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Since kamacchanda is one of the five hindrances, it seems to be something to overcome.

Does that mean then that there is no more place for art and beauty in the life of a practitioner after the first jhana, according to Buddhist teaching?

Or can you have a healthy relationship with kama? Is taking pleasure in a tree or a conversation with a friend kamacchanda?

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Since kamacchanda is one of the five hindrances, it seems to be something to overcome.

Yes, it is. Such as nivaraṇapabba (hindrances title) in mahāsatipatthānasutta.

Does that mean then that there is no more place for art and beauty in the life of a practitioner after the first jhana, according to Buddhist teaching?

Yes, it is till that practitioner still can keep his jhāna. But it is still can return when he loose his jhāna. Because jhāna-mind just arise instead of hindrance-mind, jhāna-mind does not destroyed chance to arising of future hindrance. It is a duty of vipassana. However, jhāna is required, for vipassanā of taṇhācarita-puggala.

Or can you have a healthy relationship with kama?

Yes, the practitioner can practice the right mettā, without kāmacchanda. But the practitioner must be smart to choose his friends (be able to all ariya)/partners (be able just for sotāpanna and sakadāgāmī), too.

Is taking pleasure in a tree or a conversation with a friend kamacchanda?

It is up to the practitioner's present, arising, mind factors on that time. See my answer about chanda here to understand about chanda.

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The 1st jhana does not uproot or destroy sensual delight. It appears only the Non-Returner & certainly the Arahant have uprooted sensual delight. Therefore, sensual delight can still arise after the 1st jhana has been attained.

This said, it is probably unlikely a person can attain jhana who is concerned about losing art & beauty. Jhana is not like buying a better motor car or more luxurious house.

  • But is any appreciation of beauty sensual delight? If an Arahant goes to a place of outstanding natural beauty and sees the beautiful as beautiful, is this sensual delight? I am concerned about excessive austerity in my practise, not whether I can keep the fun stuff and still do Buddhism. – Simon H Jan 8 '18 at 5:05

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