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What you Watch and Read

Hi everyone,

How does your practice influence what you like to watch and read? Do you watch things which are dramatic or violent? Or do you choose other things?



  • I have no interest in dramatic or violent "entertainment" and very little use for TV. But I don't think it's because of Buddhism. Rather, I think that whatever combination of factors in my nature/nurture lead to my interest in Buddhism also lead to my choices in entertainment, recreation, etc.

  • ZenshinZenshin Veteran East Midlands UK Veteran

    Hi @Kaydeekay, I mostly read dhamma books these days though I occasionally read the rulebooks for pen and paper role playing games which do contain a bit of violence. I haven't owned a TV in years though I did watch a bit of Star Trek on netflix the other day, didn't find it interesting and cancelled the sub in less than a month. The last movie I saw was last xmas and haven't been to the cinema since. Generally I'd rather mediatate than get involved in fiction these days.

  • That is interesting @karasti.

    I've just blocked all the news websites on my computer, they just really add to anxiety and depression, and add to the sense that we are living in such a negative and threatening world. I am over it.

    Personally, I really enjoy a comedy - it just connects me to what is good in life. I struggle with violent things due to my practice, and things that are overly dark as they negatively impact my mind... I enjoy dramas, but relate to what you say about questioning how comfortable it feels on a different level.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I enjoy quite a bit of stuff. I love a good comedy, a good feel-good movie, a good documentary. I watched the Boston Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing documentary last night and it was wonderful. So much violence, so much tragedy and loss. So much suffering. So much renewal, joy, support, celebration, over-coming. Heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, in so many ways. The media reports on the shock of the moment, but rarely follows up. It is in the follow up that you find those moments of joy and renewal. It is always there. That is the one good thing about our often violent reality-there are always amazing people and stories in there. That's not true usually when you watch fictional violence.

    I spend time every day looking at positive news, inspirational pages. I've set up my social media to reflect this much more. When something big happens, I still get the crap but not as much. I don't want to bury my head in the sand, but I don't want the opinions of hundreds of people, either. I try to limit my news to BBC and NPR. I focus on Buddhism, meditation, yoga and running. I have unfollowed a ton of people on FB. I am still their friend, I just can't take their dozens of memes and opinions every day. My sanity has improved!

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    For me, having immersed myself in the dharma has changed what I choose to watch and read yes. I read more positive news, although I also read The Guardian and The Independent and some Dutch language news sites. I tend to read the front page and maybe three or four articles. I've cut my intake of fiction reading to near zero... I used to read a lot, but now it's mostly dharma books and very occasionally some sci fi.

    My viewing habits are more mixed, I still like a bit of Game of Thrones or Star Trek or House, I'm not nearly so minimalist there. The violence... I struggle with it sometimes, I find sometimes it becomes too much, like there was a scene in Star Trek: Beyond where there is an intensive firefight, and that I found unnecessary and stressful. I was watching Quantico until they had an episode which was all about interrogation techniques, which caused me to question why I was watching such crap. There are some genres I just refuse to watch, like horror or war. I just don't see the point of trying to stimulate the negative emotions. I've also cleared out about half my DVD collection - thrown all of Quentin Tarantino except Jackie Brown, kept Mad Men and Lost. Guess I'm still looking for the middle way.

    Gaming I've almost completely stopped, I found the analytical process of many games was interfering with my ability to become peaceful. I used to enjoy the story or quest driven games like Mass Effect and Red Dead Redemption, but these days the gunplay violence has gotten old, I don't feel much like participating even in virtual violence. I still play an occasional hand of Hearthstone. Perhaps I'll buy a Nintendo Switch and Mario when it comes out.

    On social media I've also created some distance. I don't use Facebook very much, and read my Twitter stream maybe once a week, although I maintain accounts.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited December 2016

    i watch TV but avoid violence, even in news
    it is becoming a habit now whatever i watch/read, 'the story' reveals a dhamma lesson, so i could enjoy it
    my day begins with meditating, then reading a dhamma book, reading email, then interacting with newbuddhist, and listening to a dhamma talk
    writing 'my' book whenever i feel like it and other chores whenever they arise

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    What you Watch and Read

    The mind's reactions to what is happening on the BIG screen (whatever "I " interact with)....that's about all this "I" watches/reads these days :)

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I don't own a tv but watch stuff on-line. I have a small collection of dvd's, some of which are action-oriented and have some violence. Not into 'horror' unless it's Stephen King's better stuff maybe. It's all in the tale being told, I guess. We can't escape all the negative stuff in life, if on the screen or IRL. For me, the answer is mindfulness and meditation and getting a grip on our negative emotional habits and ways of thinking .

  • ajhayesajhayes Pema Jinpa Dorje Northern Michigan Veteran

    I like comedy movies, action movies, documentaries, Star Trek...

    And most importantly- Pro Wrestling.

    Nothing says "one with the universe" and "loving-kindness" like dropping an elbow from the top rope. ;)

  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran
    edited December 2016

    Does anyone have experience of reading Snow Leopard by Peter Matthieson? It's on my list of books I'd like to read but actually know little about it.

    Other books I've enjoyed include The Alchemist, Siddartha, Gandhi, Mandela and Dalai Lama autobiographies.

    Currently reading A Christmas Carol, an annual tradition!

  • @Lee82 said:

    i wrote mine
    then i thought why should i give rubbish to people when there are good dhamma books available
    so i put it in the rubbish bin (i mean conventional rubbish bin, not in the dhamma rubbish bin ;))
    i hope you know the difference

  • @ajhayes. In my younger years I was an avid fan Championship Wrestling from Florida. The commentator Gordon Solie would say during the matches when an illegal punch was thrown. "Well that punch lacked authority". Pretty simple back then. With the rise of WWE I no longer enjoy the sport. But no television no worries.

  • ajhayesajhayes Pema Jinpa Dorje Northern Michigan Veteran

    CWF had some great stuff. No TV would greatly simplify life, though I do suffer from an attachment to Star Trek and Wrasslin.

  • @Kaydeekay said:
    How does your practice influence what you like to watch and read?

    If practicing more, less time for entertainment.

    Do you watch things which are dramatic or violent? Or do you choose other things?


  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kaydeekay said:
    Hi everyone,

    How does your practice influence what you like to watch and read? Do you watch things which are dramatic or violent? Or do you choose other things?

    It's all an illusion...So to be quite honest... I just try to watch the pure wisdom displayed in the arising of every phenomenon... Well that's the plan :)

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    I've changed my TV habits over there past two months. Less news and negative and violent shows. This is for my own sanity. But I will NEVER give up Dr Who and Torchwood :awesome:

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    Another Star Trek guy here. To borrow from @upekka, the story always reveals a nice dharma lesson and although there is violence, it also takes a very optimistic view of our future.

    I like to keep tabs on political news and try to read between the bias. Documentaries are good if they are interesting and I'm really hoping Cosmos will come around again.

    I'd say Buddhism has influenced what I read and watch but being the conditioned animals we are, what I watch and read also influence the Buddhist process so it is good to be mindful.

  • I watch and read and listen to music I find enjoyable. My practice doesn't include any rules beyond that. I tend not to watch shows that depict human suffering and pain in graphic detail, because I find it unpleasant to watch. That's about all.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited December 2016

    I don't watch TV. If I did, I'd watch documentaries and those talent shows. (Make music, not war!) I'm very picky about what movies I see, when I go out for a movie. I like uplifting topics and documentaries. I like films about other cultures (Native American and other Indigenous people-themed films, mainly), I like some Buddhist films, inspiring films like "Sully", occasionally political films, and silly-political, like Michael Moore's films. I avoid violence and gratuitous drama, like relationship-themed films. Political and historical documentaries have enough drama.

    PS, Lion King--one of Best Films EVER! lol ;) Another huge fave: Genghis Blues.

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    Like @Lonely_Traveller, my reading material includes mainly Dhamma books and it has been so for the last five years.

    Television and cinema are quite another thing.
    I have always abhorred violence and gore, but there's no way to bypass either these days in the average Netflix series, so I have sort of allowed for my tolerance threshold to up a bit.
    I watch a bit of everything, but my favourites are period dramas and films, like "Mr Selfridge," "Downton Abbey," "Poirot" or the Australian "Miss Fisher investigates."

    I don't think my practice guides my entertainment choices, because, well, I use my practice to be more integrated in my everyday world, not to segregate myself in a far-off mental Nirvana of my own.
    I just view them with more "enlightened" eyes, if the term somehow fits...

  • i don't watch TV except for the occasional basketball game. Basketball was a big part of my life for many years so i enjoy watching the professionals play the game.

    Although my friend just allowed me access to his Netflix account so shows like Malcolm In The Middle, Bob's Burgers and the plethora of stand up comedy shows they have on there is very alluring!

    As far as film goes, i love comedies and documentaries.

    As many have stated i stay away from violence.

  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    I like comedies and having a good laugh, not really into violence and horror movies and since the election of Donald Trump...not into news either. At the same time I don't like to pretend that everything out there in the world is okay. If I don't know, how can I help change things.

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