Tagged: karma Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 6:34 am on November 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , karma   

    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 1:24 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ethics, , Jain, karma, , , , , , 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 šŸ˜Š

    • 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 themā€¦ 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 7:37 am on February 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Edward Conze, impeachment, karma, , SDNY,   

    DJ Trump and the Sarvāstivādin Theory of Momentariness… 

    img_1401

    Reflections in the back seat

    For those of you who are not in the process of pursuing a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies, let me explain that the Sarvāstivādins were a large Abhidharma-era group that split off from the mainstream Theravādins after Asoka’s third Buddhist Council at Pataliputra c. 250 BCE, over their insistence that ‘everything exists’, i.e. ‘sarvam asti‘ (or something like that, my Sanskrit sucks), while the Theravādins preferred a bit more ‘discrimination’…

    And part of that theory of everything was an atomistic conception of time: atoms, of both time and matter, and classifiable as either: (1) states of consciousness (citta); (2) mental ‘concomitants’ (cetasika); (3) corporeality (rÅ«pa); plus (4) nirvāna. According to the Sarvāstivādin conception of time, these could exist equally well in the past, present or future. For their part the Theravādins only acknowledged the present, albeit in successive moments… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:10 am on January 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ICE, , , karma, , ,   

    Buddhism and Donald Trump, Criminal Intent and Modern Justice 

    img_2116Intent is the elephant in the courtroom of modern justice, beyond forensics and beyond genetics, the need to know what someone was thinking and why they thought it, at such-and-such a time and such-and-such a place. But isn’t this a system doomed to failure? And is it really necessary? Only we European-derived Westerners could invent a term like schadenfreude, delight in the misfortune of others, not so much the passive enjoyment of something such so strange, but that we do it so often that we have a name for it…

    But that is indeed the case, that we are so obsessed with our feelings that our whole system of justice is based upon it, such that if someone is supposedly repentant, then that counts in his favor, whereas without it he is doomed to longer incarceration, as if we could really know the difference, so to make ourselves feel good we reward the best actors, and maybe the most honest are doomed to perdition… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:11 am on November 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brahmanization, , , , holy war, , karma, ,   

    Buddhist Holy War, Part II: Tune in, turn on, drop out… 

    img_1893(continued from previous)

    The Buddhist situation 2500 years ago may indeed have been not so different from our own, with a rapidly expanding population soon to go into a stall, and the Brahmanization of India underway, i.e. the caste system, threatening to lock people into a form of submission to which they’d never previously been subjected. And it’s no accident that so many religions sprouted within a half millennium or so of the beginning of the common era, with any self-respecting guru prophesying the End of Days…

    All of a sudden renunciation doesn’t look like such a bad option. And so it is today, because what can they do if you simply refuse to cooperate, simply renounce all ties to the current oligarchs, slave-owners and warmongers? They can’t force you to work. They can beat you; they can even kill you. But they can’t force you to work. They can threaten your loved ones, though… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:21 am on May 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , karma, kilesa, , , , samma sankappa, , , transmigration   

    Buddhist Mindfulness as Mindlessness? Wait a minute… 

    IMG_0959Okay, so I admit it: I’m going through a crisis of confidence with my newfound love of Buddhism, and all that entails. The devil is in the details, of course, as even the ever-tricky Buddha himself well knew, just like Jesus after him, that you pick and choose what to tell the initiates and laypeople at any one time, subject to their capacity to comprehend, assimilate, or even fathom, concepts which may just be a bit difficult to swallow at first, or maybe forever…

    Compounded by the fact that the Buddha himself was just a bloke, not a God, nor even his son, and so not omniscient, and subject to the limitations thereof, to most of which he himself spoke, the profound limits which define our existence on this blue-green orb of light color and sound which we call earth, the world, home, samsara, all we’ve got, except what we can make for ourselves, given time, energy, and the raw materials to work with, including consciousness… (More …)

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

    Update on the Buddhist Update: Hard work… 

    img_1935

    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 systemsā€”whether secular humanism, democracy, socialism, but mostly materialismā€”without seeing the slightest bit of irony, even if they prefer to ignore the logical inconsistencies… (More …)

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

    Buddhism is all about loveā€”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 8:47 am on January 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , karma, , ,   

    Buddhism, and the Power of (Positive) Thinking… 

    IMG_0599I live in a world of opposites, sometimes Amerika, sometimes Asia, sometimes elsewhere, according to taste, according to style, sometimes necessity. On the surface the two places might not seem much different, shopping malls out the yin or shopping malls out the yang, just now taking over Asia, same time old hat in Amerika, just shut the door on your way out…

    …but deeper down, they’re almost exactly opposite. This is more than just happenstance or circumstance, but dyed in the woof, warped in the weft. I’m talking about the sutras, of course, sutures holding together lives, stitches in time saving nine, literally the sayings of the Buddha offering recipes for life in narrative form made simple for mass consumption… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:35 am on January 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief system, , , , karma, , ,   

    Buddhism: Religion, Philosophy, or…? 

    img_1931Some people say Buddhism is not really a religion, though I know some monks who would beg to differ. Here’s what my dictionary says about religion:

    1. the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. 2. a particular system of faith and worship. 3. a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.

    Well, the first definition certainly does not fit Buddhism, since there is no all-powerful superman waiting to part the waters, and the second only fits if we define what Buddhists do as worshipā€”so maybe. The third one is frivolous, in the sense that ‘consumerism is the new religion’, but maybe somewhat accurate, especially in the case of ever-trendy Amerika, where Buddhism is currently a hot topic, but where much, if not most, of the information disseminated about it, is limited, or misapplied, or downright inaccurate… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 2:57 pm on January 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I like the resonance between ‘unattainable’ and ‘aim-able’ – the whole piece is down-to-earth and easy to relate to. Science, according to the guy who wrote The Golden Bough, superseded Magic because both offer ways of influencing the world – where Religion asks for the intercession of higher forces. Not sure where Buddhism fits in to that, suppose it depends which variety one goes for …

    • hardie karges 7:51 pm on January 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      “Before Joseph Campbell became the world’s most famous practitioner of comparative mythology, there was Sir James George Frazer…(and) The Golden Bough”, been on my ‘to-read’ list for 50 years, maybe I should do that now as part of some MA research, thx, Dave. No, there need be no disputes between Science and Buddhism, or any religion, for that matter IMHO. I don’t want to have to make a choice… and that is the great challenge, to make those details fit. It won’t be easy, but I do think that Buddhism has the ability to do it, what with its flexible doctrine, if it only has the will to do it. Predestination is attractive–and easy, just not a defensible position for me…

    • Terborn Zult 2:57 pm on January 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Not bad; the progression from religion(s) to one or several non-religious belief systems is already a step in the right direction, because it allows the “believer” to be in favor of certain principles without having to submit to some entity that is supposed to be somehow intrinsically “higher” than humans or human thinking. So, it’s a step away from mental slavery. If this step is done seriously and systematically, it not only leads to kicking out all superstition, but also to seeing the simple fact that, after all, non-religious ethical “belief” boils down to nothing more than having a certain preference for some principles and guidelines over others. With no mysticism needed to “justify” those principles and guidelines.

      However, care needs to be taken to avoid religious mysticism’s sneaking back in through the backdoor. Any assorted principles and guidelines adorned with a halo of absolute value or truth would risk becoming a new religion, as any claim of absoluteness is a sure-fire indicator of creeping religification and transformation into a new mysticism.

      Already during the 19th century, then during the first few post-WWII decades, there was a danger of religification of science in the mind of the general (non-scientific) public, frequently promoted by preposterous “science” journalists and other (usually financial) wannabe profiteers from scientific success. Whereas all serious science is a completely relative enterprise, with no fix points being fixed eternally.

      In other words, after the downfall of open and direct religion, it is necessary to oppose covert and indirect religion, i.e., all forms of religification, be they applied to scientific methods and results, philosophical considerations, cultural, political, economic or ecologic theories and principles, moral principles, or whatever. Sooner or later, any re-religification would result in fresh mental slavery – by sliding the “believer” back to “self-imposed immaturity” (see I. Kant: “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity’). Of course, reading and analyzing religious texts and traditions with a critical mind is neither religion nor mysticism; nor is the extraction of inspirations from those.

      Since the word “belief” is still tainted by its religious past, it would be preferable to use a different word for all forms of non-religious “belief”. Something like “conviction”, “convincement”, “opinion”, “paradigm” or so would be less ambiguous, because none of these should invoke submission to anything other than critical human reasoning. Because the latter is the most fundamental baseline of all attempts to understand “why are we here? Where did we come from? What do we do now?” – if that’s really the goal (as pointed out in the post above). The rest is history.

      • hardie karges 3:12 am on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        We’re pretty much on the same page then. Yes, I would like to see Buddhism get rid of all superstitions and irrational ‘beliefs’, especially since that was one of the great selling points 2500 years ago, back when the Hindus were still sacrificing animals. Rebirth is the tough one, for some reason. It seems people are very attached to their past and future lives. Being diplomatic about it, I plead ignorant, and agnostic, in order to promote ‘this life’ Buddhism. Thanks for your comments.

c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel