What is beauty, actually?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:34 pm

chownah wrote:Beauty is in the eye of the beholder....and....like anything else lodged in the beholder's eye the beholder would do best to remove it quickly before inflamation sets in which is often followed by serious infection with its puss and bad humors.
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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: What is beauty, actually?

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:34 pm

Generosity; Patience; Calm; Virtue; Kindness; Compassion; Truthfulness; Friendship; Relinquishment; Serenity; Joy; Wisdom; Conscientiousness; Perseverance.....


These are Beautiful

Also I think all those things which conduce to the above are also beautiful by association.

This might include...


landscapes; statues; songs; paintings; poems; Ideas; dances; stories... etc etc

When they inspire the above things they are, in that moment, "Beautiful".

Take Care,

and may you all have a beautiful day


Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby alan » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:03 am

There is no way to know!
An innate reflex based on environmental stimuli?
We have no way of measuring it. We don't even agree how to talk about it.
In other words, the question is not appropriate.
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby ground » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:01 am

There is sense perception. What is sense perception, actually? How does it relate to the sense organs/faculties? Considering that in dreams there are sense perpeptions too which are no different from sense perception in waking state.
Also the alleged object of sense perception. What is this object actually? How is an object singled out from the vast amount of raw data of sense perception? How is it that there is "form", "background", the capacity to perceive 3 dimensions? Is it a matter of learning only or does it depend on the type of sense organs/faculties? Does it depend on one's physical body? This all takes place before conceptually knowing "This is this" and "That is that".
At what point of the cascade that is called "perception" does "beauty" arise? What is its initial seed, the stirring, before a feeling and/or concept "beautiful" may arise? Where does this pattern of "beautiful" derive from? What are its physical and non-physical origines?

Just some conditioned thoughts.

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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby alan » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:22 am

You've asked many questions. Which of them are appropriate?
You know the answer, if you have read the Suttas. It is spelled out plainly.
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby ground » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:25 am

alan wrote:You know the answer, if you have read the Suttas. It is spelled out plainly.


Yes. Karma and its effects :smile:

The effects "include" (or "stand for") the physical complex, sankhara etc. ... all conditioned phenomena and processes.

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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby alan » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:39 am

Actually I was referring to Appropriate attention.
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby ground » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:52 am

alan wrote:Actually I was referring to Appropriate attention.


What is it you call "Appropriate attention"?

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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby 5heaps » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:37 am

alan wrote:There is no way to know!

there is no way to know until the end of time? or there is no way to know until you actually do something constructive?

one way of going from not knowing to knowing is by developing the capacity to know, such as perfecting concentration. you'd be surprised how much you can know when your capacity of knowing is not obstructed and built out of distraction and conception, and mis-knowledge these produce.
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby manas » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:02 am

Once again I thank everyone for this lively and enlightening discussion. Now that so much discussion has taken place, I'm actually able to slightly better articulate what I was groping at in my original questions, which is: Yes, beauty is a subjective response to stimuli; Yes, whether a being will 'see' pleasing things or not depends on his/her previous kamma; However, there being trillions of beings sharing the same universe(s), and there also being some generally agreed upon standards of what constututes 'the beautiful' vs what constitutes 'ugliness', it would appear that it is not purely a subjective experience, but a feature of the world, a 'universal' rather than just a 'subjective' reality.

Anyway, maybe it's all getting over-intellectualized...I've been accused of that in the past (not in this forum) but then again, I'm the speculative type, so that's my acquired tendency :thinking: ...but I'm still glad I asked the question, and I don't see it as pointless. Even if beauty has no inherent essence, and even if beautiful objects ultimately change and become otherwise over time (or immediately upon closer inspection, eg the human body), I still appreciate the mystery of how certain objects (eg flowers, the moon, and still, calm evenings) were nonetheless appreciated even by the One who had no craving whatsoever for them (the Tathagatha) as being pleasant and agreeable. For me, beauty still inspires reverence, just as truth does.
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby ground » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:41 am

manasikara wrote:However, there being trillions of beings sharing the same universe(s), and there also being some generally agreed upon standards of what constututes 'the beautiful' vs what constitutes 'ugliness', it would appear that it is not purely a subjective experience, but a feature of the world, a 'universal' rather than just a 'subjective' reality.

I do not know who you are referring to with "trillions of beings sharing the same universe" but as to human beings we know to be living on this earth they simply share the same human features as to body, verbal expression and mind. So there is no need to posit something like "objective beauty" being inherent in a world inherently different from the experiencers.

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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:54 pm

manasikara wrote:However, there being trillions of beings sharing the same universe(s), and there also being some generally agreed upon standards of what constututes 'the beautiful' vs what constitutes 'ugliness', it would appear that it is not purely a subjective experience, but a feature of the world, a 'universal' rather than just a 'subjective' reality.


And of course, these 'standards' always change, even from generation to generation... Anicca. I think one of the reasons why the humans are suited for the Dhamma (compared to every other beings) is because they're able to see this kind of change clearly... the way their world is set up to change all the time.

A tiger today remains pretty much the same as it was a thousand years ago (but become different if you go back even further, to a saber-toothed tiger), but the humans... they become vastly different in a much shorter amount of time. (Their culture, etc.) Beauty is an unstable thing for us... Dukkha. It breaks us (or at least for some of us) out of the illusion.
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby 5heaps » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:04 pm

manasikara wrote:I still appreciate the mystery of how certain objects (eg flowers, the moon, and still, calm evenings) were nonetheless appreciated even by the One who had no craving whatsoever for them (the Tathagatha) as being pleasant and agreeable.

for me, thats the punchline. how are they appreciated? because their physical constructions somehow spit their properties at the observer, or because the observer constructs mental conventions based on its own definitions?
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby ground » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:22 pm

5heaps wrote:
manasikara wrote:I still appreciate the mystery of how certain objects (eg flowers, the moon, and still, calm evenings) were nonetheless appreciated even by the One who had no craving whatsoever for them (the Tathagatha) as being pleasant and agreeable.

for me, thats the punchline. how are they appreciated? because their physical constructions somehow spit their properties at the observer, or because the observer constructs mental conventions based on its own definitions?

See you are asking "how?" and then you are implying "why?" through "because". I think the "why?" actually isn't so important but what is important is the mere capacity to appreciate which actually is a potentiality not necessarily manifesting itself.

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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby 5heaps » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:32 pm

TMingyur wrote:I think the "why?" actually isn't so important

understanding the specifics of how ones mind works is always of immeasurable importance. particularly if we're making mistakes based on unawareness or misknowledge
but what is important is the mere capacity to appreciate which actually is a potentiality not necessarily manifesting itself.

"a potentiality not necessarily manifesting itself"? i dont understand what that is. what potential?
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby ground » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:42 pm

5heaps wrote:
TMingyur wrote:I think the "why?" actually isn't so important

understanding the specifics of how ones mind works is always of immeasurable importance. particularly if we're making mistakes based on unawareness or misknowledge

From the perspective of discernment and "involvement in time" you are right.

5heaps wrote:
but what is important is the mere capacity to appreciate which actually is a potentiality not necessarily manifesting itself.

"a potentiality not necessarily manifesting itself"? i dont understand what that is. what potential?

sorry, I cannot find an alternative wording at present

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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby Aloka » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:19 pm

Image


What a cutie ! Muah, muah !

.
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby Viscid » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:03 pm

I find 'beauty' to be a fairly generalized term which describes almost any sensory or intellectual experience which produces a 'pleasant awe.'

When we find someone to be physically beautiful, we take into consideration forms that we are instinctually attracted to, such as the breasts, the redness of the lips, the length of the hair, perhaps. We also instinctually want these features to be symmetric, as asymmetrical features suggest malformation-- either by disease or poor genetics. Hurray for Evolutionary Psychology!

We can find someone's personality to be beautiful, perhaps we have formed an ideal personality in our minds which we find someone beautiful conforms to. The 'ideal personality' is completely subjective, but generally I find those who are compassionate, wise and honest to be the most beautiful.

There is also geometric beauty, such as the simplicity and elegance of a circle or triangle: perfect Platonic forms. Or the sheer intrigue and complexity of fractal patterns.

There is beauty in the moment, beauty in the teacher, beauty in being, beauty in truth, beauty in creation and beauty in destruction.

I don't believe beauty has some sort of separate reality associated with it; the word describes that which produce a certain, almost transcendent, emotional experience.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:15 pm

Aloka wrote:Image


What a cutie ! Muah, muah !

.

Hey! I was going to say that, and you beat me to it!
:jedi:

(It's okay, I really don't mind that you got in first.)
:namaste:
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Re: What is beauty, actually?

Postby Aloka » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:29 pm

Hey! I was going to say that, and you beat me to it!


(It's okay, I really don't mind that you got in first.)

Kim



We can share his beauty ! :D



.
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