Novels are entertaining, or at least try to be, and are often used as an escape from the real world. Because of this, they are in a unique position to share insightful buddhist perspectives to an audience that may otherwise never encounter dhamma. But where does this line of thinking end? Star Trek lands in the Brahma realm - a movie
An obvious view is that the virtue on entertainment is in conflict with reading/writing novels. But what if the subtext is spilling dhamma? - to be specific I’m talking about books like Journey to the West or Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (I actually haven’t read these books in an age so I cannot be sure what amount or quality of dhamma is embedded)
Bhante Sujato posted a short story a while back that may or may not have had a dhamma subtext. Which leads me to my point.
Do you find novels/stories written by monks to be inspiring or do you feel/believe/know they are breaking sila therefore living in an uninspiring way?
What is your view, are monastics allowed to write novels? (I was recently living in a monastery that viewed this as inappropriate and against vinaya)
The Buddha warned that people would prefer to read poetic writing over the suttas. Do you think novels are diluting the dhamma, are they doing more harm than good?
I am a lay person and a candidate for ordination, but my creative outlet is writing, which leads to this conflicting potentiality. I have heard senior monks giving advice to junior monks in the order of “find something to do” aside from meditation of course, this will keep you in robes! Is this “something” incompatible with going forth?
I am interested in any ideas you may have, from both lay and monastic, whether they are based in vinaya or feeling.