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

    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, Buddhism, , 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 8:59 am on June 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , , 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 5:03 pm on May 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , ,   

    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, Buddhism, , , 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: Buddhism, , ,   

    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

  • hardie karges 7:51 pm on April 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , , , , ,   

    The multi-colored reality between dreams and darkness… 

    Just because you can imagine something doesn’t mean that it’s real. And this has been a problem since time immemorial, especially in the fields of philosophy and religion, the gap between reality and imagination, the disparate levels of materialism and spirituality. This plays to the difference between our wildest dreams and our harshest realities, and apparently it all began with language. If something can be written down, then doesn’t it exist, at least to some extent? Of course it does, but that does define reality? Probably not. Plato found that out the hard way, ditto Christianity, and Buddhism deals with it on a daily basis.This is the arrogance of the written word, and the thinking mind, by the same token. We need a better measure of reality, and science would seem to be the answer, the method, constantly shifting, nothing to do with anything like blind allegiance. Sorry, grasshopper. Your dreams can’t all come true. So I guess a few will have to do…

     
  • hardie karges 7:31 am on April 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , ,   

    Fear and Awe, Recipes and Sutras… 

    Half of all religion is based on fear, fear of dying and fear of flying, fear of failure and fear of success. The other half is based on awe, whether awful or awesome, it really doesn’t matter to an emotion junkie, a feelings philanderer, ready to take a lashing for passion and come back for more, sight unseen. Because that’s half the rush, the adrenaline rush, that quest for novelty and the thrill of victory, over trivial obstacles and deliberate roadblocks, fear of the unknown conquered by insatiable thirst. But that’s a recipe for disaster, the craving for conditions with no concern for the consequences. Surely there must be a better way, a happy Buddhist medium between the extremes of delight or despair. Just curious: If I forgo the laughter, can I forgo the tears? Asking for a friend…

     
  • hardie karges 6:58 am on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , , ,   

    The Word and the World, Both Too Much with Us 

    You can be in the world and not be of the world, and that is important for those of us who choose other-worldly pursuits, as typically defined, with pleasure not reduced to sensation and payments largely in kind. Money is the mark of the beast and possession is his hand-maiden, the need to accumulate more and more, bigger and bigger, the ultimate swindle, as if existence cold be quantified and life codified. But total Buddhist renunciation is not possible, either, except for brief retreats, because to live in a world removed is only possible with strings and ties, so the same dreaded possession to be avoided, ultimately. The answer is to carry that beloved retreat with you, and me, in your head to be applied liberally at any convenient point of contact, and as constant reminder of the blessings of omission to which you, and I, have pledged heartfelt allegiance. Every mouthly utterance should be a word’s worth. True freedom is internal as well as external…

     
  • hardie karges 6:10 am on April 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , ,   

    Nirvana, and the Anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s Suicide 

    It’s hard now to hear Nirvana the rock band. But it’s easy to hear about Nirvana the cessation of hatred, anger, even desire, on a good day, so Buddhist Nirvana, that is. But I was once a big fan of the band, even though it was loud, raw, and anguished. That was much of the charm, at the time. But I started at the end and worked backwards, not so much because the acoustic versions were easier to swallow, which they were, but that the lyrics were understandable, and that was the point, that and the fact that I took offense at their use of the tern ‘nirvana’, not that I was Buddhist, but then neither were they. But then maybe they were Sanskritists, since they got the translation right: ‘extinction’, nothing about salvation, or even Enlightenment. So at least Kurt was honest. He just worked himself into a corner from which he couldn’t escape, not with his life. It always happens at age twenty-seven. That seems to be the threshold, the threshold between childhood and adulthood, or not. R.I.P. Kurt…

     
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