Tagged: Thailand Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 6:55 am on November 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anger, , Chiang Rai, , multi-tasking, Thailand, tourist, workaholic   

    Buddhism as a Second Language: Welcome to Thailand… 

    IMG_2692My name is Hardie and I am a workaholic. I started with the small stuff, house raisings and assorted cabin crew, sharp nails into wood and flesh, before moving on to the harder stuff—self-employment! And business!! AARRGGHH!!! But that was just the warm-up to the true disease, a consistent and constant submission to the little man upstairs, who whispered in my ear little things like: “Have you ever heard of multi-tasking?” And that was my downfall, multiple jobs and multiple careers, all simultaneously and in synchronicity—more or less…

    Because, as we now know, there is no true multi-tasking, but more like constant switching, so not a true mix of jobs, but an assortment of jobs, in several cities, and countries, and the constant switching between them, in real time, that is largely a waste of time, and energy, like nibbling from a plate of hors d’oeuvres while stuck in traffic instead of having a healthy solid meal on a nice plate in a nice room with a nice family… (More …)

    Advertisements
     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:37 pm on November 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great story, Hardie, exemplifying the philosophy very well. That mix of reflection and anecdote really works for me and this bit (edited slightly to bring out the structure) is a nice summary of the Buddhist stance:

      The consumptive mental afflictions that once threatened are now almost laughable. More importantly, the possession and aggression has been reduced to a level low enough to suppress easily and almost instantaneously…
      Better still: this comes at little cost to healthy emotions, such that intensity of feelings has never been higher, while attachment to them has never been lower, and that’s the Holy Grail of Buddhism—the cup always at least half full, never overflowing, but never empty, of anything except intrinsic reality…

      • hardie karges 5:51 pm on November 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanx, Dave, you can edit me any time you like! p.s. I don’t say that to everyone, haha…

        • Dave Kingsbury 2:01 am on November 14, 2017 Permalink

          Just thought, Hardie, didn’t mean that as a criticism but as a way of making it more generally applicable – I think the personal dimension of your piece is what gives it bite …

        • hardie karges 2:21 am on November 14, 2017 Permalink

          No criticism, flattered TBH, to get a DJ remix…

    • buddhistronin 8:46 pm on November 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Been there done that! Maybe it is our often overly aggressive response to the smallest things that causes us to be treated as tourest. Thais have general acceptance of most things. We westerners are certainly not like that. Good post!

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

    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 5:47 am on October 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: breath, , , itch, , , , Thailand, Vipassana   

    Buddhism and the Meditation Itchy-Scratchies: Peace of Mind, Peace of body… 

    img_2116You know the routine: position cushion on the floor, position butt on the cushion, position body on the butt spine straight crack shoulders eyes closed breath focus nose focus navel focus nothing nothing breathing breathing breath breath in out in out breathe breathe hmmmm… hmmmm… breath… hmmmm… hmmmm… Donald Trump….. hmmmm… moron… hmmm… breath… hmmm… Mormon… hmmm… Buddho… hmmm… ice cream… yummm… hmmm… Buddho… hmmm… salsa… hmmmm… afrocubism… hmmmm… Pablo Picasso… hmmmm…  Matisse… hmmm… mind wandering… hmmm… wandering… hmmm…  Buddho… hmmm… breath… hmmm…

    When I first started meditating in northern Thailand my mother-in-law would ask me, “Have you calmed your mind yet?”

    Calm my mind? I’m still trying to calm my body…” (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:19 am on September 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Forest Tradition, , , Hindu, , Noble Truth, Pali, , , Thailand   

    First Noble Truth of Buddhism: It’s a Heartache… 

    IMG_2290

    …and that’s about as accurate as any translation of the Pali word dukkha as any other, certainly better than the ‘stress’ or ‘discomfort’ or whatever currently making the rounds in Buddhist blurbs online and elsewhere, anything but ‘suffering’, the traditional and still most accurate definition. We’re talking about a metaphysical level of suffering here, after all, or at least existential, the kind that envelops you in its inimitable embrace, and lets you know exactly where you stand, or fall, which is usually somewhere nearby and knowable, so treatable…

    The newer ‘stress’-full definition of dukkha suggests a modern post-capitalist phase that the Buddha himself could hardly have imagined back in the classic Upanishadic era of pre-colonial India, actually post-colonial if you count Aryans as intruders, and not the high-class homeboy Brahmins that they usually like to see themselves as. They brought as many chariots, horses, cows and racism as they ever brought religion, more like high plains cowboys than the meditative masters that we now see them as (though they did have good drugs—I hear)… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:13 am on February 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Mahasi, , , retreat, Thailand, Wat Suan Mokh, Yangon   

    Buddhist Boot Camp Comparison, part II: Suan Mokh vs. Mahasi… 

    img_1935

    Foreign meditators at Mahasi

    Author’s note: For those of you who read my blogs regularly, then you might remember that I did this once before, with Wat Suan Mokh near Surat Thani, Thailand, and Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, here. But those are two different types of Buddhism, so as different as apples and oranges, really. Mahasi Monastery in Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma), is the same Theravada branch of Buddhism as Suan Mokh, so closer in orientation. And for my traveler’s perspective of Mahasi, here

    img_1936

    Meditation at Mahasi

    Of course, not everything fits conveniently into a quick little list, so I’ll explain, expand and expound. WSM has fixed sessions on the first ten days of every month, so just show up the day before and sign up, no pre-registration. MM is even less formal. Just show up any morning and sign up. I suppose either could be full, so no space available, but not sure of that. Sessions at MM are ongoing, minimum ten days, but many stay MUCH longer, up to six months, with ordination as monk a possibility. Normal Myanmar visa is 28 days BTW, though longer ‘meditation visas’ are available.

    WSM’s program is more elaborately presented and diverse, with certain hours in the daily schedule devoted to exercises, listening to CD, dharma talks, etc., in addition to meditation. MM is mostly DIY, alternating sitting and walking meditation on the hour all day every day. For a novice, this is nearly impossible, of course, so if you want to play hooky, just stay in your room. I was hassled once for reading in the common area, when I was supposed to be in the group meditation hall meditating. Walking meditation is more free-form, so take a break then…

    img_1928

    Lunch at Mahasi

    WSM is part of the Thai Forest Tradition, which gives it an environmental orientation that is quiet, refreshing and sustainable, while Mahasi is within the boundaries of a large city, so necessarily busier and noisier, with frequent visitors from the city and taxis coming and going, in addition to construction activity for current expansion, so MUCH NOISIER…

    Interaction with others is a mixed bag. On the one hand WSM has monks sitting in on sessions, meditation and otherwise, but mostly meditating, and thus giving valuable inspiration on how it’s done. This blew my mind at the time. Conversely, while MM has hundreds of monks and nuns in residence, they have little or no interaction with foreign yogis. There are weekly dharma talks and twice-weekly interviews with the sayadaw-gyi, but that is hardly equivalent to the hands-on SM experience.

    The dharma being espoused is a bit different, too, though both are of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. This I know only because I made the effort to read materials available in MM common areas, which SM has none of, but compensate with CD listening sessions. But MM seems very stuck in the old fundamentalist Buddhism of past lives and karma, which was a big disappointment to me. SM, on the other hand, is more modern, and founder Buddhadhasa is a leader in steering modern Buddhism away from those old fundamentalist modes…

    img_0871

    Wat Suan Mokh

    But where WSM falls severely short is in the facilities themselves, with rooms resembling prison cells in not even the best of prisons, while MM has much more modern facilities. The splash-pools that pass for common baths at SM look like something from science fiction, so interesting, but not up to the modern standards of private showers. This ain’t Boy Scout camp. SM may be fine for ten days, but any longer than that might not be so good…

    So here’s the skinny. Here’s the fat. I’ll compare the two briefly on a number of topics, basic stats mostly. One caveat: I personally attended the Thai-language session at Suan Mokh, but I’ve tried to corroborate information from the foreigners’ English-language session, hopefully correct. Okay? Here goes:

    1. Food: SM is vegetarian with brown rice; MM has a vegetarian option by request
    2. Gadgets: SM holds phones and laptops (and passports); MM holds only passports
    3. Ambience: SM is in the countryside; MM is in the city
    4. Duration: SM is a fixed 11 days, 10 nights; MM is minimum 10 days, 9 nights
    5. In/Out privileges: SM not sure;, assume no; MM only by special request
    6. Hands-on Instruction: SM yes; MM no, not really
    7. Cost: SM 2000 THB ($60+/-); MM donations accepted
    8. Daily Schedule: SM 4a-9p; MM 4a-9p
    9. Rooms: SM basic room, communal bath; MM nicer room, bath down the hall
    10. Meals: SM breakfast and lunch, liquids in afternoon; MM two meals
    11. Sex: SM has M/F sep. facilities, mixed classes; MM: M/F separate all

    So there is no clear winner. In general, I’d say that WSM is better for novice and/or short-term stays, MM better for long-term DIY and/or experienced meditators. I particularly like WSM’s prayer chanting sessions, which for me is as much or more the heart of Buddhism as meditation. And the hot springs are nice, too (after I finished cleaning them). But the rooms suck. I’ve got a better idea: try both. Both Thailand and Burma have many other meditation centers as well. I hope this helps. Enjoy.

     
  • hardie karges 4:47 pm on January 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Thailand   

    Thai Buddhism Outback Up North, part 4: Three Questions, Two Uncertainties, a Wish and a Promise… 

    Continued from here

    Kwan Yin Fest near Chiang Dao, Thailand

    Kwan Yin Fest near Chiang Dao, Thailand

    So again I’m having doubts about my direction, after I’d convinced myself that the past lives and karmic retribution of Tibetan Buddhism, which I can’t support, are not an issue in the Theravada system. I guess I should get all Zen-like and mock Kung Fu-ish right about now with something wise and philosophical from my imaginary guru, like maybe: “Cricket, don’t worry about the details, or you’ll never be a good monk anyway. You have a path now, and the path will lead you where you are to go…”

    Yeah, that sounds about right. There is no turning back from this path, this Buddhist path, however the details play out. My increasingly healthy meditation practice will be the proof and the foundation for that. So what if I occasionally flash back on the Playboy Playmate from December 1969? She was cute, it was cold, and I was young. I’ve still got a Suzi Quatro song stuck in there from 1978, too…

    And so what if I look like a pile of lumber spilled from the Home Depot truck until I get ‘warmed up’ meditating? So what if it takes a backhoe to unlock and untangle me once I do? At least that backhoe won’t be necessary to back-fill the logic necessary to convince myself I’m happy when I’m really not, gorging myself with ‘stuff’ in an American society of consumeristic orgy (orgiastic consumerism?)… (More …)

     
    • kc 10:37 pm on January 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      join the clubs, forming in the hundreds of like minded people. Millsaps is offering a course to re-guide one to one’s what, emptiness? Also have on-line far away friends wanting to skype and study. remember that teaching is indeed a most noble profession, and certainly learning never ends. looking for folk art, found $ in my account that i did not expect and not wanting to try and teach r more tech. that he will not get. so art, yes. send art, $ cd not hurt, you can always give it away, i surely do. much love.

    • davekingsbury 1:28 pm on January 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Reminds me in part of the Keats bio by Andrew Motion I’m reading – 600 pages for such a short life! – and it’s fascinating to follow his discovery that pain and pleasure/sadness and happiness are really one and the same or at least 2 sides of the same coin, no one without the other. I’m trying to feel the same about life/death but not there yet!

  • hardie karges 11:35 pm on December 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Thailand   

    Jet-Lag Diaries, part 2: Graduating Thai School–in Buddhism… 

    Continued from here

    img_1400Back in Thailand the king is dead, so all other plans are automatically on hold. The temples are now full of temporary monks, so my own meager plans are secondary. My temple priest once told me it’s up to my own heart, and so it is, I must say, even if I have to pay to play. But if I can meditate in a moving plane and meditate on a moving bus, then I must be moving toward something real and good, is it not? I think it must be: I meditate, therefore I am…

    If I’d left my practice of holy writ and dharma for a month, or longer, then I’d have to start over by design and definition, would I not? But that didn’t happen, so the details of any future ordination are unimportant, best left to the dealers and traders, and not the midnight meditators. So if my shitty little revelations and pissy little epiphanies have to wait another week, or month, or year, or decade, for my eminent imminent ordination, then so be it. The world has waited a few millennia already… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 2:51 pm on December 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A succinct summation here …

      “To wit: if you’re Western and/or Christian, then the glass is half full, and the object of life is to full the sucker up. If you’re Eastern and/or Buddhist, then the glass is half-empty, and the object is to drain the damn thing, then enjoy the non-show of silence.”

      No words …

  • hardie karges 5:03 am on August 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Kopan, Monastery, , Tantric, Thailand,   

    Buddhism and Rebirth: Karma Crushes Dogma in 3-Body Pile-Up 

    IMG_0542Dear Readers: If you happen to follow my other (travel) blog, backpackers-flashpackers.net/, then be forewarned that I’ll repeat some of the same material as in my last post there, so I’ll understand if you have other fish to fry. It’s not that I’m lazy, but rather that the issue that presented itself last week I believe is worth repeating, since it affects my future and the future of this blog…

    As you know, if you follow me here, I’ve been moving steadily toward a life of Buddhism over the past year or two, to the point of spending sessions in actual temples, in study of the Dharma, but also to prepare myself for eventually following the monk-hood myself, on a sporadic, if not permanent basis, something you can do in Thailand, whose Forest Tradition is extremely attractive to me… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:12 am on August 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Mae Chan, Thailand   

    Thai Forest Temples: Books Not Required; Internet? Pending… 

    IMG_0738Thai Buddhist ‘Forest Temples’ are not the saffron gilded air-conditioned temples of the cities and towns, but rustic temples of the woods, the outback and the heart, a tradition dating from a time when Thailand actually HAD forests and itinerant monks walking through them. This tradition dates back little more than one hundred years, but in that period of time has gained many adherents, both local and international, mostly due to the efforts of the late Ajahn Chah, who taught many foreign disciples, and set them loose upon the world…

    ‘Tam boon’ is the usual Thai term for Buddhist ‘merit-making’ and could just as easily be translated ‘doing good’, though that probably doesn’t convey the urgency with which most Thais accept the need for a showcase to display their gratitude, not simply submit silent offerings. The best deeds tend to be spectator sports to which all are invited, and many a belly is filled, spectacles and feasting more than introspection and fasting, which is a better goal for religion IMHO… (More …)

     
    • kc 7:18 pm on August 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      interesting, recently a COMMUNITY HELP GROUP, all men btw, came and helped me get the front yard/garden set to city specs. they do it for the glory of god, any and all gods, they do not discriminate against the gods nor the people requesting help. i wrote a letter to the editor, that they published, much to my surprise as it mentioned Islam. so, yeah, we’re learning, slowly but surely, to embrace all. for now, i am attempting to reteach r things he has long known, in this instance it has been 2 hours so far, how to turn on the electronic contol oven, by googling the manual and following instructions. this gives him an enormous amount of angst. I really believe that he is somewhat sexist his own self, by demonstrating that he is showing his inability to learn form me, or is it ageist. he has completed rejected the notion that he has any memory issues, and although 3 docs said no driving, he continues to drive, and continues to have car crashes. he may soon learn, but that time may come when it is too late. As the Animals sang in that fab Vietnam War protest song WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE, i must get out of here, to save what is left of my mind and spirit. wish me luck, adventure awaits me. fuck an electronic control oven, give me sticks and a way to start a fire, and i’m good.Glad that you are well, except for gout. i am fine, except for pain.

  • hardie karges 7:00 am on April 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Thailand   

    Buddha-Consciousness in a Pill: In Defense of ‘Low-T’… 

    IMG_1665

    Thai Buddhist Temple

    Is there anything more pathetic and disgusting than watching an old man trying to get it up just one more time, meter running, with multiple payment options? Enter Viagra, and sex tourism, and you name it: ‘Low T’ (testosterone), the male sex hormone, or absence thereof…

    It’s all about reproduction, or dying trying, in this life in this world, in this dimension, in this plane of existence, Boeing 747’s equipped with 1st-class cubicles with reclining seats just in case the mood strikes, at the moment of inspiration at the moment of conception…

    Welcome to Thailand, where ‘feed-us’ farming is the late-life equivalent of fetus-farming, for-hire breeding, artificial selection, putting guys out to pasture with hopefully one last biscuit in the oven, just to make things official, and put the young lady on an inheritance plan…

    Low-T? Guys need to take meds for ‘low-T’? That’s like spitting in the face of God, as if Viagra, Cialis, and that pharmacopia weren’t bad enuf, pumps and pills and multifarious cheap thrills in the back seat of cars too small now for proper breeding, need an early model Cadillac…

    It’s ironic that our major form of entertainment—sex—all around the world was never intended for entertainment at all, if we can correctly intuit the mind of God, but you gotta’ give it credit, maybe pandas should take a lesson and start chewing each others genitals instead of so much bamboo while they go happily extinct…

    It’s just a chemical! Without that chemical testosterone and its stiffening influence on the lower extremities, all of our stories and music and literature and art would amount to little, all the philosophies and religion and denominations and free sects… (More …)

     
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