Is making music right livelihood?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Strive4Karuna
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Is making music right livelihood?

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sun May 01, 2016 2:10 pm

Is making music right livelihood? There is a lot of different music out there. A lot that nurtures unwholesome qualities. If one were in the music industry as their livelihood, and made music that only brought happiness and peace, and nurtured wholesome qualities like love and right view, would it be okay to be a musician despite the fact that music is a strong emotion manipulator and takes a person away from the way things really are?

jweyek
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Re: Is making music right livelihood?

Post by jweyek » Sun May 01, 2016 4:59 pm

In my opinion, if you can have a music career and keep the 5 precepts, then you are fine. If your music does not celebrate greed, hatred and delusion, then you are fine. If your music celebrates renunciation, kindness, compassion and wisdom, then you are fine.

I am a amateur musician, and have often fantasized about creating a kind of Buddhist Gospel music. I think it could be very useful to some people and aesthetically pleasing as well. It's just a fantasy, however.

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Lazy_eye
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Re: Is making music right livelihood?

Post by Lazy_eye » Sun May 01, 2016 6:42 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:...the fact that music is a strong emotion manipulator and takes a person away from the way things really are?
People sometimes overlook the role that music plays as a form of catharsis -- that is, emotional cleansing. Emotions build up and we need an outlet for them. We listen to music and it allows us to channel that energy. Same goes for certain movies or stories. They provide a way to get emotional tension out of one's system, and we feel better afterwards.

Of course, a meditator has other ways of working with built-up emotion, but not all people are meditators -- so in this sense, it can be helpful rather than harmful.

Pinetree
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Re: Is making music right livelihood?

Post by Pinetree » Sun May 01, 2016 6:45 pm

strong emotion manipulator and takes a person away from the way things really are?
Not different than various forms of communication.

Maybe see it like right speech versus wrong speech versus idle speech ?

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_anicca_
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Re: Is making music right livelihood?

Post by _anicca_ » Mon May 02, 2016 1:50 am

Not at all.

If one is undertaking the higher training rule to abstain from entertainment, then the burden is on them to avoid music.

:anjali:
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

:buddha1:

http://vipassanameditation.asia

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Aloka
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Re: Is making music right livelihood?

Post by Aloka » Mon May 02, 2016 4:24 am

There have been previous threads on this topic. Here are two of them:

"What did the Buddha say about music?"

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=21054

"Right livlihood and music"'

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=10492

Just as an aside, music used to play a big part in my life and I used to be married to a musician. However, after practising with another Buddhist tradition,(before changing to Theravada)I found that the constant need for musical sounds of one kind or another gradually disappeared. I therefore decided to change my way of life and got rid of my sound system & CDs.

These days, I much prefer silence or natural sounds. However, Its always interesting to occasionally note the way that music can effect the emotions and memory.

I don't see any harm in earning money as a musician though, and the friends I have who are musicians are gentle, kind people. Its a lot better as an occupation than working in a slaughterhouse!

:anjali:

jweyek
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Re: Is making music right livelihood?

Post by jweyek » Mon May 02, 2016 6:38 pm

I agree that music isn't as bad as slaughtering animals.

Below is an example of someone engaging in that 'questionable livelihood' called music.

When I watch this I feel great joy because of her joy (mudita). I feel love for the genius, Tarrega, who conceived this masterpiece.(something like metta)


Birds aren't the only ones who make lovely sounds. We aren't all monks, either.


https://youtu.be/06GVrYP6NKs" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

DC2R
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Re: Is making music right livelihood?

Post by DC2R » Fri May 06, 2016 10:26 pm

Aloka wrote: These days, I much prefer silence or natural sounds. However, Its always interesting to occasionally note the way that music can effect the emotions and memory.
:twothumbsup:
"May the blessings of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha always be firmly established in your hearts." ―Ajahn Chah

http://txti.es/theravada

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Pumo
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Re: Is making music right livelihood?

Post by Pumo » Sat May 14, 2016 9:18 pm

I think that as long as you regard music as what it really is:
A succesion of sounds and tones that when assembled through time can convey pleasing sensorial feelings on the listener, that can alter and trigger emotions (many times for the best) and can also bring temporal hedonic happiness, you're right to go.

I mean, as long as you don't see music as a legit and true source of happiness or as something with extra and actually non-existant positive effects, such as a true escape from suffering or as something to be idealized, there won't be a problem at all. :)

It's a nice job, and nothing to be ashamed of.

As an example:
As a hobby, I really enjoy to compose music for a videogame mod I'm making and to accompany a couple of stories I like to write in my free time, and I also play the keyboard and sing on a family musical trio.

Also, my job is related to entertainment, as I sell goods related to comics and japanese cartoons, and stuff like that, that I actually enjoy by the way.

But, I see all those things how they really are: Impermanent, Conditioned and changing, and not fully satisfactorious. I don't regard all those things as true sources of happiness nor cling to them, but I'm still able to enjoy them. Hope you're getting my point. ;)

So no worries, and if you're an Upasaka (lay follower) there won't be a problem.
Now, if you would be a Bhikku (monk), then it's another story...
'may all beings be happy at heart.' - Karaniya Metta Sutta :buddha1:

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