Out of Nowhere the Mind Comes Forth: A Practice-Based Exploration of the Relationship Between Buddhist Thought and Creative Writing

Macneil, Kevin 2023. Out of Nowhere the Mind Comes Forth: A Practice-Based Exploration of the Relationship Between Buddhist Thought and Creative Writing. PhD thesis University of Westminster Humanities https://doi.org/10.34737/w726y

TitleOut of Nowhere the Mind Comes Forth: A Practice-Based Exploration of the Relationship Between Buddhist Thought and Creative Writing
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsMacneil, Kevin
Abstract

This PhD by Publication consists of two elements: a creative part, which is a published novel called The Brilliant & Forever, and a critical thesis that elucidates and investigates the relationship between Buddhist tenets and fiction writing. The novel is based around a writing festival and includes a selection of narratively connected yet self-contained short stories. It explores several themes, including the natures of fiction, cognition, self, and justice. The critical element argues for an inherent congruence between Buddhist understandings and Creative Writing conventions. In doing so, it demonstrates the validity and potency of words as a means by which to gain insight. This contrasts with traditional Mahāyāna Buddhist positions that assert language to be inherently untrustworthy and inadequate for this purpose. The Mahāyāna perspective is countered by showing that limiting Buddhist transmission to non-linguistic communications constitutes an unhelpful and unnecessary restriction. It is furthermore argued that the empty, fallible, interdependent, and mutable nature of language reflects fundamental Buddhist teachings regarding illusion, cognition, and truth. The relationship of these to fiction is explored, with standard Creative Writing techniques such as the use of sensory detail and the need for character development being shown to correspond to Buddhist phenomenology and the doctrine of no-fixed-self. The latter is determined to be a vital aspect of writing praxis, as consciousness and interdependence are both indispensable in the co-creation of text and meaning. Language, particularly in the context of fiction writing, is thereby demonstrated to be a capable vector for catalysing mind-to-mind transmissions such as can enable inner transformations and is thus concluded to be a legitimate form of expedient means.

Year2023
File
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
ProjectOut of Nowhere the Mind Comes Forth: A Practice-Based Exploration of the Relationship Between Buddhist Thought and Creative Writing
PublisherUniversity of Westminster
Publication dates
Published24 Nov 2023
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.34737/w726y

Related outputs

The Traitors: the show’s Highland setting is befitting a game of deception
Macneil, K. 2024. The Traitors: the show’s Highland setting is befitting a game of deception. The Conversation.

The Islands Are Not Lost, The Compass Is
Macneil, K. 2023. The Islands Are Not Lost, The Compass Is. The Bottle Imp. 33.

'Ordinary Case of RLS and RLS'
Macneil, K. 2021. 'Ordinary Case of RLS and RLS'. in: Fortunate Voyager: A Celebration of Robert Louis Stevenson Merchiston Publishing.

Hebridean Moon
Macneil, K. 2020. Hebridean Moon. Pendemic.

Ordinary Case of RLS and RLS
Macneil, K. Forthcoming. Ordinary Case of RLS and RLS.

The Blue Folk of the Minch
Macneil, K. Forthcoming. The Blue Folk of the Minch.

Portable Rootedness and Other Contradictions
Macneil, K. 2017. Portable Rootedness and Other Contradictions. The Bottle Imp. 21 Art. No.: 1.

The Diary of Archie the Alpaca
Macneil, K. 2017. The Diary of Archie the Alpaca. Polygon.

‘Oyster’ By Michael Pedersen, With Illustrations By Scott Hutchison
Macneil, K. 2017. ‘Oyster’ By Michael Pedersen, With Illustrations By Scott Hutchison. The Bottle Imp. 22.

The Brilliant & Forever
Macneil, K. 2016. The Brilliant & Forever. Polygon.

A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde
Macneil, K. 2011. A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde. Polygon.

The Stornoway Way
Macneil, K. 2006. The Stornoway Way. Penguin.

Lunch at Yes: v. 20: New Writing Scotland
Burgess, M., Macneil, K. and Whyte, H. 2003. Lunch at Yes: v. 20: New Writing Scotland. Association for Scottish Literary Studies.

Be Wise, Be Otherwise: Ideas and Advice for Your Kind of Person
Macneil, K. 2001. Be Wise, Be Otherwise: Ideas and Advice for Your Kind of Person. Canongate Books.

Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides
Macneil, K. 1999. Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides. Canongate Books.

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/w726y/out-of-nowhere-the-mind-comes-forth-a-practice-based-exploration-of-the-relationship-between-buddhist-thought-and-creative-writing


Share this

Usage statistics

42 total views
47 total downloads
These values cover views and downloads from WestminsterResearch and are for the period from September 2nd 2018, when this repository was created.