Music, lay life, and monastic life

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Wizard in the Forest
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Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:39 am

I'd like to know the reason music is often censured for monastics, and why this isn't carried over to lay life?

I've heard that music can be distracting in meditation and can change and move emotions. Is that the reason for it not being permitted for a monastic, and does this carry over for a layperson's meditation as well?
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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retrofuturist
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:55 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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ground
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby ground » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:59 am


rowyourboat
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:20 pm

I think music can be helpful or a hindrance to meditation- I think the issue is more about letting go of sensual input via the ears (actually 'doing' letting go, rather than doing it conceptually).

with metta
With Metta

Karuna
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Monkey Mind » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:18 pm

I asked this question of a Bhikkhu. Answer: to avoid the perception that monks sit around all day listening to/ playing music, on the laity's dime.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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retrofuturist
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:58 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Aloka
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Aloka » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:24 pm

Music definately stimulates the emotions and is an unnecessary distraction in general I have found. I used to listen to music a lot and my late husband was a musician so I was constantly exposed to it. However,I found that the more I meditated and was able to have some control of my surroundings, the less I needed to disturb the peaceful silence with sounds other than those already occuring in the environment.
I'm not sure why people are uneasy with silence and have the desire to fill it up with the noise of music or TV - but we're all different I guess.
Last edited by Aloka on Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:49 pm

"Music" is a broad term, covering everything from Bach to Lady Gaga. I'm not sure I'd put it all in the same boat. Plus, some forms of music are designed for sacred or contemplative purposes, and there's even a genre of "Buddhist music"(e.g. Imee Ooi) ... though I guess the concept of music as upaya is not something we'd find in Theravada. There seems to be a fair amount of discussion about it in Chinese Mahayana and related traditions.

I've found personally that some kinds of music are conducive to tranquility and mental clarity. Others stir up the emotions and provide catharsis -- which can be beneficial as well, for those of us who aren't all that advanced on the path.

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Guy
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Guy » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:58 pm

Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:58 am

For intensive meditation any kind of entertainment can be distracting or create busyness in the mind, it can take the mind away from directly and simply experiencing the present moment, so the idea is to simplify ones life as much as possible.

This is equally true of lay people when on retreat as it is for monastics.

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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:46 am


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Monkey Mind
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Monkey Mind » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:53 am

"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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Phra Chuntawongso
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:13 pm

And crawling on the planets face,some insects called the human race.
Lost in time
Lost in space
And meaning

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andre9999
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby andre9999 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:39 pm


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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:56 pm

Just before going on an extensive Vipassana retreat I heard , in the background, the Beach Boys Good Vibrations.
I spent the first 4 or 5 days of the retreat hearing the " fugue" at the end...." Da dee dah de dah DAH dah dah etc" round and round and round and round....... :(
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Monkey Mind
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Monkey Mind » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:26 am

"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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Wizard in the Forest
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:39 am

With me it was Kokomo. I hated Kokomo. It was so catchy and got stuck in my head.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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ground
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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby ground » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:18 am

On the other hand music can be a good object for insight meditation exactly because it distracts, stirs emotions and causes physical reactions.
And it is similar to thoughts in that you may get involved or let them dissolve.

Kind regards

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Re: Music, lay life, and monastic life

Postby Dhammakid » Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:18 am

I absolutely love music. I have at least one favorite artist/band in nearly every genre. I've made a habit of taking a break from television by escaping to my room and listening to my iPod while playing solitaire...

Because of this habit, I've become somewhat attached to my iPod. It's something I would like to give up soon.

In my experience, meditation is difficult with my kind of mind. See, what happens is that when I'm trying to sit in meditation and follow the breath, my mind hates the silence. It will do anything it can to make internal noise and get rid of the silence. This is often in the form of playing songs over and over again, making it hard to follow the breath and not the song, which are usually my favorites of course (clever monkey, my mind is!)

I've vowed one day to give up music completely (and maybe even entertainments altogether) to make steady practice easier.

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