There is a particular approach to the Dhamma which I call Flat-Earth Buddhism. FEB goes like this. If the Jatakas say there is a rabbit in the moon then there is a rabbit in the moon. If the sutta says that the Buddha flew from the Vulture's Peak to the Bamboo Grove then he did fly from the Vulture's Peak to the Bamboo Grove. If the Vinaya says that a monk or nun should squat while urinating then monks and nuns must squat while urinating. The mantra of FEB is 'As it was in the beginning it shall be now and forever more.' Sometimes I am on the receiving end of FEB. For example, just recently I had the opportunity to see again David Lynch's wonderful 1980 film The Elephant Man. It moved me as much as it did the first time I saw it. In the course of conversation with a group of Buddhists from Malaysia I happened to mention this and I couldn’t help notice that the temperature in the room suddenly dropped by about 25 degrees. Eyes were averted, throats were cleared and the silence was deafening. Finally one of the group, appointing himself spokesman, said, 'Bhante, are monks allowed to watch films?' Although grammatically this was a question it was actually a reproach. And of course the spokesman was right in one sense; but only right from the point of view of FEB. I could have indulged in a bit of one-upmanship and pointed out that there is no mention of films in the Vinaya and therefore I had not broken any rule. But I wasn’t in the mood. Technically, the theater was quite highly developed at the time of the Buddha although the subject matter of the material presented was far less elevated and was probably mainly what we would call vaudeville. But that was then! This is now! Things have changed! Today theater, whether on stage or screen, can be intellectually, morally and spiritually uplifting (although it often isn’t). It can challenge us to think, it can transmit important ideas, it can motivate us to act and change things for the better. Seeing a good film is little different from reading a good book. The Elephant Man would be a good example of this. Based on Sir Fredrick Treres' The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences and Ashley Montagu's superb The Elephant Man - A Study in Human Dignity the film is the best commentary I know on Dhammapada 262-3, 'If someone is jealous, selfish or dishonest, they are unattractive despite their eloquence or good features. But the person who is purged of such things and is free from hatred, it is he or she who is really beautiful.'