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  • hardie karges 7:45 am on May 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Buddhism, , , , , , , , system, Triple Gem   

    Update on the Buddhist Update: Hard work… 

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    Now the last thing I expected when I ‘finally got serious about Buddhism’ a few years ago was that there were people still decidedly attached to the three-in-one concept of rebirth-past lives-retributive karma, to the extent that without it Buddhism was simply not functional, and would never survive. Others of us, on the other hand, think that WITH it it’s simply not functional and will never survive…

    But Buddhism is just like any other religion derived from the remote past, bedraggled with the baggage of preceding generations, and left to fend for itself against the challenges of the future. So many self-described atheists would simply prefer to call the whole thing off, while at the same time affirming their own belief systems—whether secular humanism, democracy, socialism, but mostly materialism—without seeing the slightest bit of irony, even if they prefer to ignore the logical inconsistencies… (More …)

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  • hardie karges 6:53 am on April 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddhism, ecstasy, , , , Wall Street   

    Now that I’m Buddhist: Where’s the Ecstasy? Where’s the Bliss? 

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    Buddhism in Sri Lanka

    Where’s the enlightenment available in four fashion-friendly colors and tested without harm to any animals? Shady men in rose-colored glasses sell hopes and dreams on semi-abandoned street-corners in Harlem, under dim lights, on the dark web, and in the dark corners of your mind, promising enlightenment and fulfillment, all at reasonable costs, but with no guarantees, no money back, no warranty implied or intended, you pay your money and you take your chances…

    No, I’m not talking about the latest designer drugs from the bathroom labs of Little Pharma, more like the latest New Age-y religious fads from the laptop labs of the Western Lands, in which you read a book, take a course, have a sit, make some new friends, do some yoga with the semi-naked guy and his six-pack flashing, and then wham! Bam! Presto change-o, you’re in a new dimension, of lights and colors and sounds you’ve never seen before… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:02 am on April 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddhism, , , , , ,   

    Buddhism, Gurus, and motivational mash-ups: caveat emptor… 

    IMG_0599I’m not trying to win any popularity contests, but if I were I’d be telling you things like: “You are the masterpiece! You are connected to every molecule, every atom, and every quark that has ever existed and ever will exist in this or any other universe! You are the dharma! You are the Christ! You are the reason that the sun rises in the morning and goes to bed at night…

    Yes, you are the vibrant and vibrating electromagnetic field for thousands of tiny energy centers pulsing away inside you, each in direct contact with you, each other, and the universe, simultaneously random and predetermined, quantum entanglement at its finest, you and the Big Bang in unison…” (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:16 am on April 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Buddhism, , , , , , , , , Rinzai, , , , ,   

    Buddhism is all about love—sweet dispassionate love… 

    img_1111It has long been predicted that Buddhism’s future is in the West, and for better or worse, that may very well be true. So the question then becomes: what kind of Buddhism would that be? For purposes of dialog and dialectic, I see the two chief protagonists to be the Thai Forest Tradition and Zen, both of which have numerous and faithful adherents in the West, and both of which can claim some purity of faith and doctrine…

    Tibetan Buddhism I imagine has as many or more adherents as either of the above, but is already mixed-and-mashed to the max, so the purity of doctrine is just not there, for better or worse, not to mention modern sex scandals, a dubious devotion to physical reincarnation, and a generation-jumping karma of retribution that just won’t quit. This was the final chapter to a previous crossroads, in Asia, and what worked there, and then, will not likely work here, and now… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:11 am on April 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddhism, , , , , lila, ,   

    Buddhist Communion in the Land of Big People… 

    IMG_1588The loneliness of travel should be crushing sometimes, but it’s not, not really, and I seem to attract it, by design, as if to do otherwise would mean I’m lazy, and corrupt, too weary in my old age to do the right thing, stay true to my principles, those principles of non-possession, non-attachment and non-consumption…

    Because even though there are no shortage of roadside attractions out there, pubs and clubs and the bestos of restos, that’s not where you’re likely to find me, out hooting and hollering until the sun comes up, as if that were the natural order of the universe, and not its opposite… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:20 am on April 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddhism, , , , ,   

    Buddhism and the Human Condition: Life in the universe at orbital velocity… 

    IMG_2290One of the Christian cardinal sins is pride, of course, to which I might add arrogance, same thing, and ignorance, in the original meaning, literally ignoring that which is obvious, not the least of which is the fact that we are alone here in the universe, each one of us individually, by design and definition, and all of us together, by lack of any other evidence, made manifest on a rock hurtling through space at many times the speed of sound, but far less than the speed of light, orbital velocity far more excited and exciting than the slow cool world in which organic life finds its being and us…

    Our greatest gift is our uniqueness and our greatest sin is our arrogance, not in thinking that we are special; our sin is assuming that we are not. Our ignorance is the idea not that we are alone in the universe, but the certainty that we are not, the arrogance of misplaced value, and a belief in the individual that overrides that of the species. But advanced biological life in a physical dimension is probably the least likely of circumstances that could be predicted given the nature of reality as best that science can determine… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:47 am on March 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, divine, , , ,   

    Buddhism Redefined: In Defense of the Divine… 

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    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    It is almost an article of (non?) faith that sooner or later religion will lose its impetus and die, covered and buried by the very dust that it has gathered over the last few centuries, as if the only thing we need is one more app in the smart-phone to give us ultimate and infinite happiness, or one more notch on the bed-post to give meaning to a life in a world which may not otherwise have any…

    …as if the only reason for the existence of any religion was to tell us one more lie to justify the status quo of power incarnate in the body of the ruler, and secondarily to give us the trappings of knowledge, as best as could be surmised, at least a little bit, from the wise men of the ruling house, reading the stars and telling tall tales… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:04 pm on March 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddhism, , , , millennials,   

    #Buddhism and #Politics, in Defense of post-Millennials: 

    img_1987Yes, this is a dimension of suffering, more than the sum of your life, more than the breadth of this world, an entire dimension, or two, length width depth time and biology chemistry physics, at the very least, all conspiring to keep you within limits, physical limits, by a margin of maybe 51 to 49, you’re doomed, to a life sentence, paragraph, chapter and verse, complete with death, guaranteed, and there’s not much you can do about that, no matter what some sweet-talking New Age guru with his most articulate drugstore Buddhism tells you…

    And then there are the joys, too, to be fair, to be honest, the joys of family, and communion, and art and culture and sex and first love, but still there will be last rites, and that is the point, and the Buddha knew that, fully and well, he not some party-pooper intent on spoiling the fun, just quite aware that for every count of fun there would be two of misery, in some cause-effect relationship, you can plot it on a graph, and call it the Four Aryan Truths, if you want, to be mitigated by the Eight-Part Path (please do not fold), which will not solve all your problems, but it’s a good place to start… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:25 am on February 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddhism, Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac, , , , , Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Zen in the Art of Archery   

    Zen and the Art of Non-Cyclic Existence… 

    There have been a plethora of ‘Zen-and-the-Art-of’ books, since the original was published, some seventy years ago now, e.g. ‘Zen-and-the-Art-of Faking It’, ‘Zen-and-the-Art-of Happiness”, ‘Zen-and-the-Art-of Housekeeping’, ‘Zen-and-the-Art-of Living’, and more, but did you know that the original was published in 1948, in German, and with a slight but important difference in the title, so ‘Zen IN the Art of Archery’ (CAPS mine), which seems to actually be a serious discussion of Zen Buddhism, unlike the best-known ‘Zen-and-the-Art-of’ book…

    Which was ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’, of course, which sold a cool 5 Mil, published almost fifty years ago, and apparently has changed many people’s lives, hopefully for the better. I thought it all sounded very interesting way back then, as much for the motorcycles, my early passion, as for the Zen, but my own personal tastes at the time ran more to the Beats and the Existentialists than something that sounded like a slightly sullied Jonathan Livingston Seagull. But I finally got around to it, a year or two ago now (any book I’m seriously interested in, I try to read within 50 years of publication)… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:41 am on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Asanga, Buddhism, , lotus, , , posture, Tsongkhapa   

    Buddhism, and Meditations on Nothingness… 

    img_0991If my stated mission here is to try to rid Buddhism of all unnecessary superstitions, in order to modernize it for its new role as leader in the modern world’s philosophical conversation, then the roll-out of that role is seldom clear-cut and the results rarely definitive. Once in a while, though, I score a clear-cut victory in my battle against BS, and we can all share a laugh at some of the absurdities involved in following a 2500 year-old religion, and trying to keep it relevant for the homies in 2018…

    This is one of the perks of getting a MA degree in Buddhist studies, poking around the nooks and crannies of the discipline and getting a bird’s-eye (monk’s-eye?) view of what goes on in there. So, many is the time that I have said that IMHO there are only two kinds of meditation—guided and unguided—and that everything else is BS, regarding exactly what is the object of meditation, and exactly which nostril to breathe through, uh huh… (More …)

     
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