Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Buddhist Philosophy of Entertainment?

I am just wondering how Buddhism would view entertainment. One dictionary states with regard to the origin of the word entertain: “The ORIGIN late Middle English: from French entretenir, based on Latin inter ‘among’ + tenere ‘to hold.’ The word originally meant ‘maintain, continue,’ later ‘maintain in a certain condition, treat in a certain way,’ also ‘show hospitality’ (late 15th century).” I have a feeling that “entertainment” in the sense of “the action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment” as in “everyone just sits in front of the television for entertainment”) would be seen as means of a distraction and a waste of time. But “entertainment” would be permissible under two conditions: (a) it alleviates pain of other sentient beings or makes pain more bearable or (b) it serves as offerings to (and show of respect for) those worthy of respect (i.e. the Three Jewels). In both cases, it should be a cause of puṇya.   

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    so a bodhisattva tries to work/act through punya (“merit”) by “accumulation of merit” and simultaneously “transferring merit” to others – hence a kind of “entertainment” would/should be permissible if “truthful bodhisattvic intention” can be ascertained as the cognitive promotor in doing so…; I think, the store of merit could be maintained as “inexhaustible” if a bodhisattva becomes aware of the dynamic interchange of being (“gtong leng"-praxis = “giving and taking”).
    Hence, I imagine, a bodhisattvic psyche has to balance cautiously between “dharmic animation” and “dharmic discretion” depending the situation.
    Nevertheless, to enhance the quality of practical assurance (“bodhisattva-action”), “philosophy” should be accessible for all in all degrees (at least for those who would be interested on it…) – from the most elementary introductions to the subtlest intricacies. Otherwise a “traceability of thought maneuvers” for becoming gradually able to understand and hence to act correspondingly seems to be implausible or unreliable.
    Not seldom I have the impression (perhaps in my own fancy…) that the true sources for the necessary philosophical training (especially when it beomes more and more subtle envisaged from the buddhist viewpoint…) are nearly inaccessible and are only “talked from a secondary perspective”, like “Dharmakirti would say…”, Vasubandhu says…”, Nagarjuna speaks about…” and so on and on. I mean that occidental philosophers and other sincerely interested persons, for becoming possibly able to understand “buddhist philosophy” (think on the essential “traceability” for “personal cognitive appropriation”), need first hand informations in form of trustworthy translations of the often mentioned (yet sadly only indicated) buddhist authorities and their “scientific texts”. Otherwise a philosophic kind-hearted dialogue could hardly ever be diligently/accurately encouraged…; sincerely, mikael.