Music can be used to uplift one's mood and alleviate depression, as depicted in this article:
In Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness American author William Styron's autobiographical account of his struggle with depression he describes how in desperation he planned to shoot himself, but at the last minute he heard the music of the German composer Johannes Brahms and this saved him.
His life began to mean something and he found solace in the melancholic and uplifting moods of Brahms's German Requiem.
However, in Buddhism, this is against the seventh of the Eight Precepts:
I undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics.
The Gitassara Sutta (AN5.209) also states:
There are, bhikkhus, these five drawbacks of reciting the Dhamma with a sustained melodic intonation. Which five?
Oneself gets attached to that intonation, others get attached to that intonation, householders get angry: 'Those ascetics who are followers of the Sakyans' son sing in the same way that we do!', there is a break in concentration for those striving [to produce] musicality, and the upcoming generations imitate what they see.
These, bhikkhus, are the five drawbacks of reciting the Dhamma with a sustained melodic intonation.
- Is it ok to use music to induce positive states of mind, especially to uplift one's mood and alleviate depression?
- If music can be used to uplift one's mood, then why is it considered unwholesome and against the seventh precept?
- How does music cause attachment or craving?