Inception

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Inception

Postby Tex » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:58 pm

Go see this movie.

If I were you, I'd log off and go right now.

I may go again tomorrow.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Inception

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:07 pm

Seconded.
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Re: Inception

Postby bodom » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:32 pm

Not too many movies come out anymore that I really want to see but this is one of them.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Inception

Postby salmon » Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:59 am

Funny that this movie is not receiving attention in this forum. The matrix-like dimensions and Buddhist concepts alone are enough to make me wanna watch this movie a second time! Did Chris Nolan see some dhamma? Or do we see some dhamma in his film?

My advise to those who will watch it. Don't read any synopsis. Just go watch it. It will blow your mind to smithereens...literally!!


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Re: Inception

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:14 am

While the following review will not deter me from going to see inception, I find an alternative point of view always beneficial:

Going deep — to a place that’s too silly for words by Karl Quinn:

http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/ ... 10oej.html

kind regards

Ben
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Re: Inception

Postby salmon » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:29 am

I feel the interesting thing about the story is that there is an underlying lesson to learn about being able to separate reality and imagination. In a meditation sense, it shows the dangers of believing too much in your nimittas/visions. I shall not go further so as not to spoil the movie experience for others.
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Re: Inception

Postby OcTavO » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:45 am

I enjoyed it, although for me it suffered from the same problem that most of Nolan's other movies did - it was somehow clinical, cold, and lacking humanity. Still, it was a very intelligent and thought-provoking screenplay.

I didn't really see anything in it pertinent to the Dhamma. It plays with layers of reality, certainly, but the Dhamma talks unequivocally about waking up and seeing things for what they really are and Inception, if anything, seems to argue the opposite - that our dreams can be embraced as reality.
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Re: Inception

Postby octathlon » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:11 am

I had heard it was supposed to be really good, then saw the endorsements here, so I went to see it Sunday. I haven't gone to a movie in ages, several years I think. They had the sound turned up so loud I thought I would get permanent hearing damage. :o If I had gone by myself, I might have left for that reason, but fortunately I had a kleenex that I used to fashion a couple of earplugs. :D

Anyway, IMHO I give it a thumbs down, not for the premise, which I thought was good, but I felt the plot didn't live up to the potential of the idea, but just used it as a background for a typical formula movie. :toilet: Kind of like how a lot of science fiction stories are just westerns or love stories, but with aliens.
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Re: Inception

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:16 am

I really liked it. I found it an entertaining and engaging story that had some interesting ideas, characters, acting, and action.

In terms of depth, it's not Nobel Prize-winning art like Waiting for Godot (which toured Australasia recently). Neither is it a deep, internally-consistent, philosophical statement. Or particularly original. It's a movie. It's put together extremely well. What do you expect?

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Re: Inception

Postby octathlon » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:40 am

Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:I really liked it. I found it an entertaining and engaging story that had some interesting ideas, characters, acting, and action.

In terms of depth, it's not Nobel Prize-winning art like Waiting for Godot (which toured Australasia recently). Neither is it a deep, internally-consistent, philosophical statement. Or particularly original. It's a movie. It's put together extremely well. What do you expect?

Mike

Is the "what do you expect" directed at me, or just a rhetorical question? I guess I was expecting more of a psychological thriller. I don't want to go into plot details and possibly spoil anyone's experience, but I can say that at least a more "noble" mission shouldn't have been so tough to come up with, so you would care about whether they succeeded or not. We know why the main character took on this morally dubious assignment, but why was everyone else risking their lives for it? Money I suppose, hard to care much about these characters.
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Re: Inception

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:14 am

Hmm,

Kind of rhetorical question. In the end it's a movie that has to appeal to a reasonably wide audience, or they wouldn't get that kind of money to play with ever again... Given the genre I didn't see anything that I thought they really messed up.

As I said, I found it entertaining and thought-provoking, and I found the characters engaging enough to care about. A certain amount of depth. Some of the most interesting characters in many productions are not particularly noble (Almost all the characters in Inglorious Basterds for example, or Hamlet, or ... ).

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Re: Inception

Postby gavesako » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:13 pm

What makes a movie a “Buddhist?” movie? There’s been some talk recently about Christopher Nolan’s film Inception and its relationship to Buddhism. A good case has been made that the movie looks honestly at the way that the human mind works and the way it deceives itself. Other writers have said the film is anti-Buddhist since it hinges on the hijacking of another person’s mind.
What exactly makes a work of art “Buddhist?” Images of Buddha? Could be. That would be a visual cultural clue, but sometimes culture and spirituality get confused for one another. A shaved head does not make one a monk. Or does the exploration of the inner mind make a work of art “Buddhist”? Could be. ...
Once the idea reaches the culture at large that a movie is “Buddhist,” it becomes difficult to dislodge that idea. Inception is not any more Buddhist than The Shining... but that’s not to say itisn’t Buddhist either. The Matrix too served as a metaphor for a Buddhist view of reality and delusion, although Inception takes it a step further with an invitation for the viewer themselves to participate in the enlightenment. Are dreams as “real” as reality from the perspective of the mind? Is life itself a dream? If so, who is The Dreamer? Like all great art, the audience is asked to interpret for themselves, knowing all perception is personal; The Matrix strives to be good;Inception strives to be great.
Ultimately, the foremost allusions to Buddhist philosophy in Inception are the radical ideas that “reality” is not what it usually appears to be and our minds have ingenious ways of fooling themselves, no matter how big the house-of-cards. Has Cobb merely created a world of illusion for himself to exist in? That too shall pass. Nolan wisely leaves us wondering, knowing that in art the questions are far more important than the answers. Allowing that open ending to remain open is perhaps its purest expression of Buddhist philosophy.

http://www.prapancajournal.com/v1i2/review-movie.php
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Inception

Postby gavesako » Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:11 am

To gain an interesting perspective on "Inception" from the Buddha's point of view, the Gaddula Sutta: The Leash with its simile of the painter should be read in conjunction with it:

"It's just as when — there being dye, lac, yellow orpiment, indigo, or crimson — a dyer or painter would paint the picture of a woman or a man, complete in all its parts, on a well-polished panel or wall, or on a piece of cloth; in the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, when creating, creates nothing but form... feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness."

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=7059


We read in the 'Atthasalini' (a commentary to the Dhammasangani, which is the first book of the Abhidhamma) Book I, Part II, Analysis of Terms, 64:

How is consciousness (i.e.mind ) capable of producing a variety or diversity of effects in action?
There is no art in the world more variegated than the art of painting. In painting, the painter's masterpiece is more artistic than the rest of his pictures. An artistic design occurs to the painters of masterpieces that such and such pictures should be drawn in such and such a way. Through this artistic design there arise operations of the mind (or artistic operations) accomplishing such things as sketching the outline, putting on the paint, touching up, and embellishing... Thus all classes of arts in the world, specific or generic, are achieved by the mind. And owing to its capacity thus to produce a variety or diversity of effects in action, the mind, which achieves all these arts, is itself artistic like the arts themselves. Nay, it is even more artistic than the art itself, because the latter cannot execute every design perfectly. For that reason the Blessed One has said, 'Monks, have you seen a masterpiece of painting?' 'Yes, Lord.' 'Monks, that masterpiece of art is designed by the mind. Indeed, monks, the mind is even more artistic than that masterpiece.'



Also Bhikkhu Nanananda's comments are most enlightening here:

In a number of sermons we had to bring up the simile of the
motion picture. The simile is not our own, but only a modern-
ization of a canonical simile used by the Buddha himself. The
point of divergence was the question the Buddha had addressed
to the monks in the Gaddulasutta.

Diṭṭhaṃ vo, bhikkhave, caraṇaṃ nāma cittaṃ? "Monks,
have you seen a picture called a movie?" The monks answer in
the affirmative, and so the Buddha proceeds:

Tampi kho, bhikkhave, caraṇaṃ nāma cittaṃ citteneva cin-
titaṃ. Tena pi kho, bhikkhave, caraṇena cittena cittaññeva
cittataraṃ. "Monks, that picture called a movie is something
thought out by the mind. But the thought itself, monks, is even
more picturesque than that picture."

To say that it is more picturesque is to suggest its variegated
character. Thought is intrinsically variegated. We have no idea
what sort of a motion picture was there at that time, but the
modern day movie has a way of concealing impermanence by
the rapidity of projections of the series of pictures on the screen.
The rapidity itself gives an impression of permanence, which is
a perversion, vipallāsa.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Inception

Postby gavesako » Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:35 pm

Compare:

Moving Between Thought Worlds by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

We've all had the experience when we're asleep of finding ourselves in a dream and, for a while, believing that what's happening in the dream is real. Then something alerts us that something is wrong with the dream, and finally to the fact that we're dreaming. Usually that's enough for us to wake up, to pull out of the dream.

That process is very similar to the way we create mental worlds and emotional states during our waking life, because our picture of the world around us is always partial. It's always stitched together out of bits and pieces of what we've encountered through the senses. We have a notion of what makes sense, and as long as it makes sense and seems to be real, we can stay stuck in that state of mind. Then something strikes us as incongruous, as not fitting in. We realize, "Oh, that was an imaginary world." That's when we pull out. But then we find ourselves in another world, which may be better, and may not.

The ability to recognize what's incongruous, what's wrong with a world: That's an important skill. Without it, we get stuck in states of mind — what the Buddha called bhava, or becoming — where we can suffer very intensely. We focus on certain things in the world around us, certain ideas about who we are in that world, and everything else gets filtered through that particular picture. Other people's actions, for example, get filtered in this way, so that someone acting with perfectly good intentions may seem to be evil, sneaky, unreliable. Or vice versa. They actually may be evil, sneaky, and unreliable, yet we see them as being perfectly reasonable, perfectly trustworthy. But because the mental world we inhabit has its own inner coherence, we think it's accurate and real.

So we have to watch out for this. In a healthy mind, it's easy to switch from one world to another, to recognize the incongruities so that one state of becoming can actually pull you out of a less healthy state of becoming. There's a certain fluidity. And the fluidity comes from your mindfulness, your ability to remember that you take on different identities and inhabit different worlds, and some are more useful than others. Some are more beneficial, less stressful than others. If you're skillful, you can adopt whichever state of becoming seems to be the healthiest at that particular time, given what you want to do in those particular circumstances. The people with real problems are those who can't get out. They get stuck in a particular thought world and everything gets interpreted in its light. They can really do themselves a lot of damage because there's no porousness between the different states of becoming. There's no connection — either you're in it, or you're out of it. The different identities you take on, the different worlds you inhabit, seem to be very radically separate.

Usually for people who are stuck in a very unhealthy state like that, their only hope seems to be some outside power. This is why so many programs dealing with addictions rely on the idea of an outside power. Addicts get stuck in a particular idea of who they are, the world they're in, what they're capable of, what they're not capable of. And given the definitions of their little worlds, they're helpless. They need somebody from outside to come in and straighten them out. This comes from getting thoroughly trapped in a very fixed sense of who they are.

One of the purposes of the meditation is to get you out of the trap, so that you realize you have many different identities, you inhabit different worlds, and they can best be used as tools, realizing that no world that you inhabit is totally real or a totally accurate idea of where you are, in terms of your surroundings outside or what's going on inside.

William James made a lot of this point: that our idea of truth is pretty sketchy. How could you possibly know the total truth of the situation in which you're located? It would require a knowledge down to the sub-atomic particles and out to the edge of the universe — maybe even beyond the edge of the universe. That would be impossible. So to deal with possibilities, the mind lives by its sketches. Recognizing this fact is a useful step. "This sketch that I'm living with: Is it a useful sketch? Is it helpful?" It may have certain true details here and there, but you have to realize that no idea of your surroundings is going to be a totally adequate representation of what those surroundings are. The best you can do is ask if your sketch is adequate to your needs, your healthy needs, and in particular to your desire to put an end to suffering.

To learn how to pull yourself out of unhealthy worlds and into healthier ones first requires an understanding of how the mind creates these worlds, and then a development of the skills you need to move fluidly and beneficially between them.

Both of these skills are developed in meditation. In other words, you get hands-on experience in creating worlds by trying to create a world of concentration right here: inhabiting your body, staying with your breath, having a focal point. This is what these worlds are built around: a focal point based on a desire. In this case, you take the breath as your focal point, and your desire is to stay there as continually as possible. To help carry out that desire, you want to learn how to evaluate the breath and your concentration, to see how well you're doing. ...

Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Meditations 5
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ughtworlds
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Re: Inception

Postby gavesako » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:03 pm

The layers of the subconscious mind in "Inception" correspond to the layers of becoming (bhava) which are created all the time by the mind, either deliberately or on the deeper level of the latent tendencies/obsessions (anusaya):


Cetana Sutta: Intention SN 12.38

Staying at Savatthi... [the Blessed One said,] "What one intends, what one arranges, and what one obsesses about (or: what lies latent):[1] This is a support for the stationing of consciousness. There being a support, there is a landing [or: an establishing] of consciousness. When that consciousness lands and grows, there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is the production of renewed becoming in the future, there is future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Such is the origination of this entire mass of suffering & stress.

"If one doesn't intend and doesn't arrange, but one still obsesses [about something], this is a support for the stationing of consciousness. There being a support, there is a landing of consciousness. When that consciousness lands and grows, there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is the production of renewed becoming in the future, there is future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Such [too] is the origination of this entire mass of suffering & stress.

"But when one doesn't intend, arrange, or obsess [about anything], there is no support for the stationing of consciousness. There being no support, there is no landing of consciousness. When that consciousness doesn't land & grow, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress."

Notes
1. The seven obsessions (or: latent tendencies, anusaya) are: the obsession of sensual passion, the obsession of resistance, the obsession of views, the obsession of uncertainty, the obsession of conceit, the obsession of passion for becoming, and the obsession of ignorance.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

For more see viewtopic.php?f=23&t=12515
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Inception

Postby gavesako » Tue May 21, 2013 9:06 am

Projections – compare Madhupindika Sutta (categories of proliferated perception attack the person who started the process):

Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises [similarly with the rest of the six senses]. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling.

Starting with feeling, the notion of an "agent" — in this case, the feeler — acting on "objects," is introduced:
 What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one "papañcizes."

Through the process of papañca, the agent then becomes a victim of his/her own patterns of thinking:
 Based on what a person papañcizes, the perceptions & categories of papañca assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye [as with the remaining senses].

What are these perceptions & categories that assail the person who papañcizes? Sn 4.14 states that the root of the categories of papañca is the perception, "I am the thinker." From this self-reflexive thought — in which one conceives a "self," a thing corresponding to the concept of "I" — a number of categories can be derived: being/not-being, me/not-me, mine/not-mine, doer/done-to, signifier/signified. Once one's self becomes a thing under the rubric of these categories, it's impossible not to be assailed by the perceptions & categories derived from these basic distinctions. When there's the sense of identification with something that experiences, then based on the feelings arising from sensory contact, some feelings will seem appealing — worth getting for the self — and others will seem unappealing — worth pushing away. From this there grows desire, which comes into conflict with the desires of others who are also engaging in papañca. This is how inner objectifications breed external contention.  
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Inception

Postby Sekha » Tue May 21, 2013 9:32 am

I agree with the analysis given by Stan's mother :mrgreen:

Last edited by Sekha on Tue May 21, 2013 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inception

Postby gavesako » Tue May 21, 2013 9:54 am

Ariadne's double mirrors – showing infinite regress going in both directions (layers upon layers of consciousness and of deception, avijja):
"You never really remember the beginning of a dream, do you? You always wind up right in the middle of what's going on."

Remembering how one came into a dream = sati (recollection) which brings us back to reality.

Cobb's effort to escape from Cobol agents and to get himself acquitted from the crime which he is accused of – compare Nanavira's analysis of Kafka's Trial which is almost identical:
http://nanavira.org/index.php?option=co ... &Itemid=50

:spy:

Inception - Explaining the dream world
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3-a58Wt2tk

Inception - Ariadne Learns How To Build Dreams
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yshUmxuEjE
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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