Buddhism, Global Warming, and the Fall of Amerika…

img_1572

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?”

There is an epiphany here somewhere, amid the ruins of civilization left lying listless paralyzed prone prostrate begging for succor and receiving little or nothing in the way of solutions, we suckers. Here’s the basic equation: a) if a sustainable way of life is necessary for the survival of any species; and b) current paradigms are unsustainable; then c) we need new paradigms for the future…

Logical syllogism or just silly word jism? Okay, so maybe I’m over-stating the obvious to make a point, but that is exactly the case: we’re like wildebeest diving off the cliff into the river, victims of our own success, doing what we do just because that’s the way it’s always been—until now. Now we have the responsibility to re-think, if not unlearn, much if not most of what we’ve learned over the past one hundred thousand to a million years…

We learned to create fire. Now we need to learn to put it out, because we’re overheating ourselves to death. We invented the wheel, and now we’ve got too many, billions of them, 4-on-the-floor and self-driving to boot! In the beginning the Earth was empty, and it was our only job to fill it. Now the earth is full and it is our job to empty it, a little bit…

For a million years we homos erectus, neanderthalensis, sapiens sapiens, etc. have eaten drunk defecated and fornicated our way to the Promised Land of consumption-on-demand, the universe in every grain of sand, now available at the local Wal-Mart with unlimited free parking. And now it’s time to change all that…

We need to make some changes, and soon, so that’s the task before us, to do a little, but not too much, to test our limits and our environments, without carrying everything to its logical conclusion, stopping short when the end is in sight. How? Well, let’s cut to the chase scene like they do in Hollywood, to see if there’s a happy ending: and the film gets caught in the heavy metal projector, melting on screen with the smell of nitrate implied, no exit…

The question is: what can you do without? Let’s start there. Religion can help, as that is one of its main purposes, to make life fulfilling, even when it’s not filled full. Buddhism specializes in this. Like any religion the most important thing is honesty and openness, not love not submission not ‘letting that sh*t go’, as is the quick Buddhist take on T-shirts, but letting everything go, absolutely everything, in the immediacy–and sustainability–of communion with spirit…

Every act of possession is an encumbrance: every car, every building, every fast friend, every crunchy morsel. Meditation might not even be necessary if our brains weren’t so full of muzak, R & R, rap and other crap. Try some silence and stillness; incorporate it into your daily life. But you don’t need saffron robes to sit alone in the woods. You only need the robes to maybe accomplish something socially in the process, to turn personal enlightenment into social consciousness…

I love this world, but I’m not in love with it, and there’s a difference. Love is rational, no fall necessary. That’s where false pride goes. And I’m willing to do what it takes to help. If that means donning robes, then that’s what I’ll do, but not for myself. I know the robes are but a symbol, and so the (meditative) posture, too, to some extent. The only thing that matters personally is the peace within, but what matters socially is the peace without…

Advertisements