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  • hardie karges 11:47 am on May 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , forgiveness, Fukushima, , trash   

    Buddhism and the Myth of the Cosmic Karmic Flush… 

    We in the Western world are truly mothers of invention and children of it, too, notwithstanding the early achievements of the Chinese and others, with their paradigm-shifting inventions of paper and playing cards and gunpowder and so forth. But somewhere along the way we got the idea that we can throw things away and they somehow just disappear. Now that big (bad) idea may have come with the development of widespread indoor plumbing, but it likely dates back to the beginnings of our species.

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  • hardie karges 11:47 am on May 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: etymology, parable, parabola,   

    The Parable of Parabolas, Sutra of Sutures, and the boy who liked spicy noodles… 

    Buddhist ruins at Ayutthaya in Thailand

    Parables and sutras (or sutta if you’re an adept of Theravada Buddhism) are really the same thing, the former most popularized by Jesus and the latter by the Buddha, though neither is exclusive to either, and neither excludes the other. For I don’t know that any sutra has ever been attributed to Jesus, but I do know that the Buddha has his parables.

    But in reality they’re the same thing, small stories intended to convey some small meaning, but one that might be considered significant, if only one cared to pay some attention to it. For we crave meaning every bit as much as we crave language itself, and the vowels and consonants quickly become subordinate to the verbs and nouns, predicates and subjects that define it. And we love happy endings, so that we can go about our lives with a spring in our step and a smile on our faces, so as to make our lives less miserable.

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  • hardie karges 12:26 pm on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brahmanism, , Carvakas, cosmological constant, , Gosala, , , , Nepali, Predeterminism, , ,   

    Karma, Rebirth, and the Middle Path of Buddhism 

    Karma is not a bank account. Karma is a way to live with right actions. That’s what the word means, in fact, simply ‘actions.’ But somewhere along the way the word got mixed up in the fashions of the day, in 6th to 8th century India, Before the Common Era, and the materialistic demands of the Carvakas in contrast to the predeterminism of Gosala, tutor to both the Buddha and Mahavira, 23rd Tirthankara of the Jains. They were of the extreme ascetic bent, of course, in which Emptiness literally means empty bellies, by willful design, to the point of inanition and even death, for lack of other inspiration.

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  • hardie karges 11:32 am on April 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism and the Limits of Freedom… 

    Self-control is a valuable tool, a wonderful trait, and a noble quality. But control of others? Not so much. And this is a sticking point for many Western Buddhists, who cringe at the thought of any sort of control, it being anathema to the Western traditions of freedom and democracy, however ill-conceived and ill-defined. This obsession with freedom arose in response to the tyranny of rulers, so that is the sordid background upon which our story must unfold. It is also the justification for many a disproportionate response which must then invite further repercussions, in an almost endless back-and-forth see-saw of emotions and cataclysms which define the modern history of humankind.

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  • hardie karges 12:24 pm on April 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Buddhism on the Half Shell, Pick and Choose 

    Buddhism in the North Country is different from the South

    Make the world a better place for humans and other sentient beings. That is the battle charge of the Bodhisattva, the ‘awakened being’ who sacrifices the present moment of his own bliss for the future happiness of the many in waiting. And this is the difference, of course, between the Buddhism of the Elders, Theravada, and the larger vehicle, Mahayana, which supposedly looks beyond the narrow conflicted self and delays enlightenment so that we all can enter the realm of Buddhahood together.

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  • hardie karges 12:00 pm on April 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Bi-polar No-lock Pandemic Sutra… 

    Once upon a time there were only two continents in the World, East and West. They were similar in many ways, but the way in which they were most different were their ways of thinking, especially abstract thinking. For instance, the West saw the world and life as something that should be full to overflowing, with everything, of course, apparently related to their belief in limitlessness, infinity, eternity, depending on the context, and most eloquently: Abundance, as the norm. The East, on the other hand, saw Emptiness as the norm, with profound acceptance of limitations, that were at one and the same time as beautiful as they were comforting, as reassuring as they were defining.

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  • hardie karges 11:29 am on March 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Big-A$$ Half-Ripe Avocado Sutra 

    Better It’s Cracked than My Head

    The fruit that hangs from a tree has inspired many memes and metaphors, with regard to its beauty and irony, but the main conundrums remain: How do I know that it will taste good, and how do I get it into my mouth? And these questions define much of the nature of human existence, i.e. desire, fulfillment, and the middle path in between. And then sometimes the answers almost smack you in the face, quite literally. Like when I was strolling through a certain Central American outdoor market recently, when suddenly I see and feel a definite WHOOSH, which was then quickly followed by a definitive WHUMP! It was enough to stop me in my tracks, to say the least. It seems that a rather large avocado has just fallen from the branch of a tree overhead, barely missing my head, and crashing onto the rocky path below, no harm no foul…

    But it could have been otherwise. Because it wasn’t a tiny overripe fruit, past its prime and ready to sprout seed for some future ancestral father figure. No, this was young—and hard, and unthinking, just like we all once were, and it could have really hurt. But it didn’t, because it missed me by inches. Or did I miss it? No matter. No one claimed it, so I did, and ate the soft parts with pleasure. But the hard parts refused to yield, not even to heat. And so we parted company, but the lessons remain: the fine line between pleasure and pain defined by mere inches on a scale of miles. The same object falling from the sky can nourish or cause damage. Life is short, and the dangers are real: live it fully but cautiously. And so every object in life can offer a lesson, if only we are open to it. Like the Buddhist middle path, we tiptoe lightly through a mine field of obstacles, mostly within our own minds…

     
  • hardie karges 1:09 pm on March 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Goodbye Corona, Hello Global Warming, Dark Age Optional… 

    Proof of Vaccination

    I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine against the Covid-19 virus today, so I guess that now is as good a time as any to put the finishing touches on this pandemic. Yes, I know that it’s not over and could go on at least another year or more, but for me, this is a defining point, and so I think I hear the fat lady singing. And I say that with a twinge of sadness, because for me it’s been a good year, not in material acquisitions, but in spiritual gain. Because the times of greatest stress and suffering often coincide with the greatest spiritual gains. This is as obvious in Jesus’s eschatological emergence as the Roman Empire entered its down days, as it was in the Buddha’s times, with the emergence of India’s and China’s rise as the two dominant centers of world population, a position that they maintain to this day.

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    • Dave Kingsbury 4:17 pm on March 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      First, congratulations on receiving the double dose – each successful step something we can all celebrate. Second, can’t fault your analysis of the recent past nor your prognosis for the near future. Third, you outline new ways of thinking and responding which are also – satisfyingly – a return to older wisdoms. Vive l’humanite!

      • hardie karges 5:03 pm on March 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Hear hear! Thanx for your comments, Dave…

  • hardie karges 11:32 am on March 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Evil,   

    Buddhism and Evil, Parenthetically… 

    There is no evil in this world but that which exists in the hearts and minds of some misguided individuals. Evil is not an entity, existing independently and harvesting souls for current and future consumption. Evil is merely a function of circumstance, born of uncertain causes and subject to uncertain conditions. To remove evil from the world is to purify your own heart first, metaphorically speaking, and then proceed to spread the goodwill to others. If critical mass can be reached, pardon the cliché, then peace can prevail. It’s like reaching herd immunity in a pandemic. Not everyone has to get vaccinated, thank God, or we could never protect ourselves even the slightest little bit.

    This is the curse of democracy, of course, trying to get a large group of people to agree on anything, much less everything. Fortunately there is a hidden democracy, of the soul, so to speak, in which people want the best for themselves and the world, regardless of the cost and sacrifice. If enough of those people can meet and commune with each other, then the world can become a better place, and ultimately find sustainability. But it requires the most serious sort of open mind and the most diligent kind of experimental effort. Sometimes we learn our best lessons from our worst enemies, seasoned and flavored with experience. This is much the essence of Buddhism…

     
  • hardie karges 12:15 pm on March 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AA, arahant, , , dimension, Fake Buddha Quotes, , , Murakami, passive voice   

    Buddhism Redefined: Suffering is inevitable. Pain is optional… 

    Or so I say. Read carefully. That’s not the famous quote, of course, and in fact, it is almost a refutation of the original quote, which goes something like: “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”—but not quite, a refutation, that is. Because anything worth saying is certainly not worth refuting, even if it is almost the opposite of what is being asserted. And what is being asserted, in most cases of this quote, is that this is a quote from the Buddha, which it is almost certainly not. But this illustrates how fervently Americans want Buddhism to agree with Western psychology, if not religion.

    And as proof of the falsity I send you to the well-known and superlative website Fake Buddha Quotes, which goes into the origin at some depth and with much commentary. Here’s a hint: It also likely predates the usual retort that it is from Haruki Murakami, and may even derive from the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step playbook, which is apparently full of such zingers, even the one about “drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick,” haha. Hey, it’s not easy coming up with pithy quotes every day! Just ask any self-styled guru on any FB self-help group.

    But the expert is also of the opinion that it is ‘congruent’ with Buddhism, which is probably a vague enough way to phrase it, in form and substance, given its geometry connection, that he may very well be right, somehow some way, as long as he is not explicitly saying that it is foundational to Buddhism. Regardless, I would be of much less the same opinion, and categorically assert that my reversal of the quote is much closer to the foundations of Buddhism, in which the Buddha categorically asserts that suffering exists, no mention of options, unless you want to jump to the conclusion that removal of the causes is a viable option.

    Which is true, if you have the training of an arahant or Bodhisattva, which very few of us do, even on a good day. So I would assert that my reversal of the famous quote is more correct than the original, from a Buddhist perspective, which it may or may not ultimately be, but that’s my take. So in this thought experiment, suffering is something of a dimension, our dimension, of primarily mechanical waves, not light, which appears to us as an overwhelming force, or a higher dimension, and gravity, another force, or a lower dimension, same thing (let’s leave the strong and weak quantum ‘forces’ for another day).

    Then there are the causes of this suffering, whether it is truly a dimension of not. The four Noble Truths explicitly state that craving is cause, but it DOES NOT state that it is THE (one and only) cause, and this is a common misconception of Buddhism, especially among argumentative American Buddhists, which says as much about Americans as it does about Buddhists, and brings us back to the reasons that we’re having this thought experiment in the first place, i.e. Westerners like to argue fine points, not to sharpen the cutting edge, necessarily, but to wield it widely. Note: Sanskrit has no definite articles in its grammar.

    Finally I think the important point is that pain, indeed, is optional. Indeed we know that drugs exist to alleviate pain, and can do so quite effectively, so there’s that. But there’s also the fact that dimensional suffering doesn’t necessarily have much to do with pain at all in the first place. It’s almost more like a passive grammatical voice in which we are objects of a preposition, or proposition, and not true subject. And that may speak volumes. Buddhist suffering is like suffering for your art or you child. It doesn’t have to hurt. And it requires practice, faith, and joy…

    Source: https://fakebuddhaquotes.com/pain-is-inevitable-suffering-is-optional/

     
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