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  • hardie karges 4:20 am on November 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Confucius, Golden Rule, Greek, Hippocratic Oath, , Silver rule   

    Buddhism 101: Do not do unto others… 

    img_1773If you grew up in the USA, then I’m sure at some point you came across the Confucian ‘inversion’ of the Golden Rule in which we are enjoined to: ‘NOT do unto others as you would NOT want them to do to you’, or something like that, chuckle chuckle, snicker snicker, at those crazy Asians who just can’t get it right, gotta’ twist everything around, maybe one day they’ll get it straight…

    Well, fast-forward a few decades and those crazy rich Asians just may have had it right all along. I mean, it may seem like a minor detail, but on closer inspection it just may speak volumes and provide a valuable clue to species survival, our species. But first things first: the Confucian version is not the inversion, if anything just the opposite, as both versions are scattered throughout the ethical traditions of the world, and the negative prohibitive version just may have come first, though that is hard to say, but likely the more numerous… (More …)

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  • hardie karges 4:11 am on November 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brahmanization, , , , holy war, , , ,   

    Buddhist Holy War, Part II: Tune in, turn on, drop out… 

    img_1893(continued from previous)

    The Buddhist situation 2500 years ago may indeed have been not so different from our own, with a rapidly expanding population soon to go into a stall, and the Brahmanization of India underway, i.e. the caste system, threatening to lock people into a form of submission to which they’d never previously been subjected. And it’s no accident that so many religions sprouted within a half millennium or so of the beginning of the common era, with any self-respecting guru prophesying the End of Days…

    All of a sudden renunciation doesn’t look like such a bad option. And so it is today, because what can they do if you simply refuse to cooperate, simply renounce all ties to the current oligarchs, slave-owners and warmongers? They can’t force you to work. They can beat you; they can even kill you. But they can’t force you to work. They can threaten your loved ones, though… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 5:26 pm on November 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bolsonaro, Congress, , , Duterte, , fascist, , , Muslim, Pattani, , , , , , , Siam, , , Xi Jinping   

    Buddhist Holy War? Consider the possibilities… 

    img_1695 No, I’m not talking about fighting the mean nasty ugly Muslims that fundamentalist Buddhists are supposed to hate because they supposedly ‘destroyed Buddhism in India’ with their medieval invasion, from which Buddhism never quite recovered. But I notice that ‘Hinduism’ recovered, though, hint hint, exposing this as false narrative. It seems that India is not big enough for both, especially when Hinduism is quite happy to include Buddhism under its larger umbrella, making and marketing itself as something of a national religion, if and when it is one, at all…

    And no, I’m not talking about the situation in southern Thailand, in which ethnic Malay nationalists in three southern provinces, who just so happen to be Muslim, have fought for years to win back the independence that was taken from them in 1785 with Siam’s annexation of Pattani. Ironically this was only made official in Siam’s treaty with the UK in 1909, in which as much or more territory was simply transferred to UK ownership for the promise that they would recognize Siam’s sovereignty over the rest (and no more, demands, pretty please!)… (More …)

     
    • RemedialEthics 2:16 am on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      As always, your posts appear when I am desperate for evidence that there is a larger world of perspective beyond the narrow, paranoid, and increasingly violent belief system that has a firm grip on America. I stumbled into your blog while Googling the mileage from my home in the AZ desert to the nearest border town of Sasabe. I don’t remember if I ever found the answer to my mileage query, I just decided it’s about 30 miles (maybe) and that is fine because I also don’t recall why I needed to know in the first place. That is exactly what makes the internet great. It is not about being able to find the answers you need in 0.03 seconds, it is about finding the answers you didn’t know you needed. Thank you for caring about the well-being of your countrymen even though you are not in country. I realize how easy it would be to immerse yourself in the arguably more enlightened culture where you are and look away from the ugly reality that has swallowed up your homeland, but your blogs offer a clean, refreshing perspective shift that is just enough to keep the nihilism at bay for a little bit longer. Think of it as charity to those of us who are stuck here and starving for insight from outside the battle zone. Please don’t wash your hands of us just yet.

      • hardie karges 2:27 am on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Wow! Thanks! That just might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me (and I know where Sasabe is, too, nice drive, even crossed the border there once), thanks again…

    • Dave Kingsbury 5:22 pm on November 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, agree with RemedialEthics, your wider world perspective shines a bright light on parochial problems. We have a few of our own this side of the Pond but I came up with this the day after your Midterms and thought it might add a few more light protons … https://davekingsbury.wordpress.com/2018/11/07/halfway-there-a-story-in-100-words/

  • hardie karges 6:47 am on October 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Democrat, , election, millennial, November 6, , , , vote   

    Open Letter to the American Voter 

    IMG_1068Dear American Voter: On Novermber 6, 2018, you will be making what just may be the most important vote of your life. For some of you, it may be the first vote of your life, and for that I say ‘Congratulations!’ But for others of you, in fact, it may just be the last vote of your life, given the penchant of one of our national political parties for erecting ever-increasing obstacles in your path to the voting booth…

    This is contrary to the spirit of democracy, of course, and contrary to the trend of increased voting access that defined our country for approximately fifty years, starting in the civil rights era, which brought so many new people into the national life of our country. “But voting is so old-fashioned!” you say. True…

    By all rights we should each be able to vote on-line with a government-supplied identification code, with no other obstacle than the need to have a digital device, or the means to get to one. But it doesn’t work that way, unfortunately, as one still has to show up in person, often wait in line, and then hopefully have a choice worth making. I even had to show proof of my address last time in Tucson, Arizona, only after making elaborate travel plans for the privilege… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 5:24 am on October 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Euclid, Fibonacci, , golden mean, golden ratio, , , , ,   

    Zero, Emptiness and the Golden Mean of Buddhism… 

    img_1935The concept of the Golden Mean always crossed my mind when studying Buddhism, but I never heard anyone reference it re: the Middle Path, i.e. madhyamagga, until recently, and while I’m not sure the reference is entirely correct, I do think the possibilities are exciting. In fact the Golden Ratio (a probably more accurate term) is 1.618, “a special number found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part”—Wikipedia

    This is also the foundation of the famous Fibonacci sequence, ubiquitous as a design principle in nature, and known to humans as early as Plato and Euclid, who was first to define it, and celebrated initially because for some reason it just looks good, or somehow feels right, notwithstanding the fact that it is by definition always a bit eccentric, i.e. off-center…

    And in fact the concept of center did not fully even exist at the time, before the invention of zero, so only geometrically as the fixed point of a radius, but not mathematically as a divider and multiplier for ever-increasing levels of exponential counting, literally ‘powers of zero’, or ‘powers of ten’, if you prefer, in addition to forming something of a ‘dead center’ or ‘ground zero’ mathematically, which can be repeated infinitely as decimals for each and every member of the count… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:04 am on October 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fallacy, , , , , , , soteriology   

    Buddhism and Language: the curse of narratives… 

    IMG_0599Though not often heralded as such, language is arguably the world’s greatest invention, and I think that, like most inventions, it might have a limited lifespan of prime utility, and it’s a very arguable point that the world just might be better off without it. I don’t arrive at this conclusion lightly, given that fact that I love language with all my heart and all my soul, but if it’s outlived its usefulness, then it just might need to be put out to pasture (and there just might be something better)…

    Of course, whether people would be willing to do this is debatable, but still, it’s probably worth having the discussion, just to make the point, if nothing else. And the point is that many of the world’s problems are verbal. A policeman gives an order, and you are supposed to obey, immediately and without question. Otherwise they’ll shoot you, in America, at least, no matter that you’re deaf or not an English speaker. That’s not their fault. And, of course it’s not the language’s fault, either, for the bad intentions of its major malefactors. But still one of its main functions is aggression, to be sure, e.g. ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:53 am on October 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism and Trump, Religion and Politics… 

    img_2116It’s easy to bemoan my fate as having no choice but to be a citizen of the same country that Donald F. Trump presides over, even if not currently resident, but bemoan even more the fact that he seems to have hijacked my mental process, so that it seems that I am almost totally incapable of thinking about anything else, except how to get this over-stuffed individual out of my life and out of my mind and hopefully even out of my country so that one day I might go back there if circumstances so warrant it…

    I mean: wouldn’t I really rather be spending my time, and precious brain cells, discussing subtle points of dharma, rather than gross points of politics? Of course, though, the argument could be made that I wouldn’t even be a Buddhist if the presence of Donald Trump in his original rise in the political polls hadn’t inspired me to it, for whatever reason, as the two events were nearly simultaneous. For, like the reductios ad absurdum that Mahayana Buddhists once used to disprove the intrinsic existence of ‘stuff’, so I can define myself in opposition to a known quantity… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:11 pm on October 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      … we are the God species, like it or not, holding the keys to survival in the palm of one hand, while the other hand plays with its iPhone… great line, Hardie, in a piece that goes head on and wins through to something very helpful and worthwhile!

    • hardie karges 5:20 am on October 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Dave. I swear I did not know previously of the book of the same title AND on a similar subject. I do now, haha…

  • hardie karges 6:20 am on September 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , reductios, , , ,   

    America, Buddhism, Logic and Einstein’s Equivalence Principle… 

    img_0953You know the American dream, the whole world does: two-story house and a two-car garage, two kids in the breakfast nook and the neighbor’s kids coming over later, God’s little acre in a sanctified suburb, full ownership and bulging bank accounts, stay-at-home mom and a rising-star dad, with a bachelor’s degree in business and a lotta’ backyard gossip, Saturday at the zoo and Sunday barbecue, PTA meetings and postman’s daily greetings, fried chicken and crispy French fries, milk shakes and apple pies…

    Also known as the Australian dream or Kiwi if you prefer, but only a quarter-acre there and the fries just might be pies, so be careful what you eat, otherwise just the same, with a down-under accent, big goofy grins on the chinny-chin-chins, a weekend in the outback, a maid in the kitchen, a promise of deliverance, and the assurance of no limits: neither sky nor sand nor seacoast nor sex, all-you-can-eat in a never-ending buffet of consumer goods, entertainment, sensations, but mostly money… (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 12:33 am on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Hardie with avoidance you certainly have the Theravadan view well encapsulated. Why else should one take 300 vows and live separately from many others but to avoid all that is potentially disturbing. In Mahayana and Vajrayana these so called disturbing emotions are actually the fuel for the fire that drives practice further and faster. There are several ways to see this is there not?

      QP

      • hardie karges 1:18 am on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Hi again QP: Absolutely. Yes, I love the Thai Forest Tradition, but see it best as the first step along the path, gotta’ re-enter the world at some point in order to save it, which is the highest goal IMHO. Mahayana is a bit fractured right now, though, so can’t help but think that there must be a new paradigm evolving, to account for all the world changes of the last 1000 years, which Buddhism mostly hasn’t answered yet. I don’t know that Secular Buddhism is the answer, but I definitely think it’s part of the discussion. Most religions abhor uncertainty, but I think the capacity for a true dialectic is one of Buddhism’s strengths, fingers crossed. Thanks for your comments…

  • hardie karges 6:42 am on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    Why is Buddhism so pessimistic? Because… 

    IMG_2290I don’t know: so maybe you’ll forego your pride, like a good Christian? I notice that the prouder one is, the more ‘optimistic’ that person also is, most likely assured that whatever good fortune has come to him as a result of superior skill and talent will surely repeat itself infinitely and indefinitely, since the world is a vast abundant field of untold and uncalculated riches, the sky is truly the limit, and YOU are the master of this world, right front and center—uh huh, yeah right…

    Doesn’t that make you feel good? I mean: doesn’t that just make you want to jump out of bed, slam down some breakfast, slide into your suit, cruise downtown, zoom up to the 52nd floor, then order your secretary around, just a little bit, not enough to cause her any lasting damage, much less any drop in office efficiency, just enough to let her know who’s boss, let her know who pays the bills, let her know who wears the pants, or not… (More …)

     
    • The godlike Robert 5:43 pm on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I think Buddhism promotes an alternative understanding of reality. The West sees man as separate and distinct from his environment. In fact the creation story depicts the event occurring instantaneously and conjured by God. And as a spontaneous invention man has no history of relationship to anything outside his skin; not the plants, animals or the earth.
      In this story man is an ego created by a supreme ego and both are aliens to this world. Buddhism demonstrates that the ego is an illusion. What is inside the skin is no different than what’s outside the skin because neither are in your control; do you beat your own heart or can you shine the sun? The conclusion to Buddhism is that the universe is a non linear organic totality and you are only a subset of it, and not even capable any independence from it and more than that you emerged from it and belong in it! There is no other place where you could be…you see?

      • hardie karges 9:35 pm on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I certainly think that Buddhism offers an alternative to the Western paradigm, but that can–and does–go several different directions, operating on a level that can be used as religion, philosophy, psychology or simply technique, depending on the needs of the participant. I think Buddhism is best as an ongoing dialectic, without conclusions, something like a psycho-philosophical method, analogous to scientific method and the dialog between Theravada and Mahayana, hopefully achieving a higher synthesis. The hard part is moving past old narratives that no longer apply. Thanks for your comments!

        • The godlike Robert 12:43 am on September 24, 2018 Permalink

          As science, Taoism and Confuscanism are ongoing dialectics with no conclusions and are not religions!

  • hardie karges 6:30 am on September 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craving, , , , , , , , , , , , tanha   

    Buddhism is not about getting your groove on; it’s all about… 

    img_0545Control, unwavering control, of yourself, or even better: non-self, if you can manage it, easy enough but for the vicissitudes of will, that one part of the (s)kandhas that escapes easy categorization and refuses to fall blindly into place as but one of the ‘heaps’ that comprise our personalities and personas and persons that we oftentimes think of as ‘self’, or ‘selves’ if you’re bi-polar, or even ‘soul’ if you have long-term plans, or God forbid ‘ego’ if you can think of little else…

    But ‘will’ or ‘volition’ is right there listed alongside the rest of the heap of verbs-turned-nouns that define us in an act of unholy reification, feeling and form and perception and consciousness, only one a true noun, and that an abstract one, all the rest verbs with regular jobs, turned noun, so more than fleeting fancies, all except will, which needs no linguistic crutch-like suffix ‘-ness’ or ‘-tion’ to lean on, or even the gerundive ‘-ing’ to skate by on all fours… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 10:30 am on September 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Encouraging piece for one who, like myself, is very language-oriented. Nothing wrong with being wedded to words, of course, as long as one can cut oneself adrift to float upon an ocean of unknowing. Cripes, did I just say that out loud?

      • hardie karges 8:11 pm on September 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Haha, yes, I’m conflicted over the role of language, On the one hand, I love it, and on the other hand, narratives get stuck and clog our minds, pop music the most obvious example, though no problem with jazz. I think the cure is to think more visually more often and reserve language for more creative efforts, so less boring tedious language, just the good stuff…

        • Dave Kingsbury 1:34 am on September 20, 2018 Permalink

          I think the notion of getting stuck is a fruitful one – bit like a vinyl record stylus that just needs a nudge once in a while. Banal pop lyrics, advertising and political slogans – all examples of when words go bad. Music and art a possible cure – and waiting for the right words to come. 🙂

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