against art

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convivium
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against art

Postby convivium » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:11 am

why does the vinaya discourage monastics to practice or take in art?
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

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Re: against art

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:58 am

I'd say that in general the dhamma-vinaya discourages the practice of arts such as painting etc by monastics because the whole life of a bhikkhu is supposed to be geared towards realizing nibbana which is why practicing art is not part of the discipline, it does not lead to disenchantment with regard to form, feeling, perception, fabrications, consciousness. In fact, I would say that art arises out of passion for form, feeling, and perception. Art just isn't related to the goal. The one exception I suppose would be dhamma inspired poetry.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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convivium
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Re: against art

Postby convivium » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:05 am

it does not lead to disenchantment with regard to form, feeling, perception, fabrications, consciousness. In fact, I would say that art arises out of passion for form, feeling, and perception
are you sure about this? one can experience very sublime and liberated states in art.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

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Re: against art

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:31 am

Yeah, because art makes you feel good, or it looks really awesome, or it sounds amazing. The way you're using the word liberated seems to me to be different from the way the Buddha uses it. The pleasure of art is dependent upon passion. If one has no passion for sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations or ideas and concepts then what's called art and what's called dirt on the ground is felt in the same way, one wouldn't seem more sublime than the other (although I suppose that's debatable). Dirt is something seen, a painting is something seen but when there's no passion for what's seen then a painting is just another sight, nothing special about it. Taking pleasure in art is just a higher form of sense pleasure than say, eating burritos. This isn't to bash on art, just saying that it is not something a bhikkhu should be focused on. I personally love surfing, I think it's way more awesome than any music, painting, or any other form of art that I might otherwise think is awesome, but I don't think bhikkhu's should be surfing because surfing encourages attachment to certain weather conditions and attachment to surfboards and wetsuits (if the water's cold), to the pleasant feelings of riding a wave, and to the look of good waves. However, the Buddha realized that even if one sees the drawbacks in sense pleasure, if one doesn't have another source of pleasure then they won't be able to turn away from sense pleasures like eating burritos, making art, looking at art or hearing art, surfing, or having sex. This is where jhana comes in, this is the sort of pleasure that bhikkhu's are afforded and it is one that is conducive towards the goal because it clears and stills the mind so that one can see things how they really are which induces dispassion, relinquishment, release, knowledge and vision of release, and total unbinding through lack of clinging.

(mind you, this is just my understanding, others' opinions may differ but it makes sense to me)
Last edited by polarbuddha101 on Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: against art

Postby convivium » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:39 am

you don't think art can induce anything deeper then pleasant or unpleasant experiences? it can subdue the will and dissolve the subject object dichotomy (when one's sense of self is dissolved into the object of art or the medium). on a more base level, one can enter into absorbtions of intense pleasure or neither pleasure nor pain, when playing or listening to music. there is a reason vajrayana uses music and art in their rituals.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

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Re: against art

Postby SamKR » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:51 am

convivium wrote:you don't think art can induce anything deeper then pleasant or unpleasant experiences? it can subdue the will and dissolve the subject object dichotomy (when one's sense of self is dissolved into the object of art or the medium). on a more base level, one can enter into absorbtions of intense pleasure or neither pleasure nor pain, when playing or listening to music. there is a reason vajrayana uses music and art in their rituals.

Art (like music etc.) may have potential to take to various sorts of absorptions or experiences but it will not take to Nibbana which is the main goal of Dhamma. Right art of following 8-fold path will lead to Nibbana.
Last edited by SamKR on Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: against art

Postby SarathW » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:52 am

I am in the same line of thinking as PB. Buddha has pointed out various form of happiness. Art is one of them. However that comes below the happiness come as a bhikkhu. So by trying to be an artist, bhikkhu lower in him/her self.

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Re: against art

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:10 am

I don't think art is conducive to the destruction of craving (but then again I suppose a painting of a bunch of rotting corpses might be). Perhaps you mean the same thing as what I'm about to say but in buddhism (as to my understanding) one directs the will (towards cultivating virtue, samadhi, and wisdom) as opposed to beating it down and subduing it. Becoming absorbed into a painting, regardless of whether it temporarily results in the suspension of an active sense of self, doesn't make the mind more capable of abandoning delusion, meditation does though. Also, the Buddha wasn't a vajrayanist.

"Monks, these two slander the Tathagata. Which two? He who explains what was not said or spoken by the Tathagata as said or spoken by the Tathagata. And he who explains what was said or spoken by the Tathagata as not said or spoken by the Tathagata. These are two who slander the Tathagata."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Anyway, it really doesn't matter that much. If one is a lay person then by all means enjoy art, surf, and eat tasty burritos for the fun of it. But the ideal life of a bhikkhu as laid down and exemplified by the Buddha leaves no room for dilly dallying around in the pleasures (be they deep or lowly) of art when death could come at any moment and rob one of the chance to realize nibbana in this very life. The ideal bhikkhu hears the dhamma, memorizes it, ponders it, perfects his virtue and then goes off into solitude in a dangerous ass jungle and meditates until he lets of all craving (or at least it seems that that's how it went for most arahants in the Buddha's day). That's the gist of it anyway.

Why are you (or at least you seem to be) perturbed by the fact that the buddha didn't want bhikkhu's to spend time playing sitars and painting murals (or listening to music and looking at murals/paintings)?

Just as a footnote, here is the 7th precept:

I undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: against art

Postby SamKR » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:16 am

:goodpost:

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Re: against art

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:01 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:Just as a footnote, here is the 7th precept:

I undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics.

To me, that has always looked like it is about avoiding art-as-entertainment (e.g. getting dressed up for a night on the town with bar girls and nightclubs) and not even considering art-as-high-art (e.g. concerts of the music of Messiaen and Bach, galleries full of paintings by Fairweather and Renbrandt). I'm not even sure the "high art" concept existed in ancient India. If it didn't, the Buddha wouldn't have confused his basic message by adding that some kinds of entertainment are actually good dhamma.

:popcorn:
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Re: against art

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:49 am

From another tradition ... this was just posted in a similar thread on the other DW:
...and if persons...
should with reverent minds make offerings
of flowers, incense....or if they employ persons to make music
striking drums or blowing horns or conch shells
playing pipes, flutes, zithers, harps,
balloon guitars, cymbals and gongs
and if these many kinds of wonderful notes
are intended wholly as an offering
or if one with a joyful mind
sings a song in the praise of the Buddha's virtue
even if it is just one small note
then all who do these things have attained the buddha way

- Lotus Sutra


:namaste:
Kim

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Re: against art

Postby convivium » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:27 pm

it's worth noting that there's music sometimes at monasteries in asia (for the public), and always art at least in the form of architecture, sculpture, and painting. in the cosmology, there are gandhabas but not burrito devas. i find it interesting that the only art present on theravada buddhist monasteries is on the bottom of schopenhauer's heirarchy (i.e. the lowest grade of the will's objectification) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/schop ... eAmoFinArt
there is a reason for that (probably beyond the fact that these artforms impact us in less drastic ways).
Last edited by convivium on Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

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Re: against art

Postby convivium » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:58 pm

To me, that has always looked like it is about avoiding art-as-entertainment (e.g. getting dressed up for a night on the town with bar girls and nightclubs) and not even considering art-as-high-art (e.g. concerts of the music of Messiaen and Bach, galleries full of paintings by Fairweather and Renbrandt). I'm not even sure the "high art" concept existed in ancient India. If it didn't, the Buddha wouldn't have confused his basic message by adding that some kinds of entertainment are actually good dhamma.

yeah, if the art was better in the buddha's day, then maybe he would have militated only against bad or mediocre art. :clap:
Last edited by convivium on Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

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Re: against art

Postby convivium » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:15 pm

art on theravada buddhist monasteries (especially the less famous monasteries in the cities) is often guady, tacky, and a waste of money for second and third world countries. giant gold buddha images when the buddha said i don't want images of myself and everyone must have food, clothing, shelter, medicine to practice. sometimes i can't see what's skillful about it. i guess it inspires a sense of awe to see all that gold, and makes people want to contribute or participate in the monasteries. i was inspired by states i got into and lyrics in music to practice (i was inspired by things at the top of schopenhauer's spectrum above that aren't featured at monasteries). i'm not saying things closer to the top of this spectrum should be featured at monasteries, because monasteries exist for saints and mystics and would be saints and mystics in my opinion. of course, there are saints and mystics who have been artists (working at the top of schopenhauer's spectrum) and musicians, but no arahats.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

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Re: against art

Postby PadmaPhala » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:20 am

someone mentioned the noble eightfold path, what if someone is working (or trying to get work) as an artist?

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Re: against art

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:33 am

Vincenzi wrote:someone mentioned the noble eightfold path, what if someone is working (or trying to get work) as an artist?

It is a very good job for a lay person!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Re: against art

Postby alan... » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:46 am

convivium wrote:why does the vinaya discourage monastics to practice or take in art?


everything but the dhamma is to be dropped as much as possible. heck the buddha even compared simply not minding the satipatthanas to a monkey who wanders into human territory and gets stuck in a human's trap! if it's not dhamma practice and you're a monk then it's not really your business. every day all day is striving. once a monk reaches nibbana then surely painting is not going to be a problem, although i imagine an arahant would only paint if it was conducive to teaching others about the dhamma or something.

side note: i have no idea what i'm talking about and this is all wild assumption based on vague ideas of what a bhikkhu is today. mostly i'm using my mental perception of what a bhikkhu is as depicted in the pali canon. not too many artists among them.

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Re: against art

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:05 am

Vincenzi wrote:someone mentioned the noble eightfold path, what if someone is working (or trying to get work) as an artist?


For a layperson, being an artist is perfectly acceptable (unless the art encourages greed, hatred, and delusion) to make a living, but this topic was specifically about bhikkhu's and bhikkhuni's who are supposed to be focusing all their time and energy on realizing the unexcelled sublime state of peace, which has nothing to do with art.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: against art

Postby Prasadachitta » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:37 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:or a layperson, being an artist is perfectly acceptable (unless the art encourages greed, hatred, and delusion) to make a living


Hi Polar,

According to your interpretation any kind of art would encourage greed.

Metta

Prasadachitta



polarbuddha101 wrote:The pleasure of art is dependent upon passion.
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: against art

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:46 am

convivium wrote: giant gold buddha images when the buddha said i don't want images of myself
Source?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson


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