Imagination

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Imagination

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:25 am

Hi all

On imagination...

'not any science that doth properly or fitly pertain to the imagination'
-- Francis Bacon


[Imagination allows us to]‘foreknow and to record the feelings of all men at all times and places’
-- William Hazlitt


I am looking for an explanation of imagination from an Abhidhammic point of view. I am also happy to know about imagination from a scholarly, preferably Classical, point of view.
Its imperative that references are provided, not just because it is a requirement of this forum, but also because I am assisting a friend with research.
Thanks for your assistance.

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Imagination

Postby cooran » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:36 am

Hello Ben,

I've asked some Abhidhamma friends of mine about this and haven't yet had a response - will let you know if/when it happens.

Personally, I thought Imagination might be "Just Thinking" "Proliferation of thoughts" - Papanca. But I haven't had time to do a search for quotes, hopefully I will over the Easter break.

with metta
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: Imagination

Postby gavesako » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:03 am

I suggest looking at the 4 patisambhidas (analytical knowledges), one of which is "patibhana" which means something like imaginative wit in using language, coming up with illustrations and similies.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Imagination

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:13 am

Thank you Bhante, thank you Chris!
metta

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Imagination

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:41 am

Hi, Ben,
I don't know if you remembered that we had a long thread on a similar topic not too long ago - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3404&start=20.
I don't remember anything particularly relevant to your question being put forward, but it might be worth a look.
And if there's nothing, that's indicative in its own way.
:reading:
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Re: Imagination

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:55 am

Thanks Kim
I've just looked through the first four or five pages and I'll have to look at the rest tomorrow (my eyes are falling out).
The reason i asked for material from the classical and/or abhidhamma is that I am assisting a friend with research for a paper which will be published at some stage. Hence, I am seeking authoritative material on the nature of, or the process of imagination from Classical or Abhidhammic point of view.
Kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Imagination

Postby bodom » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:34 pm

I came across this Ben. Some woman from the University of Bristol is doing some research on this same topic. Not sure if it will help any.

http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse. ... &user=&pw=

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Imagination

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:17 pm

Thanks Bodom
I've just had a brief look.
Looks like I'm not "Robinson Caruso", so to speak!
I'll have to check it out a bit later as I'm off with the family to Port Arthur overnight.
Kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Imagination

Postby cooran » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:46 am

Hello Ben, all,

A response from a good friend in the Dhamma on Dhammastudygroup:

"You'll remember the simile of the painting in "The Masterpiece":

“Even that picture called 'Faring On' has been designed in its diversity by the mind, yet the mind is even more diverse than that picture called 'Faring On'.........
(SN22:100(8) The Leash 2, Bodhi transl.)

All our creations, all our imaginations are just the work of cittas, arising one at a time, and their associated cetasikas (mental factors).

In the Madhupi.n.dika Sutta (transl. by ~Naa.namoli,Bodhi), the Buddha points to the anusayas (the underlying unwholesome tendencies) we discuss so much here and the papa~nca (the proliferations), the lobha, maana and di.t.thi (attachment, conceit and wrong view) on account of what is experienced. We think of the experiences through the senses as being desirable, but these are conditioned by ignorance and attachment as the Cycle of Dependent Origination makes clear.

Here are the Buddha's words from the sutta:

" 'Bhikkhus, as to the source through which perceptions and notions tinged by mental proliferations beset a man: if nothing is found there to delight in, welcome and hold to, this is the end of the underlying tendency to lust, of the underlying tendency to aversion, of the nderlying tendency to views, of the underlying tendency to doubt, of the underlying tendency to conceit, of the underlying tendency to desire for being, of the underlying tendency to desire for being, fo the underlying tendency to ignorance; this is the end ofresorting to rods and weapons, of quarrels, brawls, disputes, recrimination, malice, and false speech; here these evil unwholesome states cease without remainder.'"

The Buddha left, but the bhikkhus needed further explanation to understand the meaning and so went to Venerable Mahaa Kaccaana for elaboration:

" 'Dependent on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition there is feeling. What one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, that one thinks about. What one thinks about, that one mentally proliferates. With what one has mentally proliferated as the source, perceptions and notions tinged by mental proliferation beset a man with respect to past, future, and present forms cognizable through the eye.'"

And of course, the same applies to the other senses and mind door.

In the Buddha's brief discourse, the phrase "perceptions and notions tinged by mental proliferation" (papa~nca-sa~n~naa-sankhaa) is elaborated on by Maha Kaccaanaa. This is a key aspect of the Teachings. One moment of seeing of visible object and then many, many moments of thinking about, imagining what has been seen, so that our dream worlds, our fantasies continue on and on, dreaming, fantasizing about what has been seen, heard, smelt, tasted and touched and what may be seen, heard, smelt, tasted and touched in future.

Let me also add Bhikkhu Bodhi's note on the Buddha's discourse above, particularly on papa~nca in context:

"The interpretation of this cryptic passage hinges on the word papa~nca and the compound papa~nca-sa~n~naa-sankhaa. ~Nm had translated the former as 'diversification' and the latter as 'calculations about perceptions of diversification.' It seems, however, that the primary problem to which the term papa~nca points is not 'diversification,' which may be quite in place when the sensory field itself displays diversity, but the propensity of the worldling's imagination to erupt in an effusion of mental commentary that obscures the bare data of cognition. In a penetrative study, 'Concept and Reality in Early Buddhism', Bhikkhu ~Na.nananda explains papa~nca as 'conceptual proliferation,' and I follow him in substituting 'proliferation' for ~Nm's 'diversification.'
The commentaries identify the springs of this proliferation as the three factors—craving, conceit, and views—on account of which the mind 'embellishes' experience by interpreting it in terms of 'mine,' 'I' and 'my self.' Papa~nca is thus closely akin to ma~n~nanaa, 'conceiving,' in MN1.

"The compound papa~nca-sa~n~naa-sankhaa is more problematic. Ven. ~Na.nananda interprets it to mean 'concepts characterized by the mind's prolific tendency,' but this explanation still leaves the word sa~n~naa out of account. MA glosses sankhaa by ko.t.thaasa, 'portion,' and says that sa~n~naa is either perception associated with papa~nca or papa~nca itself. I go along with ~Na.nananda in taking sankhaa to mean concept or notion (~Nm's 'calculation' is too literal) rather than portion. My decision to treat sa~n~naa-sankhaa as a dvanda compound, 'perceptions and notions,' may be questioned, but as the expression papa~nca-sa~n~naa-sankhaa occurs but rarely in the Canon and is never verbally analysed, no rendering is utterly beyond doubt. On alternative interpretations of its components, the expression might have been rendered 'notions [arising from] proliferation.'

"The sequel will make it clear that the process of cognition is itself 'the source through which perceptions and notions [born of] mental proliferation beset a man.' If nothing in the process of cognition is found to delight in, to welcome, or to hold to, the underlying tendencies of the defilements will come to an end." (Note 229. MLDB, pp 1204-1205)"


http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... age/106485

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Imagination

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:00 am

Greetings Cooran,

cooran wrote:All our creations, all our imaginations are just the work of cittas, arising one at a time, and their associated cetasikas (mental factors).


Does your Dhamma friend happen to specify which cetasika is prevalent during 'imagination'?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Imagination

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:53 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:Does your Dhamma friend happen to specify which cetasika is prevalent during 'imagination'?

I think the more relevant question is : What is the nature of the object that the citta takes?

See Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes to the Ahidhamma Sangaha (Comprehensive manual of abhidhamma).
III.17 (page 136)
For all types of eye-door consciousness (citta), visible form alone is the object and that pertains only to the present, ... [other sense doors].

But the object of mind-door consciousness is of six kinds, and the object may be past, present, future, or independent of time, according to circumstances.

Further, in the case of the door-freed-conciousness --- that is rebirth-linking, life-continuum, and death (conciousness) --- the object is sixfold, and according to the situation (that object) has usually been apprehended in (one of) the six sense doors in the immediately preceding existence, as either a present or past object or as a concept. It is known as kamma, or as sign of kamma, or as sign of destiny.

Some of the notes:
And that pertains only to the present: [The point here is that the objects of the physical senses are what is actually here now.]
The objects of mind-door consciousness: The cittas that arise in a mind-door process can cognize any of the five physical sense objects as well as all types of mental objects inaccessible to the cittas of the sense-door process. Mind-door cittas can also cognize an object belonging to any of the three periods of time --- past, present, or future --- or one that is independent of time (kalavimutta). This last expression applies to Nibbana and concepts. Nibanna is timeless because its intrinsic nature (sabhava) is wihout arising, change and passing away; concepts are timeless because they are void of intrinsic nature.

So cittas can have paramattha (ultimate) dhammas as objects (sense objects, nibbana), or they can have conceptual objects (pannatti). Conceptual objects include all kinds of thinking, etc, and also jhana objects.

Metta
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Re: Imagination

Postby cooran » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:09 am

Hello all,

I have been keeping an eye on a thread I started on Dhammastudygroup (which has many experts in the Abhidhamma as members). I've had lots to think about and thought you may like to read some of the latest responses. I quoted one above, but there are others in the thread worth considering:

What is "Imagination" from the Abhidhamma perspective?
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... age/106436

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Imagination

Postby Ben » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:29 am

Thank you Chris
I think I'll spend the remainder of the Easter break reading through the material you and others have provided, and checking out the thread on DSG.
metta

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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