I recently read an answer on here referencing a sutra that states "animal arts" such as performing any form of divination constitutes wrong livelihood which should be abstained from. What I'm wondering is which of these possible interpretations is most correct:

  1. Only monks need to abstain from engaging in these activities, and laypeople can do as they will.
  2. Laypeople should also abstain from engaging in these activities to make money, but using them for fun / as a pastime is fine.
  3. Everyone should abstain from these activities, regardless of any other factors.

Or is there another interpretation altogether?


3 Answers 3


I can't really speak about the dogamatic reasons for not, but if you are seeking to become enlightened, I suggest you abstain from activities like that until after you awaken. This is simply because the activity of doing so is both enticing, and reinforces beliefs that need to be seen clearly and "undone".

Doing such things brings a belief in power and control. It is very easy to become attached to these things. Those attachments will keep you coming back for more.

Coming back for more will reinforce beliefs that "you" are "doing" something and gaining some "external" knowledge. All these things will make it harder for you to become enlightened.

Tldr; Morally there's no issue. If you do, enlightenment may be harder to realize. If you are seriously working hard to become enlightened, abstain. If enlightenment this lifetime isn't your top priority but is a goal, maybe just do it sparingly? If you don't care about enlightenment, do it as much as you'd like!


My understanding is that anyone seeking Nibbana should be refrain from animal arts. it may be a monk or a lay person.


While Upasaka SarathW is right in his answer, the "matter" is that only a monks life might provide such. So if caught in householder life, it's good to make it lesser and lesser "animal".

Kamma (action) "is" kamma, the path "is" one, does not care much about social stand, clothes... right "is" right, wrong "is" wrong.

(Note: Not given to keep one in trade, exchange, stacks increasing or other animal arts binding toward worlds but to possible escape beyond the world.)

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