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  • hardie karges 4:00 pm on December 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , defilement, , , , , , , , sati, ,   

    Buddhist Dilemma: Does Mindfulness = No Thought? Hmmm… 

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    Reflections in the back seat

    ‘Mindfulness’ is one of those words deliberately created to defy definition, it seems, so when anybody asks me what it means I usually reply with something semi-snarky, like “the opposite of mindlessness” which seems like maybe avoiding the question, but which in fact is about as accurate as is possible, given the quasi-religious overtones and the need for a certain amount of obfuscation for dramatic effect, such being the need in Western circles, witness the ‘woo-woo’ factor of certain Pali/Sanskrit words like ‘samadhi‘…

    But the word ‘sati‘, from which ‘mindfulness’ is translated, by itself carries no transcendent connotations, at least not in modern standard Thai, in which it means simply ‘consciousness’ or ‘mind’, in the sense that one’s sati, i.e. brain, is maybe not so good anymore, or that he now has sati, i.e. is no longer unconscious—get it? And the usage of the term in Buddhism is not so much different, I think, and mindfulness is probably the best term for it, mind twice removed from pure simplicity, first with a ‘full’, next with a ‘ness’. But doesn’t that imply some level of thought, whether in narrative form or simple awareness, of cause and effect, spatial relations and orderliness? I would think so. So…

    (More …)

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    • quantumpreceptor 3:26 pm on December 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      No thought, no. It’s the space between the thoughts where things get very interesting.

      QP

    • hardie karges 3:58 pm on December 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      True, BUT…. I think (oops!) there’s always room for thought–good thoughts…

    • quantumpreceptor 1:52 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      What I mean is this. Thoughts are not a problem in fact they can be used as a tool in the right circumstances. Avoiding them does not work, however slowing them down and seeing into the space between them is where we can begin to see that all is a reflection in the mirror of consciousness.

      QP

    • hardie karges 3:45 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      There you go, now we’re on the same page…

  • hardie karges 5:05 pm on December 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dyaus Pita, Earth Mother, , , poem, Prithvi Mata, prose, rainy season, Sky Father,   

    Buddhism in the rainy season… 

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    Kwan Yin (Kuan Im), Sino-Thai Bodhisattva

    I love the rainy season. I like the clouds. I like the mist. I like the coolness in the air, evaporative, just add breeze to activate, to keep the heat at bay, to keep the house at beach, and the fever below boiling, to keep the hands out of reach of the hard stuff…

    This is the sweet spot, from God’s own hand and Nature’s own palette, automatically activating and infinitely adjustable, in imperfect synchronicity with the hard heavy hot dry season that precedes it, just begging for relief and thirsting for succor…

    These are the tropics, where every day is the same but for the thick gray blanket that slides back and forth letting the sun shine in or letting the heat out, like the foam on a head of pale ale that seems to act independently of the frothy sea beneath it…

    It’s almost as if there were some signal from above, or some conductor’s baton, or some director’s cue, and all of a sudden the stage hands come in and strike the set, removing summer crops and beachy props and replacing them with rice fields all waiting… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:51 am on November 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ayahuasca, , , hallucinogen, hypnagogia, LSD, , mescaline, peyote, prisoners' cinema, psychedelic, sensory deprivation   

    Buddhist Meditation as Sensory Deprivation, Hypnogogia, Prisoner’s Cinema, System Reboot, or Psychedelic… 

    img_0545…something, or other, maybe even the surcease of language, which is what you really want, and need, and find so hard to find, that preliterate programmer’s set-up state before the operating system made your life so easy and your choices so few, and so hard to do without now that you have it, a marriage of convenience but no more spontaneity, and mostly no more emptiness, so worth a stab at forced removal, or at least closure, or at least hibernate the machine with silence, for maybe an hour a day, the more the better…

    …up to a certain point, if you can afford it, since any computer works better after re-booting, especially your own brain, still full of ad jingles from childhood, every marketer’s dream, a little dab of Brylcreem and Bluebonnet on it, language reduced to its mnemonic function long after we have better alternatives, the reason I love free verse, since anything stuck in there is inherently constipatory, whether puns or rhymes or feel-good aphorisms, so easy to swallow, but so hard to digest. So the last resort is the most dangerous… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:54 am on November 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brahmin, , caste, , Dravidian, , Germanic, , Harappa, Indus Valley Civilization, , , Mohenjo-Daro, , , ,   

    Did Russians Hack Buddhism in the 5th Century BCE? Here’s the deal… 

    IMG_1559NO, this is not click-bait; this is Buddhism, and I’m dead serious. OKAY, so maybe they weren’t Russians exactly, and MAYBE I have a lively imagination, and am an excitable boy from way back, AND you can’t just talk casually about the ‘Aryan invasion’ of India way back when, ever since Hitler crapped on us all with his inimitable armies, half-empty promises and his half-baked theories, BUT there is an element of truth to his Aryan (c)rap…

    Hitler just never did his homework really, all bark and no wood, jumping to conclusions and tilting at windmills, and absolutely no desire to make amends with his lessers of men. But now we have genomic research, which lends a strong measure of empirical (not imperial) truth to what used to be wild speculation, whether it be eye-witness testimony clouded by memory, or no-witness history clouded by time…  (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:55 am on November 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anger, , Chiang Rai, , multi-tasking, , tourist, workaholic   

    Buddhism as a Second Language: Welcome to Thailand… 

    IMG_2692My name is Hardie and I am a workaholic. I started with the small stuff, house raisings and assorted cabin crew, sharp nails into wood and flesh, before moving on to the harder stuff—self-employment! And business!! AARRGGHH!!! But that was just the warm-up to the true disease, a consistent and constant submission to the little man upstairs, who whispered in my ear little things like: “Have you ever heard of multi-tasking?” And that was my downfall, multiple jobs and multiple careers, all simultaneously and in synchronicity—more or less…

    Because, as we now know, there is no true multi-tasking, but more like constant switching, so not a true mix of jobs, but an assortment of jobs, in several cities, and countries, and the constant switching between them, in real time, that is largely a waste of time, and energy, like nibbling from a plate of hors d’oeuvres while stuck in traffic instead of having a healthy solid meal on a nice plate in a nice room with a nice family… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:37 pm on November 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great story, Hardie, exemplifying the philosophy very well. That mix of reflection and anecdote really works for me and this bit (edited slightly to bring out the structure) is a nice summary of the Buddhist stance:

      The consumptive mental afflictions that once threatened are now almost laughable. More importantly, the possession and aggression has been reduced to a level low enough to suppress easily and almost instantaneously…
      Better still: this comes at little cost to healthy emotions, such that intensity of feelings has never been higher, while attachment to them has never been lower, and that’s the Holy Grail of Buddhism—the cup always at least half full, never overflowing, but never empty, of anything except intrinsic reality…

      • hardie karges 5:51 pm on November 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanx, Dave, you can edit me any time you like! p.s. I don’t say that to everyone, haha…

        • Dave Kingsbury 2:01 am on November 14, 2017 Permalink

          Just thought, Hardie, didn’t mean that as a criticism but as a way of making it more generally applicable – I think the personal dimension of your piece is what gives it bite …

        • hardie karges 2:21 am on November 14, 2017 Permalink

          No criticism, flattered TBH, to get a DJ remix…

    • buddhistronin 8:46 pm on November 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Been there done that! Maybe it is our often overly aggressive response to the smallest things that causes us to be treated as tourest. Thais have general acceptance of most things. We westerners are certainly not like that. Good post!

    • kadynomlid 4:18 pm on December 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Awesome place to be! Have fun!

  • hardie karges 7:52 am on November 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , branding, , , , , , , , ,   

    The 49 Flavors of American Buddhism… 

    img_1936In the old days of Nikaya Buddhism, in India, before the Common Era, there were at least seventeen schools of Buddhism, chiefly Sthviravada-derived (including Theravada, Sammatiya, Sautrantika, Savarvastivada, Mulasarvastivada, etc.), and Mahasanghika-derived (Yogacara, Madhyamika, etc.), before finally settling into the three broad Theravada, Mahayana, and Tibetan-Esoteric-Vajrayana-Mantrayana ‘schools’ that we know today. Get the picture? Buddhists are not known for doctrinal agreement…

    Neither is Amerika known for its agreements, especially where Buddhist knowledge and tradition is almost totally lacking, so open to much doctrinal obfuscation and outright perjury, since the Buddha is currently hipper than sh*t, and abuse is rife. So cannabis conventions, openly proffering THC and other cannabinoids as ‘medical marijuana’ can call themselves ‘Buddhafest’ with no repercussions and likely increases in ticket sales as if such is recommended by the Big Guy himself—it isn’t, and strictly prohibited, in fact… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:05 am on October 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Eight Precepts, Five Precepts, , , Ten Commandments   

    Buddhism: It’s not what you do in this world; it’s what you don’t do… 

    IMG_0599I know it sounds like some silly game show, but it’s true. What each one of us decides to do and accomplish in this short life is largely subject to our own whims and devices, and not subject to judgment, not if there is any justice in this world. After all, the great sages and prophets don’t spend time on that, and all the great commandments, of any great religion, all begin with: “Thou shall not,” (or was it ‘shalt’?), but not “Thou shall…”

    So it’s not what you do in this world; it’s what you don’t do, and that’s my epiphany for this week, that you really don’t have to do anything! Wow! Who knew? Nothing at all! Just live and breathe and have your being, as long you DON’T kill, and as long you DON’T steal, and as long you DON’T make a nuisance of yourself in any one of a hundred different ways, then you’re doing okay… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:19 am on October 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , photographic memory,   

    Buddhism, Meditation, False Narratives, Pop Music and Crazy Love… 

    IMG_1559What is the goal of meditation, anyway, if not to remove those pesky little thought loops and dangling participles, half-baked ideas and non sequiturs, random musings and assorted misgivings? Notice that these are all verbal manifestations of consciousness, as if that were the only kind, or maybe the worst kind. It’s not…

    Sounds are the stickiest mental apparitions to which we (I, anyway) must periodically apply mental floss and chrome dome cleaner, Drano for clogged pipes and Janitor in a Drum for those hard-to-get-to corners where lint just loves to build up unnoticed—until your most important client shows up unexpectedly to discuss next year’s product line and drops his stylo next to that hard-to-reach corner by the sofa, uh-oh… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:15 am on October 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Daesh, , , , , , Nietzsche, Sharia   

    Dr. Strange Dharma: How I learned to Love Donald Trump, and ISIL… 

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    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    I’ve been through this all before, you see, like back in May, 2014, when I was returning from Asia via Europe, i.e. Istanbul, specifically so that I could do a side trip to the Iraq border, and make a little incursion into the northern quarter, maybe even go as far as Mosul, if things looked good, and my resources and patience were holding up, something I’d heard you could do, without ever really leaving Turkey, officially, that is, as long as you come back to the same border, and re-enter Turkey, just like nothing ever happened…

    But it seems somebody else had the same idea, a then-little-known organization variously called ISIL, ISIS, IS or Daesh (not Riprock). It seems they were causing a spot of bother there, huffing and puffing and blowing houses down, all in the name of Islam, putting the fun back in fundamentalism, telling people what they want to hear, and then doing what they had always intended to do—invoke Sharia law and rule as an Islamic caliphate… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:49 pm on October 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Do you think that your car is running well if it accelerates effortlessly while driving you off a cliff? Haha – a pertinent question given our current weird, er, trajectory. You make a convincing case for the value of suffering, however. Let’s hope that cliff launch turns into a learning curve …

    • hardie karges 4:52 pm on October 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll drink to that…

  • hardie karges 5:47 am on October 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: breath, , , itch, , , , , Vipassana   

    Buddhism and the Meditation Itchy-Scratchies: Peace of Mind, Peace of body… 

    img_2116You know the routine: position cushion on the floor, position butt on the cushion, position body on the butt spine straight crack shoulders eyes closed breath focus nose focus navel focus nothing nothing breathing breathing breath breath in out in out breathe breathe hmmmm… hmmmm… breath… hmmmm… hmmmm… Donald Trump….. hmmmm… moron… hmmm… breath… hmmm… Mormon… hmmm… Buddho… hmmm… ice cream… yummm… hmmm… Buddho… hmmm… salsa… hmmmm… afrocubism… hmmmm… Pablo Picasso… hmmmm…  Matisse… hmmm… mind wandering… hmmm… wandering… hmmm…  Buddho… hmmm… breath… hmmm…

    When I first started meditating in northern Thailand my mother-in-law would ask me, “Have you calmed your mind yet?”

    Calm my mind? I’m still trying to calm my body…” (More …)

     
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