[Buddha-l] liturgical languages]

Richard P. Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Thu May 5 10:29:53 MDT 2005

On Wed, 2005-05-04 at 13:46 +0100, Mike Austin wrote:

> In message <1114795635.9539.17.camel at localhost.localdomain>, Richard P. 
> Hayes <rhayes at unm.edu> writes
> >Chanting by Theravadin monks can also be decidedly unmelodious, even
> >cacophonous. It depends on how much the monks adhere to the Buddha's
> >advice not to make beautiful sounds lest it distract from the meaning of
> >the words.
> Can you give the reference for this? 

It occurs in the Vinaya-pi.taka. When I have time, I'll track down the
exact reference and provide it to everyone, unless one of our regulars
who knows the Pali canon very well beats me to it.

> As speech is one of the three doors of karma, I wondered if beautiful
> appearances and beautiful minds should also be avoided.

This question has already been answered in a previous message. To
repeat, it depends entirely on one's mentality. The ever-sensible
Buddhaghosa advises that if contact with the beautiful leads to
attachment, then it should probably be avoided until such time as one
can experience beauty without being attached to it. Contact with
beautiful sounds and appearances is counter-indicated for people prone
to attachment, but for people prone to depression and hatred, contact
with beauty is highly recommended. 

Those intellectuals who are prone to becoming attached to beautiful
minds should probably avoid them. One good way to do that is to teach
Philosophy 101.

Richard Hayes
Department of Philosophy
University of New Mexico

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