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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby Aloka » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:17 am

This is a spin-off from another thread about Ajahn Brahm, because it wasn't really relevant to that topic.

Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun ? I'd be interested in reading other peoples comments about this.

Thank you.
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby cooran » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:34 am

Could you define 'fun'?
Do you mean something like "is it possible for practising Buddhists [not including Bhikkhus in this thread] to feel pleasure in a conversation or activity?"

With metta
Chris
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:37 am

cooran wrote:Could you define 'fun'?
Do you mean something like "is it possible for practising Buddhists [not including Bhikkhus in this thread] to feel pleasure in a conversation or activity?"

With metta
Chris

Or should Dhamma teachers tell amusing stories?

The Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga by Sariputta) p. 372, para XXI 17. "With much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness he realizes the ultimate meaning, nibbana, thus it is laughing understanding."
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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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby Aloka » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:51 am

cooran wrote:Could you define 'fun'?

Fun

1. A source of enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure.

2. Enjoyment; amusement: have fun at the beach.

3. Playful [snip] activity

intr.v. funned, fun·ning, funs Informal
To behave playfully; joke.

adj. Informal
Enjoyable; amusing

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fun

.
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby Feathers » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:03 am

As an inquiring (currently) non-Buddhist I have to admit my first thought was "I *** well hope so or I'm getting the hell outta here" (the **** isn't nearly as bad as you are probably thinking :p)

Sorry that my first thought wasn't terribly constructive! But I thought I'd throw in an "outsider's" perspective.
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:14 am

Aloka,
YES! Have fun, and be happy!
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:39 am

One can always find quotes to support different view points. Obviously, spiritual joy is one of the wholesome factors leading to enlightenment, but intoxication, idle chatter, silly jokes, etc., are unwholesome. See, e.g., the Talaputa Sutta or this verse from the Dhammapada:

What is laughter, what is delight, when the world is ever burning?
Shrouded by darkness, would you not seek a light? Dhp v146

Dhammapada: Jarāvagga

Even lay people should try to observe the five precepts, which includes abstaining from idle chatter — various kinds of talk with no benefit, neither for worldly progress nor for spiritual uplift.

If a Buddhist practises well, the mind will become free from coarseness that delights in vulgar humour based on lust and aversion, racial prejudice, etc. However, the mind will become light-hearted and innocent, child-like and joyful, but not childish and silly.
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby Aloka » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:54 am

However, the mind will become light-hearted and innocent, child-like and joyful, but not childish and silly.



Sorry but I'm a bit confused, Bhikkhu Pesala. If I'm having fun playing with and talking in silly girlie voices to a friend's dog, is that childish or child - like ?


_/\_
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:03 am

Aloka wrote:Sorry but I'm a bit confused, Bhikkhu Pesala. If I'm having fun playing with and talking in silly girlie voices to a friend's dog, is that childish or child - like ?
Pay attention to your own mental states when playing with your friend's dog. You will then know whether you're being childish or just innocent and child-like.
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:12 am

Greetings,

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Pay attention to your own mental states when playing with your friend's dog. You will then know whether you're being childish or just innocent and child-like.

:anjali:

AN 3.33: Nidana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Monks, these three are causes for the origination of actions. Which three? Greed is a cause for the origination of actions. Aversion is a cause for the origination of actions. Delusion is a cause for the origination of actions.

"Any action performed with greed — born of greed, caused by greed, originating from greed: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

"Any action performed with aversion — born of aversion, caused by aversion, originating from aversion: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

"Any action performed with delusion — born of delusion, caused by delusion, originating from delusion: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

"Just as when seeds are not broken, not rotten, not damaged by wind & heat, capable of sprouting, well-buried, planted in well-prepared soil, and the rain-god would offer good streams of rain. Those seeds would thus come to growth, increase, & abundance. In the same way, any action performed with greed... performed with aversion... performed with delusion — born of delusion, caused by delusion, originating from delusion: wherever one's selfhood turns up, there that action will ripen. Where that action ripens, there one will experience its fruit, either in this very life that has arisen or further along in the sequence.

"These are three causes for the origination of actions.

"Now, these three are [further] causes for the origination of actions. Which three? Non-greed is a cause for the origination of actions. Non-aversion is a cause for the origination of actions. Non-delusion is a cause for the origination of actions.

"Any action performed with non-greed — born of non-greed, caused by non-greed, originating from non-greed: When greed is gone, that action is thus abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

"Any action performed with non-aversion — born of non-aversion, caused by non-aversion, originating from non-aversion: When aversion is gone, that action is thus abandoned, destroyed at the root, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

"Any action performed with non-delusion — born of non-delusion, caused by non-delusion, originating from non-delusion: When delusion is gone, that action is thus abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

"Just as when seeds are not broken, not rotten, not damaged by wind & heat, capable of sprouting, well-buried, planted in well-prepared soil, and a man would burn them with fire and, burning them with fire, would make them into fine ashes. Having made them into fine ashes, he would winnow them before a high wind or wash them away in a swift-flowing stream. Those seeds would thus be destroyed at the root, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

"In the same way, any action performed with non-greed... performed with non-aversion... performed with non-delusion — born of non-delusion, caused by non-delusion, originating from non-delusion: When delusion is gone, that action is thus abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

"These, monks, are three causes for the origination of action."


A person unknowing:
the actions performed by him,
born of greed, born of aversion,
& born of delusion,
whether many or few,
are experienced right here:
no other ground is found.

So a monk, knowing,
sheds
greed, aversion, & delusion;
giving rise to clear knowledge, he
sheds
all bad destinations.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby Aloka » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:32 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Aloka wrote:Sorry but I'm a bit confused, Bhikkhu Pesala. If I'm having fun playing with and talking in silly girlie voices to a friend's dog, is that childish or child - like ?
Pay attention to your own mental states when playing with your friend's dog. You will then know whether you're being childish or just innocent and child-like.


When I'm playing with the dog and giving it my full attention,its a spontaneous, non-conceptual activity.

However, this could be judged by others to be both childish and childlike.

.
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:05 pm

There is a four-fold assembly of [Theravada] Buddhists; monks, nuns, lay men, and lay women. Further this could be divided to just two; monastic and lay.

Lay people follow five precepts and sometimes 8. Monks follow 227 and nuns 311. Obviously a big difference there.

Just as there is sometimes the 'arahantification' of sotapannas -- that is some who believe a sotapanna has virtually the same traits of an arahant; there is also the 'bhikkhuification' (sorry for the made-up word) of lay people. There are some who think lay Buddhists must avoid all sense pleasure and follow a life virtually the same as monks and nuns. There is a big difference between monastic and lay. Lay people must earn a living in the mundane world of Wall Street or some other fortune 500 company or for some other company or business where the bosses, owners, co-workers may be less than ideal to say the least. Lay people must look after their families. Lay people also procreate. At times it is certainly good to voluntarily engage in more serious precepts, such as taking the 8 during Uposotha Days or while on retreat, but for everyday life to avoid taking your children to an amusement park "because you are Buddhist" or some other "fun" would actually be doing harm to the family, not good.

We can listen to music, watch movies, watch sports, participate in sports, just knowing that it is a temporary pleasure and that we will still strive for the higher precepts when we are ready or during Uposotha, retreats, etc.
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby Kare » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:33 pm

:goodpost:

The Vinaya is for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, not for lay people.
Mettāya,
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby SamKR » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:28 pm

Aloka wrote:Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun ? I'd be interested in reading other peoples comments about this.


It depends, in my opinion.

If you are a monk/nun, then there is no time for you to spend in petty worldly fun except the joy, bliss and peace born of renunciation and of liberation. His/her task is to teach and to work "hard" to achieve the state when he/she can say:
"Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world."

If you are a layperson then there is a spectrum of possibilities. If one is in an extreme sense of urgency and is serious like a monk then he/she will not indulge in worldly fun except the joy and peace born of renunciation and of liberation. Even as a layperson he/she will try to do what monks should do.

If one is a regular practicing layperson Buddhist who is not feeling such an extreme urgency, it is okay to have worldly fun (of various degrees depending upon seriousness of practice) as long as it is not immoral. Most of the lay people including myself fall under this category. And I agree with David's post above.

I think the probability of early realization of nibbana is inversely proportional to the attachment to worldly fun. As the Dhammapada says:
One is the quest for worldly gain, and quite another is the path to Nibbana. Clearly understanding this, let not the monk, the disciple of the Buddha, be carried away by worldly acclaim, but develop detachment instead.
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:40 pm

SamKR wrote:
Aloka wrote:Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun ? I'd be interested in reading other peoples comments about this.


It depends, in my opinion.

If you are a monk/nun, then there is no time for you to spend in petty worldly fun except the joy, bliss and peace born of renunciation and of liberation. His/her task is to teach and to work "hard" to achieve the state when he/she can say:
"Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world."
So, when teaching, no funny stories, and no lightness in one's personal interactions?
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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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby Aloka » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:02 pm

tiltbillings wrote: So, when teaching, no funny stories, and no lightness in one's personal interactions?


Interestingly, when listening to dhamma teachers from 2 different traditions giving talks at Buddhist centres and monasteries, its the one's who's teachings have had some humour in them which are the one's I've remembered the most and have sometimes walked away from afterwards with a sense of spaciousness and clarity.


.
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:08 pm

tiltbillings wrote:So, when teaching, no funny stories, and no lightness in one's personal interactions?


I wouldn't go that far, the Buddha was known to poke fun and use wit himself on occasion.

Edit: However, the Buddha used his wit to teach dhamma not just for the sake of being funny.
Last edited by polarbuddha101 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:05 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: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:10 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote:
Aloka wrote:Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun ? I'd be interested in reading other peoples comments about this.


It depends, in my opinion.

If you are a monk/nun, then there is no time for you to spend in petty worldly fun except the joy, bliss and peace born of renunciation and of liberation. His/her task is to teach and to work "hard" to achieve the state when he/she can say:
"Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world."
So, when teaching, no funny stories, and no lightness in one's personal interactions?



dour-faces.jpg
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:)
_/|\_
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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:21 pm

Greetings,

:redherring:

This ad-hominem red herring that those who aren't interested in brothelizing the Dhamma (and Vinaya) are somehow dour-faced, is wearing a bit thin now.

:focus:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Is it possible for practising Buddhists to have fun?

Postby manas » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:25 pm

There are times as a lay Buddhist when, imho, you do need to remember that the layperson's path involves a bit of dust however much we try otherwise, and not to stress about this. For example, when I am playing hide and seek with my youngest daughter at the local park, we just tear around the place, have fun, laugh etc. It's a normal and healthy part of raising kids, to let go and just engage with them like this. I'm not very sober while I do this, I just let go and have fun with her, and she really appreciates this.

At other times, she sees me in a more sober, serene mood, such as in the mornings when I have just meditated. But then also, I make sure to engage with her, to not be distant or detached. Kids need us to be emotionally engaged with them, that's part of child rearing.

Because my daughters see that my Buddhist practice does not hinder me from living what they perceive as a 'normal' life, they feel better inclined towards it. They know that their dad, who as a general rule is careful even about tiny creatures, who tries not to speak badly about others, and who meditates, is nevertheless not 'boring' and is able to have fun in life too. Sometimes this involves a bit of joking around, and yes some idle chatter inevitably. But it's important to me that my kids not be put off Buddhism for life, by a perception that when their dad got serious about the Dhamma, he stopped having simple, childlike fun with them. I would not want them to think about the Dhamma like that.

I do admire the life of the monk, as 'pure as a polished shell', but as long as I am raising my dear kids, it's not possible or even appropriate for me to imitate it.

With metta and respect

:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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