I apologize if this question has been asked before, but I was wondering if anyone can tell me more about the 7th precept for bhikkhus, specifically the prohibition on music. This has always been the only one difficult for me to accept. I'd have no issue accepting it if it simply prohibited secular music, but does this precept include music used for meditative or spiritual purposes such as mantras, Gregorian chants, ragas, and so forth? I can fully understand how music used as a form of entertainment or going to a Metallica concert could cause attachment and come between the monk and his goal, but what about when music is used solely for a higher purpose? Isn't Japanese shomyo chant or Gyuto Tantric Choir or Tibetan deep throat chanters like Lama Tashi technically music?
I've always been a musically inclined person and over the years music has transformed for me as less of a form of entertainment than as a means of attaining higher awareness or as an aid for meditation. The Hindus see the importance of this with their so-called Nada Yoga, which beyond listening to one's "inner sound" also includes the use of music and chant for spiritual purposes. The same could also be said of the Sufis and Catholic/Orthodox liturgical music and chant. Really I can't think of a major sacred tradition that is entirely music-less.
Personally I really enjoy the aesthetics of the Chinese guqin, which has been used by Taoists and also apparently by Chinese Buddhists for spiritual cultivation, and I am attracted to learning it for the same purpose. On Guan Pinghu's wikipedia entry it states,
He also studied with the leading players of three different schools; Yang Zongji (1865–1933), the leading player in Beijing, the Daoist Qin Heming, and the Buddhist monk Wucheng.
A search for "Buddhist monk guqin" on Google turned up with this webpage stating that Buddhist monks play guqin and showing what appears to be a Western monk playing one:http://paramita.typepad.com/dharma_fore ... index.html
Are these individuals breaking their precept? Are these rules just not enforced?