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  • hardie karges 6:50 am on December 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: religion, , , , , , , , human zoo, type A   

    Buddhism, taming the wild beast within… 

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    Buddhism in Sri Lanka

    The zoo is one of my favorite analogies and metaphor for the human species, such that we tame ourselves and our worst impulses, in order to make of ourselves one great human zoo, a petting zoo, properly fed and cared for, so that the need to compete and the struggles with predators should be reduced to little or nothing…

    I know for a fact that two unrelated mammal species raised together from infancy can easily learn to accept each other for the mutual benefit of all, so cats’ and dogs’ need to fight is only learned behavior. Even in the savannas of Africa, at least in the protected areas, many if not most species have symbiotic relationships, such that none are subject to the regular predations of any one specific species–except man. So we are the main problem of violence on this planet, as much or more than any lions, tigers or bears… (More …)

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  • hardie karges 5:34 am on December 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Boy Scouts, , , , , , , , , religion, , , , ,   

    Boy Scouts: be prepared. Buddhists: not so fast… 

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    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    This is one of the problems I have with Buddhism, the whole ‘no-thought’ paradigm, that always seems to find currency, notwithstanding the fact that the Buddha never said anything like that, not to my knowledge, anyway, and the term sati, which has taken on the meaning of ‘mindfulness’, probably had no such lofty connotations at the time, the problem now being one of vagueness, if not deliberate obfuscation, in order to inspire awe and reverence, apparently, as if it is untranslatable to the ordinary mortal…

    But it certainly is a common ordinary word in modern standard Thai, something like simple ‘consciousness’ or ‘mind’, so ‘mindfulness’ is a marketing hook to sell a fad to the West, that special sauce and some righteous hocus pocus, such that the makers of the film ‘Samadhi’ have to explain that the term is untranslatable to English, notwithstanding the fact that it is done all the time outside the rarefied circles of New Age fad religions… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:07 am on November 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bodhisattva, , , moksha, nibbana, , philoosophy, religion, satori   

    Buddhist Enlightenment is Hard Work; Saving the Planet is even Harder… 

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    Kwan Yin (Kuan Im), Sino-Thai Bodhisattva

    I don’t think too much about Nirvana or satori, Nibbana or moksha or any of the other Promised Lands of Buddhism, simply because they seem to refer to another sphere or another dimension or another life which I have little interest in, when the problems of this life should be plenty to keep us busy for the foreseeable future…

    Because the hate and anger must stop here, grounded and defused and refused re-entry into the society of minds and hearts of men, egos run wild with apparent abandon and artificial stimulation. Enlightenment is probably not even about bliss at all. It’s probably hard work, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and true suffering, inflicted by the whims and wills of men with minds conditioned to inflict cruelty… (More …)

     
    • Alex 12:55 am on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I think Buddhists can have a very important place in commenting on politics as Buddhists – just needs to be done in a Buddhist way; from a place of loving kindness

      • hardie karges 1:11 am on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Maybe. But that’s a subject of much debate. And there are risks. Thanks for your comments.

        • Alex 1:15 am on November 26, 2018 Permalink

          There are risks to any actions as none are neutral, but I think we should still try. In a time of much hate and anger, we have a chance to try and change the tone 🙂

        • hardie karges 10:35 pm on November 26, 2018 Permalink

          We definitely should try to change the tone, no question about that, samma ditthi, samma vaca, etc…

    • Dave Kingsbury 5:02 pm on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      As always, Hardie, you achieve an unflinching PoV which seeks to include rather than avoid and employs common sense in a very down-to-earth way. Hard work that pays off, I’d say. And as you say, ‘Enlightenment is probably not even about bliss at all.’ Realism, perhaps?

      • hardie karges 10:30 pm on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thx, Dave. Theravada enlightenment may be about bliss, but not the Mahayana version, I’d say, gotta’ improve the status of others, also. Thanks for your comments…

        • Dave Kingsbury 1:52 am on November 27, 2018 Permalink

          My pleasure – no man is an island, to use John Donne’s words …

        • hardie karges 3:57 am on November 27, 2018 Permalink

          Indeed, haha… (guess I forgot to attribute the Shakespeare quote in my own post, or even put quotation marks, oops!)…

        • Dave Kingsbury 7:30 am on November 27, 2018 Permalink

          That Hamlet soliloquy is as good a summary of life/death as one might hope for.

  • hardie karges 5:26 pm on November 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bolsonaro, Congress, , , Duterte, , fascist, , , Muslim, Pattani, , , religion, , , , Siam, , , Xi Jinping   

    Buddhist Holy War? Consider the possibilities… 

    img_1695 No, I’m not talking about fighting the mean nasty ugly Muslims that fundamentalist Buddhists are supposed to hate because they supposedly ‘destroyed Buddhism in India’ with their medieval invasion, from which Buddhism never quite recovered. But I notice that ‘Hinduism’ recovered, though, hint hint, exposing this as false narrative. It seems that India is not big enough for both, especially when Hinduism is quite happy to include Buddhism under its larger umbrella, making and marketing itself as something of a national religion, if and when it is one, at all…

    And no, I’m not talking about the situation in southern Thailand, in which ethnic Malay nationalists in three southern provinces, who just so happen to be Muslim, have fought for years to win back the independence that was taken from them in 1785 with Siam’s annexation of Pattani. Ironically this was only made official in Siam’s treaty with the UK in 1909, in which as much or more territory was simply transferred to UK ownership for the promise that they would recognize Siam’s sovereignty over the rest (and no more, demands, pretty please!)… (More …)

     
    • RemedialEthics 2:16 am on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      As always, your posts appear when I am desperate for evidence that there is a larger world of perspective beyond the narrow, paranoid, and increasingly violent belief system that has a firm grip on America. I stumbled into your blog while Googling the mileage from my home in the AZ desert to the nearest border town of Sasabe. I don’t remember if I ever found the answer to my mileage query, I just decided it’s about 30 miles (maybe) and that is fine because I also don’t recall why I needed to know in the first place. That is exactly what makes the internet great. It is not about being able to find the answers you need in 0.03 seconds, it is about finding the answers you didn’t know you needed. Thank you for caring about the well-being of your countrymen even though you are not in country. I realize how easy it would be to immerse yourself in the arguably more enlightened culture where you are and look away from the ugly reality that has swallowed up your homeland, but your blogs offer a clean, refreshing perspective shift that is just enough to keep the nihilism at bay for a little bit longer. Think of it as charity to those of us who are stuck here and starving for insight from outside the battle zone. Please don’t wash your hands of us just yet.

      • hardie karges 2:27 am on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Wow! Thanks! That just might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me (and I know where Sasabe is, too, nice drive, even crossed the border there once), thanks again…

    • Dave Kingsbury 5:22 pm on November 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, agree with RemedialEthics, your wider world perspective shines a bright light on parochial problems. We have a few of our own this side of the Pond but I came up with this the day after your Midterms and thought it might add a few more light protons … https://davekingsbury.wordpress.com/2018/11/07/halfway-there-a-story-in-100-words/

  • hardie karges 4:53 am on October 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , religion,   

    Buddhism and Trump, Religion and Politics… 

    img_2116It’s easy to bemoan my fate as having no choice but to be a citizen of the same country that Donald F. Trump presides over, even if not currently resident, but bemoan even more the fact that he seems to have hijacked my mental process, so that it seems that I am almost totally incapable of thinking about anything else, except how to get this over-stuffed individual out of my life and out of my mind and hopefully even out of my country so that one day I might go back there if circumstances so warrant it…

    I mean: wouldn’t I really rather be spending my time, and precious brain cells, discussing subtle points of dharma, rather than gross points of politics? Of course, though, the argument could be made that I wouldn’t even be a Buddhist if the presence of Donald Trump in his original rise in the political polls hadn’t inspired me to it, for whatever reason, as the two events were nearly simultaneous. For, like the reductios ad absurdum that Mahayana Buddhists once used to disprove the intrinsic existence of ‘stuff’, so I can define myself in opposition to a known quantity… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:11 pm on October 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      … we are the God species, like it or not, holding the keys to survival in the palm of one hand, while the other hand plays with its iPhone… great line, Hardie, in a piece that goes head on and wins through to something very helpful and worthwhile!

    • hardie karges 5:20 am on October 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Dave. I swear I did not know previously of the book of the same title AND on a similar subject. I do now, haha…

  • hardie karges 6:20 am on September 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , reductios, , religion, ,   

    America, Buddhism, Logic and Einstein’s Equivalence Principle… 

    img_0953You know the American dream, the whole world does: two-story house and a two-car garage, two kids in the breakfast nook and the neighbor’s kids coming over later, God’s little acre in a sanctified suburb, full ownership and bulging bank accounts, stay-at-home mom and a rising-star dad, with a bachelor’s degree in business and a lotta’ backyard gossip, Saturday at the zoo and Sunday barbecue, PTA meetings and postman’s daily greetings, fried chicken and crispy French fries, milk shakes and apple pies…

    Also known as the Australian dream or Kiwi if you prefer, but only a quarter-acre there and the fries just might be pies, so be careful what you eat, otherwise just the same, with a down-under accent, big goofy grins on the chinny-chin-chins, a weekend in the outback, a maid in the kitchen, a promise of deliverance, and the assurance of no limits: neither sky nor sand nor seacoast nor sex, all-you-can-eat in a never-ending buffet of consumer goods, entertainment, sensations, but mostly money… (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 12:33 am on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Hardie with avoidance you certainly have the Theravadan view well encapsulated. Why else should one take 300 vows and live separately from many others but to avoid all that is potentially disturbing. In Mahayana and Vajrayana these so called disturbing emotions are actually the fuel for the fire that drives practice further and faster. There are several ways to see this is there not?

      QP

      • hardie karges 1:18 am on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Hi again QP: Absolutely. Yes, I love the Thai Forest Tradition, but see it best as the first step along the path, gotta’ re-enter the world at some point in order to save it, which is the highest goal IMHO. Mahayana is a bit fractured right now, though, so can’t help but think that there must be a new paradigm evolving, to account for all the world changes of the last 1000 years, which Buddhism mostly hasn’t answered yet. I don’t know that Secular Buddhism is the answer, but I definitely think it’s part of the discussion. Most religions abhor uncertainty, but I think the capacity for a true dialectic is one of Buddhism’s strengths, fingers crossed. Thanks for your comments…

  • hardie karges 6:42 am on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , religion   

    Why is Buddhism so pessimistic? Because… 

    IMG_2290I don’t know: so maybe you’ll forego your pride, like a good Christian? I notice that the prouder one is, the more ‘optimistic’ that person also is, most likely assured that whatever good fortune has come to him as a result of superior skill and talent will surely repeat itself infinitely and indefinitely, since the world is a vast abundant field of untold and uncalculated riches, the sky is truly the limit, and YOU are the master of this world, right front and center—uh huh, yeah right…

    Doesn’t that make you feel good? I mean: doesn’t that just make you want to jump out of bed, slam down some breakfast, slide into your suit, cruise downtown, zoom up to the 52nd floor, then order your secretary around, just a little bit, not enough to cause her any lasting damage, much less any drop in office efficiency, just enough to let her know who’s boss, let her know who pays the bills, let her know who wears the pants, or not… (More …)

     
    • The godlike Robert 5:43 pm on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I think Buddhism promotes an alternative understanding of reality. The West sees man as separate and distinct from his environment. In fact the creation story depicts the event occurring instantaneously and conjured by God. And as a spontaneous invention man has no history of relationship to anything outside his skin; not the plants, animals or the earth.
      In this story man is an ego created by a supreme ego and both are aliens to this world. Buddhism demonstrates that the ego is an illusion. What is inside the skin is no different than what’s outside the skin because neither are in your control; do you beat your own heart or can you shine the sun? The conclusion to Buddhism is that the universe is a non linear organic totality and you are only a subset of it, and not even capable any independence from it and more than that you emerged from it and belong in it! There is no other place where you could be…you see?

      • hardie karges 9:35 pm on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I certainly think that Buddhism offers an alternative to the Western paradigm, but that can–and does–go several different directions, operating on a level that can be used as religion, philosophy, psychology or simply technique, depending on the needs of the participant. I think Buddhism is best as an ongoing dialectic, without conclusions, something like a psycho-philosophical method, analogous to scientific method and the dialog between Theravada and Mahayana, hopefully achieving a higher synthesis. The hard part is moving past old narratives that no longer apply. Thanks for your comments!

        • The godlike Robert 12:43 am on September 24, 2018 Permalink

          As science, Taoism and Confuscanism are ongoing dialectics with no conclusions and are not religions!

  • hardie karges 6:30 am on September 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craving, , , , , , , , religion, , , , tanha   

    Buddhism is not about getting your groove on; it’s all about… 

    img_0545Control, unwavering control, of yourself, or even better: non-self, if you can manage it, easy enough but for the vicissitudes of will, that one part of the (s)kandhas that escapes easy categorization and refuses to fall blindly into place as but one of the ‘heaps’ that comprise our personalities and personas and persons that we oftentimes think of as ‘self’, or ‘selves’ if you’re bi-polar, or even ‘soul’ if you have long-term plans, or God forbid ‘ego’ if you can think of little else…

    But ‘will’ or ‘volition’ is right there listed alongside the rest of the heap of verbs-turned-nouns that define us in an act of unholy reification, feeling and form and perception and consciousness, only one a true noun, and that an abstract one, all the rest verbs with regular jobs, turned noun, so more than fleeting fancies, all except will, which needs no linguistic crutch-like suffix ‘-ness’ or ‘-tion’ to lean on, or even the gerundive ‘-ing’ to skate by on all fours… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 10:30 am on September 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Encouraging piece for one who, like myself, is very language-oriented. Nothing wrong with being wedded to words, of course, as long as one can cut oneself adrift to float upon an ocean of unknowing. Cripes, did I just say that out loud?

      • hardie karges 8:11 pm on September 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Haha, yes, I’m conflicted over the role of language, On the one hand, I love it, and on the other hand, narratives get stuck and clog our minds, pop music the most obvious example, though no problem with jazz. I think the cure is to think more visually more often and reserve language for more creative efforts, so less boring tedious language, just the good stuff…

        • Dave Kingsbury 1:34 am on September 20, 2018 Permalink

          I think the notion of getting stuck is a fruitful one – bit like a vinyl record stylus that just needs a nudge once in a while. Banal pop lyrics, advertising and political slogans – all examples of when words go bad. Music and art a possible cure – and waiting for the right words to come. 🙂

  • hardie karges 6:56 am on January 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , monk, monkhood, religion, ,   

    Buddhism ME 6909: Renunciation is a transitive verb–sometimes… 

    img_0953There’s nothing cuter in Thailand than a picture of a young child bowing in obeisance, before a statue of the Buddha, grahping and saddhuing with the best of them, prostrate to unknown gods, long before his little prostate gland would even know the difference, that which supplies the raw materials for reproduction, but to a young infertile mind that yet has no clue to such things…

    Now I firmly encourage respect and reverence to monks and priests and the qualities they represent, but joining the monkhood at an early age, or even growing up at the temple, and, in effect, never knowing any other life, is another thing. I mean: is that really so impressive—and wise? Doesn’t renunciation really only have its true meaning when something is actually renounced? Now, when a millionaire gives up his millions to join the sangha—that’s impressive… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 5:06 pm on January 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hi. Hardie, long time no speak! Been taking a little winter sabbatical from the blogosphere – viewing it, anyhow – to catch up on some offline reading. This strikes your customary balance, with all sides examined and a careful conclusion reached. I think your considered stance is sensible and persuasive in the modern world. As Rimbaud said, it is necessary to be absolutely modern …

    • hardie karges 5:18 pm on January 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, Dave, good to chat, been wrapped up in my own college/monastery duties for months myself, now freer a bit to wander. I just wish DT would leave the scene, so that I can write about happy things again, ha! Thanx for comments, I persevere…

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

    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 …)

     
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