The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:07 am

pt1 wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Every statement in the form 'A is just B' is false.


What would then make your statement just as false? Looks like we have a recurring pattern here:

Every statement in the form A ("every statement in the form 'A is just B") is just B ("is false") is false.

:tongue:

:toast:
Extremely clever, pt1!
But wrong.
:cry:

I will now go away and see if I can work out how to explain why it is wrong.
:thinking:
pt1, while I'm doing that, perhaps you could think of a legitimate disproof by counter-example - i.e. a statement in the form 'A is just B' which is true.

Meanwhile, everyone else should feel free to go
:focus:

:namaste:
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby pt1 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:36 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:I will now go away and see if I can work out how to explain why it is wrong.

No need to spend your time on that, I have no problems with being wrong there and would much rather hear your thoughts on the actual topic, I mean, I don't think that the core of chownah's rendering is wrong and it's more or less compatible with the way theravadin abhidhamma would describe it - i.e. there's a sense object, there's an un/wise reaction to it, and there's the meaning of it which is purely conceptual. Thus, I wonder what else is there in a work of art, as you seem to suggest by disagreeing with chownah (if that's what you're diasgreeing with)?

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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:41 am

pt1 wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:I will now go away and see if I can work out how to explain why it is wrong.

No need to spend your time on that, I have no problems with being wrong there and would much rather hear your thoughts on the actual topic, I mean, I don't think that the core of chownah's rendering is wrong and it's more or less compatible with the way theravadin abhidhamma would describe it - i.e. there's a sense object, there's an un/wise reaction to it, and there's the meaning of it which is purely conceptual. Thus, I wonder what else is there in a work of art, as you seem to suggest by disagreeing with chownah (if that's what you're diasgreeing with)?

Best wishes

OK, thanks - trying to explain the logical problems arising from splitting a compound noun (if that's what it's called) was going to be tricky.
Yes, I was disagreeing with Chownah, and on two bases -
(1) that 'A is just B' is always wrong, which is a very general rule. Statements in that form, in my experience, always over-simplify the situation in a way which suits the speaker's purposes and are nearly always used derogatorily (is that a word??). Not good, not skillful.
(2) that a work of art is only its physical form, a 'sense object' as you say (which at least isn't as emotively loaded as Chownah's "the famous paintiings of the world are just rancid oil smeared on a cloth...the Greek sculptures are just rocks that have been eroded by men....music is just resonant vibrations of air").
Our world doesn't consist of sense objects: it consists of our perceptions of sense objects - that's a fairly fundamental Buddhist teaching, I believe. :smile:
The work of art is the sense object plus the responses it evokes - in both the maker and the viewer/listener. It was made for that purpose and can't sensibly be divorced from it. The skill of the artist is in making a sense object which will evoke the kinds of responses he/she finds interesting, beautiful, provocative, or whatever; great art evokes more complex responses than trivial art, and ... getting to another point here ... can therefore show us more about ourselves and our world.
In terms of your quick description above, then sure, the meaning is purely conceptual - but it is a communicated concept, and often one which could not be communicated in any other way.

OK, that's all on the positive side of art, but negatives do exist, of course. Most obviously, maybe, the falsity and pretentiousness of much activity that is packaged as 'art'. Also, the fact that art is always 'coded' in a way - conventions can be impenetrable to someone lacking specific cultural knowledge - so it is never universal though that claim is often made. Thirdly, the fact that some artists haven't got anything very worthwhile (in a moral, ethical or dhammic sense) to say.
:namaste:
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby MayaRefugee » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:22 pm

I was looking up a band I used to listen to and stumbled across this:http://www.thefauves.com/nov11.htm

It's an interesting piece that touches on the stuff being discussed in this thread.

Peace.
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Annapurna » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:43 pm

MayaRefugee wrote: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.

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.



Since you ask for it, I shall share some thoughts, otherwise I would have hesitated.

For one reason:

You got corrected in your childhood, -I assume like all of us, -but you seem to have reacted with analysing your every move, perhaps because otherwise punishment would have been impending.

Which leave you less spontaneous than might be good for you.

I may be way off base, I'm just sharing a thought that arose while reading your post, but sometimes admonitions can have a "wing-clipping" effect on a sensitive nature.

If you compare your thoughts about your palette with the vigourous and self confident way in which a Picasso was creative, or a Michelangelo intensely immersed into their art, then you seem to be too absorbed with unnecessary contemplations such as:

- how much paint should be on the pallete?
- what's the right type/quality 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?

If you don't mind my saying so, which I try to do to your benefit and with loving kindness, -but I think you have unnecessary fear and concern.

Again, I may be wrong, and then I apologize, but why in all heavens would you think such things?

What came to mind is: An idle mind is the devil's workshop,."

And I'm saying this because of this:

Artistic talent is most often prevalent in persons with very fine and sharp senses.

They perceive the world as it is, and can reproduce it. For this, enormous awareness is necessary.

This also entails a rsik.

Fine senses can get overstrained, and genius can border on illness.

No. I'm not saying that about you, don't get me wrong!

Not at all.

But I think you need to liberate yourself and free yourself of all concerns if you are doing things right or wrong.

Being an artist means to NOT let the analytic brainhalf rule, it will become a hindrance, let the other one rule which is creative and intuitive.

If you are a very good artist, you'll work with both brain halves in a good synchronicity, but if you are a guy, your pons (bridge) between the 2 will be thinner than a womans, so do leave too much analyzation away if you want to do your art.

Just do it

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.


BUT THIS IS WHAT ART IS ABOUT!

It's personal! It's unmistakably individual!

You would always recognize the unique style of a Renoir, a Picasso, a Degas, a Monet, a Dali, right?

I think with this approach you're trying to make a square round.

If you want to tell it how it is, take an orchid, place it on sand, and write OM into it.

That is pure, because I think you are aiming at purity.

Right?

And: Let go of all fear, express yourself.

Ideally, in a creative process, you are so concentrated on the material, that you can't remember a single thought after you're done.

Like: There is no mountain, and no climber, only 'climbing'.

Shanti :anjali:
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby MayaRefugee » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:46 am

Annapurna wrote:Since you ask for it, I shall share some thoughts, otherwise I would have hesitated.

For one reason:

You got corrected in your childhood, -I assume like all of us, -but you seem to have reacted with analysing your every move, perhaps because otherwise punishment would have been impending.

Which leave you less spontaneous than might be good for you.

I may be way off base, I'm just sharing a thought that arose while reading your post, but sometimes admonitions can have a "wing-clipping" effect on a sensitive nature.

If you compare your thoughts about your palette with the vigourous and self confident way in which a Picasso was creative, or a Michelangelo intensely immersed into their art, then you seem to be too absorbed with unnecessary contemplations such as:

- how much paint should be on the pallete?
- what's the right type/quality 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?

If you don't mind my saying so, which I try to do to your benefit and with loving kindness, -but I think you have unnecessary fear and concern.

Again, I may be wrong, and then I apologize, but why in all heavens would you think such things?


Relative to the duration of my life anaylysing my every move has only been a recent development, I find it to be a by-product of mindfulness. In retrospect, before I started analysing my every move my actions/motives/etc were selfish/unwholesome/ugly.

In trying to purge this selfishness/unwholesomeness/ugliness certain questions arise such as the ones above which you say are uneccessary - they may be uneccessary if simply being an artist/producing art is one's imperative, this isn't my imperative - cleaning/rectifying my mind and getting it as wise and insightful as I can is my imperative and I see raising these questions as a contributing factor to the acquisition of my imperative.

Annapurna wrote:What came to mind is: An idle mind is the devil's workshop,."

And I'm saying this because of this:

Artistic talent is most often prevalent in persons with very fine and sharp senses.

They perceive the world as it is, and can reproduce it. For this, enormous awareness is necessary.

This also entails a rsik.

Fine senses can get overstrained, and genius can border on illness.

No. I'm not saying that about you, don't get me wrong!

Not at all.

But I think you need to liberate yourself and free yourself of all concerns if you are doing things right or wrong.

Being an artist means to NOT let the analytic brainhalf rule, it will become a hindrance, let the other one rule which is creative and intuitive.

If you are a very good artist, you'll work with both brain halves in a good synchronicity, but if you are a guy, your pons (bridge) between the 2 will be thinner than a womans, so do leave too much analyzation away if you want to do your art.

Just do it


Why do it though?

Why harbour desires to do things that aren't truly neccessary?

Attachment to pleasure, non-pleasure and neutrality aren't conducive to enlightenment.

Annapurna wrote:
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.


BUT THIS IS WHAT ART IS ABOUT!

It's personal! It's unmistakably individual!

You would always recognize the unique style of a Renoir, a Picasso, a Degas, a Monet, a Dali, right?

I think with this approach you're trying to make a square round.

If you want to tell it how it is, take an orchid, place it on sand, and write OM into it.

That is pure, because I think you are aiming at purity.

Right?

And: Let go of all fear, express yourself.

Ideally, in a creative process, you are so concentrated on the material, that you can't remember a single thought after you're done.

Like: There is no mountain, and no climber, only 'climbing'.

Shanti :anjali:


I am aiming at purity - probably more a purity of a reason to produce art - pt1 mentioned finding a justifiable motivation.

I think my reticence/concern/fear stems from not wanting to acquire the kamma of bad actions. A corrupted self could express its self and the repercussions of that expression could be the proliferation/rebirth of that corrupt expression by others.

Glorifying corruptions isn't my cup of tea.

What i'm trying to say is if I were to produce a piece of art, and Kim has already alluded to this, that made a hero of someone that is corrupt then through the "monkey see monkey do" phenomenon the corruptions of that hero could be immitated and proliferated indefinately.

Take Gangster Rap and it's contribution to the proliferation/arising of gangs/gang violence for example. Gangs and their shennanigans have popped up in places where gangs never existed before simply as a result of the infatuation with gang life that arises in those that listen to Gangster Rap. The artists here have lured impressionable audiences intothe world of violence, disrespecting authority,etc. They discovered this world through the distribution of art. What would have become of this audience had the art not been created?

To conlcude, thank for your thoughtful post - I can see where you're coming from - I just see things a bit differently.

Peace.
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby pt1 » Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:46 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Yes, I was disagreeing with Chownah, and on two bases -
(1) that 'A is just B' is always wrong, which is a very general rule. Statements in that form, in my experience, always over-simplify the situation in a way which suits the speaker's purposes and are nearly always used derogatorily (is that a word??). Not good, not skillful.

Ok I see what you were trying to say. I guess the further we are from the truth and discussing our own opinions, the more what you say above applies. So, when it is said that - perception is impermanent, not-self and suffering - well, that's the dhamma, so it's irrelevant whether we think it's right or wrong. So, I guess we should stick to discussing the damma and leave debatable opinions aside if possible.
Kim O'Hara wrote:(2) that a work of art is only its physical form, a 'sense object' as you say ...
Our world doesn't consist of sense objects: it consists of our perceptions of sense objects - that's a fairly fundamental Buddhist teaching, I believe. :smile:

Yes, it's sometimes described as the six worlds - one for each of the five senses and the mind as the sixth. There are different classifications. The simplest one for breaking down the "personal experience" is nama-rupa I think, then there are five aggregates, 6 senses, 18 elements, etc. Just different ways to break down the experience and point out the fundamental problem - attachment to any of these.
Kim O'Hara wrote:The work of art is the sense object plus the responses it evokes - in both the maker and the viewer/listener. It was made for that purpose and can't sensibly be divorced from it. The skill of the artist is in making a sense object which will evoke the kinds of responses he/she finds interesting, beautiful, provocative, or whatever; great art evokes more complex responses than trivial art, and ... getting to another point here ... can therefore show us more about ourselves and our world.

Well ok, that's a bit like how my music teacher used to define art, but the issue here imo is not to consider art for art's sake but to consider it from the perspective of the dhamma, I guess that's what OP is looking for. In that way, defining what art is should I guess encourage direct insight into the matter rather than us debating what art is/isn't. In terms of insight, abhidhamma is pretty explicit what realities (dhammas) can be discerned through insight in the process of sense perception, processing of what's perceived, and then thinking about it (won't go more into detail as you prefer the conventional, but it's there if you ever want to know). Importantly, each of these stages can be accompanied by attachment or wisdom (insight), so the key is how to distinguish between these two I guess.

The second aspect of the matter as you hint has to do with the perspective maker/recipient, and relating the issue to the dhamma, does it encourage wholesome states (accompanied by kindness, generosity and wisdom, as opposed to unwholesome states accompanied by greed, hate and delusion)?

While I'm ready to agree that it is possible (though hard) for the maker to make a work of art with kindness and generosity as motivation (at least in some moments of the creative process) instead of greed and hate, I'm still wondering if it is possible to make a work of art with wisdom (at least in some moments) instead of ignorance - this is because wisdom (according to abhidhamma) can only take another dhamma as an object, not a concept (on which art is essentially built). I.e. I'd assume the more moments with wisdom there are in the process, the less coherent the final product (work of art) would be, as wisdom/insight is not concerned with concepts. However, assuming that usually there are only very brief flashes of insight generally, perhaps it wouldn't spoil the final product that much, so, ok, I'd agree that wisdom/insight is also possible during the creative process (though of course it wouldn't be concerned with the product but with the mind).

I'm finding it much harder though to agree that a work of art can effectively communicate kindness, generosity and wisdom to the recipient - i.e. encourage these to arise in him/her. I'm not saying it's impossible, but just much less probable. I mean even when I read suttas, still I often don't get the message, or sometimes I'm bored, or just don't like what I'm reading (especially when it says I should stop being attached to the pleasant feeling, pride, etc). So, if even the suttas can't always communicate the message (due to my defilements), than how much harder would it be for a work of art to do it since it has much more details that my defilements can latch onto. And of course there's that actor sutta which only seems to confirm this line of reasoning even though in the beginning it was very hard to accept:
SN 42.2 wrote:Any beings who are not devoid of passion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of passion, focus with even more passion on things inspiring passion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of aversion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of aversion, focus with even more aversion on things inspiring aversion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of delusion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of delusion, focus with even more delusion on things inspiring delusion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Thus the actor — himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless — with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter. But if he holds such a view as this: 'When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb."


I don't really know. I tend to think that being a social worker or something similar would be much more conducive than art to the arising of kindness, generosity and occasional wisdom in both the giver and the recipient. But, perhaps you can provide a counter-argument?

Best wishes
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby chownah » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:46 pm

MayaRefugee wrote:
chownah wrote:....it is the mental processes which label an ordinary object as a "work of art" which should be examined carefully if one really wants to develop some insight in this matter...


Which is inherent in what we're trying to do.

Peace.

Mayarefugee,
Perhaps you are correct in saying this. My intent in the post you have partially quoted was to clearly make the case for the idea that "works of art" do not in and of themselves have any qualities (like being "artistic" or "powerful" or "good" or "bad" or etc.) which demarks them as anything other than objects like all other objects....and more specifically the Buddha taught that we should do our best to have no doctrine of self.....in my view singling out "works of art" as objects is an example of constructing a doctrine of self as directed towards an object....so....not only in my view do works of art have nothing special happening relative to "ordinary objects" (i.e. they are the same) but all objects, even our beloved "works of art" should be viewed as empty.....all of our reactions to "works of art" are mental constructions that construe a meaning which in a mundane way can be seen in that different people will react differently to the same "work of art"....showing that the recognition of "art" is a mental constructive process and is not in any way inate in the product the "artist" created.

For me this topic is a bit frustrating in that it seems that people are jumping back and forth between worldly ideas and the Buddha's ideas so that if one is tring to make a point on one level someone dealing from another level will take exception to what is being said....and all this is amplified because so many concepts are being bandied about without any common understanding of what they mean etc. etc......I'm not holding out much hope that this will get much better because this is the way all discussions of art go pretty much....from one undefined concept to another.....maybe that's the nature of art?...I love art but don't try to define it....maybe art is just when an unexpected insite arises when viewing something?....this can happen even from accidental happenings but can be art just the same....I guess.
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby MayaRefugee » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:09 pm

chownah,

I like what you say - :thumbsup:

I said earlier that the mind/mental-processes/thinking behind the creation of a certain something seem to contribute to how artistic that somehting is - your post has evoked the desire in me to delve further into this if only for my own benefit - it'd be good if some of you tackled any questions I may raise.

As you say chownah, both "ordinary objects" and "works of art" can provoke insight however "ordinary objects" (which by ordinary I'm presuming you mean natural/organic) have been fashioned/shaped by the designs of something other than the body-mind of man - let's call this something other God for convenience, "works of art" obviously haven't been fashioned/shaped by the designs of God.

Does God have a mind that formulated the intention to provide these "ordinary objects" for the instigation of insight in the minds of men?

What's going on in the mind of someone that ends up producing a "work of art" - what was there intention?

When I say "work of art" I include all man-made objects because as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder so it's possible every human creation has atleast one "beholder" that thinks it's beautiful/a work of art.

It's been said that neccesity is the mother of all invention - what neccesity does the mind of the artist see that requires the production of a work of art?
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Annapurna » Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:51 pm

MayaRefugee wrote:

Relative to the duration of my life anaylysing my every move has only been a recent development, I find it to be a by-product of mindfulness. In retrospect, before I started analysing my every move my actions/motives/etc were selfish/unwholesome/ugly.


I respect the fact that you wish to purify yourself from unwholesome mindstates very much. Congrats and best results on your path!

However, analyzing your every move,, -as you said above-, is, imo, impossible and Buddha always recommended middle path...

Why do it [art] though?

Why harbour desires to do things that aren't truly neccessary?

Attachment to pleasure, non-pleasure and neutrality aren't conducive to enlightenment.


That is something I wanted to ask you anyways.

Why do you do your art?

What is your motivation? To which goal?

I think my reticence/concern/fear stems from not wanting to acquire the kamma of bad actions.


Ok, fair enough.

May I? You are concerned about your wellbeing.

But if your goal is outside of yourself in the wellbeing of others, in their spiritual refinement, like the joy it brings to a homeowner to own a nice painting of a Buddha for his meditation room, then your intention is pure.

And if the by-product is right livelyhood for you, like selling these inspired Buddhist paintings, then I see no problems.

Even if you painted a peaceful landscape, with the intention of bringing peace of mind and harmony after work to the new owner, then your intentions are pure, aren't they?

What i'm trying to say is if I were to produce a piece of art.....that made a hero of someone that is corrupt then through the "monkey see monkey do" phenomenon the corruptions of that hero could be imitated and proliferated indefinitely. Take Gangster Rap and it's contribution to the proliferation/arising of gangs/gang violence for example. Gangs and their shennanigans have popped up in places where gangs never existed before simply as a result of the infatuation with gang life that arises in those that listen to Gangster Rap.


Well, in this case you have to ask yourself if your expectation of fame is realistic, and secondly, if you are going to sell violence.

If not, where is the problem?

You say you have been painting Maya, this is Buddhas mother, right?

So which negative result could come from this? You wouldn't be selling like a gangsta rapper anyhow, so you won't get rich.

I don't see any negative results, ...except for you becoming vain...but without fame this would be a very sobering experience....

And I think your fellow Buddhists would prune any pride of your's any ways, ot your teachers....or your practice. ;)

To conclude, thank for your thoughtful post - I can see where you're coming from - I just see things a bit differently.


Thank you as well, :anjali: perhaps...

.... tell me where you think I'm coming from and where you think we differ in thinking... ;)

Please. :thanks:

Annapurna
Last edited by Annapurna on Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Annapurna » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:13 pm

MayaRefugee wrote:chownah,

I like what you say - :thumbsup:

I said earlier that the mind/mental-processes/thinking behind the creation of a certain something seem to contribute to how artistic that somehting is - your post has evoked the desire in me to delve further into this if only for my own benefit - it'd be good if some of you tackled any questions I may raise.

As you say chownah, both "ordinary objects" and "works of art" can provoke insight however "ordinary objects" (which by ordinary I'm presuming you mean natural/organic) have been fashioned/shaped by the designs of something other than the body-mind of man - let's call this something other God for convenience, "works of art" obviously haven't been fashioned/shaped by the designs of God.

Does God have a mind that formulated the intention to provide these "ordinary objects" for the instigation of insight in the minds of men?

What's going on in the mind of someone that ends up producing a "work of art" - what was there intention?

When I say "work of art" I include all man-made objects because as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder so it's possible every human creation has atleast one "beholder" that thinks it's beautiful/a work of art.

It's been said that neccesity is the mother of all invention - what neccesity does the mind of the artist see that requires the production of a work of art?



Excuse me if I embark in a post to another.

..... "ordinary objects" and "works of art" can provoke insight however "ordinary objects" (..... natural/organic) have been fashioned/shaped by the designs of something other than the body-mind of man - let's call this something other God for convenience, "works of art" obviously haven't been fashioned/shaped by the designs of God.


According to theist beliefs, nothing happens without God's will. Many famous artists didn't attribute their success only to their own work, but thought of it as God given. That's humble, actually.
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby MayaRefugee » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:50 pm

Annapurna,

I got the impression you were coming from a belief that I was overthinking things and should throw caution to the wind and just do my art. I don't believe (at this stage) that you can overthink things and I see throwing caution to the wind as reckless - I may have misinterpreted you so if I have I apologise - I've been accused of overthinking three times this week and I'd never thought of thinking having a middle-way until you mentioned it - :bow: - this was where I thought we were seeing things differently.

Let me clarify, I'm not into ganster rap! - :shock: - nor do I have aspirations for fame - ;) - I meant to use that as an example of the trouble art can cause.

As far as why I do my art goes, I mentioned earlier in the thread that I think it's due to the fact I developed the inclination very early in my life and it brought me labels from others such as clever/bright/talented/etc. and that made me feel good about myself. This was many years ago and since becoming more contemplative my art has changed direction and has become more personal, ATM I don't share it with anyone so the labels have stopped coming - I mainly write lyrics/songs now which are derived from my contemplations - they are like notes I make as I tread the path and they mean something to me one-day but usually mean nothing the next - i.e. I deal with an issue and move to the next one.

The motivation for the art I do now is to better understand myself/reality/life and hopefully get as clean as I can get before I die.

I understand what you're saying about doing it for others - I think I just lack the belief that my "art" could help/satisfy/be liked by others - I'm content at the moment just putting my thoughts/realisations on paper in a poetic/easy to remember form and occasionaly putting it to music.

My understanding is that Maya is the illusion people live while caught in Samsara - I used to sketch scenes and write stories based on my understanding of this illusion - I was trying to manipulate peoples attitudes toward things in the hope of achieving what I would now deem to be unwholesome ends - it was more propaganda than "art".

You're posts have been very touching so thank-you for contributing - :heart:

Peace.

I just went to submit this and saw you're reply to my other post.

It's a good point you make, maybe I should have said "works of art" aren't created solely by God but are subject to the influences of an indviduals mind-body.
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Annapurna » Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:10 pm

Thanks for replying so thoughtfully, Mayarefugee...it's interesting that you brought up this topic, because only this week I was intensily thinking about similar things, and about making some Buddhist art, and ended up making 2 Buddhist bookmarks, but I'm not done yet. They are very simple though. I plan on posting them once they're done.

You may have noticed by now that I am also quite -interested in art, also since my early childhood, and like you I was always encouraged to continue. I even have a BA in art history.

In the last years I have become a lot more creative, and have finally started selling things, which was always my hope.

I'm also very happy when I give pieces I made to others, for Christmas or birthdays, to see the joy I can give with something handcrafted is very special.

I think people feel 'loved' when they see that you don't just go and buy something, but sit down and work with your 2 hands for quite a while.

(Of course for the money you spend on gifts you have also spent time and work.)

I used to write a lot of poetry too, perhaps like you write lyrics, but have now arrived at wordless art...

It's interesting what you wrote about the manipulative element in words...it's true.

Never thought about that, funny.

So thank you. ;)

Perhaps I thought that you overthink matters, because I probably think less than you about such things, and am measuring you with my standards.

Could be...and would be unwise. ;)

:anjali:
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:47 pm

Annapurna wrote:
MayaRefugee wrote:...
As you say chownah, both "ordinary objects" and "works of art" can provoke insight however "ordinary objects" (which by ordinary I'm presuming you mean natural/organic) have been fashioned/shaped by the designs of something other than the body-mind of man - let's call this something other God for convenience, "works of art" obviously haven't been fashioned/shaped by the designs of God.

Does God have a mind that formulated the intention to provide these "ordinary objects" for the instigation of insight in the minds of men?
...


MayaRefugee wrote:..... "ordinary objects" and "works of art" can provoke insight however "ordinary objects" (..... natural/organic) have been fashioned/shaped by the designs of something other than the body-mind of man - let's call this something other God for convenience, "works of art" obviously haven't been fashioned/shaped by the designs of God.


According to theist beliefs, nothing happens without God's will. Many famous artists didn't attribute their success only to their own work, but thought of it as God given. That's humble, actually.

How did God get into this?
:cookoo:
We're all Buddhists here, aren't we?
:meditate:

Kim
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby MayaRefugee » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:47 am

Kim,

"God" was simply used to represent the "artist" or creative force that would be behind "ordinary objects" i.e. a mountain, the sea, a tree, etc. Chownah brought up how these can lead to as much insight as a "work of art" and I was trying to point out that one is man-made and one is not.

Annapurna,

Nice going with the art - :thumbsup: - seems we're pretty similar (apart from the BA! - :tongue: ).

Peace.
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby pt1 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:24 am

Yeah, perhaps that god thing should be rephrased appropriately. Afaik, in theravada it's not about a creator of things and ordinary objects, but it's about conditions. I.e. everything arises based on conditions and then falls away again based on conditions. And this happens horribly fast. According to theravada abhidhmma and commentarial tradition, all external materiality (rupa) is conditioned by temperature, while all materiality that constitutes what we might conventionally call a person's body is conditioned by temperature, kamma, nutrition and citta (consciousness). Nama dhammas (i.e. mental factors and cittas) are conditioned by other nama dhammas. Nibbana is the only dhamma that's not conditioned, hence why theravada buddists are after it.

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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby pt1 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:57 am

MayaRefugee wrote: it'd be good if some of you tackled any questions I may raise.

Does God have a mind that formulated the intention to provide these "ordinary objects" for the instigation of insight in the minds of men?

What's going on in the mind of someone that ends up producing a "work of art" - what was there intention?

When I say "work of art" I include all man-made objects because as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder so it's possible every human creation has atleast one "beholder" that thinks it's beautiful/a work of art.

It's been said that neccesity is the mother of all invention - what neccesity does the mind of the artist see that requires the production of a work of art?

All these would be conditioned, i.e. the current intention (mental factor called cetana) would be conditioned by the arising of citta (consciousness) and mental factors that accompany the citta. E.g. if anger (mental factor) accompanies the citta, then intention will be unwholesome. Anger in this case would be conditioned by moments of anger in the past, among other things. The understanding of conditionality affecting every moment is directly related to anatta - understanding every conditioned dhamma (like intention) as not-self, and thus abandoning attachment to it because all conditioned dhammas are impermanent and suffering.

So, in general terms, if there's suddenly a need to make an angry song, well that's probably conditioned by moments of anger in the past, etc. So, what can one do, the dhamma (anger) and the intention (also a dhamma) associated with it have already arisen. If there's recognition that this happened, and it's understood that it's just conditioned dhammas, hopefully not-self nature of it all will be understood a bit. Maybe then anger subsides, or maybe it doesn't, or maybe the person forgets all about anatta and proceeds with making the angry song. If he forgot about anatta, well that was conditioned too, by ignorance this time (which is also a dhamma). Etc.

Similarly, if there's an intention to make a song as an expression of kindness, to make someone feel happy, etc, well that intention (cetana) and that kindness (metta) are also dhammas, and these are in turn conditioned by moments of kindness in the past, among other things, etc.

As all these things are happening due to conditions, one can be either aware of it or not. Awareness is also a conditioned dhamma that arises thanks to moments of awareness in the past among other things. If one's aware of the dhammas happening now, that will gradually lead to being able to tell which dhammas are wholesome, and which are unwholesome. This will then gradually lead towards abandoning unwholesome ones thanks to understanding the difference.

E.g. if someone gives me a gift, I might feel joy, but the questions is in what way am I experiencing that joy - am I happy because I like experiencing pleasant feeling (this of course is attachment, so unwholesome), or am I happy because I think when people give me a gift that means they like me and I feel 'loved' (this would be conceit, so unwholesome), or am I happy because I'm experiencing gratitude and participating in their joy (mudita, so wholesome). Similarly, with giving a gift (it can even be a gift of music, or whatever, it doesn't really matter) it can be motivated by metta, karuna, pride, hate, greed, etc. So very important to be able to tell the difference if you're really concerned about kamma. In essence, kamma is intention (cetana). Cetana would depend on the type of citta - if the citta is accompanied by hate, then the intention which accompanies the same citta will be unwholesome and bring unwholesome result in the future (though, there are different strengths of unwholesome deeds with varying results - not sure if you're interested in this, so will stop here).

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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Annapurna » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:48 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Annapurna wrote:
MayaRefugee wrote:...
As you say chownah, both "ordinary objects" and "works of art" can provoke insight however "ordinary objects" (which by ordinary I'm presuming you mean natural/organic) have been fashioned/shaped by the designs of something other than the body-mind of man - let's call this something other God for convenience, "works of art" obviously haven't been fashioned/shaped by the designs of God.

Does God have a mind that formulated the intention to provide these "ordinary objects" for the instigation of insight in the minds of men?
...


MayaRefugee wrote:..... "ordinary objects" and "works of art" can provoke insight however "ordinary objects" (..... natural/organic) have been fashioned/shaped by the designs of something other than the body-mind of man - let's call this something other God for convenience, "works of art" obviously haven't been fashioned/shaped by the designs of God.


According to theist beliefs, nothing happens without God's will. Many famous artists didn't attribute their success only to their own work, but thought of it as God given. That's humble, actually.

How did God get into this?
:cookoo:
We're all Buddhists here, aren't we?
:meditate:

Kim


Kim, does it constitute not being a Buddhist for you, if theist concepts are briefly being mentioned or discussed ? Then Tiltbillings is not a Buddhist, not the Dalai Lama, Ninh That Hanh et alii.

If God pushes your buttons, remove the buttons, perhaps? :tongue:

:focus:
Last edited by Annapurna on Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Annapurna » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:05 am

MayaRefugee wrote:Kim,

I was trying to point out that one is man-made and one is not.


I know. :anjali:

Annapurna,

Nice going with the art - :thumbsup: - seems we're pretty similar (apart from the BA! - :tongue: ).

Peace.


:twothumbsup:
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Re: The Buddha, Imagination and The Artistic Process

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:30 am

Annapurna wrote:If God pushes your buttons, remove the buttons, perhaps? :tongue:

Hi, Annapurna,
Actually, I can quite comfortably talk about God, but bringing 'God' into this discussion as the ultimate creator (i.e. inspiration, if not direct creator) of anyone's art work derails the discussion completely: we suddenly have to deal with motives and powers which are completely unknowable in principle and in practice.
Since I happen not to believe in the existence of this interventionist kind of God*, I thought the easiest solution was to cut him/her/it out of the discussion, i.e. remove the imaginary God, not the imaginary buttons.
OK?
:namaste:

Kim

*FWIW, I have grave doubts about any other kind, too.
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