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  • 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 …)

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    • 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 …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:25 am on August 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bashar, , , , Lobsang Rampa, New Thought, , Now-ness, religion, , Theosophy   

    The Messy-onic Tradition, part 2: Eckhart and the Also-rans… 

    (Continued from here). I would consider Eckhart Tolle more of a genuine prophet than Deepak Chopra, and with a genuine message, however limited, a fairly well fleshed-out theory of ‘the Now’, but here, too, there is vagueness and also many tossed mixed metaphors conveniently confusing empirical facts with familiar fictions, not the same thing, and dangerously close to anthropomorphic representations of entities that are nothing if not God-substitutes…

    For example, what exactly does Tolle mean when he asks: “What Is It That The Universe Really Wants To Be Created Thru Me?” Is he implying that the ‘Universe’ is like a person with wants and desires? And there are other bothersome examples of vagueness: ‘NOW’, ‘Presence’, and ‘Consciousness’ are all offered in the same breath as equivalencies but still largely undefined, unfortunately…

    And then there are his ‘energy centers’. Google that if you want to get the address of your nearest marijuana dispensary in SoCal. ‘Nowness’ is his big deal, but that can lead to irresponsible hedonism, too, if not correctly applied… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 3:30 pm on August 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The Eckhart Tolle advice was good. I loved the way he paused before answering. So different from the usual blather from pundits.

    • hardie karges 5:20 pm on August 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, Eckhart is not bad at all…

    • NMF 2:28 pm on September 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      What I am discovering in all of this, is that all these teachers are teaching the same thing, spreading the same message, albeit in different ways. Namely: we are expressions of one divine spiritual energy, just in human form having a human experience and that is part of the great Universal Expansion. At the core of their teachings, they all point to the same thing: we are all messiahs, some in training, but all eventually awakening to the truth of who we are Light, Love and Life.

  • hardie karges 5:32 am on May 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , religion, , ,   

    Buddhist Karma: more than just cause and effect… 

    img_2116Karma is one of the major tenets of Buddhism, and one of the most misunderstood. The issue of past lives I’ll save for later; first let’s deal with this life. The basic idea is that if you do good things, then good things will happen to you. And if you have to take at least one religious tenet on pure faith to qualify as religious, then I’ll take that one, which I firmly believe, that by doing good, the world is thereby incrementally vaccinated against evil. Thus karma is frequently called the law of ’cause and effect’, BUT…

    That’s not exactly correct. It’s better than that. It’s more than that. It’s purer than that. If I give you a five-spot and you hand me a hot dog, that’s not karma. That’s business, and bad health. Thank me for my custom, bloke. And if I pick up the neighborhood kids to take to school on Wednesday, because that’s my day to man the carpool, then ditto. That’s an agreement, therefore a transaction, maybe not business, since no money changed hands hand, but not karma, either… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:26 am on April 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , experience, meaning, religion   

    Buddhism, Philosophy and Life: Meaning or Experience? 

    img_1111One of the first glimpses of consciousness—self-consciousness—for any self-respecting member of angst-ridden rebellious existential youth is that, “life has no meaning.” And apparently that is a rite of passage from adolescence into adulthood, as palpable as puberty, as awkward as rolled-up jeans, as unforgiving as suicide–or so I hear…

    And there is no certain cure for it, though many treatments have been tried and many medicines prescribed. Until finally the master gurus of my own generation collectively said: “Enough!” and suspended the search until further notice, teachers like my own personal heroes Joseph Campbell and Alan Watts, the more respectable members of a club that included Timothy Leary on one hand and Alan Ginsberg on the other… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:25 pm on December 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , religion,   

    Waiting for it: Electronic Buddha in the Electronic Forest Temple 

    img_0908I think it’s a bum rap, the false narrative about smart-phones and other tech, how we never talk to our neighbors any more—we never did! Unless they’re nice. And we still do, if there’s something to discuss. Should we regress to the day when stay-at-home wives have nothing better to do than chew the fat with the housewives’ club all day every day? Yes, I know it’s a real job, but still…

    So why did no one ever make an issue of us reading news papers all the time, or listening to radio? No, they never did that until TV, couch potatoes and all that jazz, and that defines the line that divides our civilization from the initial inquisitive developmental mode to the current acquisitive ‘been there done that’ full-of-it mode, a civilization in decline, with red lights flashing… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 4:01 pm on December 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A damning indictment as well as indicating the seeds of renewal, taking in a sharp comparison of then and now and asking big questions for the future. As EM Forster said, Only Connect …

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