Author Topic: Buddhism and music?  (Read 6179 times)

Offline Ihab

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Buddhism and music?
« on: June 18, 2017, 05:03:09 am »
What did Buddha say about music? Are Lay people allowed to listen to music? Are Buddhist monks and nuns allowed to listen to music? Are we allowed but there's rules to what music we are allowed? What music helps me reach Nirvana? Thank you.

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Offline Chaz

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2017, 12:15:02 pm »
What did Buddha say about music? Are Lay people allowed to listen to music? Are Buddhist monks and nuns allowed to listen to music? Are we allowed but there's rules to what music we are allowed? What music helps me reach Nirvana? Thank you.

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I wouldn't concern yourself about that Solodris just tried to share.  Music is fine.  In some organizations singing is a big part of practice.  Don't worry about attachment to it.  Just enjoy the music.  Even Lawrence Welk. :lmfao:

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2017, 01:16:37 pm »
What did Buddha say about music? Are Lay people allowed to listen to music? Are Buddhist monks and nuns allowed to listen to music? Are we allowed but there's rules to what music we are allowed? What music helps me reach Nirvana? Thank you.

Buddhist lay people who follow the five precepts can listen to music.

Buddhist lay people who commit to eight or ten precepts cannot listen to music because of the 7th precept, namely:


Quote
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.

Monks & nuns are not allowed to listen to music because it is an obstacle to reaching meditation jhana (perfect stillness & bliss of mind) and Nirvana.

Regards
  :namaste:


Offline Chaz

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2017, 02:45:57 pm »
What did Buddha say about music? Are Lay people allowed to listen to music? Are Buddhist monks and nuns allowed to listen to music? Are we allowed but there's rules to what music we are allowed? What music helps me reach Nirvana? Thank you.

Buddhist lay people who follow the five precepts can listen to music.

Buddhist lay people who commit to eight or ten precepts cannot listen to music because of the 7th precept, namely:


Quote
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.

Monks & nuns are not allowed to listen to music because it is an obstacle to reaching meditation jhana (perfect stillness & bliss of mind) and Nirvana.

Regards
  :namaste:

True enough, but conversely in Tibetan/Vajrayana Buddhism singing is common among monastics.  Some highly realized beings, such as Milarepa wrote songs of enlightenment  (100, 000 if them) as do certain members of the lineage he helped to found. Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche is one such person.   Tich Nach Hahn's sangha is known for choral singing.

Offline Rahul

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 12:33:13 am »
True enough, but conversely in Tibetan/Vajrayana Buddhism singing is common among monastics.  Some highly realized beings, such as Milarepa wrote songs of enlightenment  (100, 000 if them) as do certain members of the lineage he helped to found. Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche is one such person.   Tich Nach Hahn's sangha is known for choral singing.

Vajrayana and Mahayana greatly deviate from core teachings of Buddha. For example, in early Buddhism, monks ate once a day just before noon, didn't sleep on high beds, refrained from participating or promoting a political cause, didn't listen to music, didn't possess anything else than couple or robes and a bowl... The list goes on. But we see lots of Vajrayana and Mahayana monks possessing gadgets, active on social media, eating more than once a day, living in monasteries with all amenities and high beds, ...

Even the concept of bodhisattva in Mahayana is perplexing to me. One gets on the verge of nirvana, then withholds nirvana for welfare of sentient being... Withholding nirvana with the intention to help other, is also attachment to something, however good it is, it is still attachment. Plus, concepts such as the medicine Buddha that cures everybody from all diseases etc. is simply way too much deviation from Buddha's teachings.

Offline Chaz

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2017, 02:50:30 pm »
Vajrayana and Mahayana greatly deviate from core teachings of Buddha.

Actually they don't.

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For example, in early Buddhism, monks ate once a day just before noon, didn't sleep on high beds, refrained from participating or promoting a political cause, didn't listen to music, didn't possess anything else than couple or robes and a bowl... The list goes on.

While that may be true - to a point - that is not great deviation from what the Buddha taught.  It's also not the only in the Mahayana.  Thervada monstics have the same "problems".

 

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Even the concept of bodhisattva in Mahayana is perplexing to me.

Not surprising at all, and entirely off-topic

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One gets on the verge of nirvana, then withholds nirvana for welfare of sentient being...

....is exactly what the Bodhisattva does, and if you think that's clinging, then your understanding of the teachings on this path is poor at best.

But this too, is off topic.

If you don't like singing, don't sing.  If you don't like Bodhisattva teaching, then don't associate with the Mahayana.

If you're going to disrespect a tradition that has, over the many centuries, produced scores of enlightened beings, you should have your understaning in order.

If you want to continue this line of discussion, start another thread.  I'd be happy to participate.

Offline Rahul

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 07:49:51 pm »
Vajrayana and Mahayana greatly deviate from core teachings of Buddha.

Actually they don't.

Quote
For example, in early Buddhism, monks ate once a day just before noon, didn't sleep on high beds, refrained from participating or promoting a political cause, didn't listen to music, didn't possess anything else than couple or robes and a bowl... The list goes on.

While that may be true - to a point - that is not great deviation from what the Buddha taught.  It's also not the only in the Mahayana.  Thervada monstics have the same "problems".

 

Quote
Even the concept of bodhisattva in Mahayana is perplexing to me.

Not surprising at all, and entirely off-topic

Quote
One gets on the verge of nirvana, then withholds nirvana for welfare of sentient being...

....is exactly what the Bodhisattva does, and if you think that's clinging, then your understanding of the teachings on this path is poor at best.

But this too, is off topic.

If you don't like singing, don't sing.  If you don't like Bodhisattva teaching, then don't associate with the Mahayana.

If you're going to disrespect a tradition that has, over the many centuries, produced scores of enlightened beings, you should have your understaning in order.

If you want to continue this line of discussion, start another thread.  I'd be happy to participate.
That's not off-topic, that's related topic. It is the nature of discussions that related topics emerge during conversation. If this troubles you, god bless you.

Someone questions deviations of a tradition from Buddha's teachings, why that should be taken as 'disrespect'? Criticisms in a positive, polite, and civilized manners are a good way of discussion.

And in all your futile criticism of my comment, you forgot the point that Buddha advised not to listen music or any kind of entertainment, including idle chatter. Vajrayana or Mahayana monks indulging in singing and employing it as a means of meditation or worship etc. while it isn't wrong, it is definitely in clear violation of Buddha's teachings.

Offline Chaz

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2017, 03:05:40 am »

And in all your futile criticism of my comment, you forgot the point that Buddha advised not to listen music or any kind of entertainment, including idle chatter.

Advised.  Not commanded.

And tell me, what happens to those of us who choose to hum a little tune while we post to this forum?  This is, playing in web forums like this one, according to teachers I've worked with, is a clear case of idle chatter.  From my handle it should be clear what I'm doing here.  Tell me, why are you here that you can "violate" the Buddha's advice so blatantly?

Offline Rahul

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2017, 03:50:42 am »

And in all your futile criticism of my comment, you forgot the point that Buddha advised not to listen music or any kind of entertainment, including idle chatter.

Advised.  Not commanded.

And tell me, what happens to those of us who choose to hum a little tune while we post to this forum?  This is, playing in web forums like this one, according to teachers I've worked with, is a clear case of idle chatter.  From my handle it should be clear what I'm doing here.  Tell me, why are you here that you can "violate" the Buddha's advice so blatantly?

Boy, you should research before making such claims. Buddha advised laymen to refrain from music and entertainment. But he did actually made it a rule for monks. See this rule from Vinaya Pitaka.

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He refrains from being a spectator at shows at fairs,
with nautch dances, singing, and music.

People might be here for idle chatter, as you suggested. I am here to learn from people and share with people about Buddhism.

But anyways, sounds like you really let each comment get on your nerves and feel it your duty to fight back. Chill down. We are here to discuss, and if you prove me wrong, I would be glad to accept it and learn the right thing.

Offline Pixie

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2017, 04:01:11 am »
Hi Ihab,

Having a look at The Layperson's Code of Dicipline might be helpful:


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.31.0.nara.html



Pixie  _/|\_
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline AlwaysDayAfterYesterday

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2017, 04:52:52 am »

And in all your futile criticism of my comment, you forgot the point that Buddha advised not to listen music or any kind of entertainment, including idle chatter.

Advised.  Not commanded.

And tell me, what happens to those of us who choose to hum a little tune while we post to this forum?  This is, playing in web forums like this one, according to teachers I've worked with, is a clear case of idle chatter.  From my handle it should be clear what I'm doing here.  Tell me, why are you here that you can "violate" the Buddha's advice so blatantly?

What would Buddhist precepts say about the efficacy of rites and rituals?  If rites and rituals are there to point you to the meaning (like letters and words accomplish in Sutras), then what is the point beyond realization of the symbolism?  We can glean a good comparison in Christian tradition.  A Buddhist would recognize baptism (immersion into the water to rise to new life) as a ritual accomplished as a rite of passage for a child into adulthood and beyond.  What is the definition of immersion into the stream, rising to new life in Buddhism?  Rebirth.  Even though the Christian texts in John 3 define this for clarity, this openly stated meaning of rebirth by this incarnation of Vishnu is misunderstood completely.  They dunk into the water thinking it is the point, but in reality, it is showing them something to be realized about the very life they live here in the stream of life (water). 

Put this into context of Yoga, or union with others.  Music is fellowship with another form of creation, sharing in the verse of a Sutra (thread of meaning) in another form.  Efficacy is defined as: the ability to produce a desired or intended result.  In Buddhism, this is expedient means.  Expedient is defined as: (of an action) convenient and practical, although possibly improper or immoral. 

All of life is meditation.  Like Baptism, the act of meditation here (shining the light back into Sattva) is arrowhead to arrowhead, meeting your self in the mirror.  You meditate reading this small Sutra from my mind, which is Yoga.  If I were to sing it for you, you still gain union with my mind, which is the point of being a relative to the absolute.  The rites and rituals of life are only expedient means.  The point is to see beyond and rise above the illusions of hindrance that cause you to cling to even the ritual.  It's only a rite of passage.  We are not the same minds we were 2000 years ago.  We are growing up.



« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 05:54:50 pm by AlwaysDayAfterYesterday »
Time and Space are one.  The day after yesterday is now.  You always have time to forget the past by building the future.  The best way to predict the future is to create it.  When do you begin?  All of time and space for you to grow, develop, cultivate and remake yourself again and again.  Seek, Find and Adaptation.

Offline Chaz

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2017, 05:29:35 pm »
Hi Ihab,

Having a look at The Layperson's Code of Dicipline might be helpful:


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.31.0.nara.html



Pixie  _/|\_


Wow! Are you kidding that is impossible.  Being a Roman Catholic is far more appealing that that.

I think this falls into the realm of a teaching meant to point out the fultily of certain questions.  In this case I'd say someone asked the Buddha about a code of disciplne.  Rather than dismiss the question, the Buddha told the student exactly what a code of discilpine would be .

STudent:  Lord, will you teach us a code of discipline?

Buddha: blah blah, blah and a sutra.

Student:  Lord that is frikkin IMPOSSIBLE!!

Buddha:  Well, you asked... return to your practice.

Offline Rahul

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2017, 08:11:35 pm »
I think this falls into the realm of a teaching meant to point out the fultily of certain questions.  In this case I'd say someone asked the Buddha about a code of disciplne.  Rather than dismiss the question, the Buddha told the student exactly what a code of discilpine would be .

STudent:  Lord, will you teach us a code of discipline?

Buddha: blah blah, blah and a sutra.

Student:  Lord that is frikkin IMPOSSIBLE!!

Buddha:  Well, you asked... return to your practice.
Buddha answered questions clearly, and refuted to answer when the question was not beneficial. Your interpretation that Buddha answered for the sake of answering is completely wrong. He was aware that each of his word and advice would be taken seriously and followed by millions. That's why he spoke precisely, and unambiguously and he really meant it.

The Buddhist code of conduct was strictly followed by his disciples. Those who violated any code used to confess their violation in front of the sangha and used to undergo penance. The sangha had a special day every month (or in some traditions every week) called Uposatha, when they recited the code of conduct 'Vinaya', and confessed any violations.

The code of conducted was not given by Buddha in a single blah blah, blah and a sutra style as you presumed. Each rule of conduct was given on an occasion when a monk's actions harmed sangha's reputation or credibility. The rules were later on compiled in sutra by some monks after Buddha's demise. For that matter, you should know that Buddha never recited sutras. He used to teach in plain conversations, each word unambiguous. He strictly refused use of esoteric language, ambiguous or "deep meaning" words, etc, and used laymen's language.

Wow! Are you kidding that is impossible.  Being a Roman Catholic is far more appealing that that.
You probably don't know that lay Buddhist followers can follow any, all, or none or the clauses from the code of conduct. It was advised, not commanded, for lay people. Now you can better compare Buddhism with Roman Catholicism.

So you need a practice that is appealing. And appealing means not imposing any rules. That's just like going to a gym, with the intention of being a body builder, and then saying: hey those exercises and diets are so stifling. Staying at home and eating pizza is far more appealing. Very well, then you shouldn't be at the gym in the first place.

Earlier you said about Mahayana that "... a tradition that has, over the many centuries, produced scores of enlightened beings, ...". And when you came to know about rules that those enlightened beings had followed in order to gain enlightenment, you say that "Being a Roman Catholic is far more appealing that that"...




Offline ground

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2017, 09:14:33 am »
What did Buddha say about music? Are Lay people allowed to listen to music? Are Buddhist monks and nuns allowed to listen to music? Are we allowed but there's rules to what music we are allowed? What music helps me reach Nirvana? Thank you.

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Why do you use the word "allowed"? Buddha did not issue commandments like the Gods of theists. Buddha just taught what is conducive for liberation and what is a hindrance for liberation.
No music whatsoever will help you to attain liberation. The contrary will possibly be the case since music either agitates the mind or causes feelings and emotions that are clung to. But the decision is up to you. Music is neither allowed nor not allowed. And renouncing music is no guarantee that liberation will be attained as listening to music is no absolute hindrance for liberation.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 09:27:10 am by ground »

Offline Chaz

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Re: Buddhism and music?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2017, 02:46:11 pm »

Buddha answered questions clearly, and refuted to answer when the question was not beneficial. Your interpretation that Buddha answered for the sake of answering is completely wrong. He was aware that each of his word and advice would be taken seriously and followed by millions. That's why he spoke precisely, and unambiguously and he really meant it.

Well I thought that code was precisely, and unambiguously clear - impossible.

The Buddha wanted his followers to think for themselves.  This is why, when the subject of admitting women into the sangha, the Buddha refused - precisely, and unambiguously.  Now, you gotta ask, what sort of enlightened being would do that.  Later, his followers came to him renewing their call for admitting women, and the Buddha relented.  They would not be cowed by even a Buddha.

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The Buddhist code of conduct was strictly followed by his disciples.

I will presume you have not one iota of proof of that assertion.




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The code of conducted was not given by Buddha in a single blah blah, blah and a sutra style as you presumed.

Well, Pixie offered us a single sutra, so ....

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You probably don't know that lay Buddhist followers can follow any, all, or none or the clauses from the code of conduct.

Of course I know that.

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So you need a practice that is appealing.

Of course, we all do.  We are taught to undertake those practices that resonate with us.

I doubt that you're any different.

Some people dig a hair shirt and others don't.

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Earlier you said about Mahayana that "... a tradition that has, over the many centuries, produced scores of enlightened beings, ...". And when you came to know about rules that those enlightened beings had followed in order to gain enlightenment,

Like Naropa.  He was taught Mahamudra by the Mahasiddha Tilopa.  Tilopa was giving Naropa pointing out instructions and Naropa wasn't getting it.  Tilopa grew more and more frustrated until he finally took off his sandal and hit Naropa on the forehead.  Naropa was enlightened on the spot.  I don't recall a rule for that.

My first teacher was Trungpa Rinpoche.  To say he eschewed rules, would be something of an understatement.  Upon his death, his enlightenment was confirmed by the heads of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages.

The great yogi Milarepa followed only his teacher, Marpa's instruction in Mahamudra and achieved supreme realization and even wrote and sang songs of that state.  100, 000 of them to be exact.

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you say that "Being a Roman Catholic is far more appealing that that"...

Well, it's a lot more appealing than what having follow a bunch of rules such as those spelled out in the sutra Pixie shared.  At least Catholics can sing, dance, drink and have a great old time. The Mass is a thing of beauty, especially in Latin.

 


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