Music May Not Be for the Wise 

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Music fans will likely be skeptical, but the sounds that people make, including speech and music, are generally not peaceful. As such, indulging in sensations will likely hinder your path to inner peace.

Admittedly, music can cause excitement and enjoyment, but there is no real peace in it. When people get together and seek pleasure in this way, such as going to concerts, it usually leads to mindless, aggressive and argumentative speech. The words of songs and music tend to agitate and confuse the mind.

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When people listen to music, they think that the pleasurable sensations are really something great and that it’s so much fun. They mistake fun for ultimate happiness or peace. People can stand out in the hot sun for hours listening to music until they’re baked to a crisp, but they still think that they are having fun. But as soon as someone speaks harshly by criticizing them or cursing them, they are unhappy again. This is the predictable result of the ignorance that comes from an untrained mind.

As to speech in general, people living together in a community most often speak out of their own self-interests, which invariably leads to us upsetting each other, taking offence and accusing each other. Even when people speak nicely, does it ever really bring deep tranquility to your mind?  Human-made sounds don’t bring real comfort or true happiness unless Buddha’s teachings are being spoken.

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In contract to ordinary speech and music, the sounds of nature don’t lead to feelings of lust, anger or greed. In nature, there is quiet and tranquility. Sure there are plenty of noises and sounds in the wild, but they don’t stir up defilements in our minds like music does. For example, when we hear the birds calling or the sound of rain, we don’t react with any anger and we aren’t thinking harmful thoughts. We also aren’t speaking harshly or acting aggressively towards anyone or anything.

Hearing sounds of nature gives delight to the mind. The mind can become tranquil while listening to nature. This can help us to contemplate things clearly and develop wisdom. So instead of music and concerts, Buddhists should try to experience nature and its many sounds. When this is not practical, try listening to a soundtrack of nature sounds as an alternative to traditional music.

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