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  • hardie karges 12:36 am on October 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , control, , ,   

    Buddhist psychology and the meaning of religion… 

    To control yourself is a Buddhist virtue. To control others is a Communist sin. And this is central to the psychology, if not the precepts, of Buddhism, the act of self-control, much to the horror of many western Buddhists, looking for bliss and passion and a free ticket to Buddha Fest, that this thing that is all the rage, too cool for school, hipper than hip and groovier than most, is really quite the opposite, mostly just sitting and avoiding confrontation, even avoiding the world entirely in the most extreme circumstances, sitting in a cave for twenty years. That’s what rishis do, even to this day. So maybe you’re a good Buddhist and you’ve got your favorite Buddhist monk, either in person or online, reading his every word with admiration and waiting with bated breath to hear just a little more. But did you ever wonder who his culture heroes are? Often it’s these rishis, sitting in caves, such that the snarky phrase ‘contemplating his navel’ takes on new meaning. What’s the point? There is no point, other than liberation, and enlightenment, and freedom from the dictates of drudgery and public opinion. The problem occurs when the virtue of self-control gets twisted into the perverse logic of controlling others, as though this is a logical corollary, when nothing could be further from the truth. So Buddhist countries are some of the least free in the world, presumably because governments know they have a docile populace, and pervert that virtue into a deadly sin. That’s not religion. To see the world as a child is to see it with awe and wonder, open mouth optional, rapture not required. This is religion.

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  • hardie karges 5:08 am on October 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gurus, , prophets   

    Beware the False Prophets of Buddhism… 

    Beware false prophets and gurus claiming gifts. For they are legion at the end of days, and that’s how you will know that it is the end of days, that teachers will outnumber students, the good ones so that they can impart their gifts, while the clock is still running, the bad ones so that they can fatten their bellies and egos at our expense, because there really is no end to our days, not in one fell swoop, more like a long gradual decline in the service of our own selfish desires. And this is the mark of the most ghastly guru, that he will speak in terms of absolutes and extremes and exactitudes, when Buddhism knows no such thing, but a myriad of vanishing increments, ever changing, such that you might only know the difference if you were to fall asleep for half your life, and then awake to an entirely new world–of appearance. But appearances can be misleading when one moment succeeds to the next with scarcely a distinction between them, the cumulative effect only noticeable when the final calculation is due, and accounts must be settled. This should not be a concern to the average adept and practitioner, since we are not doing what we do–sitting silently–in order to reap the final fruit at the end of the rainbow, for that would be counter-intuitive to the math of our mission and the path of our dispassion. The end result is not the point of engagement; the middle path is an end in itself. Always give up your dreams. Never give up dreaming…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:20 pm on October 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I like the way you contrast false certainties with subtler truths, Hardie – that has the ring of experience.

      • hardie karges 4:06 pm on October 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Dave…

  • hardie karges 2:01 am on October 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dada, , , ,   

    Emptiness and Form, and the Power of Zero… 

    I need to see the emptiness, so that I can hear the silence. That’s the latter-day Buddhist approach to life, as exemplified by the Mahayanist doctrine of ‘shunyata’, emptiness, zero-ness, more concerned with the bowl’s field of probabilities than the stuff that you might want to cram in it, the world as potential more than present, form over content, and quite content with that, foregone the shopping trips to outlet stores and brand-name malls, fulfilled by conscious lack and voluntary homelessness, just add a dose of Zen-like Dadaesque do-si-do and lose the logic, and now you’ve got something unique and special, a glimpse of eternity in a spoonful of sugar, infinity in a grain of sand. But this is the advanced course for meditation masters and others of like bent, experts at the short-circuit of logic and aficionados of thoughtless realms, archeologists of the paleo-consciousness, prime and pristine, pure as driven snow and just as hard to find, in the vast clutter of derived drivel in the garbage heaps of mind. But basic Buddhism is much easier, the ABC’s of rightness and righteousness, and the mitigation of suffering. You can forego the quantum leaps in favor of baby steps, and maintain a wry little grin all the while, keeping eyes on the forward path, and never get lost in a crooked smile. The path is the path, and there is no better way. Do the right thing, even if it hurts, even if there is no immediate benefit. Do the right thing just because it’s the right thing. End all craving and suffering will be mitigated. That is the Buddha’s message…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:24 pm on October 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Great phrase which conveys the continuing relevance of the message – ‘foregone the shopping trips to outlet stores and brand-name malls’, One thinks of the hungry ghost …

  • hardie karges 7:07 am on September 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Chicago Manual of Style, Don Juan, , , , subconscious   

    The Enemy Within Is Still My Friend–Language… 

    There is too much talk, opinions comments narratives predictions screams shouts expletives yada yada, but not enough: silence, blessed silence. And this is symptomatic of the problems in our modern world, form over content, not that there is much good here and now, or not, or that there are things wrong here and now, or not, but that there is simply too much, here and now, of everything, particularly the medium itself, language and its facilitators, vowels consonants dots and strokes, verbs nouns subjects and predicates, adjectives adverbs prepositions and objects both direct and indirect, indicating questioning exclaiming enjoining and subjoining, actively or passively, conditionally or hypothetically, all pointing to the obvious conclusion, that our most brilliant invention is now working against us, for reasons unknown, and perhaps best unexplained, that once language gets in the vast unprotected subconscious mind, such as it is, that it will erect walls and barriers with doors and windows, in an attempt to create order out of disorder, paleo-consciousness, sweet blessed disorder, prime and pristine, and unpolluted by language, such that the real danger in our lives is obscured in the process–eat or be eaten, escape the cold or freeze, and take care of those who take care of you. Language only cares about itself, happy endings and the dictates of the Chicago Manual of Style. That is all well and good, or bad, but non-essential to the business of life and possibly its greatest obstacle to happiness. That is why we meditate, is it not–to stop the internal dialogue, at least for a few minutes? Don Juan the eagle’s shaman said it best, if not first (that’s the Buddha and his buddies), and the most adept among us can sustain it for hours, floating unattached in the ether, or stuck inside a long dark hole. Choose your best metaphor, because it will surely fail. The most important things in life are beyond language. This world and this life have great beauty, but ugliness, too. Best to not get too attached to either…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:28 pm on October 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Words never enough, of course, though I admire your determination to get behind them. Helpful writings for sure!

  • hardie karges 6:33 am on September 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Mitochondrial Eve, , Shakespeare, , Y-DNA Adam   

    The Rest is Silence… 

    There are no evil people, by DNA, only babes badly bred, by society. And yet the slurs continue, from the highest levels of government, that we are endangered by those of lesser stuff and stature, made of mud and sh*t, all the color of dirt, and not the shiniest of shiny pure white incandescent lightness, we Europeans finely bred on white bread and potatoes, not to be confused with the lesser belly-gobs of noodles and rice and corn and millet from the sh*t-stained countries of Africa and Third-World elsewhere, notwithstanding the fact that we all trace our lineages to there, Africa, both male and female, to opposite sides of that continent, Adam and Eve, by DNA, too bad they never met, as they might’ve even liked each other, you never know, stranger things happen, that Mom and Dad actually get along, and it’ll come in handy, too, any friendship and good feeling to be found along the way, as we hobble handicapped and hampered to our next social challenge, how to deal with the ramifications of our own successes, such that we are now overwhelmed by the very things which sustain us and which were once so hard to find: ground provisions and year-round sustenance, healthy offspring and shelters from the cold, now too numerous to mention. And the words multiply exponential, only adding to the suffering, adding to the pain: opinions comments narratives predictions screams shouts expletives yada yada, still not enough when what we really need now is silence, blessed silence. That’s what Shakespeare said. That’s what the Buddha said…

     
  • hardie karges 6:10 am on September 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    The Simplest Pleasures are Better than the Wildest Bliss… 

    Sometimes the worst of circumstances can yield the best results and the phoenix can rise from the ashes I hope. But this is the relativity of circumstance, again, and the inability to see far when the usual rewards are for immediate consumption. So it’s hard to articulate long-term goals when we can’t even see them. And this is the curse of our fate, I suppose, to be under the social and psychological pressure to ‘go for it’ when we don’t even know what ‘it’ is, much less the route to ‘it’s fulfillment. Thus we are perpetually stuck in the middle, between our desires and reality, by dint of our lack of our view to the future, and the lack of ego-fulfillment for something whose results will only be seen in a far distant world. And the self-proclaimed cognoscenti double down on this dumb-down, logic for the luckless, reduced to ‘this present moment’ for the lack of anything better. But there is something better, whether it’s known or it’s not, and this is the beauty of emptiness and simple foreplay, enjoying the ride when we know not where it goes, only that the ride itself is sublime but not indifferent, and the slower we go the more fulfilling it is. And this is the secret, of course, that contrary to the crush of speed and the big gulp of quick-fix contentment, long-fix containment is really a better option, without even knowing where it all leads, only knowing that the path itself is more proper and fitting. Thus we are handsomely rewarded for our control, more than our wild and crazy lack of it. Self-control is the best of all human qualities, more than passion, more than precision, and the Fifth Noble Truth of Buddhism…

     
  • hardie karges 12:36 am on September 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , jealousy, , , success   

    Special Relativity in a World that looks just like us… 

    Never begrudge anyone their success. In a perfect world their success is your success, and we can all go forward together. Of course this is not a perfect world, but the more we work at it, the more that we can approximate that goal. Spurious social goals of equality and free food for the asking are not only not realistic, but not even desirable, the idea that there exists some sort of equality by jealousy and some sort of bounteous government in place of a bounteous God. But both beliefs are bound to fail, ultimately, that faith in a higher power where such does not exist, at least not in any capacity to bestow favors on the underlings which prop them up, with towering posts of fire-hardened belief, topped with monuments to their sacred erections. Belief carries power in the womb of its sword, details left to imagination. Nothing is too priceless to be left to its word, and the breezes whisper soft incantations. We project ourselves outward on to all empty fields, filling in blanks with our prejudices. We rarely turn inward to question those ills, too content with ourselves as judge and creator. Thus all is relative, multiplication and division merely inverse points of view of the same basic equation, reconfirming mental formations and current status updates. One person’s curse is another person’s blessing, and one person’s sin is another person’s merit. And thus it is with the concept of Buddhist renunciation in a modern materialistic world where merit is typically measured in dollars and cents. Some people take vows of poverty, chastity and homelessness, while others bemoan those same fates…

     
  • hardie karges 5:15 am on September 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , irrationality   

    Submission to Fear is the Death of the Individual… 

    Worse than a life of fear is a life of willing submission to that fear. Because fear is normal, after all, and can be a valuable survival instinct, especially when you’re swimming in the ocean and the sharks just happen to be biting that day. In other words, fear can save your life. The problem is irrational fear, fear for the sake of fear, fear that has no meaning outside of the singular fact of its existence, disembodied with no antecedents and no outside connections beyond itself. And for many people, this is all too real, that fear becomes a way of life, and acquiescence a way of self-deceit, the belief that certain things are pre-ordained and that certain kings will rule domains regardless of any attempt to limit them. This defeatism thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, the idea that nothing can be done, so nothing is worth doing. This was once a stumbling block for me with Buddhism, the perception based on certain SE Asian countries that they were too passive, that they would give up important liberties without even a fight. The problem is self-correcting, though, of course, by Buddhism’s own middle path, neither too passive nor too aggressive being the brilliant compromise. After all, I certainly know of a few Western countries that I wouldn’t care to emulate, whether Christianity is the problem there or not. But many of the judgments are superficial, based on superficial readings of transient situations, white noise that crackles loudly, but means little. Bottom line: many of the world’s problems would be solved if people listened more and talked less, and that is a relative certainty…

     
    • Tim 12:46 am on September 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Too true. I don’t know if you are familiar with Robert Wright’s ‘Why Buddhism is true’. I followed his online e-course, offered by Yale, called Buddhism and Modern Psychology. The term that I fell in love with was ‘catastophization’ (I’m using the American spelling here). Anything and everything becomes ‘catastrophied’ and therefore loses any fundamental meaning beyond its self reference.

      • hardie karges 1:10 am on September 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Catastrophization? I like that term. Yes, gradually I’m learning what the term ‘mental formations’ means, I think, after 2 years of Buddhist studies, always a mystery to me until now. Thanks for your comments, Tim…

  • hardie karges 2:44 pm on August 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: binary, , digital, , , , , ,   

    The Golden Mean is an Irrational Number–and so are our lives… 

    Growth is easy–more more bigger bigger. Loss is even easier–zip zero nada. Holding steady is the hard part, avoiding all extremes. And this applies at all levels, from the steady state of the universe to the steady state of our psyches, most of which is a fleeting illusion, but still applicable nevertheless, for this is more than a simple survival strategy, but a metaphysical principle, that there is a somewhat meandering middle path that is always capable of yielding more benefits than the extremist positions that promise deliverance or salvation of some kind or other, whether political, social or religious. Buddhism is famous for this, of course, without which its major tenets can sometimes resemble those of the Jains if not Hindus themselves, ‘real’ Indians, born of high caste, Sanskrit, and spicy food. But the principle applies in almost all cases, notwithstanding the modern digital paradigm of zeros and ones that underlie computing in which a binary number system’s on-off capability approximates that of electric switching, resulting in a new electronic digital dimension that powers our modern daily lives. That only accentuates the point I want to make, because there’s more to life than math, and a digital dimension is artificial. Because between every two polar extremes there is a whole rainbow of possibilities, one of which will offer the optimal solution in any given set of circumstances. So there is a myriad of possible realities, but one is usually best, neither poverty nor luxury, neither the non-existence of nihilism nor the infinite existence of a permanent enduring soul traveling in both time and space. But these are points that can be parsed to the limits of our patience and imaginations. Belief is not required. That is one of the benefits of philosophy over religion. You can pick and choose, to see what works best. The difference between religion and philosophy is that religions have members…

     
  • hardie karges 5:41 pm on August 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , past, , ,   

    Self-Styled Bodhisattva Vow to Save the Species 

    I won’t bother to look for bliss.
    I’ll content myself in the mitigation of
    suffering and in the effort to help others.
    For that is a path forward, no matter
    how many twists and turns must be navigated,
    no matter how winding the cliched and storied path.
    This is a one-stop shop, for all we know,
    so it is wise and prescient of us to gather
    rosebuds while we may, lest they be unavailable
    tomorrow, for lack of stock in house, or merely
    the wrong season for searching.
    Sci-fi scientists look in the farthest most remote
    atmospheres for life and red herrings, myths
    to live by and fantasies to smoke, magic dragons to puff.
    But that is all for an imaginary tomorrow, cowering
    in fear of a fictionalized past that has sworn
    revenge on the far-fetched future.
    Such are the menu options for consciousness,
    three dimensions three tenses three personal
    pronouns and a pocket full of tissues.
    The choices are ours, to run and hide
    or to stand and fight, with possibly a third
    option still grooming on the side.
    Regardless of the ultimate method and final
    forage for fruit, though, just remember that we
    should all be civil, and polite, and seek our highest
    common denominators, not sink to our lowest…

     
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