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  • hardie karges 12:29 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , uppadana,   

    Buddhism and that Special Flavor of Sadness… 

    Plato not Prozac. Buddha not Benzedrine. In other words, don’t go running for the medicine cabinet every time you feel a little sad, or bored. Life is not about getting all charged up, whether looking for thrills, or looking for bliss. Life is about being aware, not much more and not much less. So if you’re feeling a little down in the dumps today, or just can’t seem to pump it up any how any way, I can’t recommend experiments of the chemical sort, unless it’s the last resort, and you’re the experimental sort. Because the results don’t always work out well. Pills are not always equivalent to thrills, and thrills are not what they used to be, better for kids in playgrounds, than adults in real lives. (Unless you have serious clinical depression, of course, and then you should get thyself to a doctor, post haste, and follow his instructions to the letter, because they are the masters of experiment, and can save you some time and trouble). But depression and sadness are two different things, and boredom is even more insidious. Boredom may be a call to action, true enough, but that action is best when more than the zen koan: what is the sound of one pill popping? This is a Western disease, and American, especially, home to amusement parks and extreme sports, daredevil stuntmen and short short shorts. We know what we want and we want it now. The only problem is that once gratified that sensation, there will always be another, and another, and another. This is the main realization of the Buddha: craving, ‘uppadana’, closely related to ‘tanha’, thirst, and the need for constant needs. This is a vicious circle, of course, and the best way to nip it in the bud is to gain control over yourself, to whatever extent that is possible. And this is the essence of Buddhist ‘practice’, the control that you gain, primarily by meditation. But self-control can still fall short, especially if you have a history of chemical imbalances. Buddhism always reverts to causes, and even if 90% of those are ‘mental’ and ‘impermanent’, some of them are more intrinsic to this particular manifestation of our transitory physical dimension, and are best dealt with in that way. Sometimes you have to treat symptoms first, worry about ultimate causes later…

     
    • Alexia Adder 9:09 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      That is the only way to survive. For myself, it isn’t just awareness but the idea that chaos or loss of control [self] =/= fun for me. I find joy in experiences and ideas, even if I disagree. I like to be intellectually stimulated, I got bored if I am not. To do this I try to learn more, talk to people, get their perspectives… there’s always a subjectivity aspect to life even if one is part of a culture, unique ideas and opinions may or not be born from a combination of experiences and cultures.

      One thing I love science and always philosophize and think about it. But science is only about the objective which can get one only insofar, there are subjective areas science can never cover. Most rational people are blind to the subjective part of living and reality, putting too much “faith” in the objective.

      Real harmony is finding the balance between both views, and not seeing the mutual exclusives. Instead knowing that both perspectives have their place. This is the Middle Path.

      • hardie karges 10:19 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I’m a big fan of science, actually right now trying to put together a Facebook group for a more science-oriented Buddhism, stay tuned. Thanks for your comments…

      • hardie karges 5:39 pm on January 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Here you go, just got the group page up, so it’s pretty empty, but if you want to discuss anything, then doing it there might make it a little less lonely! Basically the idea is to discuss the possibilities of a modernized Buddhism without the burdens of rebirth, past lives and karma. But we can discuss anything, hope to C U there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/196544654825092/

        • Alexia Adder 5:55 pm on January 27, 2020 Permalink

          Thank you so much! This will help me and others a lot.

        • hardie karges 5:59 pm on January 27, 2020 Permalink

          You’re welcome! C U there!

    • Robert@69 10:27 pm on January 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Nice read hardie. to paraphrase I read you to say that the american disease is wanting instant or damn near instant gratification, and the problem with this wanting is that it’s never sated and we end up in the cycles of craving and thirst. – agreed. but isn’t the wanting to be in control just another form of craving/thirst? And is gaining control over ? the essence of Buddhist practice? It isn’t for me.

    • hardie karges 11:00 pm on January 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      SELF-control, yes, and self-control only, which for a Buddhist is only natural, since no permanent self is even acknowledged. I know it sounds a bit draconian from an American perspective, point of the post, but it works, it really does, with meditation, non-confrontation (don’t ‘take the bait’), etc., and it all starts with the breath (maybe). No, it’s the opposite of craving, really, purely non-grasping, the power of inaction. It isn’t a subject that gets written up in Buddhism, really, but I’ve discussed it with Asian monks, and it’s often acknowledged that yes, that’s the deal. Think about it. It can be very satisfying, actually, foregoing the white noise of sometimes mindless action. Thanks for your comments…

  • hardie karges 10:51 am on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , evolutionary psychology, , , silence   

    Buddhism and the Power of Silence… 

    Many of the world’s problems might vanish if certain people could only learn the power of silence, blessed emptiness. And by silence, of course, I mean self-silence, to the extent that ‘self’ refers to something largely indefinable, but we all know what to do with it, and in this case, as in many cases, the thing to do is simply STFU. Because we are indoctrinated in the arts of debate from childhood here in the Europe-descended West, and so imagine that this is the natural way to be, chomping at the bit, and foaming at the mouth, all for a chance to assert our rights to pre-eminence, and if we’re lucky, maybe even monopolize the deep end of the gene pool. But to pretend that this is normal is where the hubris and the ultimate fraud come to play, simply because violence and arrogance are choices, just as is silence, and ultimately rewarded by behavior, of others, in that everyone has a right to decide whether the behavior they witness is conducive to their cooperation, or not, and so the ultimate submission to power, or not. But the only way to ‘speak truth to power’ is to have other options than reliance upon that source of power for any perceived benefits, whether real or simply imagined, and ultimately the spread of genes, which will heavily determine whether this behavior is repeated indefinitely and infinitely into the distant future, or not. And this is where evolutionary psychology kicks in, because these patterns become ingrained across the generations, and will continue to haunt us far beyond the present circumstances of power’s abuse, whenever and wherever it perceives there to be a vacuum, and thus an opportunity. For ‘Type-A’ male behavior may exist across the range of species, but only humans, and chimpanzees, actually go to war over it. For all others it’s simply the gratification of the urge to merge, and the will for thrill, as the also-rans look on in envy. Human consciousness is capable of changing all that, though, the self-correcting addendum to the will to warfare, an instinct for survival, and the ability to see futures where no clear paths yet exist. And that is the path of silence, now that we have run amok for so many years now, stuffing ourselves on so many unearned rewards, far beyond what is necessary to survive and reproduce. So we over-produced, and now it comes back to haunt us, when the main causes of death are obesity and suicide. We need to relearn how to simply survive. Buddha to his credit discovered this some 2500 years ago, from the twilight’s first gleamings, as the age of cities took hold, and the potential for disaster became obvious. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is another way, the path of non-aggression, and non-cooperation with tyrants. Our silence is our ultimate act of freedom. Whether Homo Sapiens will be a successful species is uncertain still, yet anybody’s guess, and everybody’s choice…

     
    • Tim 3:29 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      It is the 70th anniversary of George Orwell … there is some interesting discussions on the disillusionment he had in his engagement with the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. The obsession with not only leftist doctrine but ‘my leftist doctrine’ saw multiple fault lines run through the opposition to the rise of fascism. I find myself withdrawing from political activism for the same reasons … finding my radical voice lost in so many contemporary provisos and caveats … but is silence the answer? But I think that you do not refer to this sort of silence? Perhaps the silence is a listening silence … one that tries to understand, through listening intently, from whence the provisos and caveats emerge … and why.

      • hardie karges 5:02 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Yes it’s a bit of a conundrum, how to maintain a noble silence when the world is clamoring for details and opinions, especially when one’s own well-being is being threatened in the process, whether real or imagined. So there is no absolute mandate for it, but I do believe that it is best in many situations, not least of all meditation…

  • hardie karges 11:42 am on January 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: arrogance, , , , , Paradise, paradox,   

    Paradox in Paradise, the Buddha’s Suffering as Our Own… 

    Life is sometimes too easy. Without struggle there is no need for kindness. Thus we confront a Buddhist paradox, every day, in a world at least partly defined by its suffering, and the need to mitigate that suffering, so that we can survive, without falling into the trap of false flattery and the lure of luxury. Because if the suffering is a matter of opinion and the appropriate means of measure, the imperfection is rife. There may be a perfect world somewhere, of which this is but a poor manifestation, admittedly, but not this reflected world itself, which at times resembles a cheap carnival sideshow. But this is the only world that we truly experience on an ordinary day, so this is the hand we play. And that is okay. If this material world is all we ever know, then so be it. And let the imperfections speak for themselves. Because every imperfection is an opportunity for improvement, in life as in genetics, in which natural mutations provide the raw material for evolution. So if nothing ever changes, then there’s no chance for it to get better, and perfection is just hubris, the arrogance of species, this human species, full of itself and full of its self-importance, which is only partially justified. The human species IS important, but not always for the reasons that we think. It is not important because it is ABOVE the rest of the animal kingdom. It is important, because it is OF the rest of the animal kingdom, in an unbroken chain of Becoming, of which we humans are probably on top, that is true, but which is no reason for celebration, and certainly no reason for arrogance, for we were once only poor struggling mammals, looking for strength and succor. Thus the flip-side of freedom is always responsibility, and that is our lot in life. Always treat people better than they treat you, and the world becomes a nicer place…

     
  • hardie karges 1:10 pm on January 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , contentchaos, , form, , Maslow, , void,   

    Buddhist Shunyata: Emptiness and Chaos, Form and Content, Zeroes and Ones, ad Infinitum… 

    Every act of cruelty is a good chance to prove the power of kindness, in some sort of reverse logic, which largely defines our lives on this planet. Because nothing is what it seems, and everything is a cause of concern. But it needn’t be, because everything that can happen will happen, by certain laws of physics, but only if given enough time, of course. And that is our job, to control the time line in our dimension, which is largely defined by space. We travel in space, not time, not yet, anyway. Time is mostly an act of mind coordinating events which have already happened in apparent space, so three dimensions, while time is only one–the past. That is all we know about time, because that is the only aspect of time that we can measure. Everything else is pure mathematical probability, in the case of the future, or a fleeting moment of presence, and best held in abeyance, in the case of that legendary present moment. But that ‘present moment’ doesn’t exist, as such, anyway, because it is a contradiction in terms, as defines our lives in language. Because if we speak of a moment, as a point in time, then there are many, in rapid succession, one after the other, as they stack up for counting in that warehouse we call the past. But if it is truly the present, then if must be an ongoing continuum, uncountable in its immediacy, and so hardly recognizable as a moment, but more like an eternity, an infinity, one and not many, but really more like zero than one, form without content. Thus all the numbers of our counting system fit neatly and best between the conscious and mental paradigms of zero and one, neither of which can ever be truly present and physical, but both of which can be reasonably intuited. And this is much of the background noise and radiation of the Buddhist concept of ‘shunyata’, variously defined as void, emptiness, nothing, or ‘zero-ness’, bingo! Because that is what the word ‘shunya’ means, in multiple Asian languages, and its invention in pre-literate India was more or less simultaneous, conceptually and arithmetically. I don’t think that this was coincidental. So instead of positive numbers or negative numbers, maybe all we really have are fractions of a single number One as defined by its erstwhile twin Zero. These might also be seen as Chaos and Void, content and form, or even male and female, depending on circumstances. Thus everything is the opposite of what it seems, from certain angles, and at certain times of the day. My hunger defines my terms of fulfillment, and levels of dissatisfaction define my feeling of happiness–or not. So in some Maslovian hierarchy of needs, there is a sweet spot of contentment and a vast suburb of uncertainty. Every frown hides a smile, and every tear hides laughter–somewhere, somehow…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 5:15 pm on January 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Not sure how but this post reminded me of Blake’s phrase – without contraries, no progress. Emptiness, by that token, is a creative opportunity. And as you say, ‘every act of cruelty is a good chance to prove the power of kindness’ – have a good 2020, Hardie!

      • hardie karges 7:50 pm on January 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Dave, happy 2020 to you, too!

  • hardie karges 12:45 pm on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , selfishness   

    Life and Buddhism at the Crossroads of Culture and the City… 

    Human selfishness is appalling, incompetence assumed, myopia even worse. So it’s no wonder our kids will inherit a Hell of our own making. Of course many people are quite proud of the world we’ve created, and with some justification, certainly, but the question we must ask ourselves is in which direction are we heading. So if you are in love with cars and buildings and highways and cities, then you should be quite happy. But much of our present world is based on white male privilege, of the Aryan upper class, so what would it look like as done by other tribal sources, and by the females who bare the burden of multiple births? Unfortunately that question is hard to answer, since it is typical now to copy the Western paradigm as if it were the only one available. So Chinese plans for the future look almost like a caricature of the Western model, Hong Kong extrapolated exponential, high rises up and down every street, with almost no one left in the state of nature. But that’s exactly what my perfect world would look like, if it were up to me, and if I had the decision to make, because nature is what we are, not concrete and steel, no matter how we feel, under the influence of elixirs and potions and untested notions, the children of experiment, left to our own devices, mostly electronic. But where are we then when the lights go out? Because they most certainly will, somehow some way, in some year, if not some day. And we should be prepared for that eventuality, with no time wasted in transition, not only because it is imminent, but because it is better. We are organic beings, not robots, and to deny our connection to the earth is not only futile, but misguided. If there is beauty in this world, then it comes from nature. If there is good in this world, then it comes from nature. And if there is any truth in this world, then it comes from Nature. And to Nature it should return, in a constant process of recycling, and returning to the source for refreshment. That doesn’t mean living in the wild, not necessarily. It means living in villages, without walls and without fears, no guns and no tears, preferably Buddhist. Villages are feminine and forgiving. Cities are masculine and unforgiving. The world has developed physically, but have we developed mentally and spiritually? That question remains to be answered…

     
    • Robert@69 10:12 pm on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      we have developed mentally – clearly technology is a product of our minds – as are religions, billionaires and 5G. Spiritually…ahhh that’s difficult to discern. Christianity, as preached currently in america appears to fulfil the notion of “making a pact with the devil” for power, with Trump. But that speaks more to ideology/mentality than to spirituality and I pray that recent events of rebellion from the base may lead to a “resurrection of Jesus,” in the sense that honest and practicing Christians begin waking up from the spell false prophets.

      Sorry, I ramble. I would hope too that our villages would orient around feminine energies – no guns and much metta and mudita. One of the sweet things about Buddhism as I understand it, is that no one knows quite where they are on the path but we know we are on a path of heart and the 3rd Noble truth reveals that indeed we can lesson our suffering, we do indeed love as we love ourselves, and experience greater spaciousness in our lives.

      • hardie karges 10:19 pm on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        You are welcome to ramble. Thank you for your comments. And I largely agree…

  • hardie karges 12:53 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhsim, , ,   

    Reality Po' Boys: the Light Within Us and the Light Without… 

    A kind word can heal forever, just as an unkind word can wound. Indifference is not the best option, but a healthy silence is okay. Such is the hand we play, as opposed to the hand that we’re dealt. Because this is not the best of all possible worlds, enshrined in legend and showcased in gold. The best of all possible worlds would be pure light, magnetic and electric, but we can only barely perceive that world, so imagine it as a force, outside us and distant. But once we perceive that force as inside us and accessible, then the equation changes and the call to action becomes explicit. It is our position as intermediaries to retransmit that internal light back outward to its external locus of purity. Because the reflected light within us is muddled and muddied, conflicted and confused, by virtue of its inferior status of self-ness, earth-bound and body-tired, while the light of external space is godly and illuminating. But that is neither here nor there, because the light is just indicative of our reflected status, a function of frequencies, and tendencies to exist, when there are no better options available. So we fall in love with this earth and this body, for as long as it lasts, and for whatever good it will do, because it is ultimately doomed to failure, no matter how hard we try, and the common phrase for that is ‘we’re all going to die’. And so the pretensions of humanity fall flat on their faces, no matter the lineage or the appearance of race. This physical world is but a tiny whirlpool in the cosmic stream, where the going gets slow and white light passes through the spectrum of physicality, rain and snow and fog and steam and all the colors of the rainbow’s stream, in full panoramic display, beauty incarnate and suffering, too, the price of our perfection its negation. So cries and crises ensue and volcanoes erupt, earthquakes and landslides and the rising price of a 20-ounce cup. Now the only path forward loops around and comes back to haunt us, every time and in every place. But there is no cause for anger, as this is simply the way of our world, by definition. There is no cure. The cure for anger would be a creative solution to the cause, but Buddhist meditation can work in the meanwhile…

     
    • KINDNESS 3:06 am on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Merry Christmas 🎄

      • hardie karges 4:19 am on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. Merry Christmas to you also, and a happy new year.

  • hardie karges 2:54 pm on December 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lust, , ,   

    Buddhism and the Fleshly Prison of the Body 

    Solitary confinement is not torture, if it’s voluntary. Then it’s meditation, a retreat, renunciation. And if this is one of the messages of Buddhism, then let it be known that many religious and philosophical traditions make the case that the body is a prison of sorts. But this is the ultimate irony, is it not (?), that pleasure and pain are but conditioned reflexes, conditioned by culture and sanctioned by nature, such that one man’s torture is another man’s enlightenment, solitary confinement (presumably in prison) and meditation (presumably alone, silent and with no material rewards) are, on the surface, quite similar, differing only in the expectations, and the nature of rewards offered, accepted, and acknowledged. Because if you’re looking for money or street cred or hot nights in a cold crib, then meditation is not your best option. You’d do better out on Sunset Drive after dark with a fistful of dollars and a pocketful of tissues. Whatever you’re packing, it won’t be enough, though, because that is the nature of craving, lust and desire, whether for meat, onions, or sex. It’s never enough, because the sliding scale of satisfaction constantly resets the top dead center of zero, from which all further measurements are calibrated. So it’s like the Asian schoolboy addicted to spicy food who adds hot sauce, to his taste, in a fresh bowl of noodles. The only problem is that after five minutes, it doesn’t taste spicy anymore, because the new standard of ‘normalcy’ has slid up the scale of spiciness, already. So what do you do? You add more hot spicy stuff, of course, and so on and so on, adding more and more beyond all reason, even though your body knows exactly what’s going on, and will protest on the morrow. And if this sounds like a frivolous example, then I assure you that it’s not so frivolous when the ‘spice’ in question is heroin, and the sliding scale of normalcy is tolerance to a drug that cares nothing about your feelings. So people die every year chasing a feeling that will kill regardless of how you feel. So some feelings are best avoided, especially those that are destructive to yourself, or others, generally measured by their hardness, not their softness. There should be no hard feelings. There is no time for that, too much work and too little gain. Life goes too quickly for quibbling over the details of a desire best left unrequited…

     
  • hardie karges 7:06 am on December 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    The Bodhisattva and the Butterfly: Living in the Material World… 

    The frst rule of life in the material world is that you have to actually be somewhere, in a place, almost all the time, which seems self-evident, I suppose, but sometimes problematic, all the same. I mean: you can’t just scan your own personal barcode on to some digital format and send yourself off to the cloud somewhere. In fact, I suppose this defines the conundrum of existence, where to be and what to do, and how to do it, and with whom. For this is, on the micro individual level, what has been described on a macro social level, as the ‘tyranny of democracy’, so on the individual level something like the ‘horror of free will’, i.e. decisions decisions. So the most obvious thing to do is find your true love, get hitched, and then start making babies, simple–or not so simple. Because what happens when your true love goes south, or those beautiful babies start foaming at the mouth, or the planet gets so full of little poopers that the poop piles up, and the rivers won’t flow no mo’ and the sun won’t shine, and even if it did, it would no longer find any field of flowers to illuminate? So we are the first species to ask these questions, few of which have concrete answers, so we try to console ourselves that the fact of asking will somehow be some compensation, despite all evidence to the contrary, filed in reams of papers and stacks of floppy disks which no longer work and only take up space, while we wait for the next newest technology to come and save us in the nick of time before the door shuts in our faces and the bells no longer chime. But it seems the kid was just having some late teen depression, so normal enough considering the urge to merge and the need to breed. Will there still be meaning to life when population pressures dictate that we need to find other hobbies besides reproduction? These are the challenges we face for the future, if there is to be a future, full of furniture and breakfast nooks and a 2-car garage, regardless of whether anything is parked there or not. So we have to invent reasons for the season, and myths for our bliss, and content ourselves with intransitive verbs, even when we all crave something to truly transit, preferably glory, in mind if not body. I will be at peace when this world is at peace, and if that’s not so much of a concern of Theravada Buddhism, then I’ll forgive them for that, because it’s right in line with Mahayana, the big machine, so that seems right for this era of history, Theravada at home and Mahayana out in the world, C U there…

     
  • hardie karges 5:20 am on December 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , possessions, ,   

    Buddhism 202: Slavery to Self and the Addictions of Ego… 

    Slavery can also be self-inflicted, addiction to money and ego and possessions and false gods, you name it. And I suppose it’s not even a bad thing, necessarily, as some Buddhist devotees proudly display their ‘slavery’ to the Buddha, just like any latter-day Krishna devotee named Das (Sanskrit for ‘slave’). But those are particular and peculiar exceptions to the general rule that freedom is better, self-control the best kind of control, and any exception to that rule to be approached with extreme caution. Because morality demands free will, or at least the illusion of such, to whatever extent possible, given the limits imposed by biological existence and the vicissitudes of circumstance. For we are nothing if not crippled, by space and time and the frequencies at which we are sentient, to light and sound, especially, somewhere between infrared and ultraviolet, and 20 to 20,000 Hz in this world best defined physically by mechanical waves of the kind that shock and reverberate, percussion with repercussions, and the sonic blasts that level all buildings and pretenses to greatness and permanence. Addictions are false gods and self-slavery, selling yourself to the highest bidder for selves and souls on the credit card for true believers, no down payment required and discount options available with bulk purchase. But every purchase comes with a warning: that warm fuzzy feeling that felt so good the first time may not feel so good the last, in some sliding scale of proportionately inverse pleasure, calculated to leave you wanting more the more you have, just the opposite of the Platonic need for what you don’t have, instead the Satanic need for what you do have. But in the end it’s all just ‘maya’, illusion, because it ultimately gets you nowhere, and advances you not a whit, because all your frills and bangles, fancy buttons and silk bows, won’t make you a better person, and that’s the mark of progress…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:15 am on December 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Invigorating perspectives, as always, Hardie! Our addictions aren’t always obvious to us, it seems …

      • hardie karges 5:01 am on December 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        No, not always obvious, and not even necessarily bad. Thanks for your comment…

        • Dave Kingsbury 5:29 pm on December 7, 2019 Permalink

          The word carries a pejorative association for me, so interesting to consider it from another angle … I suppose enthusiasm and dedication, for example, require a degree of obsessional focus in a distracting world.

        • hardie karges 6:38 pm on December 7, 2019 Permalink

          Yes, I know it’s difficult to see the word as positive, but the name Das confirms it, just checked modern Hindi, and it’s the same, but with connotations of ‘devotee’, now, of course. For me the distinction is that between self-control and control by others, and that’s very central to the implicit meaning of Buddhism, even if seldom articulated…

        • Dave Kingsbury 3:46 am on December 8, 2019 Permalink

          I can see the distinction you describe – a very important one in an increasingly homogenous world, I reckon.

  • hardie karges 6:34 am on November 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Karma and the Necessity of Imperfection 

    Maybe the world is an imperfect place, or maybe I’m just too sensitive. But the world, of course, is defined by its imperfection, and it would be futile to want it any other way, in fact, because these imperfections are what allows for change and evolution, the constant mutation of genetic units into something else, the concepts of better or worse subject to the judgment of volunteers and substitutes, while perfection itself means no such thing, just the fact that it has been completed, finished, no more change, end of story, and that’s not likely to happen, no time soon, anyway, not with egos flaring and guns flashing, the glint of hard cold steel embedding itself in our collective consciousness as a reminder of our potential for cruelty, as a vestige of our not-so-distant past, savage and brutal and begging for redemption when none is likely and where none could be further from the truth. This is ground zero, the testing area, between past and future, for liberation and release, from the bonds of self-imprisonment and the requirements for future freedom. The past is but a signpost and the present a yawning zero, a field of action between the two goal posts of judgment, neither of which has meaning except that which we care to give it, for purposes of narrative, the requirements of closure and the necessities of a happy ending, with possibilities for future options. But in every act of jurisprudence the important question is intent, no matter the difficulty of determination or the conundrums of context, because guilt without intent is in fact no guilt at all, in a good and just world, and any notion of Buddhist karma must take this into account, no less so than the Supreme Court, sitting in judgment over the law of our land. Karma is equal to actions, and actions are equal to intent. Every act of cruelty or kindness carries the weight of its own intent, no more and no less…

     
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