Sunday, February 15

Cinema and Pinball As Overworked But Accurate Metaphors


Just as when still frames run together in succession create the illusion of movement, so do mind moments arising in succession create the illusion of compactness, the delusive notion of a solid separate entity apart from those mind moments.

In my inquiry with DaeJa on Friday, she suggested the idea of pinball as a way of practice, though she didn't use that word. She conveyed the notion of playing, and allowing (as opposed to the tightening urge to control). Attention is the ball, and the bumpers the sense doors? Actually, it isn't exactly pinball she was describing, but one of those games I had when I was little, where the ball came to rest sometimes in these little plastic semi-circles. Much better. Not the frenetic bouncing around of pinball, but the more contemplative coming-to-rest, temporarily.

"The L-Word" and the R-Word


Last night while we watched Showtime's marathon of the first few episodes of their original series, "The L-Word," one of the characters referred to his girlfriend as, "a bit of a recluse." The word "recluse" banged a resonant gong. The character's tone & the context conveyed that a recluse, to his (and probably most people's) way of thinking, was Not A Good Thing To Be. Mental proliferation followed: that I've always had this tendency towards the reclusive, in childhood, and more markedly in adolescence; solitude is natural and comfortable for me. Then I think of the Samaññaphala Sutta, and how the title of Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi's book translates it as "Discourse on the Fruits of Recluseship." An altogether different meaning & context. Being reclusive is a helpful quality for practicing the path; although it is said that kalyanamitta relationships are the entirety of the holy life, one must needs also get really comfortable with silence and solitude, and not delight in socializing for its own sake. On the other hand, if one's predilection for solitude comes from fear & aversion, then there needs to be another kind of relaxing for there to be balance. Contentment, rather than avoidance...
Discourse on the Fruits of Recluseship

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