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The Social Responsibility of Artists 1

Homage to the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Highest Self—Enlightened One!

Rasika Wijayaratne

Published: 2016-10-01

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Everything that we do must be in line with the Dhamma (Buddhist teachings). If not, whatever we do will have no value. Art also falls into this category. If the artwork goes against the Dhamma, then it should not be made. Morality (sila) is what is primarily referred to here, especially the five precepts (panca sila). If any artwork raises immorality up, shows that immorality is good or encourages immorality, then that artwork is against the Dhamma. As such we should reject such artworks.

Artist are leaders in society. There are many, especially among the youth, who follow their example. There are many, especially among the youth, who follow the way they speak, the way they act and the way they dress, etc. Therefore artists have a great responsibility to perform their art, act and carry their lives in line with the Dhamma. Only then can their art and work gain any real value.

If this is not done only our society and culture would decline. This happens as our youth follow wrong examples, engage in immorality and go down the wrong track. If artists produce works that go against the Dhamma, they do a great disservice to the whole of society. This is especially a great loss for the up and coming youth generation.

The Sinhalese culture is based on the Buddha Dhamma (Lord Buddha's teachings). So most of the Sinhalese cultuture is made of good and worthwhile things. There are many valuable things that we can burrow from other cultures around the world.

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There are also many harmful things. So we must choose carefully and especially see if those things align with the 5 precepts (panca sila) before adopting them. If anything is opposed to the Buddha Dhamma, they should be rejected.

Lets us be free from immorality and bad things, and give a good example to our society and our younger generation.

May all be happy and well!


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