Author Topic: Buddhism and Music  (Read 1168 times)

Offline leveraldo8

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Buddhism and Music
« on: October 10, 2015, 11:27:33 am »
According to Buddhism, music can harm our health?

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Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Buddhism and Music
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2015, 06:10:52 pm »
The relationship between Buddhism and music is complicated --- for example, the association of music with earthly desires led early Buddhists to proscribe musical practice, and even observation of musical performance, for monks and nuns, but I wouldn't say that music can harm our health anymore than drinking a glass of water can harm our health.

The qualifier of my statement is that the impurities within that glass of water (if present) can harm our health, not the water in and of itself alone --- the same can be said of music, that the impurities within music (if present) can harm our health, not the music in and of itself.

In other words, the impurities would be the emotions that music can bring about. Anyway, you might find this PDF worth reading:

 http://www.nantien.org.au/en/sites/upload/buddhism/pdf/bies16.pdf

Offline Amara

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Re: Buddhism and Music
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2015, 07:40:32 pm »
Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu

Nacca-gita-vadita-visukkadassana mala-gandha-vilepana-dharana-mandana-vibhusanathana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics.

Ref: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/atthasila.html

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Buddhism and Music
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2015, 11:21:31 pm »
Yes, but it's observed by laypeople during periods of intensive meditation practice and during uposatha days --- although there's no denying the existence of the precept as it relates to monastics, there's also no denying that when the Vandana is recited (or chanted) it is in fact defined as "music", well, unless the person has picked up the bad habit of splitting hairs.

There's actually monastics who use music to teach and impart the Dhamma/Dharma, especially when it comes to reaching the hearts and minds of children and the younger generation in general. It should also be noted that musical instruments have a long history within the Buddhist tradition, as there are certainly times when music is used in an appropriate manner, so, when all is said and done, we have not only the letter of the precept to contend with, but also the spirit in which the precept was first given.

Quote
Music (vàdita) is the making of sounds in a structured manner for the purpose of creating a pleasing effect. The two fundamental characteristics of Indian music were and remain mood (ràga) and rhythm (tàlàvacana, D.II,159) and the elements within it were the notes (sàra), the scales (gàmà), the tones (mucchanà) and the pauses (ñhànà). During the Buddha's time, refined music was played by orchestras of five instruments (Th.398). The most popular instrument in the orchestra or played solo was the lute (vãõà). It consisted of the sounding board with a parchment stretched over it (cammapokkhara), the belly (doõi), the arm (daõóa), the head (upavãõà), the seven strings (sattatantã) which were plucked with the fingernails (agganakha), and the plectrum (koõa), usually made of ivory (Ja.II,252; IV,470; S.IV,197).

The Buddha commented that such lutes in the hands of skilled musicians could produce music that was `captivating, melodious and enchanting' (S.IV,197). He had a knowledge of and appreciation for fine music, probably as a result of his upper-class upbringing. He mentioned (Ja.II,253) that a lute had to be tuned to the high pitch (uttamamucchanàya mucchetvà vàdesi), the middle pitch (majjhimamucchanàya) and finally with slack strings (sithila). When the Buddha heard Pa¤casikha sing to the accompaniment of his lute he commented that `the sound of your strings blends well with the sound of your voice and the sound of your voice blends well with the sound of your strings'(D.II,267). However, the Buddha also knew that a transformed mind could offer far more joy than any song or symphony. The Theragàthà says: `Music from a five-piece orchestra cannot arouse as much delight as having a one-pointed mind with perfect insight into things' (Th.398).

One of the eight Precepts is to avoid playing or listening to music, no doubt because it   distracts from mental stillness and peace (A.I,212). Music or singing has never been used in the påjàs of the Theravàda Buddhist tradition, although in Sri Lanka people sometimes do what is called the Hevisi Påjà, the offering of sound, which includes drumming. The music of trumpets, drums and cymbals is an essential part of most Tibetan påjas while gongs and bells are used in Chinese Buddhism.

http://www.buddhisma2z.com/content.php?id=276


As a side note, here's an article about Ngawang Lodup, a monk who's well known for playing his dramnyen, a traditional Tibetan instrument similar to a lute:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/11747306/Ngawang-Lodup-The-Buddhist-monk-who-became-a-rock-star.html

 


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