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  • hardie karges 7:42 am on January 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Wanna be Buddhist? First Do No Harm, then STFU… 

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    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar

    …because if you’re Western-oriented, especially, then you almost certainly talk too much, are far too opinionated, and may even think too much in general. And I won’t tell you to follow your bliss here, because your bliss is likely BS. But you can follow the Five Precepts, and if that’s not enough, then follow the Eight Precepts. And your opinions are probably far too passionate and much too irrational, anyway. So were mine, until I realized it was mostly fantasy…

    Yes, kindness and compassion come first, and are the watchwords and catch-phrases of popular Buddhism, easily remembered and easily understood, if not so easy to practice, a constant vigilance necessary to ensure that no harm is done to any living thing, even at the risk of harm indeed being done to ones own self, which is really a non-self in the Buddhist principle of non-substantiality… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:06 pm on January 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2016,   

    R.I.P. 2016: Not-so-Simple Prayer for a Year of Upheaval and Colic, and Buddhist redemption… 

    img_1111…in a decade of displacement, in a century of subterfuge, in a brand new millennium of change and misfortune. These are the times that try men’s souls, if only we had souls and if only we had time, this in a world with limited space, but all the time in the world, or so they say. They say lots of sh*t, of course, but they just may have this one right. No one claims to have all the space in the world…

    We live at the crossroads of time-lines and space-lines, defined by a moment and imagined as an eternity. After all, how do we really know that yesterday really existed and that tomorrow ever will? The waiting is the hardest part, of course. Every year is a little lifetime, defined on each end by celebrations of our suffering and humble Thanksgiving for our inheritance, wealth beyond description and complacency beyond comparison. Whatever has been born will also die, by definition… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 2:59 pm on January 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Amen to this:

      “Politics will always be about power, its distribution, and to the victor the spoils. I’m more interested in personal freedom, the ability to endure, and the ability to adapt, the ability to migrate, and the ability to create, until the meek can rightfully inherit the earth under feet and the sky overhead.”

  • hardie karges 4:47 pm on January 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Thai Buddhism Outback Up North, part 4: Three Questions, Two Uncertainties, a Wish and a Promise… 

    Continued from here

    Kwan Yin Fest near Chiang Dao, Thailand

    Kwan Yin Fest near Chiang Dao, Thailand

    So again I’m having doubts about my direction, after I’d convinced myself that the past lives and karmic retribution of Tibetan Buddhism, which I can’t support, are not an issue in the Theravada system. I guess I should get all Zen-like and mock Kung Fu-ish right about now with something wise and philosophical from my imaginary guru, like maybe: “Cricket, don’t worry about the details, or you’ll never be a good monk anyway. You have a path now, and the path will lead you where you are to go…”

    Yeah, that sounds about right. There is no turning back from this path, this Buddhist path, however the details play out. My increasingly healthy meditation practice will be the proof and the foundation for that. So what if I occasionally flash back on the Playboy Playmate from December 1969? She was cute, it was cold, and I was young. I’ve still got a Suzi Quatro song stuck in there from 1978, too…

    And so what if I look like a pile of lumber spilled from the Home Depot truck until I get ‘warmed up’ meditating? So what if it takes a backhoe to unlock and untangle me once I do? At least that backhoe won’t be necessary to back-fill the logic necessary to convince myself I’m happy when I’m really not, gorging myself with ‘stuff’ in an American society of consumeristic orgy (orgiastic consumerism?)… (More …)

     
    • kc 10:37 pm on January 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      join the clubs, forming in the hundreds of like minded people. Millsaps is offering a course to re-guide one to one’s what, emptiness? Also have on-line far away friends wanting to skype and study. remember that teaching is indeed a most noble profession, and certainly learning never ends. looking for folk art, found $ in my account that i did not expect and not wanting to try and teach r more tech. that he will not get. so art, yes. send art, $ cd not hurt, you can always give it away, i surely do. much love.

    • davekingsbury 1:28 pm on January 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Reminds me in part of the Keats bio by Andrew Motion I’m reading – 600 pages for such a short life! – and it’s fascinating to follow his discovery that pain and pleasure/sadness and happiness are really one and the same or at least 2 sides of the same coin, no one without the other. I’m trying to feel the same about life/death but not there yet!

  • hardie karges 3:46 pm on December 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    Buddhism: 10% Inspiration, 90% Meditation… 

    img_0991Why meditation? Why not? Can nothingness heal? I say ‘nothingness’, though Buddhists generally prefer the term ’emptiness’, and I won’t quibble over syntax nor semantics, as long as no one says the word ‘nihilism’, not to be confused with ‘Nealism’ for all you rock-and-shouters, and holy rollers. But after long riffing on Sartre’s ‘nothingness’, I now prefer the term ’emptiness’, also, as it implies a form, a vessel, though equally accessible with or without content, an important distinction…

    Is Meditation a paradigm for life? At first the proposition seems rather preposterous, but that is exactly what many Buddhists, plus Eckhart Tolle and others seem to be suggesting, if they are to be believed, many of them blithely advising that we cease our critical thinking altogether and ‘live in the moment’. Of course without any analytical thinking there would be no Science, no Technology, few arts and even less letters, so I roundly reject the suggestion as misguided fantasy, and merciless fancy… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:08 pm on December 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    Religion Imitates Art: Christian Self-Love and Buddhist Non-Self… 

    img_0953“Man is the measure of all things”…and there began our downfall, this from the Greek Sophist Protagoras and his very sophisticated argument that we human beings are the only thing that matters in this world, our silly views and opinions superior to all others, of course, by virtue of our virtue, and in spite of our spite, the pathological needs of humanity, a sort of radical solipsistic relativism…

    This argument only works with a strong belief and need for self, arguably the origin of consciousness, i.e. self-consciousness, and any further extrapolations indicative of the direction our culture has taken since then, hence our pathological need for democracy, free enterprise, a TV in every room and a car in every garage, every aspect an extension of, and ultimate belief in ourselves, each one of us totally different, supposedly, with or without the bar-code, identified by fingerprints and the DNA from random salivations and assorted misgivings… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 3:05 pm on December 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It doesn’t take a genius to realize that there is a higher consciousness than self-consciousness, or that there are higher needs than selfish ones…absolutely, the opposite is a horror story!

  • hardie karges 11:35 pm on December 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    Jet-Lag Diaries, part 2: Graduating Thai School–in Buddhism… 

    Continued from here

    img_1400Back in Thailand the king is dead, so all other plans are automatically on hold. The temples are now full of temporary monks, so my own meager plans are secondary. My temple priest once told me it’s up to my own heart, and so it is, I must say, even if I have to pay to play. But if I can meditate in a moving plane and meditate on a moving bus, then I must be moving toward something real and good, is it not? I think it must be: I meditate, therefore I am…

    If I’d left my practice of holy writ and dharma for a month, or longer, then I’d have to start over by design and definition, would I not? But that didn’t happen, so the details of any future ordination are unimportant, best left to the dealers and traders, and not the midnight meditators. So if my shitty little revelations and pissy little epiphanies have to wait another week, or month, or year, or decade, for my eminent imminent ordination, then so be it. The world has waited a few millennia already… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 2:51 pm on December 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A succinct summation here …

      “To wit: if you’re Western and/or Christian, then the glass is half full, and the object of life is to full the sucker up. If you’re Eastern and/or Buddhist, then the glass is half-empty, and the object is to drain the damn thing, then enjoy the non-show of silence.”

      No words …

  • hardie karges 4:25 pm on December 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    Waiting for it: Electronic Buddha in the Electronic Forest Temple 

    img_0908I think it’s a bum rap, the false narrative about smart-phones and other tech, how we never talk to our neighbors any more—we never did! Unless they’re nice. And we still do, if there’s something to discuss. Should we regress to the day when stay-at-home wives have nothing better to do than chew the fat with the housewives’ club all day every day? Yes, I know it’s a real job, but still…

    So why did no one ever make an issue of us reading news papers all the time, or listening to radio? No, they never did that until TV, couch potatoes and all that jazz, and that defines the line that divides our civilization from the initial inquisitive developmental mode to the current acquisitive ‘been there done that’ full-of-it mode, a civilization in decline, with red lights flashing… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 4:01 pm on December 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A damning indictment as well as indicating the seeds of renewal, taking in a sharp comparison of then and now and asking big questions for the future. As EM Forster said, Only Connect …

  • hardie karges 5:16 pm on December 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    Philosophy and Physics: Conundrums and Continuums… 

    img_1034The conundrum of existence is that consciousness inhabits flesh, some how some way, or that flesh possesses consciousness, if viewed from the opposite perspective, inside out upside down, impossible to say which came first, or whether they came simultaneously like all the best sex, though the material paradigm always takes precedence in the material world…

    If I told you that the obvious answer to the conundrum of existence is to blow your brains out—immediately—then you’d naturally assume I’m suicidal or worse, manic depressive or maniac oppressive, some schizo or combo, all of the above, and I’d say I’m the same as you, just not your installment plan, one drink one smoke at the time, until death do us part… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:47 am on November 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jim Morrison, Lupron, samsara   

    Buddhism 212: Transcending Samsara–Brilliant Mistakes and Pure Dumb Luck 

    img_1111I don’t know who said it first, much less best, whether Nietzsche, Darwin, Elvis Costello or myself (?!), but the fact remains: we proceed by brilliant mistakes, errors in code providing some of the best clues to advancement, thus spectacular screw-ups are the order of the day, if we’re lucky, stumbling ahead on all twos, trying to remember to fall forward, when we inevitably fall…

    It should go without saying by now, somehow, but still it’s worth remembering: no matter how strategically you plot your life and your plans, the biggest mistake could be the best thing that ever happened to you, and the most brilliant success could be the worst. You could have a motorcycle wreck the night of your book’s release party, or, on the other hand, a failed bizniz could start you on a path as spiritual teacher; go figure… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 5:19 pm on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great freewheeling post that covers acres of ground … and demonstrates the light touch we all need in life. Don’t know if you’ve seen my post on Plato with a few amateur comments on Buddhism, would be interested in your thoughts … https://davekingsbury.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/platos-cave/

      • hardie karges 5:46 am on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I did read your piece on Plato, but only briefly, since I’ve been on Internet rations. Also, I’ve been a long-time admirer of Plato, especially the allegory of the cave, so I didn’t want to came off challenging and contentious. The difference, I think, is that you want an elaborate exposition of Plato’s reality, and it just isn’t there. I don’t want that, so I’m quite happy with it, which is for me an inspiration to other-worldliness, similar to Jesus’s parables, or Einstein’s thought experiments, all of whom I consider his equals, along with the Buddha.
        Aristotle apparently thought the same, hence his exhaustive expositions on form and content, small ‘f’, limited to this, the material world. So it’s no accident that Plato’s work became the inspiration for much of early other-worldly Christianity, and Aristotle provided much of the philosophical basis for the later Renaissance and Science.
        If Plato is examined too closely, it doesn’t hold up, true, any more than Descartes’ innate ideas or Chomsky’s language intuitions. Still a dog recognizes ‘dogness’ when he sees it and immediately distinguishes it from ‘catness’. And I suspect a dog could even recognize its sameness with a bear, with which it is a close relative. So Forms are not total BS, as long as you don’t expect too much. Jesus’s parables don’t hold up as Science, either, and even Einstein had a blind spot for quantum mechanics, which he helped establish…
        My modern update on the Forms would be more like the world of Light, which I consider a dimension one notch higher than us, but easily seen in its common forms, not only as light from the Sun, fires, or elsewhere, but also electricity and magnetism, with which it is physically equivalent.
        And that world for me is more real than our lesser world of stuff and solidity, probably best represented symbolically, and literally, by sound, or shock waves, physicality, or percussion, the speed of sound defining us the way the speed of light defines the higher dimension.
        In modern physics, Light is one of the Four Forces, of course, so sacrosanct in Science, and to me symbolically representative of Heaven, as intuited by millennia of humans and human-like ancestors. And then there’s Gravity, the dimension below, too heavy, and best saved for later. Thanks for your comments, Dave, always a pleasure…

        • davekingsbury 8:27 am on November 29, 2016 Permalink

          Wow, thanks for this response, Hardie! You really take me inside a whole cosmology and I can see that Plato’s analogy can be read different ways – in particular as a caution against taking things at face value. I think recent political events on both sides of the Atlantic have got to me and poor old Plato was my punch bag on this occasion … reckon I should set my sights on a few more modern targets! Thanks again for this detailed reply. I shall certainly remember your striking animal analogy …

  • hardie karges 8:26 am on November 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , nomad   

    Buddhism 201: Half-Way down the Middle Path to Everywhere… 

    img_0980My friends probably think I’ve gone off the deep end, what with my current obsession with the Buddhist religion, almost to the exclusion of all else. They’re probably right. I hope so. And yet I’ve barely scratched the surface, because the pool is very deep. But yes, I’m getting deeper and deeper into the Thai ‘forest tradition’ of Buddhism, which may or may not be the perfect religion, but it’s better than anything else that I’ve found, in fifty some-odd years of quest…

    … the almost perfect combination of religion, nature, lifestyle, environmentalism and sustainability. I always thought that Buddhism was mostly philosophy, which I liked, but seems it’s equally religious trappings, which I’d become increasingly aware of in Thailand, and psychology, too, based heavily on meditation, more than I ever realized, probably because that’s a specialty of serious adepts and initiates, especially monks and priests… (More …)

     
    • tiramit 4:56 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I really like the enthusiasm… I like it all. Have you decided on a date to ordain?

      • hardie karges 10:14 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks! Hopefully ordain next month in Thailand, if I can clear my deck of debits and credits, long enough to try on the robes…

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