Is it proper to listen to Sutra lecture recordings while driving, working, or walking?
DT, Cerritos, California
Sutra lectures are very formal events. Before each lecture, we’d perform a Dharma request procedure in order to:
- Benefit all living beings by requesting the Dharma transmission. After all, the Mahayana spirit in cultivation is to ultimately help others.
- Remind ourselves that we need to pay attention to show our respect and gratitude. Our ability to absorb the teachings correlates directly to our level of concentration. We’ve noticed that quite a few of our participants entered samadhi during the Sutra lectures.
That’s why a purist would frown at listening to Sutra lecture recordings while engaging in other activities.
We feel that one should be more flexible and accord with the conditions (environment). Therefore, it’s better to listen to those recordings while driving, working, or walking, etc., if it replaces other not useful activities such as daydreaming.
However, please make sure to pay attention to the task at hand. For example, if you enter samadhi while driving and listening to the recordings, it may cause more harm than good.
Furthermore, we assume that when you mentioned “while working”, you meant while at work. For example, a night watchman at work, a computer operator at her console, etc., all these instances require minimal mental processing and thus the mind can register the lecture materials. Even so, keep in mind that the materials can only be efficiently registered in proportion to the concentration level.