Emotion and Reason

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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby jeeprs » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:28 am

I think love is an end in itself. If bodhicitta is not the manifestation of love, what else is it, and what good could it do? Of course there is the love that is tinged by self-interest and grasping, but so long as it remains love first and foremost, then what harm can ever come of it?

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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby seeker242 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:34 am

If all emotions are suffering then how can metta, karuna, and mudita be "divine abodes"?
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Nikolay » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:34 am

jeeprs wrote:I think love is an end in itself. If bodhicitta is not the manifestation of love, what else is it, and what good could it do? Of course there is the love that is tinged by self-interest and grasping, but so long as it remains love first and foremost, then what harm can ever come of it?
Altogether now: All you need is......

I would argue that only the state of Buddhahood, that is, ultimate liberation, bliss (well, this probably does not apply literally, but still) and cessation of suffering is the only thing that qualifies as an end in itself. Of course, we can say that the most exalted definition of love is more or less synonymous with that... But I was speaking about love on the relative level.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Astus » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:35 pm

Both emotion and reason are thoughts, mental phenomena. Relying on either an emotion or a reason are attachment. In fact, emotions go away in a short time but people can hang on their reasoning for a lifetime. An emotion gets its meaning from reasoning, and one considers a reason true because of an emotion. There is no ultimate logical truth, there is no obstructive emotion. Reasoning is believing in a series of concepts. Emotion is believing in a feeling. The problem is not with the concept or the feeling, but with believing them to be true and real.

Some thoughts to consider:

"That, Manjusri, is the way a sick bodhisattva should concentrate his mind; he should live neither in control of his mind, nor in indulgence of his mind. Why? To live by indulging the mind is proper for fools and to live in control of the mind is proper for the disciples. Therefore, the bodhisattva should live neither in control nor in indulgence of his mind. Not living in either of the two extremes is the domain of the bodhisattva."
(Vimalakirti Sutra, ch. 5, tr. Thurman)

"Noble sir, one who stays in the fixed determination of the vision of the uncreated is not capable of conceiving the spirit of unexcelled perfect enlightenment. However, one who lives among created things, in the mines of passions, without seeing any truth, is indeed capable of conceiving the spirit of unexcelled perfect enlightenment."
(ch. 8)

"Noble sons, there is a liberation of bodhisattvas called 'destructible and indestructible.' You must train yourselves in this liberation. What is it? 'Destructible' refers to compounded things. 'Indestructible' refers to the uncompounded. But the bodhisattva should neither destroy the compounded nor rest in the uncompounded."
(ch. 11)

There are of course other sutras that talk about how "passions are enlightenment" (煩惱即菩提).
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

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Need tempering or refinement?
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This face, the face at birth."

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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby jeeprs » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:49 pm

Mirage wrote:I would argue that only the state of Buddhahood, that is, ultimate liberation, bliss (well, this probably does not apply literally, but still) and cessation of suffering is the only thing that qualifies as an end in itself


So what are we doing meanwhile?
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby plwk » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:11 pm

I would argue that only the state of Buddhahood, that is, ultimate liberation, bliss (well, this probably does not apply literally, but still) and cessation of suffering is the only thing that qualifies as an end in itself


So what are we doing meanwhile?

This & this
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby MalaBeads » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:21 pm

jeeprs wrote:So what are we doing meanwhile?


If you have monks vows, perhaps you seek to eradicate emotions entirely. I am not a monk, and quite sure that i will never be one, not in this lifetime anyway.

Isn't the bottom line, so to speak, to use emotions and not be used by them?

Isn't that the reason there are 84,000 teachings? Because everyone is different, living with different bodies, different circumstances?
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Namgyal » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:58 pm

'Relative bodhicitta is essentially compassion, ultimate bodhicitta is essentially insight.' (Jamgon Kongtrul)
So your 'vulcan-yana' is back-to-front.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:44 pm

Even relative Bodhicitta does not seem like an emotion to me, this kind of compassion is an attempt to change your relationship to the world and stop seeing self and other in everything. Compassion as an emotion is more like empathy where you "feel" someone else's pain I guess..I don't know if it's good or bad, or in what circumstances.

I don't think you can really avoid or eradicate emotions through suppression though...in fact one could argue that trying to do so is kind of a way of (among other things) avoiding the First Noble Truth by sort of pretending you can not suffer here in samsara, or that there is some ultimate solution that involves "doing" that can just make dukkha go away...I think it's a bit more thorny than that.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:58 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote: ... I don't think you can really avoid or eradicate emotions through suppression though...in fact one could argue that trying to do so is kind of a way of (among other things) avoiding the First Noble Truth by sort of pretending you can not suffer here in samsara, or that there is some ultimate solution that involves "doing" that can just make dukkha go away...I think it's a bit more thorny than that.

Yeah ... you can avoid emotions for a while by suppressing them but they always come back later and bite you anyway because you haven't eradicated them. The classical way of eradicating them is, of course, by learning how they operate and how to avoid those recurrent patterns - mindfulness, in fact.

:meditate:
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby MalaBeads » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:42 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote: ... I don't think you can really avoid or eradicate emotions through suppression though...in fact one could argue that trying to do so is kind of a way of (among other things) avoiding the First Noble Truth by sort of pretending you can not suffer here in samsara, or that there is some ultimate solution that involves "doing" that can just make dukkha go away...I think it's a bit more thorny than that.

Yeah ... you can avoid emotions for a while by suppressing them but they always come back later and bite you anyway because you haven't eradicated them. The classical way of eradicating them is, of course, by learning how they operate and how to avoid those recurrent patterns - mindfulness, in fact.

:meditate:
Kim


I have actually heard a western Buddhist teacher advise someone to suppress what they were feeling. But I'm not going to go into that because it upset me when I heard that advice and it still does. BTW, the woman being advised was at the time crying. She was advised to suppress her feeling. I'm not kidding. That was the advice.

There is, however, also repression. I know some modern day psychologists have begun to question whether the phenomenon of repression even exists. I will tell you quite directly that it does. It takes a lot to, how shall I say it?, crack through the veneer of repressed emotion, but it can be done. For me, it only happened with Vajrayana. Possibly, with enough diligence and correct method, other traditions would do the same. i cant speak for all traditions.

I am comfortable saying however, that for most people, suppressing and repressing emotion is not a way to heal suffering. Nonetheless, I don't want to say for everyone because I can't speak for everyone.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:29 am

I have heard Dharma as teaching how to be happy without relying on happiness,
and how to experience sadness without dwelling in it.
Emotions are not the problem. they have no inherent existence.
the problems arise when we become attached to emotions, and begin to solidify them
"emotional constipation"
...even to the point that we let them push us around.
There are people who let their emotions control them to such an extent,
that if another person tried to control them that much they wouldn't stand for it.

I have a friend who is a lama and I have heard him tell people what might be construed as suppressing emotions,
but in this case it is not really what he is saying at all.
What he is saying is to stop indulging in them
and by indulging, it means to such a point that the mind cannot relax
or return to being calm.

It has been thought by many psychologists that when a person has a traumatic experience,
the best thing to do is to get them to talk about it.
However, in the light of so many tragic events, such as shootings and other events that we see in the news,
there is the opinion now that this is not such a good idea,
that reliving it over and over again, verbally, only solidifies it in the mind of the victim
and makes it all the more difficult to let go of.
.
.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:41 am

For sure, obviously it just comes back to the 2nd noble truth and how we view that.

I think though, there is always some tension between those that view Buddhism as a sort of path of restriction and those that think the severing with attachment can come from something other than restriction. For myself I feel they both work..and in my experience I need a combination of the two, the approach of restriction and of transformation.

I don't know what other word to use than restriction, it isn't the same as repression, but sometimes I wonder if the more Austere type of Buddhist practice in Western culture end up in a kind of repression for some people, rather than the healthy restriction. Where is the dividing line between repressing emotion on the one hand, and restricting behavior in order to detach from it on the other?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:07 am

mirage wrote:I fail to see your point. Wisdom is necessary, but method is also necessary. There is a well-known metaphor where they are compared to bird's wings. Take any wing away, and the bird will not fly.


Method is practice, not skilful means. The latter is what a teacher uses to get their student on the right track or out of the burning house.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:11 am

seeker242 wrote:If all emotions are suffering then how can metta, karuna, and mudita be "divine abodes"?


I don't think they're passionate emotions.

I think there is a difference between wanting someone to be free from suffering and the affliction-driven emotion of love.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby uan » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:14 am

Huseng wrote:But do you feel emotion when you put your socks on or feed yourself? In the absence of self and other, would there be any need or impulse to have emotions associated with helping others?


Does one use reason and logic when putting socks on? In the absence of self and other, would there be any need or impulse to have logic and reason associated with helping others?

Empty of one. Empty of the other.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby uan » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:16 am

Astus wrote:Both emotion and reason are thoughts, mental phenomena. Relying on either an emotion or a reason are attachment. In fact, emotions go away in a short time but people can hang on their reasoning for a lifetime. An emotion gets its meaning from reasoning, and one considers a reason true because of an emotion. There is no ultimate logical truth, there is no obstructive emotion. Reasoning is believing in a series of concepts. Emotion is believing in a feeling. The problem is not with the concept or the feeling, but with believing them to be true and real.

Some thoughts to consider:

"That, Manjusri, is the way a sick bodhisattva should concentrate his mind; he should live neither in control of his mind, nor in indulgence of his mind. Why? To live by indulging the mind is proper for fools and to live in control of the mind is proper for the disciples. Therefore, the bodhisattva should live neither in control nor in indulgence of his mind. Not living in either of the two extremes is the domain of the bodhisattva."
(Vimalakirti Sutra, ch. 5, tr. Thurman)

"Noble sir, one who stays in the fixed determination of the vision of the uncreated is not capable of conceiving the spirit of unexcelled perfect enlightenment. However, one who lives among created things, in the mines of passions, without seeing any truth, is indeed capable of conceiving the spirit of unexcelled perfect enlightenment."
(ch. 8)

"Noble sons, there is a liberation of bodhisattvas called 'destructible and indestructible.' You must train yourselves in this liberation. What is it? 'Destructible' refers to compounded things. 'Indestructible' refers to the uncompounded. But the bodhisattva should neither destroy the compounded nor rest in the uncompounded."
(ch. 11)

There are of course other sutras that talk about how "passions are enlightenment" (煩惱即菩提).

:good:
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:18 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I don't know what other word to use than restriction, it isn't the same as repression, but sometimes I wonder if the more Austere type of Buddhist practice in Western culture end up in a kind of repression for some people, rather than the healthy restriction. Where is the dividing line between repressing emotion on the one hand, and restricting behavior in order to detach from it on the other?


I've never read of "emotional repression" in Buddhist works. This is an idea from modern western psychology.

Perhaps if you tried curtailing your harmful thoughts and feelings it might hurt at first, but then the psychologist would suggest this is repression and hence bad, dangerous and invalid. Anyone who takes even pop psychology seriously would associate the pain of abstinence with "repression" and thus perhaps have a negative perspective on what they're doing.

Meanwhile from the Buddhist perspective you're just applying the medicine and it stings for a bit. If you carry through with it then the course of medicine will finish and you'll be better off. In traditional Buddhist thought, abstinence is praiseworthy and encouraged. This is why laypeople take eight precepts when they can where they basically live like a novice for a day and night. On certain days on the calendar you refrain from sex and fast in the evening. All this is praiseworthy and seen as beneficial.

However, western psychology would see it perhaps as a kind of repression.

It all boils down to perspective, doesn't it?
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:20 am

uan wrote:Does one use reason and logic when putting socks on? In the absence of self and other, would there be any need or impulse to have logic and reason associated with helping others?


Intellectually-motivated compassion is weak and dependent on calculations.

If you realize and actualize emptiness, even at a shallow level, then compassion is spontaneous and pure.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:42 am

uan wrote:
Huseng wrote:But do you feel emotion when you put your socks on or feed yourself? In the absence of self and other, would there be any need or impulse to have emotions associated with helping others?


Does one use reason and logic when putting socks on? In the absence of self and other, would there be any need or impulse to have logic and reason associated with helping others?

Empty of one. Empty of the other.


When I put on socks or feed myself, I do rely on reason, logic, emotion, and the illusory experience of a "self".
Not so much when I take my socks off, however.
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