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  • hardie karges 5:16 pm on July 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Buddhism, Possessions and the Middle Path 

    We are possessed by our possessions, slaves to our desires, captives in our own cages, smiling all the while. For this is the fate we choose for ourselves, lest freedom tempt our fates. This is the road well-traveled, secure in its very weight. This weight of possession is what keeps us grounded, and flying is too far to fall. This weight is what keeps us padded, in case the path gets too steep, or too deep, and the only way out is up. Because these ruts can get sticky, and success can breed contempt. Still the only path is forward, and to return is not allowed, unless it’s by a different route, and then all bets are worthless. Survival is the only goal, and bliss just a wayward thought. The Middle Path is always best, no matter what or where the terrain. Inner psyches are rock-strewn and social challenges are cruel. Still we have so much to learn and so little time, and the only school is too brutal to waste time in fear of it. Time is short and the clock is ticking. We are probably the first species to consciously decide its own fate, or not…

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  • hardie karges 11:16 am on July 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ajahn Chah, , , Heart, , ,   

    Buddhism, Mental Formations, and Defilements of the Heart and Logic… 

    Who says you can’t go home again? Home is a warm place in your heart, and mind. And if that’s a ‘mental formation’ as is often said in Buddhism, then that’s not such a bad one, but I’m not sure. I’ve studied Buddhism for several years now and I’m still not certain of the proper translation for the Pali/Sanskrit words sankhara/samskara that usually gets translated as the rather cryptic ‘mental formations’. But I do know that when Ajahn Chah, the great Thai forest master, used the term ‘arom’ อารมณ์ , which in normal speech means ‘feeling, emotion’, the translator rendered it as ‘mental formation’, so I figure that’s a valuable clue, notwithstanding the fact that the term may also have sexual connotations, depending on who says it, under what circumstances, and at what time of the day or night, in case you’re feeling sleepy. But that’s just the random white noise of mental idling, before or after an actual coherent thought, since I’m sure Ajahn Chah had no sexual connotation in mind, he one of the few post-Buddha (non)-personalities who I might credit with genuine Enlightenment. But feeling preceded linguistic thought, certainly, and I’ve heard Buddhist monks opine that ‘thought is a defilement’, so language falls flat, and that may be the point. In the beginning there was silence; and then there was noise. That’s all I know…

     
  • hardie karges 9:48 am on June 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: agriculture, , civilization, , nomadism, , ,   

    Politics, Politeness, and the Art of Emptiness… 

    People who love their guns more than their kids are the ones who need prayers, for they have lost their way. But this is the great conundrum of civilization, i.e. city-fication, that once we have hoards of wealth, then we have to protect it. Some people prefer guns over fences. Not that there was no violence before the age of cities, but cities took things to a new level. Nomadism was very egalitarian, and very underrated. Settlement may be a false ideal, rewarding ourselves on the fact that our butts are now fat, and we can pet the family cat, at our every whim and desire. This is the outcome of the agricultural revolution, unrequited desires, rotten teeth and obesity, just the opposite of what was intended. Now it has become the mark of our indebtedness, our slavery, our decency in the eyes of capitalism. And this is the real tragedy, the confusion and congestion of our lives and mentality. War is more the consequence than the cause. We are slaves of our growth mentality, and victims of our own voracious desires. Technology is a possible solution, civilization without the cities. But at some point, we still have to find inner peace, or some reasonable facsimile. Stressed lives crave entertainment, and confusion, more louder bigger. Peace loves emptiness…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 2:17 pm on July 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Apparently we have experts working on the problem as we speak … the bad news is, their funding has just been cut. Seriously though, I do like your long perspective on this. Spot on!

  • hardie karges 7:05 pm on June 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: certainty, , , , opportunity   

    Fear of the Known and the Dread of Certainty 

    I feel invisible connections to all who crossed my path, however briefly, but especially those who walked beside me for a while. For this is truly a spiritual occurrence, sacred friendship, metta, in what is predominantly a material world, of mechanical waves, percussion and repercussions, the logic of logistics, and the calculus of convenience. And this is only normal, of course, that our vision is limited to frequencies of the most ordinary sort, bland and tasteless, for fear of over-excitation, that we may start something that we can’t finish, like violence or struggle or depression or love. But none of this has to be so hard, after all, it seems. It is only our fear that makes it seems so, fear of the unknown, fear of success. Because the known is what is truly scary, that we may be stuck in some prison of our own making, and forced to repeat our actions day after day in some pattern that knows no end. The unknown offers relief from the grind of that despicable certainty. There are no problems, and no fear, only opportunities, massive opportunities…

     
    • tiramit 12:41 am on June 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      my naer

    • Dave Kingsbury 2:12 pm on July 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Because the known is what is truly scary … true, indeed! No need to invent phantoms when we have reality! But I’ll take the positives you bring to this – creative approaches are always the best!

  • hardie karges 7:50 pm on June 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , William of Ockham   

    Mindfulness and Consciousness, splitting hairs with Occam’s razor… 

    Consciousness itself is neither good nor bad. It depends on what you do with it. The word itself is neutral, and so is the activity, no matter that mindfulness has taken on an air of otherworldliness. It is synonymous with consciousness, or awareness. nothing more or less. That is ‘sati’, stripped of all its excess Buddha baggage and allowed to be free, like a child without a care in the world, just like the Buddha intended. Let the adults worry about the subtle nuances of higher hermeneutics and advanced metaphysics, zeitgeists and weltanschauungs, windowless monads and digital nomads. To just be is an accomplishment in itself. To do no harm is even better. Enlightenment is invisible if you look too hard. Everything is clearer if you use a softer focus. Concentration doesn’t have to be so hard. At some point the only thing I ask of life is that it be simple…

     
    • quantumpreceptor 12:11 am on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      It is sad but we somehow have to take the word mindfulness back away from those weekend courses and certificate slinging puffs who sell it for 99$ a month. Know what I mean?

      QP

    • hardie karges 5:53 am on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      yep

  • hardie karges 8:59 am on June 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Hatred, , , Understanding; Free Will   

    Fear and Hatred vs. Peace, Love and Understanding; Free Will vs. Determinism… 

    Life lived in fear is not much of a life, a life of hatred even less so. The beauty of it all is that you have a choice. You are limited only be your imagination and the laws of science. And while some people might think that racism and fear of the ‘other’ is intrinsic and insuperable, that is simply not true. Even dogs and cats can overcome their fussing and fighting if raised together from infancy and forced to resort to the warmth of each other’s bodies to beat the chill on some long cold nights. Necessity is a mother. And this is what religion is all about at its best, the realization that if we are self-programmed to expect the best from each other, then the likelihood of a positive outcome is significantly enhanced, i.e. peace and love just might ‘go viral’. This plays right into the hand of the old debate about free will vs determinism: you can’t change the cards you are dealt, but you can always change the hand you play…

     
  • hardie karges 10:39 pm on June 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Freud and the Buddha, ego and self… 

    Life is too short to waste time in pathetic displays of ego, though many of our so-called leaders offer litle guidance in that regard. And ego is one of the traditional pet peeves of Buddhism, though I doubt that the Buddha or anyone else in his time could really conceive of it the way we do in our post-Freudian world. Even if the discipline of psychology has largely been transformed from the science of the mind to the science of behavior, his tripartite division of ‘the mind’ into the three paradigms of id, ego and superego still linger in the consciousness of those of us who studied him, though such distinctions may now seem quaint, fanciful and downright misleading in our post-rational era of particles, genomes and information bits and bytes. But that classical era of psychology shines a light on the Buddhist role of psychology as analogy and metaphor, with many such ‘mental formations’ as self, soul, permanence and eternity serving as linguistic conveniences where no such observable entities may truly exist. But if it feels good, then we do it, and even the Buddha was sympathetic to such machinations and intellectual short-cuts if the results are beneficial to society and the individual in perpetual limbo and looking for a path forward where such is a trail with few markings. We spend half our lives being born and half our lives dying, gathering moments for memories all along the way, and looking for signposts to mark our progress…

     
  • hardie karges 5:03 pm on May 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Happiness, Ego and Buddhism… 

    Happiness and sadness are not so different, really, just blips on a screen often better off blip-less. And this is one of the more difficult lessons of Buddhism, especially for a Westerner, who often define their lives by their passions, and their willingness to ‘go for it’ without ceasing, regardless of the odds of ever achieving the goal in question–or not. But these emotions are mere ‘mental formations’, coming and going, and morphing into their opposites, not to mention the multifarious increments that lie between in search of a sweet spot. But to me this seems more like an ego formation than a mental formation, a vestige of an eternal soul and pernicious self that constantly and consistently leap off the pages of linguistic convenience and into the safe-deposit vaults of human connivance, looking for godliness and settling for larger-than-life Big Manliness, with which to slay the dragons and dominatrices of human existence. This seldom ends well, of course. Life is too short to waste time with all the fussing and fighting involved in ego-promotion…

     
  • hardie karges 9:15 am on May 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Attachment, , , , nidana, upadana   

    Buddhism, Attachment, Life and Freedom… 

    To be connected but not attached is the trick, ties that bind loosely. And this is a tricky spot for Buddhism, particularly with regard to the doctrine of Dependent Arising (or Origination) which provides a systematic formulation of the notion that, for lack of a better quick saying, “we are all connected.” But the ninth ‘link’ (nidana) of that system specifically forbids attachment (upadana) to such phenomena as ‘sensual pleasures, mistaken views, external forms, material pleasure/comfort, routines, persons, appearances, ego and…an individual self.’ (buddhajourney.net) Yeow, that’s a heavy load of attachment to avoid! But that tricky spot is also a sweet spot, because what is important is not checking off all the boxes of non-attachment, as if they were things, but to have goals and directions, arrows and road maps to show us a path where such things are easy to talk about, but not so easy to follow. Life is a balancing act, between attachment and freedom, abundance and lack, safety and risk, certainty and chance…

     
  • hardie karges 10:04 am on May 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Love, Buddhism, dialectic, and the dictates of Science… 

    The message to a noisy world is simple: silence. The message to a hateful world is also simple: love. So the remedy for any extreme situation would seem to be its opposite, at least in the short term. This can be a zig-zag situation, though, of course, flip-flopping back and forth between extremes with no middle ground. Certainly some Westerners with a racial background of extreme violence take the love love love remedy too far to the other extreme. This is the genius of Buddhism, that it constantly seeks that middle ground ‘sweet spot’ of mutual accommodation, which should ideally be the outcome of any ongoing dialectic, and constantly self-correcting. But while some scholars and priests might claim this as a higher truth, I’d say that it is simply a superior method, and therefore akin to science. There are laws that require separation of church and state, not church and science…

     
    • quantumpreceptor 12:24 pm on May 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting Hardy. I think science really should have a branch devoted to the study of meditation and or eastern teachings. It’s a proactive solution to an old problem.

      QP

      • hardie karges 2:39 pm on May 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        And vice-versa, also, IMO, as that gap is now too wide for mere yawning; it needs to be bridged…

        • quantumpreceptor 2:42 pm on May 12, 2019 Permalink

          It would be a great way to control the conversation in a logical and nondogmatic way. Leaving the snake oil salesman out to lunch and the seekers of wisdom a new path to credibility.

        • hardie karges 3:01 pm on May 12, 2019 Permalink

          exactly

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