Watching Theatricals as a Training

Yutang Lin

Novices with entangled minds should stay away from plays.
Old hands with attainment would mingle with people to guide.
With mind free of worldliness and activities solely in the Dharma,
Watching theatricals to train in experiencing human conditions.


Beginning practitioners usually are with rather entangled minds, and hence had better stay away from distractions of sensual pleasures in order to engage diligently in studies and practices of the Dharma. Those who have some attainment would not be bound by the nominal distinction of saints and worldlings; they would naturally mingle with all kinds of sentient beings in order to guide and help them along the way. As to advanced practitioners whose mind is free from worldly thoughts and whose activities are solely within Dharma practices and services, they could watch movies, videos or other kinds of theatricals to gain experiences in human situations and feelings. Thereby they could discern subtle prejudices and attachments that are in the story or in their minds so as to learn how to escape from such bondage. Some would contend that this kind of activities are, after all, just entertainment and recreational. Nevertheless, for an earnest practitioner there is no moment when the goal of unifying Dharma and living is forgotten. Consequently, as they watch theatricals they are simultaneously practicing to remain in oneness with the Dharmadhatu without locking themselves out.

Written in Chinese on September 4, 2000
Translated on September 5, 2000
El Cerrito, California

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