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Nirvana

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Nirvana

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 7th, 2019, 4:34 am

Felix wrote:
May 7th, 2019, 3:42 am
I don't consider being nonattached to the fulfillment of personal desires to be a problem, quite the reverse.
I un Itderstood that. Though it is really a different issue than the one around prioritizing calm and putting calm as one of a number of states that are positive.
One may need to stand back and observe them to understand their source, but judgement of them would impede that process.
Standing back and cutting them off from expression contains a judgement. External things are ok and we accept them, but internal phenomena like emotions need to be cut off from expression. Again, go to any Buddhist or Hindu religious community and express, even without much sound at all, a range of emotions and you will find out very fast there are judgments fo these emotions.
"Yes, one can do calligraphy and engage in certain kinds of artistic activity while calm, but putting a priority on this state is a choice not to live in other ways."

I have not seen anyone other than you suggest in this thread that calmness should be prioritized, that would be foolish. The priority is on becoming more Self-aware, not on attaining and maintaining some particular mental-emotional state or on living a particular lifestyle.
Well, gosh. If you agree with me that calmness need not be prioritized over other states, we could have started with that as some agreement. In case I was responding to someone who put calmness in a false dichotomy and this dichotomy makes it seem like one should prioritize calmness. I don't think this is coincidental in a thread on Nirvana and often Buddhism, but it was what I was responding to.

So_ It was prioritized in that post of Greta's in a false dichotomy.
Then....
weight said....
Nirvana is a state without desire, without wish, without thirst. It is liberation from suffering and extinction from the three poisons: ignorance, hatred and lust. There are two stages to nirvana, one while alive and one in death. The one while alive would be a person who has attained complete liberation, wisdom and release from desire and suffering. In death it would be considered the complete cessation from everything, consciousness, rebirth, life and death.
No desire. Not just observing desires, without desires. You are not in a dynamic state and no artist I know of worked without desires and wishes. No inventor either.
You;
Non-attachment is a better description: everything is accepted,
To accept things is to not react with so-called negative emotions. It is not to desire something else. And I think implicitly 'calm' is prioritized also. To reach an artistic goal or a practical creative goal, requires constant problem solving, rejection of certain things, trying again, and frustration. desires and goals and attachment to reaching those goals. A dynamic life.

I have a lot of experience of Buddhism both in the East and the West. I understand the problem those traditions are trying to solve. I cannot see how anyone experiencing these traditions could deny they prioritize calmness and judge desire and emotional expression negatively. If that is what one wants, great, it is not a problem for that person. But if we are speaking in general, then I see no reason to universalize the goodness of Buddhist priorities. Nor to deny them.
Here and Now: Buddhists perhaps are impervious, accomplished ones, at any rate. Consider Vietnamese Thích Quảng Đức who set himself on fire, and the many other self immolating protesters in Tibet. Hard to believe it, but they appear to be altogether in control of the pain. That's impervious.
Here we have someone inhibiting the body's and the emotions in reaction to incredible physical pain and death and this is called accomplishment. IOW prioritizing calm reactions to such things over dynamic or expressive ones.

Here's Here and Now explaining what Zen Buddhists are doing:
They retreat from that Heideggarian temporal throwness by not giving the mind expression when it insists on wanting, hungering for, and defining and fixing;
Try to have a dynamic artistic or inventing life while doing those things.

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Felix
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Re: Nirvana

Post by Felix » May 7th, 2019, 8:31 pm

Karpel Tunnel: "Standing back and cutting them off from expression contains a judgement."

I didn't say anything about suppressing their expression, just observing them. By doing that, you can eventually transcend your mental-emotional conditioning and defensive knee-jerk emotional reactions will drop away, along with any compulsion to express or not express them.

"no artist I know of worked without desires and wishes. No inventor either."

My experience as a professional musician says otherwise: in the creative act, desire and wish fulfillment are absent. In fact they get in the way of creative expression.

"Here (in Thích Quảng Đức) we have someone inhibiting the body's and the emotions in reaction to incredible physical pain and death and this is called accomplishment."

Well certainly it's an achievement, just not one that you may want to emulate. People tend to get caught up in a discipline and forget why they are practicing it, the path becomes the end rather than the means to an end. Who's to say if that was the case with this man.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Nirvana

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 14th, 2019, 4:12 am

Felix wrote:
May 7th, 2019, 8:31 pm
Karpel Tunnel: "Standing back and cutting them off from expression contains a judgement."
I didn't say anything about suppressing their expression, just observing them.
The phrase 'just observe' as used in the Buddhist contexts I have experienced, includes not expressing them, disidentifying with them.
By doing that, you can eventually transcend your mental-emotional conditioning and defensive knee-jerk emotional reactions will drop away, along with any compulsion to express or not express them.
I bolded the pejorative portions. My sense is that emotions are seen this way in general - unless they are compassion or calm, expressions of kindness, etc. 'Compulsion' to express could be expressed neutrally as simply expressing. One could look at anything as compelled. The thoughts, choice to sit and meditate coming from thoughts or desires, compassionately reacting to someone, etc. we respond.

"no artist I know of worked without desires and wishes. No inventor either."
My experience as a professional musician says otherwise: in the creative act, desire and wish fulfillment are absent. In fact they get in the way of creative expression.
Well, as someone in the same category, when I am making music, I will feel a desire to make the melody, for example, work better. I will respond to the sound with a desire to tweak it. If I hear the lyric I have spontaneously produced but feel it is cliche or not expressing what I want, I feel and urge to change it. I, personally, feel a desire, often, just to sit down with the guitar or keyboard. I feel the desire to play a few notes, the try a few others. I feel desire to listen to music that I love and to find new music I love. I love the feel of the guitar (espeically) and just letting it resonate is something my desires can draw me to. I feel desire to share my music with others. I feel desire to hear what they think and feel in response and to allow this to help me improve it or experience it differently myself. I desire to express certain emotions in the music I make. I have various aesthetic desires. I feel the desire to play around and explore. Sometimes I feel the desire to put in a chord that sounds awkward, just to see what happens. I could go on and on. I am not saying you should feel desire, but I would find it terribly surprising if as a professional musician you do not feel and further allow yourself to be motivated by your desires to go to your intrument.

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Felix
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Re: Nirvana

Post by Felix » May 15th, 2019, 2:54 am

I don't believe Buddha said that all desire is detrimental. As you suggested, it's a natural human response. He did distinguish between selfish and "right" or nonselfish desires, and this distinction seems to have been lost on many of his followers.

Re: desire and music, I was speaking of the creative act itself. In creative flow, I am just playing, not attempting to play or achieve something. That is something I might do while practicing, which is more of a mental process. And to me the end goal of practice is to become proficient enough at one's instrument or art that one can forget it all and just play. When you can do that, the results can be wondrous.

And great artists can take you there along with them. There are a few concerts I've attended where that happened: three that come to mind are a concert by Traffic (the original trio of Steve Winwood, Chris Woods and Jim Capaldi) that I attended when I was about 15 years old, a concert by Ali Akbar Khan and Alla Rakha, and a solo piano concert by Keith Jarrett.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Charl
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Re: Nirvana

Post by Charl » May 16th, 2019, 10:29 pm

If a person ain't starving he doesn't truly appreciate his food.
So if a person never felt sadness he can never truly have happiness.
And if you are happy all the time you will get bored of being happy and your happiness while turning to sadness.

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Nirvana

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 25th, 2019, 6:55 am

Felix wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 2:54 am
I don't believe Buddha said that all desire is detrimental. As you suggested, it's a natural human response. He did distinguish between selfish and "right" or nonselfish desires, and this distinction seems to have been lost on many of his followers.

It's one of the four noble truths that desire leads to dukkha. There are desires to be compassionate, for example, that are better, but these two are problematic, in Buddhism, in the long run. They are just more likely to not cause more suffering than they cause in themselves, but must be let go of also to reach nirvana.

Re: desire and music, I was speaking of the creative act itself. In creative flow, I am just playing, not attempting to play or achieve something.
Sure, I have moments or periods of time like that also. But these are surrounded by an nurtured by a lot of desires that lead to skills that I use then in those in the zone or flow moments. I am not arguing that one should always be feeling a lack and desire its fulfillment. IOW my position would not be that one should always be desires. My position is that desire, in itself, even what get called selfish desires are not detrimental, per se. Which runs counter to Buddhism. Greedy and bullying people often have the assumption that one must choose between self and other and they choose selves, so their so called selfish desires function solipsistically. Buddhism accept the same kind of zero sum game analysis, but suggests one let go of the so called self desires (and for one's own development all desires). I see that if one is connected to other people, one's selfish desires can be beneficial to others. If I strive to make a piece of art that meets my desires for it, I end up creating something that others can enjoy, learn from, being inspired to create in reaction to, etc. If I treat my spouse like **** in the name of my art, well, this is a problem. But the per se judgment of desires and especially what get called selfish desires is assuming the same zero sum options that the greedy people have. And the greedy people lose out because in fact they are not selfish enough. They do not realize the kinds of intimacy and connection not running roughshod over people can give them.
That is something I might do while practicing, which is more of a mental process. And to me the end goal of practice is to become proficient enough at one's instrument or art that one can forget it all and just play. When you can do that, the results can be wondrous.
Absolutely, agree. I don't want to be playing and 'trying to be great' or something. But those moments of playing are surrounded by practicing to give the base for the freedom and letting go. I could have been utterly spontaneous and free and in the moment when I first touched the guitar. I wouldn't not have made any sequences of sounds that others would enjoy. I would not have found the challenges and interest in creating music I have. I would not be able to let go without a base of skills and knowledge and, hm, aesthetic tendencies that desire nourished, if I had not followed desire around those moments.

And I would not pick the right music for me to listen to. I could download random music, but following my desires, my likes and dislikes of music, led me to inspiration and developed my 'voice'. Of course I may have made errors in choices or had biases - I have certainly discovered music I avoided then later loved - but in general my desiring my way into music as both a listener and maker and then participator has nurtured what I have to offer. And I every often was selflessly desiring when I, for example, chose this music or that one to listen to. I chose what would give me pleasure. That pleasure might be a very complex thing. But I certainly wasn't choosing artist X because I thought it would make me help society or my loved ones. I chose it out of direct personal desire to hear what I would love. This very choice leads to me being able to give back, but that's not why I do it. It's a nice side effect. And I certainly desire to please other people, though balanced by other desires, and other aesthetic and artistic goals.
And great artists can take you there along with them. There are a few concerts I've attended where that happened: three that come to mind are a concert by Traffic (the original trio of Steve Winwood, Chris Woods and Jim Capaldi) that I attended when I was about 15 years old, a concert by Ali Akbar Khan and Alla Rakha, and a solo piano concert by Keith Jarrett.
Sure. I certainly let go as an audience member. Though desire got me those tickets. And desire did not lead me to other tickets. And I wanted it for me. No Boddisattva thoughts on the horizon when I ran out to get the tickets to the acts I wanted to see.

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LuckyR
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Re: Nirvana

Post by LuckyR » May 30th, 2019, 1:26 pm

Charl wrote:
May 16th, 2019, 10:29 pm
If a person ain't starving he doesn't truly appreciate his food.
So if a person never felt sadness he can never truly have happiness.
And if you are happy all the time you will get bored of being happy and your happiness while turning to sadness.
Though by the same logic, a privileged person's sadness could be another's joy. So the "happy all the time" construct is purely theoretical, no one has experienced it.
"As usual... it depends."

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