The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post sayings and stories you find interesting or useful.
Post Reply
User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 3774
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Ban Sri Pradu Cremation Ground, Phrao District, Chiangmai

The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:27 am


binocular
Posts: 4070
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by binocular » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:40 pm

We have interpretations of Shakespeare and interpretations of the Buddha. I wonder, though, how much Shakespeare's intended attitude or mood matches the Buddha's. When there seem to be concordances between what we take to be the Buddha's teachings and passages from Shakespeare, are we not imposing on the other an attitude that neither intended?

Should it be like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wk1Sob8Quo

or like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5iG5NitBgI

or maybe like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUmvOAGCJIc

or like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxvvkXYN7wg

to list just a few examples.

What was that like, when Prince Siddhartha became dissatisfied with life in the palace to the point that he left it? What was that like, when Prince Siddhartha lost all his mirth?

To say nothing of the speculations about what he sounded like after enlightenment, and whether there is anything in Shakespeare that matches that.

binocular
Posts: 4070
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by binocular » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:32 pm

Dhammanando wrote:The Dharma according to Shakespeare
Why do you say "Dharma"?

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 2457
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:43 pm

binocular wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:The Dharma according to Shakespeare
Why do you say "Dharma"?
That's the name of the site that the venerable links.

User avatar
Nicolas
Posts: 677
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:59 pm
Location: Somerville, MA, USA

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by Nicolas » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:03 pm

binocular wrote: Why do you say "Dharma"?
What's in a name? That which we call a dhamma, by any other word... ;-)

Caodemarte
Posts: 747
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:38 pm

So it is true. You really can find everything human in the universal genius of Shakespeare.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 2457
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:19 pm

"To be, or not to be, that is the question.
Or maybe both to be and not to be.
Or perhaps neither to be nor not to be...."

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 3774
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Ban Sri Pradu Cremation Ground, Phrao District, Chiangmai

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by Dhammanando » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:14 am

binocular wrote:Why do you say "Dharma"?
Edward Dickey, the site-owner, is of Tibetan Buddhist persuasion. And so one would expect him to use Dharma or Chö rather than Dhamma.

binocular
Posts: 4070
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by binocular » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:25 am

Dhammanando wrote:
binocular wrote:Why do you say "Dharma"?
Edward Dickey, the site-owner, is of Tibetan Buddhist persuasion. And so one would expect him to use Dharma or Chö rather than Dhamma.
But can there be Dhamma according to Shakespeare?
Caodemarte wrote:So it is true. You really can find everything human in the universal genius of Shakespeare.
But can you find nibbana?
Last edited by binocular on Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

binocular
Posts: 4070
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by binocular » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:29 am

Sam Vara wrote:"To be, or not to be, that is the question.
Or maybe both to be and not to be.
Or perhaps neither to be nor not to be...."
See this from Almereyda's version -- adding TNH to "Hamlet".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnzwbKbLuXk

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 3774
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Ban Sri Pradu Cremation Ground, Phrao District, Chiangmai

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by Dhammanando » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:13 am

binocular wrote:But can there be Dhamma according to Shakespeare?
I think the Bard had much to say that is conducive to dispassion rather than to passion; to absence of bondage rather than to bondage; to emptying out rather than to filling up; to fewness of wants rather than to greatness of wants; to content rather than to discontent; to solitude rather than to sociability; to putting forth energy rather than to indolence; and to being a light burden rather than to being a heavy burden.

Whatever he had to say of this sort might be reckoned as Dhamma as it's defined in the Saṃkhitta (or Gotamī) and Uttaravipatti Suttas.

https://suttacentral.net/en/an8.53
https://suttacentral.net/en/an8.8

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 2457
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:54 pm

binocular wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:"To be, or not to be, that is the question.
Or maybe both to be and not to be.
Or perhaps neither to be nor not to be...."
See this from Almereyda's version -- adding TNH to "Hamlet".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnzwbKbLuXk
Many thanks, binocular. Interesting!

binocular
Posts: 4070
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by binocular » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:59 pm

Dhammanando wrote:I think the Bard had much to say that is conducive to dispassion rather than to passion; to absence of bondage rather than to bondage; to emptying out rather than to filling up; to fewness of wants rather than to greatness of wants; to content rather than to discontent; to solitude rather than to sociability; to putting forth energy rather than to indolence; and to being a light burden rather than to being a heavy burden.

Whatever he had to say of this sort might be reckoned as Dhamma as it's defined in the Saṃkhitta (or Gotamī) and Uttaravipatti Suttas.
If one approaches texts and various other media with the intention to find Dhammic insights in them, one will probably readily find them.
However, this doesn't mean that all such texts and media contain instructions for a practice leading to the end of suffering; so in that sense, those texts and media are not Dhamma.

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 3774
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Ban Sri Pradu Cremation Ground, Phrao District, Chiangmai

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:10 pm

binocular wrote:However, this doesn't mean that all such texts and media contain instructions for a practice leading to the end of suffering; so in that sense, those texts and media are not Dhamma.
Sure. But judging from what the blogger has posted so far, and from the statement of purpose in his maiden post, I'm confident that Mr. Dickey doesn't regard all of Shakespeare's works as instances of Dhamma. (I could be mistaken though; and so in the unlikely event that we see Mr. Dickey posting, say, Launce's farting dog monologue in Two Gentlemen of Verona, or anything at all in The Comedy of Errors, as examples of Dhamma, I'll be sure to let him know he's barking up the wrong tree.)

binocular
Posts: 4070
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by binocular » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:41 am

I have a nagging suspicion that people who popularize various non-Buddhist texts and other media as containing Dhammic ideas have some questionable intentions for doing so. Almost to the point that I suspect that what they actually mean is something like, "Look, you can just stick to Shakespeare [or: Sartre / Thomas Mann / Einstein's socio-political views / etc. ] and become enlightened all the same, you don't need to bother yourself with meditation, studying the Pali Canon, trying to convince yourself of the cosmogonical hocus-pocus of Iron-Age peoples, and all that stuff."

I also question how much value a practicing Buddhist can find in worldly works of art. Not because of keeping the precepts or being a Buddhist fundamentalist, but because through Buddhist practice, one's view of the world has changed so much that those works of art do not have that effect on one that they are otherwise socio-culturally expected to have. Seeing a classical tragedy, does a practicing Buddhist still experience some kind of relief, catharsis (leaving aside the complexity of the concept of "catharsis" for the time being)? It doesn't seem so to me.

Phena
Posts: 469
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 6:40 am

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by Phena » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:12 am

Sam Vara wrote:"To be, or not to be, that is the question.
Or maybe both to be and not to be.
Or perhaps neither to be nor not to be...."
Alas, this tetralemma doth ne’er satisfy. "Nothing will come of nothing", but this whole wretched mass hath arisen dependently, I say.

In all seriousness though, the hallmark of Shakespeare’s work for me has always been his deep insight into the human condition. I think this is often consistent with the Dhamma, the truth of our situation.

binocular
Posts: 4070
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: The Dharma according to Shakespeare

Post by binocular » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:26 am

Phena wrote:In all seriousness though, the hallmark of Shakespeare’s work for me has always been his deep insight into the human condition. I think this is often consistent with the Dhamma, the truth of our situation.
I've always felt let down by him, because while he is very good at describing the problem, he doesn't provide the solution to it.
Someone enamored with Rilke will say that one must learn to love the questions, and the doubts, and the uncertainty -- but such love can live only in poems.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests