Presenting Alan Watts' account of Nirvana as recorded in his Lectures on Buddhism: The Middle Way.
In the Buddhist context Nirvana or moksha, is described as the extinguishing of the fires that cause suffering. These fires are typically identified as the fires of attachment (raga), aversion (dvesha) and ignorance (moha or avidya). When the fires are extinguished, suffering (dukkha) comes to an end. The cessation of suffering is described as complete peace. Thus nirvana refers to the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished.
In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with the divine ground of existence Brahman (Supreme Being) and the experience of blissful egolessness.
Alan Wilson Watts (6 Jan.1915–16 Nov.1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.
Watts's fascination with the Zen developed because that tradition embodied the spiritual, interwoven with the practical, as exemplified in the subtitle of his Spirit of Zen: A Way of Life, Work, and Art in the Far East. "Work," "life," and "art" were not demoted due to a spiritual focus.
Watts came to prefer writing in the language of modern science and psychology (Psychotherapy East and West is a good example), finding a parallel between mystical experiences and the theories of the material universe proposed by 20th-century physicists. He later equated mystical experience with ecological awareness, and typically emphasized whichever approach seemed best suited to the audience he was addressing.
Watts felt that absolute morality had nothing to do with the fundamental realization of one's deep spiritual identity. He advocated social rather than personal ethics. In his writings, Watts was increasingly concerned with ethics applied to relations between humanity and the natural environment and between governments and citizens.
In several of his later publications, especially Beyond Theology and The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Watts put forward a worldview, drawing on Hinduism, Chinese philosophy, panentheism, and modern science, in which he maintains that the whole universe consists of a cosmic self playing hide-and-seek (Lila), hiding from itself (Maya) by becoming all the living and non-living things in the universe, forgetting what it really is; the upshot being that we are all IT in disguise. In this worldview, Watts asserts that our conception of ourselves as an "ego in a bag of skin" is a myth; the entities we call the separate "things" are merely processes of the whole.
A grateful and commendatory note about the excellent SecondLife 'viewer' that I used to film this animation within, Black Dragon (3.7.9), formerly known as Niran's Viewer, which among other attractions allows for animations to be played in world at adjusted speeds fater or slower and has a machinimist dedicated tool sidebar for fine tuning Deffered Rendering of shadows and etc. More details about Black Dragon at Niran's blog here ( niranv-sl.blogspot.co.uk/?zx=38b08b1b0760c469 )
Soundtrack created with the following samples allowed under
Creative Commons licences;
Attribution Noncommercial License.
Creative Commons 0 License
Alan Watts Lectures; Buddhism: The Middle Way
Creative Commons license: Attribution 3.0
IUMA (Internet Underground Music Archive) Collection
Concieved, Directed, Edited by Celestial Elf,
Filmed in Black Dragon 3.7.9, on Windows 7 Home Ed, with Fraps,
Edited in Serif Movie Plus X3.
Copyright Celestial Elf 2014.
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