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  • hardie karges 6:16 am on March 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , epiphany, homeless, metropolis, rishi   

    Buddhist Epiphany: the Homeless Will Inherit the Earth… 

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    The golden age of cities may be over and done, gone to the dogs, hard to believe that as recently as the 1980’s American teenagers could still get excited cruising down Hollywood Boulevards and Sunset Strips in gas-guzzling sedans and VW vans, gazing longingly upward at IHOP’s and Waffle Houses, Dunkin’ Donuts and KFC…

    …pale imitations of the City of Lights, Paris at the turn of the previous century, outshining dingy London stuck with gas lamps and starchy pies, dry humor and sticky dreams, pea soup and foggy skies, and so it is with Los Angeles and New York, different as black and white, day and night, New York city of unrepentant vampires and LA city of love-lost angels… (More …)

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  • hardie karges 6:06 am on March 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dallas, Flagstaff, maintenance, pickup, Sweetwater, , truck.   

    Buddhism and the Art of Pickup Maintenance: Tale of the drunken hitch-hiker… 

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    Reflections in the rear-view mirror

    Back Story: In a previous life I used to sell folk art at a trade show in Dallas, TX, while living in Flagstaff, AZ, a distance of approximately 1000 miles, so within the purview of my limits for driving the distance, and supposedly saving money, rather than flying and renting cars and all that rap, running around town when I’d rather just load up the truck, put in a tape and fire up some Doobie (Brothers), find my cozy little hundred-buck-a-week crib out by Love Field, and take it from there…

    Of course it doesn’t always work out so smoothly, so when it’s time to beat a hasty retreat, I once got the brilliant idea of trying a new route, bored as Hell from Hwy. 287 diagonalizing NW up through Wichita Falls (“as falls Wichita…”), former home of my father, and lots of empty space. But the truck was vintage 1966, and this was 1991, so that’s getting way up in years and subject to fits of temper, or lack thereof, and that’s what happened after getting off I-20 just past Sweetwater…

    When the red ‘battery’ warning light comes on all of a sudden. I check and decide the voltage regulator is playing the diva by refusing to cooperate, meaning that my battery will not charge and the whole thing will collapse as soon as it goes dead. So I managed to rig a by-pass operation, using a test wire with alligator clips on each end, simplest thing in the world, and best of all—it works!

    But I know my time is limited, and if there is any emergency, like rain, the odds are not good. I could buy a new part, but then I’d lose time, and the part might fail, and I’d probably be 1000 miles away by that time, though it’d feel like more (humming “A Million Miles Away” by the Plimsouls)…

    So I decide to go with it, for the time being at least, figuring if the hot-wire fails, I can probably still run off the battery until I limp to the next town. I know it’ll fail, though, the minute I turn on the headlights, and by my calculations I should be in Flagstaff in time before that event…

    Still, it’d be nice to have a back-up plan, and that’s where the hitch-hiker comes in, just standing there on the side of the road, out in the middle of nowhere, so I pick him up, just to help him out, and to maybe have help, in case I need it, since two heads are usually better than one—usually. But I hadn’t picked up a hitch-hiker in years, much less done it myself. It just isn’t done anymore, not in Amerika. These weren’t the hippie years of the 70’s, alas and alack…

    But the guy seems nice enough, with plenty of flattering conversation, then, “mind if I drink a beer?” I shrugged—big mistake. I should’ve screamed, “NO!” but I didn’t. Instead I said something like, “Whatever.” Now I know about ‘open container’ laws and Texas is still a Southern state, though we’re far to the west, but the fact that the dude even had a beer should’ve sent off big alarms. But it didn’t…

    No, we were doing so well, and the truck was running fine, no red ‘battery’ light on the dash, that I decided we had enough time to stop for lunch, something I rarely do, just keep on driving. There my comrade spent a long time in the restroom, and by the time he came back, there was a notable difference. He’d obviously been drinking more while in the restroom, uh oh…

    Now, I don’t know if you’ve personally known an alcoholic, but there is a distinct change in personality while under the influence, right? So now the gregarious flatterer is belligerent and attacking me verbally, mile after mile, with no end in sight, and I feel powerless to do anything about it—as long as he feels powerful, that is. That’s the key. I’ve quaffed a few brews in my life, too, so I knew the time-line…

    Whatever I do, I’ll wait until he’s coming down from his rush of adrenaline, and then I’ll act, whatever it is that I’ll do. So that’s what I did. I waited until he was past his peak, and we were safely on I-40, my turf, in New Mexico. So I pulled over into a rest area, stopped, then turned off the key, removing it from the ignition switch, a procedure I’d performed in my mind at least a dozen times in the previous hour…

    “You can get out here,” I said, firmly but gently. “And take your stuff with you.”

    “Huh? What? Whazzup, dude?”

    “End of the line.”

    “I thought you were going to Flagstaff.”

    “Farmington first, farther north on back roads. You’ll be good here.” I pointed to the picnic tables. This is no time to equivocate…

    And that’s where I left him, with a place to piss, and vending machines, and plenty of time to think up a story to tell the next driver, as to what he’s doing there, and where he’s going. It could’ve been worse. Trying to deal with him verbally while driving could have been disastrous. He could’ve become violent. I could’ve gone to a police station, or lots of places less hitch-hiker friendly than an Interstate rest area…

    And the moral of the story is: plan your strategy. Practice your timing. Know your enemy. Don’t waste time in actions that will only be futile, and maybe even dangerous. Winning is not important–surviving is. Many people assume powers that they don’t deserve, simply because the people that put them there weren’t careful, and they opted for easy solutions to complex problems…

    Now I’m not sure what Sun-Tzu would’ve done, but I suspect that he’d approve. Most importantly: don’t give up your efforts to do good in this world. After the severest challenges you re-double your efforts, and you come back to play another day, without no increase in rank nor rancor. Happy ending: I pulled into Flagstaff right at sundown, and then I replaced the voltage regulator the next day, at my leisure, older but wiser…

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
  • hardie karges 7:25 am on March 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , collapse,   

    Buddhism, Global Warming, and the Fall of Amerika… 

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    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    It’s sad, watching the Macy’s Parade Rose Parade, Orange Bowl Sugar Bowl Cotton Bowl, Thanksgiving Christmas New Year and the 4th of July, in celebration of past paradigms and failed promises, derived from failed premises, the celebration of a dying nation and a dying paradigm. The American century is long dead and gone, that twentieth one of the Common Era, probably best described as “fun fun fun while we bomb the hell out of Vietnam…”

    And the world weeps with us, for all our dreams lie broken and shattered like so many shards in some future midden, detritus left for future archaeologists to figure out. I can hear them now: “I wonder what happened. Why did they self-destruct? Couldn’t they see what was happening all around them?” (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:20 am on March 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , children, , kids,   

    Tao Futures: Philosophy and Religion, Buddha and Politics… 

    img_1661Predestination is, or at least WAS, the Holy Grail of all religion, primitive religion, false religion, to have it all figured out, planned out, whether past lives or Heaven and Hell, the threat of future punishment to keep you in line at the present, but the Buddhist belief in past lives creates life not proactive, but retroactive. Ditto Christianity with heaven and Hell. That’s the social function of religion, keeping us in line…

    This derives from the time when religion was expected to explain everything, a job largely accomplished by Science now. And each religion had different explanations, of course. The curse of all traditional religion lies in trying to make amends with all others, not to mention Science and Tech. It’s a hopeless task. If karma is a thief in the night trying to steal your future and all your presents, then Hell is where you go to serve your sentence and repay your debts—supposedly… (More …)

     
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