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

    Buddhism is all about love—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 …)

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  • hardie karges 7:25 am on February 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac, , , Theravada, , 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: , , , , Theravada   

    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 8:47 am on January 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Theravada   

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

    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 7:52 am on November 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , branding, , , , , , , , Theravada,   

    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, , , , , , , , , Theravada, , ,   

    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 7:08 am on June 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bizarro, , , Goldilocks, , Theravada,   

    #Buddhism, #Bizarro World, and the 4 Noble Truths of #Christianity… 

    IMG_1183

    Statue of Buddha in Kandy, Sri Lanka

    We all know the Four Noble (Aryan) Truths of Buddhism, of course, indoctrinated in us since birth: 1) the prevalence of suffering in this world, 2) the cause of suffering—desire, 3) the way to reduce suffering—reduce desire, and 4) the way to do that: the Eightfold Middle Path—do not lie, cheat, steal, etc…

    But did you know that Christianity also has Four Noble Truths? Okay, so they’re not exactly called that, but it’s easy enough to interpolate and extrapolate, so here goes: 1) this world is fun!, 2) the cause of fun is desire, 3) the way to increase fun is to increase desire—more bigger richer sexier, and 4) the way to do that: the Ten Commandments: do not lie, cheat, steal, etc. Ha! Gotcha! (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 9:52 am on June 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , philkosophy, Theravada,   

    #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: , , Theravada   

    #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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