Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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manas
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Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by manas » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:01 pm

I'm taking a break from television watching (I'm finding that scenes from shows I've watched, can sort of 'bubble up' during meditation, and it's getting annoying). If anyone here on DW is a permanent abstainer from TV, I would be interested to hear about your experience (that is an option I'm considering).

thank you :anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by DNS » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:19 pm

I don't completely abstain, but I do a sort of modified, not complete version of 7th precept where I don't watch any drama shows, no comedies, etc and just watch news to keep informed and then occasionally some big sports events like World Cup, Super Bowl, Olympics, but no sports events on a daily basis, just the big ones.

I notice it frees up a lot of time for more wholesome things to do; meditation, reading, etc.

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by Justsit » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:30 pm

OK, I first gave up TV in the early 2000's, for about 4 years. Then moved and went back to the tube around 2005; finally gave it up for good in 2007. I no longer own a TV set. Any important news can be found online, with no soundtrack. I don't watch many movies (though most any can be streamed online if you so desire) so no Netflix, etc. If there's something I decide I really don't want to miss, I can go to a movie theatre, or more often, borrow it on DVD from the library for free. If I'm really desperate I go to a friend's house to watch. I can also listen to music online (also sold audio sound system).

Overall, the effect has been greater equanimity, and I love the silence. I don't feel as though I'm missing important news or information.

Possible negative effect - I do find I spend more time online. :coffee:

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:41 pm

We gave away the TV about ten years ago (I wanted to ceremonially decommission it with a baseball bat in the garden, but my wife's wiser counsel prevailed!) and the effects have been beneficial. The mind is a bit calmer, and definitely free from some of the more obvious effects. I still occasionally watch TV programmes on the internet - I find them useful when I am ill - but now whenever I catch glimpses of TV programmes they seem incredibly predictable, stilted, and formulaic. I would not go back to watching them.

I agree with David about freeing up time. Be aware, though, that if the mind is used to being fed with rubbish, it will still hanker after it. And I initially found to my cost that there's a lot more of it on the internet than on TV! Also, the "bubbling up" phenomenon you describe remained for me in different forms. Not TV, but places at work, faces I knew, etc. I think that takes a lot of time and practice to control.

If you can, my advice is to go for it. I found TV to be one of the grosser forms of sensuality, and what was particularly heartening is the way it rapidly revealed itself to be that once abandoned.

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by SarathW » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:42 pm

I stopped watching television, listen to music, watching movies etc. about two years ago.
It greatly help me with my peace of my mind.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by manas » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:06 pm

Many helpful replies here. I'm just going to take trial breaks for now, and will see how that goes. Sorry I can't reply to each post individually, as my eye condition makes it hard to find the cursor; sometimes, I have to look so closely at the screen to locate it, that I risk even more damage to my poor eyes! It's easier for me to just make one, generalized reply for now, although I hope to get a much bigger monitor soon, and some sort of filter so the light of the monitor doesn't cause so much eye-strain. Today is one of those days when my eyes are getting fuzzy, and I need to rest them for a bit.

many thanks :anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by paul » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:48 pm

This ‘bubbling up’ is worth investigating as the mind is doing it for the purpose of stimulation, as it its terms, meditation is not an interesting course. Until the monkey mind is silenced, it will continue to present stimulants which attempt to keep the mind engaged in cycles. These ‘bubbling up’ episodes can be investigated to see which unwholesome root underlies them, greed or aversion.

"In fact, the Buddha’s teaching on defilement is one of the most effective strategies for freeing the mind from the influences of mass marketing and other modern methods of thought-control. When you learn to recognize your greed, aversion, and delusion as defilements and are able to free yourself from their influence, no one can pander to them in an attempt to control your thoughts and actions. A mind without defilement is liberated not only from its own unskillful influences, but also from the unskillful agendas—and defilements—of anyone else."---"On Denying Defilement", Thanissaro Bikkhu.
Last edited by paul on Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:39 am

I don't watch TV at home (despite a TV coming with the home I bought) but, because I work on-line 9 to 5, I watch a fair bit of alternate media on the internet (although a lot less now than I used to; probably due to it serving its educational purpose). But when I visit family, I notice what is on TV is very superficial & materialistic & I notice how it greatly influences a very superficial mentality.

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by Kim OHara » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:17 am

Justsit wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:30 pm
OK, I first gave up TV in the early 2000's, for about 4 years. Then moved and went back to the tube around 2005; finally gave it up for good in 2007. I no longer own a TV set. Any important news can be found online, with no soundtrack. I don't watch many movies (though most any can be streamed online if you so desire) so no Netflix, etc. If there's something I decide I really don't want to miss, I can go to a movie theatre, or more often, borrow it on DVD from the library for free. If I'm really desperate I go to a friend's house to watch. I can also listen to music online (also sold audio sound system).

Overall, the effect has been greater equanimity, and I love the silence. I don't feel as though I'm missing important news or information.

Possible negative effect - I do find I spend more time online. :coffee:
:thumbsup:
That's very similar to my pattern.
I do watch TV regularly but typically less than an hour per day, mostly news and current affairs programmes from our public broadcaster (i.e. no ads, and a bit more depth than commercial channels). Never (well, hardly ever) watch sport except the highlights in the news bulletins, never watch movies on commercial channels and rarely watch movies at all except in the cinema.

None of this is new for me so I can't say in what ways it might be better than "normal" viewing patterns. I can say, though, that whenever I happen to catch commercial TV (any channel, any programming) in (e.g.) waiting rooms, I find it revolting - over-loud, over-bright, frenetic, shallow, dumb. :toilet:

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:27 am

Greetings,

If it were just me living here, there'd be cricket, a bit of news, and the stereo would be on more often.

But no, my family have other ideas.

:lol:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by unveiledartist » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:39 am

manas wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:01 pm
I'm taking a break from television watching (I'm finding that scenes from shows I've watched, can sort of 'bubble up' during meditation, and it's getting annoying). If anyone here on DW is a permanent abstainer from TV, I would be interested to hear about your experience (that is an option I'm considering).

thank you :anjali:
:namaste:

I stopped watching t.v. about ten years ago. I keep feelin' Im older. I dont have a t.v. and when we have the t.v. on at work, I just cut it off when Im at the desk. I found it clears my mind of conspiracies, news that seem like funny sit coms, and sit coms that have no real plot just five people talking with their own stories. Nothing like the Bradys, Jetson, nor even Power Rangers.

It also makes me recognize negativity faster. At thanksgiving all my family talked about was aliens, trump, trump, and aliens. People listening to our public phones (which is true I found out in person). No more popcorn and watching movies.

Also, since my Dharma practice I started putting away movies with violence in it. Good movies but not something I want to cheer at when someone gets hurt. I dont watch news etc for this reason.

My laptop got stolen after using it nonstop in the past month. Ive felt free for a good month until I started using my phone and public computer. It was a load off. (Computers effects today make yesterday's t.v. couch potatoes an good habit take up again).
(Buddha said), "Monks, do not wage wordy warfare, saying: 'You don't understand this Dhamma and discipline, I understand this Dhamma and discipline'; 'How could you understand it? You have fallen into wrong practices: I have the right practice."~AN 4.183. Dont speak ill of other people and traditions with whom teach The Dharma. Right speech is respect in agreements and disagreements alike.

:anjali:

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:40 am

Justsit wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:30 pm
Possible negative effect - I do find I spend more time online. :coffee:
I have a friend who doesn't have a TV, but still watches films and stuff over the internet. ;)

I feel like I watch too much TV, though I usually manage to maintain some degree of mindfulness while I am doing it...

...mmm, sensations of comfy settee and tasty snacks.... :jumping:

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by lyndon taylor » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:59 pm

When television went digital in the US I never upgraded and stopped watching TV entirely, I watch the occasional Youtube video, and quite a bit of music videos, What I like about the computer is you decide what you want to read, not the television companies, and a lot of it is interactive, like forums, talking to real people. The plus side of no TV is much less time wasted watching stupid comedy shows (much of my previous TV diet), more time to work and get things done, I highly recommend giving up TV.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by Domeniko » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:52 pm

I don't really watch Tv anymore on my own. However, when I walk in the living room and my parents are watching then I occasionally peek at the screen. However, I do watch one episode of a series on DVD every evening before going to bed. I used to watch a lot of Youtube videos and I also watched a lot of TV in the past but I tried to give that up. I became dispassioned with TV for the most part but abstaining from binge watching videos on Youtube is more difficult.

When I had not started meditating a few years ago, I wasn't really aware of the impact that watching TV has on the mind but since I have become more heedful due to the practice, I started to notice how it makes the mind dull and creates a sense of unease and sometimes even tension in my chest. After watching TV for a longer period of time I feel exactly the opposite of how I feel after meditating. This awareness is what made cutting back on my media consumption in general and I can really feel the benefits. My mind is much sharper now. I can remeber how my mind used to be so dull from spending the whole day watching TV and mindlessly browsing the web sometimes that I was hardly able to read a text that I had to prepare for university since I could not focus properly. :mrgreen:

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Re: Television non-watchers - have you noticed positive effects?

Post by binocular » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:38 pm

I have times when I don't watch tv. I can't say I have noticed positive effects of not watching tv, but what I did notice is that I do get certain positive things from watching tv which I otherwise don't get or only sparsely.

For example, I would watch some series, such as CSI: Miami, Person of Interest, or Criminal Minds because in those series, I have found visible examples of positive qualities like courage, modesty, dedication to work, precision in one's actions, endurance, persistence, strength, determination, knowledgeability. All of them qualities that are extremely attractive.

Of course, it would be wiser to look for more realistic and for more time-efficient sources of examples of those qualities, or even better, to develop them oneself. Although, frankly, I'm not sure where to find them or how to go about such a search, or at least how not to have a sense that it's all unreal somehow.

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