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  • hardie karges 7:37 am on February 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Edward Conze, impeachment, , , SDNY,   

    DJ Trump and the Sarvāstivādin Theory of Momentariness… 


    Reflections in the back seat

    For those of you who are not in the process of pursuing a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies, let me explain that the Sarvāstivādins were a large Abhidharma-era group that split off from the mainstream Theravādins after Asoka’s third Buddhist Council at Pataliputra c. 250 BCE, over their insistence that ‘everything exists’, i.e. ‘sarvam asti‘ (or something like that, my Sanskrit sucks), while the Theravādins preferred a bit more ‘discrimination’…

    And part of that theory of everything was an atomistic conception of time: atoms, of both time and matter, and classifiable as either: (1) states of consciousness (citta); (2) mental ‘concomitants’ (cetasika); (3) corporeality (rūpa); plus (4) nirvāna. According to the Sarvāstivādin conception of time, these could exist equally well in the past, present or future. For their part the Theravādins only acknowledged the present, albeit in successive moments… (More …)

  • hardie karges 5:45 am on February 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: action, , , negation   

    Buddhism: Leading from the Middle… 

    I don’t mind so much to be the object of your anger, as long as I am not the cause of it. I can always walk away. And that is the crucial to good Buddhism, not just doing the right thing, but being able to walk away from bad actions, also. After all, how do I know what to do? I don’t, but I know wrong actions when I see them. That’s Buddhist logic, the ‘none of the the above’ option. Negation is the only certainty, and certainty is what we’re looking for in life. No action is required, literally. That is: inaction is required. You don’t have to correct some other person’s questionable actions. So do nothing–quickly. That’s the first thing I learned in kung fu class: leave a bad situation. Violence, even self-defense, is a last resort. Aggression is forbidden. You don’t have to win the argument. Leave. Go buy a homeless person a meal. That will feel better…

    • tiramit 5:53 pm on February 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply


      • hardie karges 11:38 pm on February 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Exactly. That’s the goal, equanimity…

    • Dave Kingsbury 5:05 pm on February 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I feel karma already – oof! If in doubt, don’t! Just made that up, as a variant of Don’t just do something, sit there …

      • hardie karges 9:38 pm on February 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Sounds about right to me…

  • hardie karges 8:08 am on February 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Allen Ginsberg, , ,   

    Humor Is That Special Sauce… 

    Can I get a side-order of humor with my reality sandwiches? Thanks, Allen. Make that ‘to go’, please, also, and don’t forget the pickle, haha. But all kidding aside, laughter is the best medicine, now, is it not, to cure what ails you? And IMHO that’s true in some kind of direct proportion to the severity of the ailment, whether spiritual, psychological, or existential, i.e. the worse you got it, the more you need it; laughter, that is. But even on a normal day, humor is a good palliative for what ails you, just a spoonful of sugar to help reality go down. Because suffering is the bottom line, now, isn’t it? In Buddhism it is. But that doesn’t mean that we have to be miserable. We just need to keep the suffering to a minimum. That’s more important than having the latest fashions…

    • Dave Kingsbury 6:01 pm on February 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Nice one, Hardie, totally agree that laughter is the best medicine. My dictionary gives two meanings of ‘suffer’ – one is about pain and the other, archaic, is tolerate. That needs perspective I’d say, all things being relative, and nothing beats humour for perspective.

      • hardie karges 8:46 pm on February 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanx, Dave. Yes, good point about the dual nature of the word ‘suffer’ as transitive or intransitive, but not sure it’s so archaic. After all, I still don’t suffer fools gladly, haha. I might have to use that somewhere…

        • Dave Kingsbury 4:56 am on February 9, 2019 Permalink

          Me neither, though I probably expect others to suffer my folly occasionally. The second meaning comes closer to ‘experience’, I think, which makes it something we can all share – even the more fortunate. Then of course there’s empathy and compassion …

  • hardie karges 7:23 am on February 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , liberation, self-control   

    The one who can control himself can control the world–his world. And that’s the essence of Buddhism, in a nutshell, the power of inaction, like the title of the meditation book a decade or two ago: “Don’t just do something, sit there!” That says a lot. But sometimes you can say even more with silence. Words don’t always have happy endings. The good news is that you really shouldn’t need it, not if you’ve done your Buddhist homework. Because Buddhism is not an emotional religion, not like Christianity, where rapture is the holy grail. In Buddhism liberation is the holy grail, release from the sufferings of the world, on your own terms. The first step is to control your body, your mind, and your emotions…

  • hardie karges 7:40 am on January 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Before you speak, click, scribble or tweet, pls consider: Who will it help? Who will it hurt? And the world will be a better place…

    • Dave Kingsbury 4:39 pm on February 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Indeed, very true, how else to conduct oneself in cyberspace?

      • hardie karges 11:43 pm on February 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Politeness, the age-old cure to modern anti-social media…

        • Dave Kingsbury 7:47 am on February 3, 2019 Permalink

          Yes, oils the wheels at least! Rudeness is just a race to the bottom.

  • hardie karges 7:42 am on January 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , metaphysical, , , , , universe   

    Buddhism 202: Does Mind = Self = Soul ? 

    IMG_2747Yes, I’m talking about that theoretical ghost in each of our machines. So the first time a human being saw his reflection in still water must have been incredible, our hero unbelieving, disbelieving, unsure if what’s he’s seeing is really him, himself, and so now aware of self, for maybe the first time, previously only aware of everything other…

    Now whether our hero had language at this point is unknown, but whatever it was, it probably wasn’t much, bunch o’ nouns and maybe a few verbs, an adjective or two like special sauce, maybe even an adverb for a side garnish. But our hero must’ve looked like Groucho Marx, sans cigar, or maybe even Marcel Marceau, bluffing and feinting and miming himself in the mirror, trying to test whether it’s really real or not… (More …)

  • hardie karges 4:10 am on January 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ICE, intent, , , morality, ,   

    Buddhism and Donald Trump, Criminal Intent and Modern Justice 

    img_2116Intent is the elephant in the courtroom of modern justice, beyond forensics and beyond genetics, the need to know what someone was thinking and why they thought it, at such-and-such a time and such-and-such a place. But isn’t this a system doomed to failure? And is it really necessary? Only we European-derived Westerners could invent a term like schadenfreude, delight in the misfortune of others, not so much the passive enjoyment of something such so strange, but that we do it so often that we have a name for it…

    But that is indeed the case, that we are so obsessed with our feelings that our whole system of justice is based upon it, such that if someone is supposedly repentant, then that counts in his favor, whereas without it he is doomed to longer incarceration, as if we could really know the difference, so to make ourselves feel good we reward the best actors, and maybe the most honest are doomed to perdition… (More …)

  • hardie karges 7:22 am on December 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , dana, , , Saturnalia, sila   

    Putting the Buddha back in Christmas, and the Rebirth back in New Year… 



    Kwan Yin Fest near Chiang Dao, Thailand

    So I’ve made a big deal, for myself at least, over the fact that, at least in my mind, we as humans, and as Buddhists, or whatever, don’t really have to do anything to be upright moral citizens of this world and this civilization. As long as we don’t do any bad things, then all should be well, for each of us, morally and ethically and spiritually. It is no one’s place and position to prescribe the behavior of others, so long as they are doing nothing wrong and causing no one any harm…

    Then there’s Christmas, the Big Deal for Christians worldwide, with much spillover into other countries, especially those which have significant consumer cultures. But that’s not really what it’s all about, not for those who really ‘get it’, i.e. get the fact that it’s all really about what you give, not what you get. So what you get, hopefully, is the satisfaction of making other people happy… (More …)

  • hardie karges 6:38 am on December 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , citta, compassion, , , karuna, Khmer, , metta, , , , ,   

    Buddhism 101: Metta means Friendship, Karuna means Compassion… 

    IMG_2290You’ve got something pretty special when you put friendship and compassion together, and something pretty simple. Even people who profess to believe in nothing, and categorically reject use of that word ‘belief’ can surely believe in friendship and compassion. And friendship, universal friendship, is a very important concept, easy to forget in our day and time that at some time in the not-so-distant past anyone who was not part of the family was suspect and an object of great fear and suspicion…

    One of my favorite stories, recounted many times, is by Jared Diamond of ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ fame who related that while doing anthropological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, when two strangers would meet each other, they’d count back to see if they had a mutual relative, so that they wouldn’t have to kill each other, or die trying… (More …)

    • Dave Kingsbury 4:28 pm on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Informative survey with a convincing historical explanation for fellow-feeling, if that phrase fits. It all builds nicely to your final thoughts where you suggest how experience of different cultures can develop the facility. It’s an important corrective to the divisions – silos, bunkers, echo chambers, whatever – of the modern era.

    • hardie karges 4:45 pm on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Dave! Merry Christmas from Cambodia…

  • hardie karges 6:50 am on December 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , human zoo, , , , , type A,   

    Buddhism, taming the wild beast within… 


    Buddhism in Sri Lanka

    The zoo is one of my favorite analogies and metaphor for the human species, such that we tame ourselves and our worst impulses, in order to make of ourselves one great human zoo, a petting zoo, properly fed and cared for, so that the need to compete and the struggles with predators should be reduced to little or nothing…

    I know for a fact that two unrelated mammal species raised together from infancy can easily learn to accept each other for the mutual benefit of all, so cats’ and dogs’ need to fight is only learned behavior. Even in the savannas of Africa, at least in the protected areas, many if not most species have symbiotic relationships, such that none are subject to the regular predations of any one specific species–except man. So we are the main problem of violence on this planet, as much or more than any lions, tigers or bears… (More …)

    • Dave Kingsbury 4:29 pm on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Your own experience here shows the power of adaptability we human beings have, though it can’t exactly have been plain sailing for you. Pride of ego has a lot to answer for, indeed, including our imagined superiority over the rest of life. A phrase I have particular problems with is ‘dog eats dog’. Mostly, they don’t …

    • hardie karges 9:03 pm on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I’m particularly struck by how young our civilization is, barely 10K years, and we’re at each others’ throats most of the time. As space becomes scarce, it’s really time for a new paradigm, which is fairly easy to imagine, really. The hard part is getting people to accept it!

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