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I've read a question here on music, which caused me to ponder the relationship of effortful, productive behaviours and of consummatory behaviours. I wonder:

Are productive, beneficial behaviours such as spiritual practice, intellectual pursuits, or artistic endeavours benefitted by entertainment as music, films or games? Or do such forms of entertainment detract from other more meaningful goals?

I'm wondering because I surmise maybe entertainment produces positive emotions, which are positive in themselves. However, I am uncertain of my conclusion; what is the Buddhist view on these topics?

Are positive emotions only virtuous if accompanied by an underlying motivation towards a meaningful aim?

Thank you

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🤔There is work and there is play and both can be clung to. Personally I cannot motivate myself if there is no play so what I do is try to turn all my play into productive work. I make music and I try to incorporate that into the Dhamma like I try to incorporate the need for food, clothing, shelter and medical care into spiritual practice.

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Average laymen need only observe the 5 precepts so can pursue any artistic endeavours or watch any of them.

When observing Uposatha one can take the 8 or 10 precepts where one devote the day to dhamma practice setting aside other household activities. In this case, one puts aside entertainment also.

Entertainment produces unwholesome states:

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Tāla,puta Sutta

Therefore, for a serious meditator, this will be a stumbling block.

Also, see: A Buddhist Perspective on Entertainment An Enigma Named Thalaputa

  • I don't think that the scriptures say that lay-people can heedlessly engage in any entertainment. The Buddha definitely taught to the lay that restraint also should be practised and that good friends and morality is to be sought out. – Val Oct 3 '19 at 19:45
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Are productive, beneficial behaviours such as spiritual practice, intellectual pursuits, or artistic endeavours benefitted by entertainment as music, films or games? Or do such forms of entertainment detract from other more meaningful goals?

In a general sense (going outside the scope of buddhism), without an overarching scientific, philosophic or religious framework for defining meaning it is impossible to discern whether these things are beneficial or mere distractions.

I'm wondering because I surmise maybe entertainment produces positive emotions, which are positive in themselves. However, I am uncertain of my conclusion; what is the Buddhist view on these topics?

One way to address this is through the concept of vipallasa:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.049.olen.html

Are positive emotions only virtuous if accompanied by an underlying motivation towards a meaningful aim?

In a strict sense, pleasure seeking is not virtuous in buddhism. Without the moral precepts (sila) in buddhism it would be hard to discern what is virtuous or unvirtuous.

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