I recall reading somewhere that beauty is a lure within Buddhism, and causes attachment towards the external world. However, I've come to think beauty may be positive in certain circumstances. This site which deals with mindfulness and other such topics suggests witnessing nature mindfully allows greater connection.

My reasoning is that if compassion is put forwards in Buddhism, especially with the Mahayana, then attachment isn't necessarily all bad. I recall reading the Dalai Lama explaining how compassion propels karma, but towards positive rebirth. Attachment towards others through compassion can benefit the individual in the present or future.

QUESTION 1: What is the benefit of aesthetic contemplation, if any?

And, in line with this, I wonder if within compassion meditation one needs to experience feeling during the meditation itself. I remember the Dalai Lama saying one should generate compassion with reasons, then focus upon the feeling. It's difficult for me to do so, so I wonder if compassion-meditation can work without immediate feeling.

QUESTION 2: Is feeling (either vedana or 'emotion') necessary for compassion meditation?

Thank you.

2 Answers 2


By saying “attachment isn't necessarily all bad,” you are somewhat timidly suggesting that “beauty and love are not (necessarily) forms of suffering.” The truth, of course, is that both Enlightenment and the path to Enlightenment are valuable because they profoundly enhance the experiences of and capacities for love and beauty (and insight). The fact that you are placing this profound truth in question is the result of a popular misunderstanding of Buddhism.

This common misunderstanding concerns the notion of detachment (upekkha) in Buddhism. A person practices detachment only as a preparation for achieving upacara samadhi in mindfulness meditation. Upacara samadhi is an objective, calm, undistracted, and focused state of mind that is conducive to psychological insight (which, in turn, is required to overcome suffering). Hence, the only reason a monk may contemplate the stages of decomposition of a corpse is to temporarily suspend any attachment to the body in order to reach upacara samadhi more easily. To practice detachment as a way of life has no value, because it does not generate insight. People who practice detachment without practicing a lot of meditation are merely increasing their suffering and delaying insight for another lifetime!

QUESTION 1: What is the benefit of aesthetic contemplation, if any? ANSWER TO QUESTION 1: While the contemplation of beauty does not lead directly to insight, it is an indicator of progress for those people who value the experience of beauty.

QUESTION 2: Is feeling (either vedana or 'emotion') necessary for compassion meditation? ANSWER TO QUESTION 2: In the practice of the brahmavihara, the practices of loving-kindness (metta) and joy for others (mudita) can be sources of great joy and happiness. Of course, the contemplation of the suffering of others (which arouses compassion or karuna) is painful. The practice of upekkha (usually translated as equanimity, but better translated as objectivity) is, well, objective. There is no equivalent to “emotion” in the Pali language. In Pali, vedana merely means feeling, which is not always emotional.


Eggman, are the homework assignments done? The basic works? If not, there is no base to build on.

To get attached to aesthetic, to beauty of nature, is very needed, since one starts to practice that what gives cause to: long life, beauty, happiness and strength: Dana, Sila, Bhavana.

The contemplations for that, after having the items understood, having developed the objects of contemplation, are this six found here:

[Q&A] What should one meditate upon as a beginner? (Bhavana for Laypeople)

As for the nature (plants animals), which is really not a ground for joy to contemplate, but a place to see how poor certain existances can be, to understand the confusion, its worthy to understand The Roots of Buddhist Romanticism. To see beauty in the ugly, good in bad... to even train such is a foolish practice of the fool. That is why real aesthetic objects are chosen. Not such without any generosity, virtue and even wisdom... nature is good to be wise reflected to develope samvega, "fear".

(Seems to be redundant questioning of yours... there is no way aside of simply putting firts generosity and then virtue just into practic, Eggman.)

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial purpose or other kinds of low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange]

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