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“To live the Buddhist life, to become like the Buddha, we must imagine the Buddha. The goal must be embodied in our imaginations, our deepest energies gathered in an image of what we are trying to move towards.
… Imagination has direct access to its objects, in contrast to reason, which deals with concepts derived from experience. It is a means of knowing, its truths being symbolic rather than conceptual. As it matures, imagination becomes the faculty of faculties, combining and transcending reason, emotion, and the senses, whether physical or visionary.
Those who are truly creative know very well that imagination has in it something that is more than the individual. One cannot say that the poem or painting or music came from oneself, if it is at all successful; one did not will it: the creation seemed to will itself. This is important for us to understand if we wish to develop our imaginations. For the imagination to flower we must suspend our willing and allow something new to arise from beyond our conscious identity”.
(from Re-Imagining The Buddha, published on Sangharakshita’s website)Sangharakshita