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How are emotions formed?

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How are emotions formed?

Postby zenJazzist on Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:43 pm

Do all emotions arise because of thinking?

Did the Buddha, someone unattached to thought, have emotions that arose, independent/not dependent on thought?

It seems that any emotion, without exception, is the product of a mental formation.

If I am feeling something, its because I have interpreted something, and that gives me feeling.

"If a cat sees a mouse, it thinks 'yum, food!' If a woman sees a mouse, she shrieks!"

If one is free from attachment to thought, is it therefore possible to be free from emotion?

Why do I ask this kind of question? Because in music philosophy, people talk about music as having intrinsic meaning, justified by the emotional quality they create and therefore proven to be so. But I want to check this for myself - is not all emotion just a result of the minds interpretation? That would mean, any music philosophy is a finger pointing, not to the moon of the 'true nature' of music (they are not authentic, 'truthful descriptions'), but to itself, a finger pointing at a finger, so to speak. :hugs:
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Re: How are emotions formed?

Postby Judy Roitman on Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:26 am

Dear zenJazzist,

Well I'm a woman and I don't shriek when I see a mouse. I think they're kind of cute. I like insects and spiders and snakes too.

I think you are thinking too much and tying yourself into knots. How can you separate one thing from another? How can you say thinking is primary or emotion is primary or perception is primary or...? You can classify things all kinds of ways. Inevitably there is a certain arbitrariness to it. Why bother?

Music has intrinsic meaning, sure. Intrinsic means it is not justified by appealing to anything else. I don't understand why anyone would want to limit, say, Johann Sebastian Bach, or Thelonious Monk, or Meredith Monk, or, God help us, Miley Cyrus, by saying --- oh, this passage causes me to feel that emotion. Maybe tomorrow you'll feel something different. Why not?

You are a serious musician. You're a lucky guy! When you play music, please just play it completely. Everything else will follow on its own.

If you practice Zen you will find over time that when you do something that is exactly what you do, nothing more and nothing less. No need to overthink, overcategorize, to praise or castigate yourself. Just do it. That's all.

Good luck,

Judy Roitman (Zen Master Bon Hae), Kansas Zen Center, Kwan Um School of Zen
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