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Thread: What is the will?

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    What is the will?

    I have been reflecting on the will. What is the will? What are its components? It seems to me that much of what we do is an act of will. Is the will a bad thing or is it a neutral thing, nothing more than a tool? Should we act without engaging will, and if so, how does one do that?

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    An early treatise on will by the excellent Mrs. RHYS DAVIDS in On the Will in Buddhism. The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland 1898.01 pp47--59 is well worth a read and can be found here: http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-ENG/dav.htm

    In her conclusion, the will in Buddhism, "... sought, often naively, often pedantically, but on the whole sanely, to divert the current of desire to aims intellectual and ethical rather than worldly or sensual, and then to foster and strengthen aspiration and resolve in the effort to persevere towards complete attainment of what it held to be the noblest kind of life."

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by moonwolfnz View Post
    I have been reflecting on the will. What is the will? What are its components? It seems to me that much of what we do is an act of will. Is the will a bad thing or is it a neutral thing, nothing more than a tool? Should we act without engaging will, and if so, how does one do that?
    I think an act of will is usually considered to be an intentional/deliberate act. In Buddhism, the Pali for will or volition is "cetana".

    Here's a sutta with the title "An Act of Will".....


    AN 11.2 Cetana Sutta: An Act of Will


    "For a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue, there is no need for an act of will, 'May freedom from remorse arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that freedom from remorse arises in a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue.

    "For a person free from remorse, there is no need for an act of will, 'May joy arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that joy arises in a person free from remorse.

    "For a joyful person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May rapture arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that rapture arises in a joyful person.

    "For a rapturous person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May my body be serene.' It is in the nature of things that a rapturous person grows serene in body.

    "For a person serene in body, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I experience pleasure.' It is in the nature of things that a person serene in body experiences pleasure.

    "For a person experiencing pleasure, there is no need for an act of will, 'May my mind grow concentrated.' It is in the nature of things that the mind of a person experiencing pleasure grows concentrated.

    "For a person whose mind is concentrated, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I know & see things as they actually are.' It is in the nature of things that a person whose mind is concentrated knows & sees things as they actually are.

    "For a person who knows & sees things as they actually are, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I feel disenchantment.' It is in the nature of things that a person who knows & sees things as they actually are feels disenchantment.

    "For a person who feels disenchantment, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I grow dispassionate.' It is in the nature of things that a person who feels disenchantment grows dispassionate.

    "For a dispassionate person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I realize the knowledge & vision of release.' It is in the nature of things that a dispassionate person realizes the knowledge & vision of release.

    "In this way, dispassion has knowledge & vision of release as its purpose, knowledge & vision of release as its reward. Disenchantment has dispassion as its purpose, dispassion as its reward. Knowledge & vision of things as they actually are has disenchantment as its purpose, disenchantment as its reward. Concentration has knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its purpose, knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its reward. Pleasure has concentration as its purpose, concentration as its reward. Serenity has pleasure as its purpose, pleasure as its reward. Rapture has serenity as its purpose, serenity as its reward. Joy has rapture as its purpose, rapture as its reward. Freedom from remorse has joy as its purpose, joy as its reward. Skillful virtues have freedom from remorse as their purpose, freedom from remorse as their reward.

    "In this way, mental qualities lead on to mental qualities, mental qualities bring mental qualities to their consummation, for the sake of going from the near to the Further Shore."


    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....002.than.html



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    Thank you Philg and Aloka. There is a lot to reflect on here. Thank you very much for replying.

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