Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:40 am

alan wrote:I'm sorry, that answer doesn't work for me. Guess I'll just have to study it again later. If anyone can elaborate and elucidate, that would be helpful. For now it is bedtime.
I could go at length, annoyingly so, but it would be better if you pointed to what is not making sense to you. That we can keep it a bit more focused.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby Ben » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:22 am

PeterB wrote:I would be interested if someone could indicate where in the Kandhas "imagination" is described.

Hi Peter

I think this is part of the issue, as per my earlier posts.
kind regards

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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby PeterB » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:54 am

Indeed Ben..
:anjali:
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby christopher::: » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:00 pm

PeterB wrote:Imagining the Taliban as your friend or imagining them as your enemy are both dualistic Chris.
The Taliban are in reality neither your enemy nor your friend. The Taliban have come into being collectively and individually because the conditions for their arising are present, and when those conditions change they will cease to arise.


Good points, Peter. In a sense, even a construct such as "the Taliban" requires quite a bit of imagination.

tiltbillings wrote:
alan wrote:That's Ok Mike. I do have a burning question from this thread, however, which I'll direct to Tiltbillings, who may be just the person for this.
"Knowledge and vision according to reality"--I won't try to do the Pali--isn't that fundamentally different from what we normally recognize as knowledge in the conventional sense?


Yes; however, no. It depends. The content is certainly no different, but it is the cultivation of the ability of "stepping back" to look at these things without getting lost in them or investing in them. The ability to do this is part of our "normal" consciousness process, but it needs to be cultivated. What is radical about the Buddha's teaching is that - from start to finish - there is no supernatural thingie or stuff outside or supposedly inside ourselves that we must appeal to, or identify ourselves with or some such business, all of which is a projection and product of our imagination driven by the insecurity of a self that wants to pretend it is something different from what it really is. It is in the ordinary mind/body process that all what we need for awakening is found.


What about the stories Buddha told of devas and his own past life experiences? And while different from ideas of God they too could be seen as just projections and products of imagination. Even if based on truth, as soon as we reconstruct these symbolic narratives in our own minds that's what they are.

And yet, a glance at Buddhist rooted cultures down thru the ages shows that these ideas and narratives have exerted (and continue to exert) a powerful influence. If that influence leads to more compassionate behavior, right effort, deeper understanding of the dharma and greater mindfulness, isn't imagination then playing a positive role?

Can imagination be employed in the service of the dharma?
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:58 pm

christopher::: wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
alan wrote:That's Ok Mike. I do have a burning question from this thread, however, which I'll direct to Tiltbillings, who may be just the person for this.
"Knowledge and vision according to reality"--I won't try to do the Pali--isn't that fundamentally different from what we normally recognize as knowledge in the conventional sense?


Yes; however, no. It depends. The content is certainly no different, but it is the cultivation of the ability of "stepping back" to look at these things without getting lost in them or investing in them. The ability to do this is part of our "normal" consciousness process, but it needs to be cultivated. What is radical about the Buddha's teaching is that - from start to finish - there is no supernatural thingie or stuff outside or supposedly inside ourselves that we must appeal to, or identify ourselves with or some such business, all of which is a projection and product of our imagination driven by the insecurity of a self that wants to pretend it is something different from what it really is. It is in the ordinary mind/body process that all what we need for awakening is found.


What about the stories Buddha told of devas and his own past life experiences? And while different from ideas of God they too could be seen as just projections and products of imagination. Even if based on truth, as soon as we reconstruct these symbolic narratives in our own minds that's what they are.

And yet, a glance at Buddhist rooted cultures down thru the ages shows that these ideas and narratives have exerted (and continue to exert) a powerful influence. If that influence leads to more compassionate behavior, right effort, deeper understanding of the dharma and greater mindfulness, isn't imagination then playing a positive role?

Can imagination be employed in the service of the dharma?
I have no idea as what you are talking about here in terms of what it has to do with what I said. It seems that you are making complications.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby christopher::: » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:41 am

You said:

tiltbillings wrote:
Yes; however, no. It depends. The content is certainly no different, but it is the cultivation of the ability of "stepping back" to look at these things without getting lost in them or investing in them. The ability to do this is part of our "normal" consciousness process, but it needs to be cultivated. What is radical about the Buddha's teaching is that - from start to finish - there is no supernatural thingie or stuff outside or supposedly inside ourselves that we must appeal to, or identify ourselves with or some such business, all of which is a projection and product of our imagination driven by the insecurity of a self that wants to pretend it is something different from what it really is. It is in the ordinary mind/body process that all what we need for awakening is found.


Which everyone agreed was spot on.

So, i was just asking about narrative stories and products of imagination in Buddhism. Are these also diversions from awakening or can they help in the cultivation of compassion and other positive dhamma qualities?

It seemed to me that this relates to Mike's initial questions.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:03 am

christopher::: wrote:You said:

tiltbillings wrote:
Yes; however, no. It depends. The content is certainly no different, but it is the cultivation of the ability of "stepping back" to look at these things without getting lost in them or investing in them. The ability to do this is part of our "normal" consciousness process, but it needs to be cultivated. What is radical about the Buddha's teaching is that - from start to finish - there is no supernatural thingie or stuff outside or supposedly inside ourselves that we must appeal to, or identify ourselves with or some such business, all of which is a projection and product of our imagination driven by the insecurity of a self that wants to pretend it is something different from what it really is. It is in the ordinary mind/body process that all what we need for awakening is found.


Which everyone agreed was spot on.

So, i was just asking about narrative stories and products of imagination in Buddhism. Are these also diversions from awakening or can they help in the cultivation of compassion and other positive dhamma qualities?

It seemed to me that this relates to Mike's initial questions.
Now, in one sentence you asked a clear, straightforward question. The answer is, yes.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby christopher::: » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:12 am

tiltbillings wrote:
christopher::: wrote:
So, i was just asking about narrative stories and products of imagination in Buddhism. Are these also diversions from awakening or can they help in the cultivation of compassion and other positive dhamma qualities?

It seemed to me that this relates to Mike's initial questions.


Now, in one sentence you asked a clear, straightforward question. The answer is, yes.


Is it so simple though?

:smile:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:18 am

christopher::: wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
christopher::: wrote:
So, i was just asking about narrative stories and products of imagination in Buddhism. Are these also diversions from awakening or can they help in the cultivation of compassion and other positive dhamma qualities?

It seemed to me that this relates to Mike's initial questions.


Now, in one sentence you asked a clear, straightforward question. The answer is, yes.


Is it so simple though?
Obviously the answer is: It depends. Of course we tell ourselves stories, some of which can open up our vision and sometimes they can cloud them.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby christopher::: » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:33 am

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby Anicca » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:26 am

tiltbillings wrote:What is radical about the Buddha's teaching is that - from start to finish - there is no supernatural thingie or stuff outside or supposedly inside ourselves that we must appeal to, or identify ourselves with or some such business, all of which is a projection and product of our imagination driven by the insecurity of a self that wants to pretend it is something different from what it really is. It is in the ordinary mind/body process that all what we need for awakening is found.
christopher::: wrote:Which everyone agreed was spot on.

Ordinary is the wrong word.

Merriam-webster definition: Ordinary: the regular or customary condition or course of things
2008 Pew Forum Survey on Religion in America
Most Americans believe that angels and demons are active in the world, and nearly 80 percent think miracles occur, according to a poll released yesterday that takes an in-depth look at Americans' religious beliefs. The study detailed Americans' deep and broad religiosity, finding that 92 percent believe in God or a universal spirit -- including one in five of those who call themselves atheists. More than half of Americans polled pray at least once a day.

The following is Tilt's quote in a way that makes sense to my twisted mind:
"The Buddha's teaching - from start to finish - is that rather than the ordinary mind/body process that creates a supernatural thingie or stuff outside or supposedly inside ourselves that we must appeal to, or identify ourselves with or some such business, all of which is a projection and product of our imagination driven by the insecurity of a self that wants to pretend it is something different from what it really is --- rather than that, it is a radical, out-of-the-ordinary mind/body process that we need for awakening."

tiltbillings wrote:.. Of course we tell ourselves stories, some of which can open up our vision and sometimes they can cloud them.

"Right" imagination is needed for the radical, out-of-the-ordinary process - "wrong" imagination for the ordinary thingies/stuff.

I should know - if they gave terminal degrees for "wrong imagination", i'd think myself a candidate for an honorary PhD.

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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:45 am

Anicca wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:What is radical about the Buddha's teaching is that - from start to finish - there is no supernatural thingie or stuff outside or supposedly inside ourselves that we must appeal to, or identify ourselves with or some such business, all of which is a projection and product of our imagination driven by the insecurity of a self that wants to pretend it is something different from what it really is. It is in the ordinary mind/body process that all what we need for awakening is found.
christopher::: wrote:Which everyone agreed was spot on.

Ordinary is the wrong word.

Merriam-webster definition: Ordinary: the regular or customary condition or course of things
Wrong word? Not at all.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby alan » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:05 am

It does seem the word "ordinary" was pulled inappropriately out of context. But I do share Annica's frustration in not being able to get to the essence of Tilt's reply. Maybe I should re-examine the question.
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby Anicca » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:13 am

tiltbillings wrote:Wrong word? Not at all.
Well, it is your word and it is presumptuous of me to call it wrong for you - but for myself samara is the regular or customary condition or course of things, ordinary if you wilI.

It is the right word for you but the wrong word for me.

Can we both be right?

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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:14 am

alan wrote:It does seem the word "ordinary" was pulled inappropriately out of context. But I do share Annica's frustration in not being able to get to the essence of Tilt's reply. Maybe I should re-examine the question.
As I asked you before: What is it that you do not "get?"
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:16 am

Anicca wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Wrong word? Not at all.
Well, it is your word and it is presumptuous of me to call it wrong for you - but for myself samara is the regular or customary condition or course of things, ordinary if you wilI.
And it is that which is basis for awakening. What else would there be?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby Anicca » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:20 am

tiltbillings wrote:And it is that which is basis for awakening. What else would there be?
Well, as you said, the radical teachings of the Buddha, which to me, teach a radical process - the cessation of suffering - far from ordinary.

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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:27 am

Anicca wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And it is that which is basis for awakening. What else would there be?
Well, as you said, the radical teachings of the Buddha, which to me, teach a radical process - the cessation of suffering - far from ordinary.
That is the result, but the stuff used to get there is: My friend, I do proclaim that in this very fathom-long body, with its feelings and mind, is the world, the world's arising, the world's ceasing and the path leading to the world's ceasing.' - AN II 48.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby Anicca » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:32 am

tiltbillings wrote:That is the result, but the stuff used to get there is: My friend, I do proclaim that in this very fathom-long body, with its feelings and mind, is the world, the world's arising, the world's ceasing and the path leading to the world's ceasing.' - AN II 48.

I see your point.
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Re: Imagination, Compassion, Awakening

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:34 am

Anicca wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:That is the result, but the stuff used to get there is: My friend, I do proclaim that in this very fathom-long body, with its feelings and mind, is the world, the world's arising, the world's ceasing and the path leading to the world's ceasing.' - AN II 48.

I see your point.
Thanks. The next thing I would have done is start quoting the Satipatthana Sutta.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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