Tagged: Mahayana Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 7:25 am on February 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alan Watts, , Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac, Mahayana, , , , 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 7:45 am on February 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Mahayana,   

    Buddhism, Dreams and Intimations of Mortality… 

    IMG_1559The Burmese came for me that night. I don’t know what I’d done wrong, but I wasn’t waiting around to find out, either. They did not look too happy, any of them, waving arms and guns, and shouting orders, and calling out rude names. So I split, left, took a hike, and quickly, out the back door and down dark alleys, hiding in shadows and avoiding all lights, for fear of being ‘outed’, me and my white skin, ripe for plucking, and easy to bruise and abuse…

    So I headed for the river, since they were no hills, and I didn’t know where else to go. I needed a path out, and that’s what a river represents—a path out. Mountains represent something else—maybe infinity—and that’s my preference, but a river will have to do. They have to lead somewhere: that’s a law of nature. If I ever get out, then I’ll decide what to do next, and where to go… (More …)

    • Dave Kingsbury 3:23 pm on February 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I really like the way story and philosophy blend here, with blurred edges … A wry little smile of provisional victory should suffice. Nice line, in a very inclusive and compelling piece.

      • hardie karges 6:39 pm on February 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thx, Dave, wish I could make true life stories into a paradigm, but that requires a life of non-stop drama, hmmm…

  • hardie karges 7:08 am on December 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , dipa, double entendre, , Indo-European, , , Mahayana, nikaya, , , ,   

    Buddhism 6399, Pali 201: Double Entendres, Double Intentions? Or not… 

    img_2116Evam vadi: “Therefore, O Ananda, be ye lamps unto yourselves. Rely on yourselves, and do not rely on external help. Hold fast to the truth as a lamp. Seek salvation alone in the truth. Look not for assistance to any one besides yourselves.”

    So said the Buddha on his death bed, in his final instructions to the sangha, the Buddhist community, his followers. There’s only one problem, or question, or issue, if you prefer: the Pali word dipa can mean ‘lamp’ or (drum roll here, please)–‘island’. In fact ‘island’ is probably the more frequent translation, given the prominence in Buddhism of that most famous of dipas—Sri Lanka…

    (It does NOT mean ‘light’, not really, as often translated in the statement above, ‘light’ in the sense of that abstract quasi-dimensional entity which has a speed of 186,000mi/300,000km per second and serves as the upper limit of our human-ness, and therefore somewhat defining our status as physical, i.e. not totally spiritual, beings, in a material world, however sentient and well-intentioned)… (More …)

  • hardie karges 4:00 pm on December 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , defilement, , , , Mahayana, , , , sati, ,   

    Buddhist Dilemma: Does Mindfulness = No Thought? Hmmm… 


    Reflections in the back seat

    ‘Mindfulness’ is one of those words deliberately created to defy definition, it seems, so when anybody asks me what it means I usually reply with something semi-snarky, like “the opposite of mindlessness” which seems like maybe avoiding the question, but which in fact is about as accurate as is possible, given the quasi-religious overtones and the need for a certain amount of obfuscation for dramatic effect, such being the need in Western circles, witness the ‘woo-woo’ factor of certain Pali/Sanskrit words like ‘samadhi‘…

    But the word ‘sati‘, from which ‘mindfulness’ is translated, by itself carries no transcendent connotations, at least not in modern standard Thai, in which it means simply ‘consciousness’ or ‘mind’, in the sense that one’s sati, i.e. brain, is maybe not so good anymore, or that he now has sati, i.e. is no longer unconscious—get it? And the usage of the term in Buddhism is not so much different, I think, and mindfulness is probably the best term for it, mind twice removed from pure simplicity, first with a ‘full’, next with a ‘ness’. But doesn’t that imply some level of thought, whether in narrative form or simple awareness, of cause and effect, spatial relations and orderliness? I would think so. So…

    (More …)

    • quantumpreceptor 3:26 pm on December 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      No thought, no. It’s the space between the thoughts where things get very interesting.


    • hardie karges 3:58 pm on December 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      True, BUT…. I think (oops!) there’s always room for thought–good thoughts…

    • quantumpreceptor 1:52 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      What I mean is this. Thoughts are not a problem in fact they can be used as a tool in the right circumstances. Avoiding them does not work, however slowing them down and seeing into the space between them is where we can begin to see that all is a reflection in the mirror of consciousness.


    • hardie karges 3:45 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      There you go, now we’re on the same page…

  • hardie karges 7:52 am on November 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , branding, , , Mahayana, , , , , ,   

    The 49 Flavors of American Buddhism… 

    img_1936In the old days of Nikaya Buddhism, in India, before the Common Era, there were at least seventeen schools of Buddhism, chiefly Sthviravada-derived (including Theravada, Sammatiya, Sautrantika, Savarvastivada, Mulasarvastivada, etc.), and Mahasanghika-derived (Yogacara, Madhyamika, etc.), before finally settling into the three broad Theravada, Mahayana, and Tibetan-Esoteric-Vajrayana-Mantrayana ‘schools’ that we know today. Get the picture? Buddhists are not known for doctrinal agreement…

    Neither is Amerika known for its agreements, especially where Buddhist knowledge and tradition is almost totally lacking, so open to much doctrinal obfuscation and outright perjury, since the Buddha is currently hipper than sh*t, and abuse is rife. So cannabis conventions, openly proffering THC and other cannabinoids as ‘medical marijuana’ can call themselves ‘Buddhafest’ with no repercussions and likely increases in ticket sales as if such is recommended by the Big Guy himself—it isn’t, and strictly prohibited, in fact… (More …)

  • hardie karges 6:54 am on October 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Chogyam Trungpa, , defilements, , , , , , Mahayana, , , , , ,   

    Buddhism 301: Do I save myself, or do I save the world? Decisions decisions… 

    img_1893I’m paraphrasing, of course, but this is the question that has plagued—no, let’s say intrigued’—the sangha (Buddhist community) for two and a half millennia, more or less, if not in so many words, then in so many actions, cutting to the chase, and allowing for interpolations and extrapolations, i.e. whether to think big, farming ideas and allowing for fierce and free debate, or to think small, on the achievement of individual ‘liberation’ and the purging of ‘defilements’ from the composite makeshift personalities that we call ‘I’…

    And if that’s an oversimplification, then it’s for a worthy cause, ’cause sharper focus is what’s needed for Buddhism to escape the same fate in the West that it met in India a millennium ago, going down in defeat largely because of its inability to distinguish itself from a resurgent ultra-nationalistic Hinduism and an insurgent Islam, such that Buddhism simply got lost in the shuffle of competing meditative traditions and could no longer count on its fall-back position as the non-Hindu alternative… (More …)

  • hardie karges 9:52 am on June 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Mahayana, , 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 6:35 am on May 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Mahayana,   

    #Dharma without the Drama: #Buddhism on the Half-Shell… 

    img_0545Buddhism is not supposed to be a religion to get all excited about in the first place, if it’s even a religion at all, but just the opposite, regarding the excitement, that is. That’s Christianity, or Hinduism, singing and dancing, playing organ and banging drums, maybe even a guitar or two, if you’re lucky, and a bottle of wine, singing about Adam and Eva, “In a Gadda da Vida”…

    But Buddhism is not like that, not at all, and maybe just the opposite, a bit gloomy at times, I frequently the cheery one in the group, and I’m at least bi-polar, maybe even tri, triple Gem(ini), at least metaphorically, but who’s counting? And if Christian hymns are the paradigm for the cross, carrying you away to places you’ve never really been before, in a swoon of frenzy, for Buddhism the paradigm is meditation, focusing on the right here and right now, where you’ve never really left… (More …)

    • tiramit 8:37 am on May 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great, I never really thought before that the future doesn’t seem to hold as much as it did for us and therefore we’re less likely to wander off into it when we’re supposed to be in the here and now. But I see you’re writing for that kind of audience, and meditation is about sharpening our skills in ordinary presence, not so much about blissful realms. It’s this heavenly thing that Western newcomers to it think is what it’s all about, so they don’t stay with it for very long. What else can they do, it’s not everyone who has immersed themselves in a culture that’s so completely different from the mother ship for a number of decades and still be considered a farang…

      • hardie karges 5:14 pm on May 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        For me the only proper use of here and now is in meditation. Everything else is wishful thinking. I DO have a viable vision of the future, though, but it doesn’t have much to do with self-driving cars…

    • hardie karges 3:13 am on May 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I should probably clarify that my hypothesis that ‘Nowness’ is thriving because of a bleak future sees that as a subliminal cause. I doubt that many people would admit to it…

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