YOU CANNOT POST. OUR WEB HOSTING COMPANY DECIDED TO MOVE THE SERVER TO ANOTHER LOCATION. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN VIEW THIS VERSION WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING AND WILL NOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO ONCE THE OTHER SERVER GOES ONLINE.

The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process - Dhamma Wheel

The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
MayaRefugee
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:15 am

The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby MayaRefugee » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:33 am

Hey Guys,

Does anyone know if the Buddha ever talked about the imagination?

I've tried googling and searching this forum and I can't find anything.

The reason I ask is I have artistic inclinations and I've noticed I spend a lot of time manifesting mental concepts of what I perceive/am conscious of through the use of (what I currently think is) my imagination assisted by my intellect.

I would like to know what the Buddha said about this habit/tendency so I can see this process for what it is - I think I could just be clinging to aspirations of being labeled smart/clever by those I share these mental concepts with.

Anyway, any help will be greatly appreciated.

Peace.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23012
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:12 am

Given the lovely art produced by Buddhists of any number of schools or a very long time, art has its place.

As for what the Buddha said about imagination, seem not really anything, though there instances where makes a statement of appreciation of beauty of the place he is at.

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4346
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:35 pm


User avatar
zavk
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby zavk » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:20 am

With metta,
zavk

MayaRefugee
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:15 am

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby MayaRefugee » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:29 am

Kim and zavk, awesome replies - thank you.

I saw the book Dharma Art on Amazon after I submitted this post, I've added it to my wishlist.

I was thinking last night that in a way the Buddha was an artist as he manifested thought forms into words/sounds to give the speeches he delivered.

He recognised similes/metaphors and and used his "vocabulary" to communicate them.

This gets me wondering now about "vocabulary", to me it would be a collection of thought forms with an associated symbol i.e. word, graphic representation, manipulation of sound, gesture, etc that have been allocated a certain meaning.

Where would vocabulary fit in to the Buddhas teachings?

To me it seems it would be inconstant and only neccessary as long as one had the desire to communicate, do you agree?

What's a good attitude to have toward the use, maintenance and refinement of ones vocabulary?

Peace.

User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 10648
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:18 am

The Buddha was not opposed to the arts by the fact that he said monks and nuns could beautify their monasteries by painting them different colors and decorating them with various geometrical and floral designs (Vinaya 2. 117).

It would at least be an example of skillful means. Here is a compilation of some articles and subjects on the arts:
http://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Category:Arts
Image




User avatar
zavk
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby zavk » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:14 pm

With metta,
zavk

meindzai
Posts: 595
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:10 pm

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby meindzai » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:46 pm

Given the size and breadth of the canon I'd say the Buddha was the ultimate creative or idea person. His creative and "artistic" process was completely unhindered. If he wanted to be some kind of artist he probably would have been brilliant.

Since most art and music is intended to suit certain cravings (cravings for sights, sounds, etc.) it is not something widely praised in Theravada. But it has been explored by other traditions (like zen). I can recommend some good stuff on that if you're interested but I'll hold off as this is the theravada forum.

-M

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4346
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:36 am

Hi, everyone :hello:
There's something I was going to say yesterday in response to MayaRefugee's wish to view the Buddha as an artist. Now meindzai has tagged onto the thought it seems even more worth saying.
Claiming the Buddha as an artist and then trying to derive an artistic agenda from him seems unfair to him and to yourself: unfair to the Buddha because I'm sure he never saw himself in those terms, and unfair to yourself because you then have to bend and stretch your definitions and categories out of shape to make 'art' fit 'what the Buddha said and did'.
It's much more productive, IMO, to see the Buddha as a teacher - which is how he saw himself and how we usually see him - and the artist as someone who has a teaching role in the community, showing people new ways of thinking about things or looking at things.
The primary implications for your artistic practice emerge very quickly and naturally: effective communication becomes a key feature of your artistic language, and compassion/morality become key features of the content of your art.
Works for me, anyway. :smile:

Kim

MayaRefugee
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:15 am

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby MayaRefugee » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:01 am

Kim, I totally agree with what you say.

It's what to teach with your art that I'm trying and hope to one-day get to the root of.

Up till now my art has been depictions/observations of Maya - I am learning my depictions/observations are cloaked with personal inferences/biases/prejudices and I want to get rid of them and "tell it how it is" so to speak.

zavk, I'm not good with commonly accepted terminology but when I said "vocabulary" my intention was to refer to the bank of thought-forms that to the best of my knowledge and observation exist in ones mind/memory, thought-forms that haven't undergone expression yet, thought forms that haven't been turned into something i.e. sound-waves, a symbol, an image, etc - sort of like the paint that sits idle on a pallete yet to make it on the canvas.

I'm interested in the proper treatment of the paint that sits idle on the pallete i.e. my bank of unmanifest thought-forms.

I ask myself:

- how much paint should be on the pallete?
- what's the right type/qulaity of paint to have on the pallete?
- what's the right intention to have when moving this paint from the pallete to the canvas?
- what purpose is there to move paint from a pallete onto a canvas?
- what are the repurcussions of moving paint from a pallete to a canvas?
- is there really a need to have a pallete of paint?
- is it possible to not have a pallete of paint?
- etc

I guess this stuff ties in with cultivating right thought and right speech.

To address the language/vocabulary issue:

When I was little and I repeated curse words I was told to "watch my language".

Curse words could exist in my mind/vocabulary and I wouldn't be punished but if I manifested/verbalised them as sounds I would be punished - as long as contentious items in my vocabulary remained unmanifest I was right - being conscious of what thought-forms I chose from my vocabulary to verbalize was watching my "language".

Language to me (at the moment) would be a selected thought-form or selection of thought-forms that have/has been taken from this bank/vocabulary and construed in such a manner i.e. given a certain form to communicate something interpersonally via the sense-organs (then through the mind-door) - sort of an out-there thing as opposed to in-here thing.

To use the paint analogy language appears to be like the paint or mixture of paint that's shifted states from being paint sitting idle on the pallete to now being paint that is a component of a painting, it is something other than idle paint.

Another example would be a thought-form represented by the manifestation of a word/symbol.

I guess what I'm trying to communicate is at the moment I understand language to be manifested communicable form(s) of the contents of ones "vocabulary", - if theres a better word to use than vocabulary please let me know.

I'm not certain about this stuff so if you see any cracks in my understanding or if you think theres something I should learn please don't hesitate to let me know.

Peace.

User avatar
zavk
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby zavk » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:24 am

Hi MayaRefugee

Interesting things to ponder on.... :twothumbsup:
With metta,
zavk

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4346
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:09 am


Sanghamitta
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:58 pm

The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

MayaRefugee
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:15 am

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby MayaRefugee » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:13 pm

Kim,

Don't take this the wrong way, I would just like to hear your thoughts - :bow:

You say good art starts with having something to say.

Somewhere in the process the artist has to declare/believe what they have to say/express is worthy of being said/expressed.

What do you think is worthy of being said/expressed?

In the evolution of my art I've noticed what I deem worthy of expression changes as my beliefs/understandings change, once ones beliefs/understandings align with the changeless/deathless what do you think would be worthy of expression?

If one made it to the top of the mountain should they sit expressing/depicting the view for others at the bottom or should they build climbing aids to help others get to the top aswell?

Sanghamitta, If you don't mind me asking what would art created by an artist with Upekkha be like?

Peace.

Sanghamitta
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:28 pm

I think there are many examples MayaRefugee. From contemporary art the paintings of Mark Rothko come to mind, or the poems of Gary Snyder.
The music of middle period Miles Davis or Steve Reich. The novels of Paul Auster.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4346
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:25 am


chownah
Posts: 6161
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby chownah » Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:50 pm

Since this is a "free for all" let me poke a bit and see if I can find a button somewhere......

Art is fun and stimulates the emotions but really folks get over it....it is just a point of view glorifying the insightful blah blah blah of the self. Don't get me wrong...I like art and feel that I can hold my own in expressing myself in many different artistic media....and non artistic media as well....but reallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllly please try to get out of worshiping this mundane "achievement"........but only if you want to...........
chownah

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8502
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 30, 2010 7:55 pm

Hello all,

A reference to painting in the Samyutta Nikaya II The Book of Causation (Nidanavagga) 12 Nidanasamyutta

64 If there is Lust

"Suppose, bhikkhus, an artist or a painter, using dye or lac or turmeric or indigo or crimson, would create the figure of a man or a woman complete in all its features on a well-polished plank or wall or canvas. So too, if there is lust for the nutriment edible food, or for the nutriment contact, or for the nutriment mental volition, or for the nutriment consciousness, if there is delight, if there is craving, consciousness becomes established there and comes to growth. Wherever consciousness becomes established and comes to growth ... I say that is accompanied by sorrow, anguish, and despair." [note 173]

Note 173: Spk: The painter represents kamma with its adjuncts [Spk-pt: craving and ignorance, and time and destination etc.]; the panel, wall, or canvas represents the round with its three realms. As the painter creates a figure on the panel so kamma with its adjuncts creates a form in the realms of existence. As the figure created by an unskilled painter is ugly deformed, and disagreeable, so the kamma performed with a mind dissociated from knowledge gives rise to an ugly, deformed, disagreeable figure. But as the figure created by a skilled painter is beautiful and well shaped, so the kamma performed with a mind associated with knowledge gives rise to a beautiful and comely figure.

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 ---

MayaRefugee
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:15 am

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby MayaRefugee » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:57 am

chownah,

Of all the worldy pursuits don't you think this mundane "achievement" i.e. proper utilization of the artistic process does the most to contribute to the enlightenment/ending of suffering/ignorance for all beings.

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty"....Keats.

If one knows/understands truth and can disseminate it via mundane "achievements" I think they are using their time well.

Their knowledge/understanding/mastery of truth would determine the inherent beauty of their mundane "achievement" - the more beautiful the mundane "achievement" the more cathartic/useful it is to those caught in samskara/maya.

cooran,

Thank you for posting that stuff, it mirrors what I've been trying to contemplate - :bow:

Peace.

chownah
Posts: 6161
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby chownah » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:19 pm

MayaRefuge,
"Proper utilization of the artistic process.".....What the heck does that mean?....I mean can you please explain what this is?

Keats had his views on things....the Greeks did a lot of art depicting the human body....maybe it would be good to go find how the Buddha viewed the human body.....something like a bag full of puss, urine, and excement....vile smell...filth oozing out of every pore....in a constant state of decay....if you turned it inside out you couldn't keep the birds from eating it.

chownah


Return to “Connections to Other Paths”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine