8 precepts: Watching the news


Would the following constitute a violation of the precept against music, dance and show for lay buddhists:

  • Watching (or listening to) the news

  • Watching (or listening to) a News only station like CNN

  • Watching a serious documentary

  • Watching a “true crime” type of documentary

  • Playing a computer game on the tablet



This relates to the practitioners reliance on materialist culture versus Buddhist. When they develop a sufficient level of understanding there will be no desire to be involved in the OP pursuits. Bikkhu Bodhi discusses the process from 9:00, explaining how dhamma is a property of the universe:

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I think playing a computer game, definitely unless ofcourse it’s some sort of ‘brain training’ type game that would improve your cognitive ability.

Whenever I follow the 8 precepts on say an uposatha day/night, I basically refrain from all forms of media including the news. The only thing I would allow myself to watch is a dhamma talk, but that’s me I’m sure everyone’s different and has their own interpretation/practice. :anjal:

This has been discussed in the past as well, you might want to have a look at these.


As an upasaka, it would be skilful to ask yourself if these things that you wish to marinate your mind in (e.g., the news, “true crime” documentaries, or video games) are Dhamma-friendly.

Are they wholesome, beneficial, and conducive to developing your level of wisdom? If not, then the answer to your question is clear if you are intending to practice with the intention of the precept in mind.

There is give and take here, of course.

Nevertheless, the more serious we become as practitioners, the more often we will find ourselves in positions of having to choose between our spiritual practice and our attachments to the worldly distractions that keep us away from our practice. Our time to practice is limited. It is advisable to use the discretionary time that we have available to ourselves as beneficially as possible; and how we define that will be based on where were are on the Path and how motivated we are to cultivating the factors that support making more progress along it.

Our time to practice is impermanent, strive with diligence.