, with blood streaming from her cut-open head, went and denounced her mistress to the neighbors: 'See, ladies, the gentle one's handiwork? See the even-tempered one's handiwork? See the calm one's handiwork? How could she, angered & displeased with her only slave for getting up after daybreak, grab hold of a rolling pin and give her a whack over the head, cutting it open?'

"After that this evil report about Lady Vedehika circulated: 'Lady Vedehika is vicious. Lady Vedehika is foul-tempered. Lady Vedehika is violent.'

"In the same way, monks, a monk may be ever so gentle, ever so even-tempered, ever so calm, as long as he is not touched by disagreeable aspects of speech. But it's when disagreeable aspects of speech touch him that he can be known from experience as gentle, even-tempered, & calm.
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by Radix »

Pulsar wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 3:18 pm Radix wrote
So, for example, a psychotherapist advising a person to listen to "soothing music" in order to overcome anxiety is advising wrong view.
How do you come to this conclusion. If the person listens to the music without getting attached to the music, is it wrong view?
One could listen to music without thinking "I am listening"
instead get absorbed in the music, thinking, "It is a sound". According to Buddha seeing, hearing, sensing, cognizing without inserting "I" is not a problem at all. See advice to Bahia or Malunkyaputta.
With love
Now let's try to read what I said before replying, shall we ...
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by Pulsar »

Radix wrote
"Let us try to read"
Perhaps there is a deficiency in my reading skills? I used just one example of the many that you presented as instances of wrong livelihood.
Earlier in your comment you wrote
Any profession that is explicitly about wrong view is wrong livelihood
Can you define "wrong view?" Also please list some of the
professions that you perceive as qualifying for "Right view?"
I like to remind you many professions and organizations fall under "For Profit"
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by Rambutan »

Radix wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:47 pm So, for example, most secular motivational speakers, psychotherapists, or politicians also fall into this category, because they explicitly espouse wrong view. Primarily in the form of "the solution to the problem of suffering is [activities that are in some way mutually exclusive with Dhamma]".
Again, you are making a straw man argument by employing the ambiguous phrase “the solution to the problem of suffering” to apply to anything without really understanding what it means. And just because the Buddha didn’t specifically recommend a particular mind-calming practice doesn’t mean it is some forbidden activity.

First, you have to understand the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice, which is to avoid another samsaric becoming (birth).

Second, you have to understand that ultimately a “wrong view” or wrong path is any other path which claims to deliver one from such rebirth, but which doesn’t teach the Dhamma that the Buddha taught which explain the causes and cessation of such rebirth.

Third. The Buddha of course also gave teachings on how to avoid a lot of mental anguish in this life. But that’s not the ultimate goal.

If a psychologist were to suggest that listening to soothing music is the means for achieving unending tranquility, nibbana, and freedom from birth, then that would be regarded as “wrong view”. But I don’t think any psychologists make such claims.

A psychologist recommending soothing music is no different than a doctor telling you to get more exercise.
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Re: If actors go to hell per the Talaputa Sutta, couldn't you apply the same logic to almost any profession?

Post by TRobinson465 »

No. you have to look behind the words and understand why acting is considered a wrong profession in the first place. people are heavily influenced by the media. To this day people think eating raw eggs is good for body building because of that one scene in Rocky and people believe everyone who has tourettes is like that kid from South Park. Many people think drinking alcohol or smoking is "cool" because they see it on TV and many kids in the innercities here in the US literally think its cool to be a gangster, which is literally just being part of mafia with a less fancy dress code.

Acting is bad because a lot of media and entertainment can warp people's perceptions. Lets be real here. inner city kids thinking its cool to be part of a criminal gang would not be a thing if it wasnt for actors portraying them as cool. alcohol and many drugs wouldnt be as prevalent nowadays if it wasnt glorified in some shows. the cultural inclination toward it being cool to have supercars and for men to sleep with lots of women would not be a as big of a thing if it wasnt glorified by the media.

Entertainment can warp people's perceptions and influence thier behavior negatively. just look at todays beauty standards, they are all influenced by the media. In china 100 years ago it was literally considered sexy to be fat. In Thailand 100 years ago, it was considered unattractive for men to have muscles as it was a sign of being "lower class". In one thai monument built 100 years ago the nobility were portrayed with "delicate" features whereas the peasants all had six packs.

When a monk at one of the temples i go to was asked about this, he said if you want to do acting. just always be the good guy and a character that doesnt break precepts.
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