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  • 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 …)

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  • 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. 🙂

  • hardie karges 5:56 am on September 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Anthropocene, bonobo, , chakras, , ,   

    Religion as Existence, Being and Emptiness… 

    IMG_0599” The born metaphysician is a person…astonished at the fact that there is anything at all.”

    Those of you who’ve never asked the Big Questions of life are really missing something, I think, because the best part about the big Q’s are the Big A’s, of course, and the fact that, despite all odds, we in fact are here, on a thinly congealed surface suspended between hot glowing molten rock and cold black outer space, the Goldilocks species on the Goldilocks planet, of all-too-unlikely biological life, the Middle Path ‘sweet-spot’ people…

    …foraging for fruits and flowers in forests and fields, eating not just desserts, in so-called deserts, still not deserted after all these years, but intent on finding the beauty in nature, even when the obvious signs are forbidding, though if you poke around the edges and look between the cracks, then you just might find something there to sustain organic life through thick and thin, sickness and health, for better or worse, till death do us part… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:36 am on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , syllogism, ,   

    Buddhist Dilemma: Is Inner Peace Possible in the Era of Donald Trump? 

    img_1572

    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    Americans are frightened. People are scared. They read about things like this in books, but never dreamed that they would have to live through it: the American Civil War, the French Revolution, the Boxer Rebellion, The War of Spanish succession, Genghis Khan, the Persian Wars, Adolf Hitler, the Aryan invasion, Rape of Nanking, 100 years War, Josef Stalin, the American Genocide, the Mexican War, Chaco War, World War I, Opium Wars, Crimean War, Vietnam, wars of the world and genocides in general…

    But the American civil war was not really a civil war, as many historians have pointed out, but rather a War between the states, with many unwilling participants on each side of arbitrary lines. What is happening now is the true civil war, an internal conflict not only within societies, but within people’s own minds, as to what is right and what is fair, what is appropriate, and whether there will be violence, whether there will be casualties, and whether there will even be any affordable healthcare to mitigate the circumstances… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 9:41 am on September 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      A timely and thought-provoking piece. Our small world is impossible to escape, nor should we try. The middle path becomes a touchstone. Thanks for posting, Hardie.

  • hardie karges 6:57 am on August 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Abhidharma, , , Be Here Now, , , Eternal Now, , Mahavira, , Paul Tillich, Sarvastivadins, Vaibhasikas   

    Buddhist Dilemma #2: If Now-ness = Here-ness, Does Mindfulness = No Travel? 

    img_1661Baba Ram Dass’s famous period piece, and start of his career as motivational and spiritual guru, was ‘Be Here Now’, of course, but these days most people concentrate on the Now-ness, and forget about the ‘Here-ness’. That was hardly his Big Idea, anyway, the idea batted around in Buddhism since time immemorial, reiterated by Hinduism, and immortalized by Christian existentialist theologian Paul Tillich as ‘The Eternal Now’ long before Ram Dass’s book hit the shelves (author’s note: back then books sat on shelves)…

    Back in the Abhidharma days of Buddhism, one ‘school’, Sarvastivadins I believe, or maybe ‘Vaibhasikas’, not sure, even came up with an atomistic conception of time, in which time, indeed, was composed of unique units, and supposedly capable of measurement, which gives some historical support to the concept of precise present moment(s). And this concept of ‘thought-moments’ lives on in some traditions of Buddhism… (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 1:53 am on August 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Moments “For once we know it then it is past, ” I think you are missing the point here. Maybe we don’t need to know it but just stay in it without grasping at the last or the next?

      Secondly, no matter where you go, there you are. It’s unavoidable when you think about it like this.

      QP

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

        Maybe, indeed. Grasping, no, certainly not. And that is definitely the role and goal of meditation, to suspend all narratives, for me at least, which I heartily encourage, the ‘bedrock’ of my Buddhism. My point is that ‘eternal now’ better describes and defines the present time than ‘present moment’, at least for me, and apparently confirmed by scientific convention. When Einstein formulated ‘space-time’ and postulated time as the fourth dimension, he wasn’t joking, and it’s interesting that it is one dimension, not three, and often portrayed in a linear fashion. So no, it’s not necessary to ‘know’ the past, but it can help to navigate the future, as a reference point, if nothing else. I’m not a big fan of ‘no-thought’ Buddhism, whether Thich Nhat Hanh or Suchart Abijato, i.e. Mahayana or Theravada, and the first time I heard a Thai Forest monk describe thinking as ‘kilesa’, i.e. defilement, I frankly couldn’t believe it, still can’t. I’ll never subscribe to that, and I don’t think the Buddha would, either: right thinking, not no thinking. Secondly, did you ever read the classic 70’s travel guide, “People’s Guide to Mexico”? That was their slogan: “Wherever you go, there you are”! Thanks for your comments…

        • quantumpreceptor 3:10 am on August 27, 2018 Permalink

          No I have never read the people’s guide to Mexico. But now I know where it comes from. I agree on the right vs no thinking. Many Buddhists think they only have attachment to things but actually it’s our thoughts that really counts. To observe thoughts without attachment is a skill worth knowing.

          Have a great day

  • hardie karges 6:50 am on August 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Cretaceous, , , , motivation, Permian, , Ram Dass, , Tony Robbins   

    Religion, Philosophy, and Motivational Mishmash… 

    IMG_1184

    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    Do you want the truth, or do you want to just feel good? For the most part motivational speakers have largely replaced preachers and rabbis, or priests and mullahs, in advising people on spiritual matters, especially in Western countries. Which is not a bad move, as it gives at least some semblance of metaphysical sustenance to battered souls, or non-souls, if you’re Buddhist…

    …just when they need it most, in times of stress and mayhem, which seems to characterize the modern age, and which gives the lie to lame theories of consumption and consumerism which imply that all we need is—love? No, sex; and alcohol, and cigarettes, the Big Three in any street-corner kiosk in Havana… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:41 am on August 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , India, , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam 101: Religion on the Rebound, Religion on the Run… 

    img_1893All three major international religions have carried their original premises to ridiculous extremes, along with their adherents, whether cause or effect, those original premises all quite similar, and compatible, variations on the themes of love, righteousness, and perseverance, each with a different focus, Christianity on the love, Islam on the righteousness, and Buddhism on the perseverance…

    And from these humble commendable compatible and civilizing influences, each has gone their own ways, Islam to the extremes of religious fundamentalism, holy wars and unholy alliances; Christianity drenched in sex, drugs, and all that rap; and Buddhist perseverance easily given over to passivity, even in the face of the most egregious assaults on basic human rights, individuals reduced to fit in cages, self-imposed prisons of consciousness… (More …)

     
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