Working in the entertainment industry

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ydnan321
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Working in the entertainment industry

Post by ydnan321 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:02 pm

Does Buddhism condemn those who work in the entertainment industry (actors, singers, dancers)? Is it considered a wrong livelihood to be in such profession?

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by Crazywisdom » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:02 pm

No
I got my Chili Chilaya.

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by TrimePema » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:18 pm

Just be careful not to gossip, slander, etc. Very prevalent in that industry.

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by clyde » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:50 pm

TrimePema wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:18 pm
Just be careful not to gossip, slander, etc. Very prevalent in that industry.
Not any more so than any other industry.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:41 pm

Only in the Pali Canon is a prohibition mentioned that I know of. I wonder if there's specific prohibitions in the Vinaya for ordained folks (does someone know?), but as as general rule, no. I'm guessing you could certainly find Buddhists of a more conservative monastic persuasion who would caution against it, however.
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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by Ayu » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:35 pm

In entertainment it is possible to do beneficial things for the people, produce good music or intelligent films.
But there's also the path of evil - German folk music for example... This is accoustic pollution:



Nobody needs to look it up in the Palicanon, if this is bad or not.
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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:36 pm

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN42_2.html

To Tālapuṭa the Actor
Tālapuṭa Sutta (SN 42:2)

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rājagaha in the Bamboo Forest, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Then Tālapuṭa, the head of an acting troupe, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of actors that ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’ What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”

“Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.”

A second time… A third time Tālapuṭa, the head of an acting troupe, said: “Venerable sir, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of actors that ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’ What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”

“Apparently, headman, I haven’t been able to get past you by saying, ‘Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.’ So I will simply answer you. Any beings who are not devoid of passion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of passion, focus with even more passion on things inspiring passion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of aversion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of aversion, focus with even more aversion on things inspiring aversion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of delusion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of delusion, focus with even more delusion on things inspiring delusion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Thus the actor—himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless—with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter. But if he holds such a view as this: ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas,’ that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb.”

When this was said, Tālapuṭa, the head of an acting troupe, sobbed & burst into tears. (The Blessed One said:) “That is what I couldn’t get past you by saying, ‘Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.’”

“I’m not crying, venerable sir, because of what the Blessed One said to me, but simply because I have been deceived, cheated, & fooled for a long time by that ancient teaching lineage of actors who said: ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’

“Magnificent, venerable sir! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has the Blessed One—through many lines of reasoning—made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha of monks. May the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life.”

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by ford_truckin » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:18 pm

It would be better karmically speaking to choose a more wholesome industry to work in. My 2 cents.

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by clyde » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:56 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:36 pm
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN42_2.html

To Tālapuṭa the Actor
Tālapuṭa Sutta (SN 42:2)

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rājagaha in the Bamboo Forest, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Then Tālapuṭa, the head of an acting troupe, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of actors that ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’ What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”

“Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.”

A second time… A third time Tālapuṭa, the head of an acting troupe, said: “Venerable sir, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of actors that ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’ What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”

“Apparently, headman, I haven’t been able to get past you by saying, ‘Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.’ So I will simply answer you. Any beings who are not devoid of passion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of passion, focus with even more passion on things inspiring passion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of aversion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of aversion, focus with even more aversion on things inspiring aversion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of delusion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of delusion, focus with even more delusion on things inspiring delusion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Thus the actor—himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless—with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter. But if he holds such a view as this: ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas,’ that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb.”

When this was said, Tālapuṭa, the head of an acting troupe, sobbed & burst into tears. (The Blessed One said:) “That is what I couldn’t get past you by saying, ‘Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.’”

“I’m not crying, venerable sir, because of what the Blessed One said to me, but simply because I have been deceived, cheated, & fooled for a long time by that ancient teaching lineage of actors who said: ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’

“Magnificent, venerable sir! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has the Blessed One—through many lines of reasoning—made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha of monks. May the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life.”

It seems to me the lessons are not to be “intoxicated & heedless” and not to hold wrong views; not about acting per se.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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clyde
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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by clyde » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:56 am

ford_truckin wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:18 pm
It would be better karmically speaking to choose a more wholesome industry to work in. My 2 cents.
And what is it about the entertainment industry that is inherently less wholesome?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by amanitamusc » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:06 am

clyde wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:56 am
ford_truckin wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:18 pm
It would be better karmically speaking to choose a more wholesome industry to work in. My 2 cents.
And what is it about the entertainment industry that is inherently less wholesome?
This attitude goes back to the mid 1800's in the usa.Its a bit dated.

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by ford_truckin » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:37 am

clyde wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:56 am
ford_truckin wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:18 pm
It would be better karmically speaking to choose a more wholesome industry to work in. My 2 cents.
And what is it about the entertainment industry that is inherently less wholesome?
For starters the glorification of sex and violence.

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:11 am

clyde wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:56 am
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:36 pm
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN42_2.html

To Tālapuṭa the Actor
Tālapuṭa Sutta (SN 42:2)

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rājagaha in the Bamboo Forest, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Then Tālapuṭa, the head of an acting troupe, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of actors that ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’ What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”

“Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.”

A second time… A third time Tālapuṭa, the head of an acting troupe, said: “Venerable sir, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of actors that ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’ What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”

“Apparently, headman, I haven’t been able to get past you by saying, ‘Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.’ So I will simply answer you. Any beings who are not devoid of passion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of passion, focus with even more passion on things inspiring passion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of aversion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of aversion, focus with even more aversion on things inspiring aversion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of delusion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of delusion, focus with even more delusion on things inspiring delusion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Thus the actor—himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless—with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter. But if he holds such a view as this: ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas,’ that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb.”

When this was said, Tālapuṭa, the head of an acting troupe, sobbed & burst into tears. (The Blessed One said:) “That is what I couldn’t get past you by saying, ‘Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.’”

“I’m not crying, venerable sir, because of what the Blessed One said to me, but simply because I have been deceived, cheated, & fooled for a long time by that ancient teaching lineage of actors who said: ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’

“Magnificent, venerable sir! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has the Blessed One—through many lines of reasoning—made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha of monks. May the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life.”

It seems to me the lessons are not to be “intoxicated & heedless” and not to hold wrong views; not about acting per se.
There are some specific prohibitions in the Pali Canon on all kinds of entertainment, boxing/wrestling, dancing, theater and acting etc. If one were a fairly strict Theravadin or otherwise a practitioner of a vehicle that emphasizes renunciation, there would indeed be a reason to avoid working in this Industry, and IIRC it's addressed quite directly in some Sutta or other (someone with more familiarity with the Pali Canon might know the Sutta).

Aside from that, the above Sutta directly addresses being engaged in activities which put one in the grip of passion, so it is not just addressing intoxication, and is pretty standard for the Pali Canon, which of course does not mean it is correct or definitive for all Buddhists.

A Mahayana answer is of course more nuanced:)
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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:00 pm

clyde wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:56 am
It seems to me the lessons are not to be “intoxicated & heedless” and not to hold wrong views; not about acting per se.
Sure, but it states that the actions of the actor can be a condition for others to become intoxicated and heedless. Thus:
Thus the actor—himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless—with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter.
Of course, the principal effect of any action depends our own intention, but in general acting is by nature deception - we are encouraging people to believe something that is not true, a fiction. Ignorance already does that, so why help it along? And what meaning does acting have? Surely there are more meaningful professions for a spiritual practitioner?

Having said that, anything can be transformed with Dharma thoughts, so it's up to the individual to choose their best motivation and to decide what they do and do not want to do; we all have choice.

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by Aryjna » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:55 pm

The sutta seems to be talking specifically about some kind of pantomime actors engaged in vulgar behaviour, in festivals associated with drinking etc. That is not necessarily the case for everyone in the entertainment industry. On the other hand, it may be very relevant. For example, being a member of a band, or a dj, that is the main attraction for festivals or events where everyone is drinking and doing drugs, seems to fall into this category. Being a classical musician is different in this regard, though that is debatable, given that inspiring passion is again the point of the whole thing.

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by Sentient Light » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:30 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:00 pm
clyde wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:56 am
It seems to me the lessons are not to be “intoxicated & heedless” and not to hold wrong views; not about acting per se.
Sure, but it states that the actions of the actor can be a condition for others to become intoxicated and heedless. Thus:
Thus the actor—himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless—with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter.
Of course, the principal effect of any action depends our own intention, but in general acting is by nature deception - we are encouraging people to believe something that is not true, a fiction. Ignorance already does that, so why help it along? And what meaning does acting have? Surely there are more meaningful professions for a spiritual practitioner?

Having said that, anything can be transformed with Dharma thoughts, so it's up to the individual to choose their best motivation and to decide what they do and do not want to do; we all have choice.
The sutta does seem to suggest however that an actor who is not deceptive, who does not hold wrong views, and wherein the performative art doesn't aspire passion or aversion, but perhaps inspiring the audience toward the dharma itself, would experience a different fate entirely upon rebirth. What that is, I don't know, but the language seems to specify quite a number of conditions for both the mind-state of the actor's performance, and the types of feelings that the performance inspires in the audience.
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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by clyde » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:46 am

And entertainment would include, in addition to acting (for plays, movies and television), writing poetry and fiction stories, and singing non-Dharmic songs.

I know of Zen teachers and students who engage in these activities. Here’s one of my favorites:

“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by Grigoris » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:15 am

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:00 pm
Of course, the principal effect of any action depends our own intention, but in general acting is by nature deception - we are encouraging people to believe something that is not true, a fiction. Ignorance already does that, so why help it along? And what meaning does acting have? Surely there are more meaningful professions for a spiritual practitioner?
And what if one acts in films or theater productions who's motivation is to inform people about the Dharma? What happens to acting's "nature" then?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by Ignorant_Fool » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:22 am

Richard Gere is an actor and he seems to be doing a fair bit for Dharma ... :shrug:

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Re: Working in the entertainment industry

Post by Queequeg » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:57 pm

clyde wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:56 am
ford_truckin wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:18 pm
It would be better karmically speaking to choose a more wholesome industry to work in. My 2 cents.
And what is it about the entertainment industry that is inherently less wholesome?
Traditionally, in the strictest sense, entertainment distracts us from the path. It all goes in the same category with distractions like dancing, listening to music, gambling, wrestling, juggling, acrobatics... Those who participate in its presentation are creating illusions. Their job is to stimulate the senses and emotions.

In ancient times, entertainers tended to be lower classes, mixed up with prostitution and various other "sinful" activities. The kinds of people "sons and daughters of good families", white robed laymen and laywomen, ought not associate with.

You can get an idea of the attitudes in Mahayana scriptures like the Vimalakirti Sutra - Vimalakirti hangs out in all kinds of places, including brothels, but the point is how remarkable and taboo breaking this behavior is for a person of the merchant class.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
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