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  • hardie karges 7:08 am on June 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bizarro, , CHRISTIANITY, Goldilocks, , ,   

    #Buddhism, #Bizarro World, and the 4 Noble Truths of #Christianity… 

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    Statue of Buddha in Kandy, Sri Lanka

    We all know the Four Noble (Aryan) Truths of Buddhism, of course, indoctrinated in us since birth: 1) the prevalence of suffering in this world, 2) the cause of suffering—desire, 3) the way to reduce suffering—reduce desire, and 4) the way to do that: the Eightfold Middle Path—do not lie, cheat, steal, etc…

    But did you know that Christianity also has Four Noble Truths? Okay, so they’re not exactly called that, but it’s easy enough to interpolate and extrapolate, so here goes: 1) this world is fun!, 2) the cause of fun is desire, 3) the way to increase fun is to increase desire—more bigger richer sexier, and 4) the way to do that: the Ten Commandments: do not lie, cheat, steal, etc. Ha! Gotcha! (More …)

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  • hardie karges 9:52 am on June 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CHRISTIANITY, , , , philkosophy, ,   

    #Buddhism #Christianity #Islam: All #Religions Work—if you let them… 

    IMG_1559All religions want the same thing—goodness in general, peace brotherhood compassion and mercy in particular. But their prime proponent visionaries—Buddha, Christ and Prophet—each saw different ways of getting there—non-self and non-craving first, love and forgiveness next, and then finally submission and surrender. And all of them can work, if maybe more appropriate for different groups of people at different times in history…

    In 5-600 BC, Buddhism was the perfect message, in a violent greedy war-torn world more or less centered around India, and ready for meditation (and anyone who imagines that the world was calm and peaceful before the advent of religion is tripping). In year 0-100 CE Christianity was spot on target for a world increasingly shifted westward to new fertile ground, the Fertile Crescent, and based on and around Roman power in the Mediterranean, ready for bread and circuses, passion and power… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:39 am on May 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aggression, , , CHRISTIANITY, , lovingkindness,   

    #Mindfulness and #LovingKindness: American #Buddhism–for Ex-Christians and Holy (rock-and-) Rollers… 

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    Don’t you just love the way any discussion of Buddhism in the English language tends to revolve around these two concepts—mindfulness and loving-kindness? “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…,” I guess, or why else would Buddhism need to cop new words and phrases to brand itself for people who were most likely raised on rock-and-roll and Christianity?

    But for some reason this Buddhism-now concept of ‘loving-kindness’ never appealed to me. For one thing, it’s just not a very accurate translation of the Sanskrit word metta or its cognate maitri, whose various meanings generally range from friendship to compassion. Or maybe there IS no accurate translation. I’ve communicated with several people by e-mail about my desire to formally study Buddhism at the university level, and ‘with metta‘ is a standard sign-off. So why not ‘with loving-kindness’? Good question… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:56 am on April 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CHRISTIANITY, Easter, , , , ,   

    Easter and Buddhism: Religion of Passion, i.e. Suffering… 

    img_1893Christianity is the only modern religion based on emotion, rather than reason, submission, devotion or some other. Christians apparently LIKE suffering—read: passion—and so don’t avoid it but seek it out, with daredevil stunts, extreme sports, torrid romances and hot hot bodies, buffed and tanned and laid in the sand, for hours at the time, until well-done…

    Somewhere along the way we decided we liked all that and the word ‘passion’ took on new meaning, with a positive connotation, in life and in love. We’ll suffer for our art gladly, just like we’ll suffer for our sport, and we’ll suffer for love, just like Christ suffered for us, i.e. the ‘passion’, celebrated every year around this—Easter—time… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:20 am on March 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , children, CHRISTIANITY, kids,   

    Tao Futures: Philosophy and Religion, Buddha and Politics… 

    img_1661Predestination is, or at least WAS, the Holy Grail of all religion, primitive religion, false religion, to have it all figured out, planned out, whether past lives or Heaven and Hell, the threat of future punishment to keep you in line at the present, but the Buddhist belief in past lives creates life not proactive, but retroactive. Ditto Christianity with heaven and Hell. That’s the social function of religion, keeping us in line…

    This derives from the time when religion was expected to explain everything, a job largely accomplished by Science now. And each religion had different explanations, of course. The curse of all traditional religion lies in trying to make amends with all others, not to mention Science and Tech. It’s a hopeless task. If karma is a thief in the night trying to steal your future and all your presents, then Hell is where you go to serve your sentence and repay your debts—supposedly… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:20 am on February 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CHRISTIANITY, ,   

    Four Noble Truths of Buddhism: and Christianity and… 

    img_0545All good Buddhists know the Four Noble Truths: the prevalence of suffering, the cause of suffering—grasping and craving; the way to avoid suffering—quit grasping and craving; and the details of that path—the Middle Way, or eight-fold path, similar to Christianity’s Ten Commandments. But what if the other great religions were to have four truths of their own? What would they be?

    First let’s generalize. To be consistent with the Buddhist example, four such ‘truths’ should: 1) articulate the prevailing reality; 2) articulate the cause of that reality; 3) articulate a path forward, given that reality, and 4) articulate the details of that path. Okay, so for Christianity, I figure the First Noble truth would be: 1) the prevalence of pleasure, i.e. life is for enjoyment, 2) the cause of that pleasure—acquisition of ‘goods’, experiences, or services; 3) the path forward would be to acquire more goods, experiences, and services; and 4)… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 10:52 am on February 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Startling insights and a pretty good blueprint for personal development, I’d say. Keats said life was a process of soul-building and the building blocks are here, ready to assemble …

      • hardie karges 6:53 pm on February 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I love all the Romantic poets, big influence, can’t believe I never made it to the Lake District…

    • davekingsbury 4:47 pm on February 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Reckon you did in spirit. It’s just a bunch of rocks and tearooms, anyway …

  • hardie karges 6:55 am on February 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CHRISTIANITY   

    Religion and Apocalypse: You don’t have to be Christian… 

    img_1773…to see the ‘End of Days’ looming large like a ‘Construction Zone’ sign at the end of a long shady lane, subtitled ‘Bridge Under Construction: NO Entry’, and a bridge to the future is indeed what we need, because as it is, we’re about to drive off the edge of that bridge long before it’s finished and ready…

    This has all happened many times before and will likely happen again as the humans species and its duct-tape civilizations stumble forward on all fours, not in some cycle of re-births or rapture, but more like boredom, psychosis or rupture, human beings selling themselves into service as so many beasts of burden, bred for breeding and so much suffering…

    But what does it really mean? Jesus was not the only Doomsday Prophet approximately 2000 years ago. He was just the most successful one, and his small cult following eventually became religion—confession, redemption and fun fun fun. That can happen if you get enough ‘likes’, ‘follows’ and ‘shares’. But it’s a stretch of the imagination to assume that they were talking about the end of the species, or even worse—the planet…

    No, they were talking about cataclysmic changes to life as they knew it—the end of Jerusalem with the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. and the impending collapse of the Roman Empire, which it did, eventually, bit by bit. And now we’re at the end of another empire, the Euro-American one that has dominated the globe for the last 500 years. Before that time, c. 1492, I figure the world’s top cultures were more or less equal…

    And then another lesser eschatological event occurred in England with the conquest of Great Britain by William the Conqueror in 1076, destroying what Alfred the Great built, substitute Frenchified ‘north men’ for the Vandals in Rome who once took handles and ran, and once again we barbaric Germanics sank our own Titanic, especially notable because it includes the survey of holdings known as the ‘Domesday’ (Doomsday) Book, in reference to the Last Judgment…

    And now here we are again, another millennium later, staring into the abyss of our own self-destructive tendencies, after a solid 250-year-run, 1976-2016, of Anglo-American dominance. None dare call it bi-polar syndrome: schizophrenia, the white man’s disease! Homicidal tendencies from the world’s conquerors and rulers, and a death wish to boot! Good riddance…

    …because it’s based on consumption and greed, not happiness, or even love, or justice, or democracy, our overriding myth, and certainly not sustainability. That sounds like socialism, because it is, and much better than driving off the cliff in the name of capitalism. The economy has crashed before and will crash again, likely taking governments along with them, and lives, and the innocent smiles of children…

    The difference this time, is that, whereas Rome was one of many great powers, albeit the strongest, the others could take up the slack when it fell. This time we’re all connected, and any precipitous fall could take us all down together, and all that we’ve accomplished in the last 500 to 5000 years…

    If the fruit of the flower of our civilizations’ finest hour is to continue through the darkness to follow, it will likely be due to the efforts of hackers and slackers from the previous society’s fringes, connected by Internet and fueled from the sun, like raisins fallen from trees pre-ripened and pre-sweetened, recycling today’s excess detritus for many hundreds of years to come, before the production of new materials will be necessary…

    Last time the ‘darkness’ that ensued was mostly in the field of publishing—and the pursuit of knowledge. There were other more important things to do, like survive. They were mass migrations, as there likely will be again, and already are. But life went on, as it will again. Centralized subsidized power from a distance collapsed before, as it will likely do again, and power will revert to localized Big Shots, mafia men, as it already has in many villages in Mexico and elsewhere, where cartels have more resources than the central government…

    Will we ever learn our lesson? I don’t know. It seems like in the 70’s we had a clue as to where this was heading, and were dealing with it, by ‘slow-growth’ and ‘no-growth’ and back-to-nature movements, then we suddenly changed our minds when the Digital Revolution came along, that and Ronald Reagan and the excesses of Wall Street. Now all we have are DJT, conspiracy theories, crocodile tears and a pocket full of tissues…

    Maybe it’s not the time to rag on Western culture—Christianity, Capitalism, and Democracy—for causing the current problems, but I doubt that those paradigms are equipped to deal with the coming Dark Times, suffice to say. My own preference would be a Buddhist socialism, non-aggressive and self-sufficient, democracy optional. Until then we persevere. Note to Christians: I don’t think you’re supposed to actually wish for the rapture. I don’t think it’s supposed to be fun…

     

     

     
    • davekingsbury 3:59 pm on February 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Yeah and what about all the leisure these robots were going to bring us? Nice end-of-days piece, Hardie, cheered me up hardly at all! 😉

    • hardie karges 8:44 pm on February 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, I forgot to add: robots optional. Riffing on Stephen Hawking: Dark Ages don’t have to be so dark. They’re only dark because we don’t know much about them. Print those blogs and put them in a safe place, Dave! Digital information will likely be lost, and history will only record that which can be accessed. Yeah, I thought the future would be cooler, too… (my favorite line from pop music last year)

  • hardie karges 3:17 am on January 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CHRISTIANITY, , ,   

    Religion 401: Beyond Ficciones and Supersticiones… 

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    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    I’m Karges, not Borges, and this is Burma not Buenos Aires, so there is no time for fiction and it’s time for an end to silly superstitions, the Christian war God and 7-day creation, immaculate conception and messy ascension, hung out to dry on crosses and clotheslines, left to die in caves and blind alleys, rescued by pregnant virgins and holy whores with hearts of gold and the greatest stories ever told…

    But Islam takes holy virgins to new heights, and new depths, heaven and more, from 72 houris (hoors), with varying degrees of “lush full rounded breasts” and more. The best part: the lot of them only need one man, the double standard enshrined into canonical law! We always knew 100 women only need one man to reproduce the species!

    Then there’s this:

    Al-Suyuti. Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur’an. p. 351. Each time we sleep with a Houri we find her virgin. Besides, the penis of the Elected never softens. The erection is eternal; the sensation that you feel each time you make love is utterly delicious and out of this world and were you to experience it in this world you would faint. Each chosen one will marry seventy [sic] houris, besides the women he married on earth, and all will have appetizing vaginas. 

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    Okay, I’m back now, and feeling surprisingly refreshed. Then there is the prohibition on pork, which for many Muslims—and Jews—is the line that defines them. I know Muslims in Thailand that drink like fish, but won’t touch pork! Now we all know what pigs eat, and that’s not clean, unless they’re properly raised and fed. But to base a religion on porkly abstinence is absurd—unless all meat is being disallowed…

    The superstitions and little white lies of Christianity and Islam are not unique to the Abrahamic religions (including Judaism, of course), but are easily found in the religions founded in the Indian sub-continent including the world’s third-largest religion (atheism doesn’t count): Hinduism, arguably the worst on this list, with a list of superstitions that would make a Christian blush, including multiple gods, reincarnation, past lives, karma and a caste system to boot. Ouch!

    Buddhism corrected many of those logical inconsistencies, at least temporarily, until the advent of Mahayana Buddhism pretty much let anybody and everybody in, much like Catholicism in the West, so in came all the old superstitions—except the caste system, which is the logical consequence of karma-laden reincarnations. The Tibetans even postulated multiple realms for all the past and future lives of which they are so enamored…

    I guess Tibetans are not into space, up there in the cold winters of their remote mountain fastnesses. They’re into time—makes sense! I think I’ll pass on the ‘hungry ghost’ realm, though—sounds creepy. On second thought, I’ll pass on much of it. Mahayana Buddhism recovered some of its original inspiration by the time it passed through China and reached Japan, but even there, you’re supposed to achieve enlightenment almost magically by the realizations that arise from the linguistic conundrums that arise from unsolvable riddles…

    But there is more to life than language—I hear. Everybody loves predestination and conspiracy theory, ’cause it’s easy, it’s lazy, it’s neat, and it’s convenient—but it’s almost certainly wrong. There is just no evidence—scientific or otherwise—to support it. Karmic retribution serves the same purpose in primitive Buddhism that Hell does in Christianity—enforcement of the moral code with threat of future punishment…

    Enough already: let’s grow up and leave the child psychology behind! Theravada Buddhism has some of that, too, just not so enshrined in the canon. I really don’t think Siddhartha Gautama the Awakened One spent his life searching for answers, only to come up with something akin to Hinduism for non-Indians, or worse: Hindu Lite. No, he almost certainly intended to leave most of it behind—except meditation…

    The Dalai Lama opines that Science isn’t likely to disprove past lives, but: Hello, Dalai, ever heard of DNA? Many prisoners have gotten out of prison that way, and many just might leave religion, too, if it can do no better. Science has superstitions, too, of course, absolute materialism and pharmacological hubris, so no wonder we’re a nation of drug addicts and war whores, but it doesn’t have to be that way…

    Science is still the most obvious way out of superstitions, with DNA, carbon-14 dating, fingerprints and toe-prints to boot, so maybe Tibetans can leave their past lives and karmic retribution behind, move toward something like Reincarnation—in the Spirit, like a Christian ‘born again’, figuratively but not literally…

    Then more than a few Buddhists get obsessed with which direction to circumnavigate a stupa, without questioning whether the whole activity might not just be a littlt bit ‘stupa’d’ itself, if you stop to think about it. If this is what constitutes a religion, then atheists are probably right…

    Same with removing shoes. As with the aforementioned pigs and their sh*t, certain prohibitions made much sense millennia ago, just as a matter of good health. But religion, i.e. a belief system, should be more than that, at least in this day and age. We have vacuum cleaners…

    But the thoroughly modern Christian will say “Love is our belief system,” except that love from above, victors over vanquished, is not the same as the religious magnanimous type. And Muslims will say, “Our jihad is not with swords and the words of war, but in our hearts against the evil thoughts that haunt us. You should try meditation…

    And Hindus will finger their prayer beads and Buddhists will wrap their necks in charms and fetishes. And there’s nothing wrong with any of this, just that it’s not necessary and it cheapens the cause of religion in the eyes of atheists, agnostics and even some scientists. Religion can do better than the analogies and metaphors of bygone eras. And it can do better than the ‘no-thought’ reliance on writ, whether Christian, Muslim, Theravada or Mahayana…

     

     

     

     
  • hardie karges 6:08 pm on December 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , CHRISTIANITY, ,   

    Religion Imitates Art: Christian Self-Love and Buddhist Non-Self… 

    img_0953“Man is the measure of all things”…and there began our downfall, this from the Greek Sophist Protagoras and his very sophisticated argument that we human beings are the only thing that matters in this world, our silly views and opinions superior to all others, of course, by virtue of our virtue, and in spite of our spite, the pathological needs of humanity, a sort of radical solipsistic relativism…

    This argument only works with a strong belief and need for self, arguably the origin of consciousness, i.e. self-consciousness, and any further extrapolations indicative of the direction our culture has taken since then, hence our pathological need for democracy, free enterprise, a TV in every room and a car in every garage, every aspect an extension of, and ultimate belief in ourselves, each one of us totally different, supposedly, with or without the bar-code, identified by fingerprints and the DNA from random salivations and assorted misgivings… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 3:05 pm on December 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It doesn’t take a genius to realize that there is a higher consciousness than self-consciousness, or that there are higher needs than selfish ones…absolutely, the opposite is a horror story!

  • hardie karges 12:20 am on October 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CHRISTIANITY, , ,   

    Religion 221: Less is More, Time for New Paradigms… 

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    Christian church in Ethiopia

    If the Renaissance man was our hero of the 1500’s and the scientist our hero of the 1600’s, then Enlightened Man was the paradigm for the West in the 1700’s and the entrepreneur was the paradigm in the 1800’s. But then the paradigm in the later 1900’s took a dive and our new culture hero was the wild man, the playboy, the gangster, the rogue, the drug addict, the bad boy, the bad girl, the streetwalker, you get the idea: so what is the paradigm of the 2000’s? The hacker, maybe, or a terrorist? Sounds grim…

    Or maybe it’ll be a ‘gender-fluid’ ‘metro-sexual’, born and bred to do the exact opposite: never bear nor breed. Such dirty work is better left to specialized breeders and the truly old-fashioned who know how to do little else. LGBTQA’s have better things to do with their specialized hardware, especially now that non-traditional marriage has largely withstood court challenges. Now nothing is prohibited. That might help ease population pressures… (More …)

     
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