Discussions of Zen Buddhism in all shapes and sizes.
Well, I'm denying it (so, there).
BTW, we don't "keep it out". But in practice, we apply attention to what we are doing. And we cultivate Concentration. And then, Samadhi. Where is all the imagination, then? In practicing prostration, we do not imagine. The mind itself is hardly moving, if at all... .
We no more "keep out" Imagination than we "keep out", say, Intoxication. But it just does not enter, nor is it invoked. Instead, the stage or laboratory or workplace is hosted by other faculties, features, and representatives of mind and body, not by Imagination.
"A time and place for everything, and everything in its place".
Imagination is the task at hand.
Teresa, James, et al.,
If imagination is in fact the task at hand, then, for sure, "go for it".
But if Zen Buddhist practice is the task at hand, let imagination rest, along with everything else that's not helpful or required.
To be sure, a Zen Buddhist teacher will teach publicly or privately just how to practice Zen Buddhist practices. If that teacher suggests imagination of some sort, then go with that: there are always special or rare cases. And that's why a teacher is always necessary in order to learn authentic practice, and to have one's practice tuned, one's progress assessed and encouraged, and, eventually, one's putative awakening thoroughly tested.
The generalization that imagination does not enter is still probably 99.440 percent certain, though, I'd say, although there may be some give or take available with regard to the last decimal point.
If it's a task, it's a task I'm not aware of at the time?
""Stop considering things with memory, imagination and contemplation."" Dogen?
Thanks; I don't know, Teresa.
If anything more about this should come to you, please share it around! (e.g., is it Dogen? And, is it an exact quote?).
It's a tantalizing sentence.
In extracting a thing's nature, language is lost.
If imagined objects aren't physical objects, why imagine?
There is a distinction: What is imagined is imagined and what is physical is physical.
Do not try and imagine the physical, as you will get the imagined.
Of imagined and physical, who is to say one is greater?
That is to say, I don't think Dogen was saying imagination is bad, although if someone can prove me wrong, be my guest. It's hard to interpret quotes sometimes, especially due to linguistic differences between English and Japanese.
The quote is from Fukanzazengi - as translated by Shohaku Okumura.
Fukanzazengi - Universal Recommendation for Zazen.
Nothing "bad" about Imagination... as I for one have been saying since square-one of this thread starting in the OP.
In my experience, however, it's just NOT invoked in Zen Buddhist practices. That's an observation. Upon reflection, I also see the reason(s) for this, and the reasons for what IS invoked, instead.
Zen Buddhist practice is medicine for waking-up, and remaining awake. It's about uncovering the natural and the original. Some say this is done -- upon awakening -- by 'direct-intuition'. In other words, neither the process of uncovering the Mind -- nor the sudden uncloaking of the Mind uncovered through the process -- involves the faculty of Imagination and its considerations. Just as these do not also involve, say, Intoxication.
Interesting!, that Master Dogen would have observed about this too, and weighed-in, in the Fukanzazengi ("Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen"). Thanks!, to Partofit (Teresa) for bringing this out, and, thanks!,to HePo for confirming it, documenting it, and providing the directly-translated quote, which is worded in no uncertain terms.
But, no surprise, here. I repeat that I find this natural, Compassionate and Wise.
p.s. If I read-into him a smidgeon, I take Dogen to be saying, vis-a-vis zazen (practice), "Look; don't undertake to 'imagine' ". (with apologies to John Lennon... ).
So far in this thread, by "Imagination", I, for one, do not mean "the mind wandering", nor "the wandering-mind", when we experience "wandering thoughts", even when we're not really well aware of the wandering thoughts.
In the practice of zazen, the mind may wander (or seem to ) when we otherwise suppose that we are focused on our method of meditation. But this (that...) wandering is not what I mean by imagination.
(but maybe you don't mean wandering thoughts?).
Nor do I, for another, mean "wandering mind" although imagination does in fact inhabit the wandering mind. My sense of imagination is as an opening and an expansiveness applied to whatever practice or task with which we are engaged. It is the willingness to be vulnerable to the vastness of possibility. There is nothing that is not infused with vastness. Imagination is our reaching out to this. Why wait till awakening to express imagining?
By the way Joe, when you capitalize the words "Wisdom" and "Compassion" as you do, I see a flicker of Imagination there, I really do.
I see, OK. I'd say too that although imagination can be involved with wandering thoughts, and vice versa, imagination does not enter when one is attending well to the method of practice (whichever practice it is, zazen or a physical practice).
Interesting. The sense I use it in, and see it in, is not as inclusive as that, I don't think.
Neat. I'd say though that that's not imagination, but ...that's willingness, and vulnerability (plus, having no fixed ideas). And it may even be extremely profound comfort and settledness, plus "not picking-and-choosing", and perhaps even our naturally expressing our true nature (as Dogen says we do in zazen in the truest way). I. e., I would not say these things are imagination, nor imbued with it, nor are they products of it.
I have no answers for that, regardless of whether the question is rhetorical or not. One may have it one's own way, if one wants (I mean, I'm not prescribing cold-showers).
Thanks, I guess. But I do it for the very practical purpose of distinguishing awakened true wisdom and awakened true compassion from the other kinds. I see no imagination about it, but there's a distinction that I see -- and make -- based on experience through practice. If such capitalization encourages others to feel that such Human faculties exist, and are just covered-up, and can be uncovered as the Buddha systematically taught, I'm very pleased, as I feel it helps to pay back a debt or debts to others who've helped me along the way. Readers may incur a spur to their imagination, perhaps, by seeing them in upper-case, but, really, I distinguish them as a scientist would distinguish clearly-differentiated observed or experienced things, and I'm naturally compelled to name them uniquely, perhaps as a social-scientist would classify them, in recognition of their uniqueness, and importance.
But, mostly, I capitalize those words as a Buddhist practitioner (Chan-, and Zen-Buddhist). The "science" attributions are true of me, yes, but -- like all Buddhist practitioners -- it's not through Science that I came to uncover these original Human inheritances. I have teachers and sanghas to thank for that, stretching back probably to beginningless time.
Last edited by desert_woodworker on Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
So when you apply imagination to your practice (or tasks), it expands your practice (or tasks) -- but it doesn't inhabit your practice (or tasks) like it would inhabit your wandering mind --- which is neither- (practice or task)
When my mind is wandering it is forming mental images but I don't suppose I'm aware of it at the time-
Your what? Where can I get such a thing?
Conditions form mental images, not you or your mind, nothing private about it.
So perhaps try to say "there is consciousness" or "there are thoughts"
Instead of "my thoughts" or I am aware, "there is awareness" instead
I'm not nickpicking, I found these little thing to be of utmost importance, it's not just a language thingy.
When observing dependend origination then there's no such thing as "my mind" or "mind"
Mijn Oude Vriend uit de woestijn begrijpt geen Nederlands. <3
That's probably a reply for James. But just in case not solely, Teresa, ...as I've mentioned, I, for one, don't "apply imagination" to our Zen Buddhist practices, and never was taught to do so.
What I note previously -- and again -- as remarkable, but natural, is that there is, in the annals of Zen Buddhist teaching, no suggestion or recommendation to include imagination (nor visualization) in any of our practices, such as I have encountered them. Other Buddhist (and Hindu) schools differ from Zen Buddhism in this way of practice, among other ways.
This effectively has, thus, made Imagination moot in Zen Buddhist practice, where, for its practices' purposes, the emphasis -- via attention, not imagination -- is instead indeed wisely and compassionately placed upon and directed toward the nature and texture of the very practices themselves, as they are experienced, not imagined.
No gloss, nor "expansion" is manufactured. The very task alone at hand is not only necessary, it is sufficient.
This is as I see it, (and can and do report) from practice-land.
Others' mileage may vary.
I agree you, I also have no mind for practise.
ps long topic by now, for me it's very simple imagination to me is just "image-making"
What you make (fabricate) you see, reality is the nature of perception, the perceiver and perceived are conceptual.
So lets chill for a bit and get funky.
Mijn Oude Vriend uit de woestijn begrijpt geen Nederlands. <3
I suggest instead that we increase our time for zazen sitting a little, and include some more physical practice each day, too.
But maybe that's what you mean?
Guo Gu, and his students, will surely exemplify for all attending how to go about this when you attend the Chan retreat with him (coming up soon?). All best!,
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