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

    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 3:17 am on January 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ISLAM,   

    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. 

    (space left intentionally blank)

    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: , , , , , , ISLAM   

    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 5:37 am on October 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ISLAM   

    Religion 102: She’s Gotta’ Have It—Christianity, that is… 

    IMG_0379…stuff, that is, the more the better, piles and piles of it highly derived and thoroughly contrived, mostly useless adornments and bows of worship to the gods and goddesses of fashion, reflecting the finely manicured thumbnail status of our culture, whatever is trending; that’s most important, much more so than whatever came before and whatever will come after, pesky details best left to historians and our paid apologists…

    Yes, apparently Jesus died on the cross so that we could go shopping, among other things. Some of my favorite ‘other things’, by way of example, are the daredevil stunts that we Westerners have become famous for. How many people risk their lives each year climbing mountains that there are no reasons to climb, or reaching speeds that there are no reason to reach, or performing stunts just for the big screen, just for the sake of celebrity?

    (More …)

     
    • jodie 10:32 pm on October 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It would seem that the path you are on is as experientially biased as all religious, philosophical, or psychological endeavors ultimately are. If it suits you then ….. sit well…..

  • hardie karges 5:43 am on September 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ISLAM, , monotheism, zero   

    Religion’s Final Quarter, Tie Score: Monotheism 1, Zero-theism 0… 

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    Statue of Buddha in Kandy, Sri Lanka

    Christians and Muslims will always be at each other’s throats, because they’re both playing offense, which I find rather offensive. We Buddhists prefer to play defense. Don’t you wish the DOD did? It used to be called the Department of War, you know. Nothing’s changed. The best defense is a good offense in American football, but life is no silly game…

    In real life the best offense is a good defense, all kung fu’s and eastern martial arts based on the idea of letting the enemy’s own aggression destroy him–just facilitate the matter. China was for a long time, and is arguably still today, a Buddhist country. It certainly isn’t Communist, far from what Marx or Mao envisioned, with its state-sponsored capitalism, and keeping up with the Joneses… (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 1:46 pm on September 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great read, thank you. I like how the Tibetans describe emptiness with the word DETONG, it has two parts, the first is empty of. And it might seem that I did not finish my sentence but I did 🙂 The second part is Joy. One might say that emptiness is the union of that which is empty of and joy. It is so simple but really a loaded statment. I might explain it this way that when one realises the empty nature of things composite that joy is the natural result.

      I have always been so disapointed of all the catholic missionaries that went to India and falsly translated the vedas and other scripts with the intention to paint Buddhism and Hinduism as a buch of nhilists wanting to disapear in to nothingness. How boring would that be? They demonised these two ways of life and purposly misrepresented them. Your entry is here to help clean this up, and we will all be better off when eastern philosophy is properly represented and understood.

      The idea of zero I find totally interesting. Zero is less dependent on one that one is of two or three. There is a logic here that a mathmatician might love. Anything that helps us get past the dependant origination of things is helpful. Does that make sense to you?

    • hardie karges 3:41 pm on September 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, yes, but it’s a huge subject, so could take days, years. My goal is to try to determine what Buddha himself meant, and the more I researched the concept of Zero, the more I became convinced that the coincidence with Buddhism was no accident…

    • davekingsbury 2:26 pm on September 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Fascinating account of the paradoxical power of non-assertion, not too far from what I was trying to say in my post – don’t know if you saw it – https://davekingsbury.wordpress.com/2016/09/04/me-ander/

      • hardie karges 4:04 pm on September 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        No, I didn’t, and yes, it IS a very similar treatment of a role for ego, just enough to get by, I’d say…

    • Christadelphians 8:38 am on March 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Instead of accusing all Christians and all Muslims you would better say ” Certain Christians and Muslims will always be at each other’s throats”. For real Christians would never go at any body’s throat, accepting all beings to be creatures to be created in the image of God,

      We too should like every body come at ease with ourself and find the emptiness but also the fullness in ourselves. We should try “to be one” with the universe and with our and the “being”.

      Real Christians should not aim to win against other people, they should win the race of them selves to the self (that is also what Jesus and his apostles are talking about).

  • hardie karges 7:22 am on June 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hegel, , ISLAM, Marx,   

    The Dark Side Dialectic of Religion, Culture and Politics… 

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    ISIL wages war in the Mideast

    We cringe with horror at the antics of ISIL, but they’re very similar to those employed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR aka ‘Russia’) before them, that previous political entity with objectives almost exactly the opposite. The fact that the USSR crashed almost simultaneously with the rise of fundamentalist Islam is almost too coincidental to be ignored—almost.

    It’s almost like there IS indeed a dialectic of history—thesis, antithesis, synthesis—as theorized by Hegel, regardless of whether it ultimately has anything to do with the means of production, as theorized by Marx. In this scenario, something at least has to be offered up as an alternative to the dominant capitalist-consumerist system, or whatever system happens to be on top at any given time.

    In this view, therefore, there is no one specific dialectic going on at any one given time, but more of a random one—something anything. Sounds a lot like evolution, doesn’t it? Yes, it does, but more like a cultural evolution, a dialectic of ideas, as theorized by Hegel, in which we seem to be subconsciously struggling toward something else–always. Or is it a function of language itself? (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 9:03 am on April 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bahai, , , ISLAM   

    Hinduism, Islam and Baha’i: Castes and Classes and Rose-Colored Glasses… 

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    Hindu Temple in Sri Lanka

    I tend to concentrate on Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism as the world’s three major religious offerings, though that system follows no formal logic, especially since by actual numbers of adherents, Hinduism would be number three.  Rather it seems to reflect their current positions in terms of relative importance, especially in articulating clearly defined philosophical and religious positions.  But I should add that personally I wouldn’t really want Hinduism anyway, for a number of reasons.

    For one thing: they apparently don’t want me, notwithstanding all the many light-skinned ‘Hare Krishnas’ out there showing devotion to Gods that their parents never heard of. The signs dotting temples around India are clear: ‘Hindus only’. Ouch. The only other religion where I’ve experienced that is Islam. They asked me to leave the mosque in KL, Malaysia, when I was just sitting there quietly—like everybody else. Double ouch. I wasn’t asked about my religious affiliation.

    But this is not too surprising, considering that Hinduism is mostly a national religion, the Indian religion, with all that that entails, i.e. few outside adherents, except in the neighboring states, especially Nepal, and far-fetched Bali, where they took it really seriously a millennium or two ago, and never gave it up. That once occurred all over SE Asia, notably the Khmer empire, hence to be largely supplanted by Buddhism, and to a lesser extent Islam and Christianity. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:29 am on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ISLAM, , , secular humanism   

    Secular Humanism? Yeah, right: Gimme Religion, and ASAP… 

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    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    For better or worse, Bernie, “We’re-All-In-This-Together” is not a religion. Spirituality? Maybe, but I doubt it. Nice try, though. It’s okay to be Jewish, you know. It doesn’t mean anything bad, as long as you’re not a tool of the modern state of Israel. So feel free to clarify that, ASAP, but obscuring your ethnic origins by muddying up religious waters is not helpful…

    So Bernie sounds like a ‘secular humanist’ to me, and not a ‘practicing Jew’. But I’m not interested in politics right now. I’m interested in religion. So is ‘secular humanism’ a religion? Naah, not really. Why not? They’re all just belief systems, aren’t they, ‘secular humanism’ and every religion? So what’s the difference? Does a religion have to have a God? Buddhism doesn’t really have a God, and Islam allows no images of one. Hinduism has loads.  So what’s the difference?

    Short answer: plenty. In fact, secular humanism DOES have a God, and its name is mostly ME. That’s the difference, and that’s the opposite of what religion is all about. Religion is all about being a part of something bigger than you, and secular humanism is all about individuality, and individualism, specifically this individual, and all too often (drum roll here, please): ego.  God help us. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 9:41 am on February 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ISLAM   

    Buddhism: the Path to Compassion… and Conciliation 

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    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    Buddhism is well-known for its compassion, but actually: shouldn’t they all be? In fact, yes all religions are pretty equal in that regard, to their own adherents, at least. Christians who rejoice in their style of communion might be surprised at the joy of two Muslims meeting at the unexpected random encounter in some disparate (and not necessarily desperate) country.

    So that’s the challenge, really, then, isn’t it—to expand the umbrella of inclusion, so that people can feel that feeling of brotherhood whenever and wherever and with whomever? Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way, as cultural baggage weighs heavily and racial and facial considerations rear their ugly heads in calculated derision… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 1:53 pm on February 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      An insightful blend of philosophy and personal experience which hits the nail on the head … I shall remember your phrase ‘umbrella of inclusion’!

  • hardie karges 9:29 am on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ISLAM, , testosterone   

    Love is Religion, Love is a Drug… 

    To love or help family is an obligation, to love or help friends is a pleasure, to love or help your partner is reproduction, but to love and help complete and total strangers is religion. Accepting a certain risk for no uncertain reward is the fruit of forgiveness and the essence of religion, participating in the universality of truth, beauty and goodness and propagating its continued existence and florescence. The only reward is itself. Everything else is business, politics. Everything else is trivial.

    Love is not the only worthwhile activity to engage in here in this world, but almost. Doesn’t almost every other worthwhile activity ultimately come down (up) to love, e.g. faith, hope and charity? Trust is another matter. Trust is an act of possession disguised as love, involving a transaction ultimately reducible to numbers. Trust is a contract; love is not. I try to love everyone, but I’m not sure I trust anyone. There’s no reason to. (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 1:54 pm on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Didn’t Plato say you move through attraction to one towards love for all? Not a fan normally, but reckon he (or was it Socrates?) got that right. You could call it personal evolution, I suppose, though age-related testosterone die-back helps! Thanks for the thought-provoking post …

      • hardie karges 2:10 pm on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Plato definitely said that you love what you don’t have, re: from attraction to love, I’m not sure. Thank you!

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