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  • hardie karges 12:29 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , , , , , , 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 1:10 pm on January 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, 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: , , Buddhism, , , , , , 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 2:54 pm on December 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , 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 5:20 am on December 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddhism, , , , , 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: Buddhism, , , ,   

    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…

     
  • hardie karges 5:46 am on November 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , duality, Hate, ,   

    The Possibilities for Peace, Love and Buddhism in a Trumpian Universe 

    I don’t hate Donald Trump the person. That would be unkind. I hate Donald Trump the concept. And there is more at stake than kindness, anyway, since it is sometimes hard to be kind toward someone who is not a kind person himself. But ultimately we’re all made of the same stuff, so to hate others is ultimately to hate yourself and hate the world we live in, imperfect though it may be, and defined by that, in fact. Even consciousness has a basis in what we call the stuff of this world, so ultimately any mind-body duality is more apparent than real, illusions of the slippery sort, and likely the basis of religion, the division of this world into self and other, mind and body, good and evil, and our attempts to reunite all the apparent opposites, that only exist because we perceive them that way, when if we could avoid them in the first place, then we would truly be a step ahead. But that is the psychic stuff that this world is made of, ‘mental formations’ in Buddhism, the hopes and fears and illusions and divisions and contradictions and emotions that I must write before they smite. But hatred, and love, are in categories by themselves. This era, too, will pass, and we will then have to decide what we’ve learned and where we go from here. But hatred is difficult to take back, un-do, or transform, so probably best avoided altogether…

     
  • hardie karges 1:24 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddhism, , ethics, , Jain, , , , , , , Vedanta   

    Buddhism and the long winding path: No soul for me, please, and make that karma ‘lite’… 

    Salvation implies a soul to be saved. I’d prefer some enlightenment, in this lifetime. And that’s a fundamental tenet of Buddhism, of course, the lack of a permanent enduring soul to guide you through the ages, or even a solid existent self to call your own in this lifetime, the basis for egotism and possession, and all the misgivings of misplaced attachments. And if that seems like a significant deviation from the teachings of Christ, then it was even more of a deviation from the early Vedic-inspired teachings of India, including Jainism and what we now call Hinduism. For if the Vedantic Hindus want a Self to unite with a Cosmos, an Atman to unite with a Brahman, then the Jains want to find a soul in everything, every little thing, be it rock, insect or umbrella. It’s not just that everything is alive, but it’s permanent and enduring. The Buddha thought he saw something simpler than all these machinations of overwrought mentality, which are just linguistic conveniences standing up and asking to be counted, when in reality there is really nothing there, just ‘mental formations’ or something like that. After all, if everything has a soul, then what do we do to acknowledge that? The Jain answer was: not much. Just sit, sit, and sit some more. It’ll all go away sooner or later. Every action was possessed of karmas, plural. Now that may seem like a strange definition of karma, but they likely invented the concept, so that’s their right. Others saw it differently, for once the cat of karma was out of the bag, so to speak, then there is no end to it, the generation-jumping karma of retribution and the things we’ll do to avoid it. If religion craves certainty, then this became the Hindu leitmotif, past lives and reincarnation, which, like conspiracy theory, cannot be disproven, so it must be true. But don’t we need some semblance of free will, simply for the dictates of morality and ethics? So I prefer something simpler, ‘karma lite’ if you prefer: Do good and life is good. Do bad and life is bad. That’s karma, actions. You will be rewarded by them, not for them…

     
    • quantumpreceptor 7:08 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Hardy, good job boiling things down and making them simple enough to live them.

      QP

    • Passport Overused 8:01 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Great post 😊

    • hardie karges 10:57 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks

    • Dave Kingsbury 4:41 pm on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      You will be rewarded by them, not for them… great insight here, the circle squared perhaps?

    • hardie karges 11:45 pm on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Actually I may have modified a quote from the Dalai Lama there, so should give credit, not sure of his exact words. ‘Circle squared’, though: I like that…

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

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

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