Labyrinths and Mazes

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
Locked
User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3816
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Labyrinths and Mazes

Post by Sam Vara » Tue May 15, 2018 10:27 am

Does anyone know of any references (Sutta, commentarial, or modern) to labyrinths or mazes within Buddhism?

There are of course mandalas and other images, but I am specifically interested in the idea of a path to be travelled which is convoluted or recursive in some way.

I can't recall seeing anything in the suttas, and it's possible that there was no such concept or structure in India at the time of the Buddha, although they feature, of course, in Greek mythology around the same time.

chownah
Posts: 7329
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Labyrinths and Mazes

Post by chownah » Tue May 15, 2018 12:38 pm

There is the thicket of views.....not quite the same....
chownah

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3816
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Labyrinths and Mazes

Post by Sam Vara » Tue May 15, 2018 12:53 pm

chownah wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 12:38 pm
There is the thicket of views.....not quite the same....
chownah
But one to think about, all the same. Thanks, Chownah! :anjali:

User avatar
Zom
Posts: 2065
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Contact:

Re: Labyrinths and Mazes

Post by Zom » Tue May 15, 2018 1:03 pm

You mean buddhist path? No, there is no such simile. Thicket of views is about non-buddhist path, someone with wrong views goes here and there and somewhere else without gaining right understanding and right goal. As for a buddhist path.. well, this one is the closest: https://suttacentral.net/sn22.84/en/bodhi

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3816
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Labyrinths and Mazes

Post by Sam Vara » Tue May 15, 2018 1:14 pm

Zom wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 1:03 pm
You mean buddhist path? No, there is no such simile. Thicket of views is about non-buddhist path, someone with wrong views goes here and there and somewhere else without gaining right understanding and right goal. As for a buddhist path.. well, this one is the closest: https://suttacentral.net/sn22.84/en/bodhi
Well, any path, really, whether approved of or disapproved of.

Thanks for the Tissa Sutta. I'd completely forgotten that one.

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 4006
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Ban Sri Pradu Cremation Ground, Phrao District, Chiangmai

Re: Labyrinths and Mazes

Post by Dhammanando » Tue May 15, 2018 3:16 pm

The Abbhantara Jātaka comes to mind.
Next day, the queen lay down, as though ill, giving instructions to her maidens. The king sat upon his throne, under the white umbrella, and looked on at the dancing. Not seeing his queen, he asked a handmaid where she was.

"The queen is sick," replied the girl.

So the king went to see her; and sitting by her side, stroked her back, and asked, "What is the matter, lady?"

"Nothing," said she, "but that I have a craving for something."

"What is it you want, lady?" he asked again.

"A middle mango, my lord."

"Where is there such a thing as a middle mango?"

"I don't know what a middle mango is; but I know that I shall die if I don't get one."

"All right, we will get you one; don't trouble about it."

So the king consoled her, and went away. He took his seat upon the royal divan, and sent for his courtiers. "My queen has a great craving for a middle mango. What is to be done?" said he.

Some one told him, "A middle mango is one which grows between two others. Send to your park, and find a mango growing between two others; pluck its fruit and let us give it to the queen." So the king sent men to do after this manner.

But Sakka by his power made all the fruit disappear, as though it had been eaten. The men who came for the mangoes searched the whole park through, and not a mango could they find; so back they went to the king, and told him that mangoes there were none.

"Who is it eats the mangoes?" asked the king.

"The ascetics, my lord."

"Give the ascetics a drubbing, and bundle them out of the park!" he commanded. The people heard and obeyed: Sakka's wish was fulfilled. The queen lay on and on, longing for the mango.

The king could not think what to do. He gathered his courtiers and his brahmins, and asked them, "Do you know what a middle mango is?"

Said the brahmins: "My lord, a middle mango is the portion of the gods. It grows in Himalaya, in the Golden Cave. So we have heard by immemorial tradition."

"Well, who can go and get it?"

"A human being cannot go; we must send a young parrot."
For the rest of the story...
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/j2/j2134.htm

It's not exactly a maze, but certainly a very tortuous route that the parrot has to take to find the "middle mango".

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3816
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Labyrinths and Mazes

Post by Sam Vara » Tue May 15, 2018 5:03 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 3:16 pm
It's not exactly a maze, but certainly a very tortuous route that the parrot has to take to find the "middle mango".
And it's certainly a very fine story! Who knew that the proper way to honour a parrot is to anoint him beneath the wings with oil?!

Many thanks Bhante. :anjali:

User avatar
binocular
Posts: 5405
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Labyrinths and Mazes

Post by binocular » Tue May 15, 2018 5:18 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 10:27 am
Does anyone know of any references (Sutta, commentarial, or modern) to labyrinths or mazes within Buddhism?
I'm sorry, I can't remember the exact Dhamma talks where he mentions it, but Thanissaro Bhikkhu once mentions something to the effect that when one walks the path, it sometimes seems to be all over the place, with no clear goal, but that later on, when one looks back, it all makes sense.

I was able to find this, though:
/.../
This view is based on a very simplistic understanding of fabricated reality, seeing causality as linear and totally predictable: X causes Y which causes Z and so on, with no effects turning around to condition their causes, and no possible way of using causality to escape from the causal network. However, one of the many things the Buddha discovered in the course of his awakening was that causality is not linear. The experience of the present is shaped both by actions in the present and by actions in the past. Actions in the present shape both the present and the future. The results of past and present actions continually interact. Thus there is always room for new input into the system, which gives scope for free will. There is also room for the many feedback loops that make experience so thoroughly complex, and that are so intriguingly described in chaos theory. Reality doesn't resemble a simple line or circle. It's more like the bizarre trajectories of a strange attractor or a Mandelbrot set.
/.../
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... nance.html
And if you search ATI for "labyrinth" and "maze", there are some hits in the essays and descriptions of suttas.
Also, searching Dhammatalks.org for "trajectory" gives some interesting results.

And one more by Ven. Thanissaro: A thread out of the maze, from June 2006.
Last edited by binocular on Tue May 15, 2018 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3816
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Labyrinths and Mazes

Post by Sam Vara » Tue May 15, 2018 5:25 pm

binocular wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 5:18 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 10:27 am
Does anyone know of any references (Sutta, commentarial, or modern) to labyrinths or mazes within Buddhism?
I'm sorry, I can't remember the exact Dhamma talks where he mentions it, but Thanissaro Bhikkhu once mentions something to the effect that when one walks the path, it sometimes seems to be all over the place, with no clear goal, but that later on, when one looks back, it all makes sense.

I was able to find this, though:
/.../
This view is based on a very simplistic understanding of fabricated reality, seeing causality as linear and totally predictable: X causes Y which causes Z and so on, with no effects turning around to condition their causes, and no possible way of using causality to escape from the causal network. However, one of the many things the Buddha discovered in the course of his awakening was that causality is not linear. The experience of the present is shaped both by actions in the present and by actions in the past. Actions in the present shape both the present and the future. The results of past and present actions continually interact. Thus there is always room for new input into the system, which gives scope for free will. There is also room for the many feedback loops that make experience so thoroughly complex, and that are so intriguingly described in chaos theory. Reality doesn't resemble a simple line or circle. It's more like the bizarre trajectories of a strange attractor or a Mandelbrot set.
/.../
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... nance.html
And if you search ATI for "labyrinth" and "maze", there are some hits in the essays and descriptions of suttas.
Many thanks binocular. Thanissaro's famous "feedback loops"!

I'll also have a look at ATI.

:anjali:

User avatar
Pseudobabble
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:11 am
Location: London

Re: Labyrinths and Mazes

Post by Pseudobabble » Wed May 16, 2018 5:58 am

Kamma is recursive, seems it could fit your bill, at least metaphorically.

Thanissaro has written a book on it: The Shape of Suffering.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Max Nanasy and 49 guests