+1 vote
When observing uposatha, I have a difficult time determining what should be considered allowed within the 7th precept regarding entertainment. I don’t watch TV, listen to music, etc. but I find it harder to draw the line on things like reading the news, looking through pictures, or engaging in my hobbies (programming or drawing for example). All of these things entertain me and keep my mind occupied, but should they be substituted with working on my practice and studying suttas?

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"Whereas some brahmans and contemplatives, living off food given in faith, are addicted to watching shows such as these — dancing, singing, instrumental music, plays, ballad recitations, hand-clapping, cymbals and drums, magic lantern scenes, acrobatic and conjuring tricks, elephant fights, horse fights, buffalo fights, bull fights, goat fights, ram fights, cock fights, quail fights; fighting with staves, boxing, wrestling, war-games, roll calls, battle arrays, and regimental reviews — he abstains from watching shows such as these. This, too, is part of his virtue.

"Whereas some brahmans and contemplatives, living off food given in faith, are addicted to heedless and idle games such as these — eight-row chess, ten-row chess, chess in the air, hopscotch, spillikins, dice, stick games, hand-pictures, ball-games, blowing through toy pipes, playing with toy plows, turning somersaults, playing with toy windmills, toy measures, toy chariots, toy bows, guessing letters drawn in the air, guessing thoughts, mimicking deformities — he abstains from heedless and idle games such as these. This, too, is part of his virtue."

Drawing for entertainment certainly breaks the precept. Reading news does not necessarily break it, but that doesn't mean it cannot slow your spiritual progress. If the reason you keep to the eight precepts is to help with the progress of meditation, why not be mindful of the urge to read news?

But if you cannot help yourself, I would say read the news that is useful to your daily life. Ex: government announcements on power outages, water supply cuts, new laws, news regarding vaccination etc. Skip the useless information and entertainment. Again, this is assuming that you have a purpose to keeping the eight precepts. So focus on achieving that purpose instead of looking to be entertained in some way.
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