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  • hardie karges 1:00 pm on December 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Marija Gimbutas, matriarchy, Old Europe, ,   

    Buddhism in a World at War with Itself… 

    Fight the war within your heart, and so leave the world at peace. That largely summarizes the Buddhist philosophy in a nutshell, with regard to the world at large, at least. And that was always a source of some consternation for me, at first, I coming from a Western country with a strong sense of action, freedom, and individualism. So to simply turn the eyes downward, or turn one’s head aside, hardly seems to be the correct way to deal with problems.

    But it works, at least to a certain extent, by forgoing the bluff and bluster, and most of all the violence, and simply walking away calmly. In fact, that’s the first thing I learned in my Kung Fu class, for all the fancy moves and sleights of hand: just walk away; and 90% of the time it will work. The problem arises when there is no place to walk to, whether for lack of space or circumstances.

    But this is a problem that the ‘minority’ groups of the world have encountered since Day One. As long as they have some place to escape to, then problems do not have to ‘come to a head,’ so to speak, and everybody is happy, more or less, and the world’s largest ‘races’ occupy the choicest valleys and prime sea coasts, and the most valuable trade routes between them.

    And this is largely tolerable until the world’s population starts to surpass a billion or two, and then quadruples in population over the next hundred years. Welcome to 2020, and lots of hindsight. Now there is no place left to hide, and that didn’t always work so well, anyway. As hard as it is for us moderns to believe, there was a time not so long ago when young men were anxious to go to war, for reasons that I’m not so sure about.

    Now I suppose it may be an unhealthy craving to be too attached to one’s own life, but not for the purpose of violence, I wouldn’t think. But this is the age of patriarchy, and such are the ways and means of its workings. Only one man is needed to fertilize the wombs of a hundred women, as any self-aggrandizing Alpha male knows, and the rest are free to rumble. Ouch.

    Oh, how I long for the pre-Aryan Old Europe of Marija Gimbutas, the Old Asia, Old America, and the Old Africa of matriarchy, when women’s value was paramount, in direct proportion to the need to multiply the species, long before unemployed men began the long division of slicing and dicing body parts for mass internment, ashes to ashes and all that rap. But there is another clause in the dharma of Buddhism that pertains to this discussion and that is the need to remove the causes and conditions of suffering.

    And assuming that these causes and conditions are originally internal, then they must be applied to all persons equally, across the board. If women refused to submit to the Alpha males for purposes of reproduction, would the problem simply go away? It might be worth a try. Everything is perfect in its imperfection. It is just what it is, Trump notwithstanding, nor left standing. Opinions fall flat in the face of reality…

     
  • hardie karges 1:05 pm on December 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Snarky Buddha Tweet: Special Sale on Kindness and Compassion, all at reasonable rates… 

    I’m looking for something in everyone’s eyes: honesty, kindness, consideration, and compassion, smile optional, must be willing to re-locate. Laughter is the best medicine, no prescription required. Love comes with a warning…

     
  • hardie karges 12:37 pm on November 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , monkey-mind, Neanderthal, , ,   

    Buddhist Mindfulness and the Myth of Multi-Tasking… 

    Multi-tasking is a myth, aka ‘monkey mind’. Mindfulness is not a myth. Think one thought at the time. ‘Mindfulness’ is a difficult word to translate, and may or may not be the best translation of the Pali/Sanskrit word ‘sati,’ but that is the historical path of Buddhism, so that is the word with which we are left, and that is the task before us.

    I think that the Christians have even borrowed the term now, and so it has taken on a life of its own. But what does it really mean? The term ‘sati’ originally meant something like simple ‘awareness’ or ‘consciousness,’ small ‘c’, almost certainly, (as it still means in modern standard Thai).

    But even more certain would be to simply posit it as the inverse of its negation, and so ‘mindfulness’ is simply the opposite of ‘mindlessness’ and put the onus of exposition upon its protagonists, since the word ‘sati’ worked just fine for millennia, and its simple translations are more than sufficient.

    But the quest for religion is the quest for transcendence, if not magic, and if that means creating holy words with extraordinary definitions, then ‘mindfulness’ is one of those, in the modern post-New-Age reinvention of our spiritual necessities.

    And if that seems tired and trite, then rest assured that the most traditional Buddhists are in on the game, too, they also anxious to liberate terminology from the ordinary humdrum of daily existence, add some hype, aka ‘wu-wu.’

    And one of the easiest ways to do that is simply to redefine terms and double them up. So Sanskrit ‘mudita’ becomes not just ‘joy’ but ‘sympathetic joy.’ And ‘metta’ becomes not just ‘kindness’ but ‘loving-kindness.’ And the Asians do this, too, Thais long combining ‘metta’ and ‘karuna’ (compassion) into one comprehensive ‘mettakaruna.’ Likewise ‘sati’ and ‘panya’ (knowledge) can become ‘satipanya’ for extra emphasis and expansion.

    So beyond all the back-stories and linguistic back-formations, what does the word ‘mindfulness’ now really mean in the Buddhist epistemological sense? As stated originally, probably the best interpretation is focused thinking, i.e. one thought at the time, since there truly is not the ability to hold two thoughts equally and simultaneously, but simply to switch between them constantly, so a trick in itself, but perhaps not conducive to a peaceful mind.

    But I think that a better notion is to think in terms of non-linguistic thought altogether, what I call ‘proto-consciousness’ or ‘paleo-consciousness,’ in the sense that this was once normal, no doubt, before the advent of language some 50,000 years ago, almost simultaneous with the demise of our competitors homo Denisova and Floresiensus, and finally Neanderthalensis.

    That is no coincidence, and no cause to celebrate. But that was then, and this is now. God knows that we are nothing if not a young species, and all should be forgiven. Bottom line: Cooperation is better than competition, community better than individualism. And mindfulness is more than a simple agreement of terms.

     
  • hardie karges 2:35 pm on November 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Snarky Buddha Tweets: Karmic Fallacy of Posthaste Ex-Post Facto… 

    When in doubt, do nothing—quickly. Meditate or contemplate, the choice is yours. There is no call to action. You don’t have to take the bait. And you certainly don’t have to fight to the death, literally or verbally. For all that, there just isn’t the time. The last word is for the biggest ego and the smallest mind…

     
  • hardie karges 12:23 pm on November 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2020, , butterfly effect, chaos theory, , , , ,   

    Buddhism at the Crossroads of Politics and Religion… 

    Your worst enemy can be your best friend, maybe save your life in the end, if you avoid harsh words, and show him some kindness. And this is especially true in a time of political disruption, when all norms of decency have been cast to the winds of fate, in favor of the expediency of racial familiarity.

    For this is the great advantage of religion, if not the sole purpose, i.e. to provide the comfort of familiarity beyond mere racial and tribal identities. After all, most religions have similar, if not identical, goals. The problem, of course, is spreading that umbrella of familiarity wide enough to include everyone, so as to avoid merely extending tribal associations into the realm of religion.

    For religion has no intrinsic connection to any nation or race, but that which the paths of culture provide. Culture can change, though, and sometimes immediately. There is nothing that necessitates that a European be Christian or an Asian be Buddhist, except that that is the path that the various cultures adopted in adaptation to the stimuli that occurred, whether natural or intentional.

    In fact, the genetic dispositions of the founders of Eastern and Western philosophy are quite similar, probably more similar than the right and left sides of any individual brain. But many, if not most, circumstances are largely random, as best described by the ‘Butterfly Effect’ of Chaos Theory, in which the mere fact that a butterfly might flutter by changes the course of history.

    So we are left to make sense of what seem to be random occurrences as best we can. But they are not all random, and that is the point of science, to find the order in the universe. That is NOT the point of religion, though, which is to find our place in that universe. At one time, in the not-so-distant past, the two endeavors were one and the same thing, not surprising in a human culture that has barely outgrown its diapers.

    That does not imply any false duality, though, merely a hierarchy of necessity in a world grown more complex with the passage of time and the increasing specialization of the species homo sapiens. And if I once thought that we as a species might not survive, given our many sins, of commission and omission, then today I am gratified to find that Nature will likely have an important role in that final determination.

    After all, natural selection is always right. But it is rarely predictive. Hindsight is 2020. Until then, we are best served by a gentleness in our approach to all matters of politics and religion. Buddhism is a good paradigm for that, arguably the best. Purify your heart. Fortify your mind. Lead the world by example…

     
  • hardie karges 2:08 pm on November 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Cowboy, Kung Fu, Western   

    Kung Fu Consciousness in a Cowboy Western World… 

    Sorry, grasshopper. Your dreams can’t all come true. So I guess a few will have to do. Life can sometimes be frustrating for humans and other sentient beings. So said the Buddha. Almost eight billion people on this planet, and our best friends are cats and dogs, go figure…

     
  • hardie karges 12:45 pm on November 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Ecclesiastes, Gurkha, , Nepalese, Pete Seeger, , , , The Byrds   

    Buddhism by the Book: Circular Arguments in Cyclical Existence… 

    “In springtime grow flowers. In summer grow fruit. In autumn count blessings. In winter take root,” I once said in a playful moment. In Christianity, of course, that sentiment is made famous in the quote, “To everything there is a season,” as originally expounded in the Biblical selection Ecclesiastes 3: 1-13, and brilliantly revised early in my lifetime in the work of Pete Seeger’s “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” and made famous by The Byrds, back when they were skinny.

    The meaning and essence of the thought expressed, of course, is the rhythm and circularity of the seasons. But I think it works equally well in Buddhism, or any other belief system, for that matter, in that by extrapolation, it perhaps can apply to the entire universe.

    We know little of the universe, though, so it is usually visualized in its macrocosmic view as planets in motion, even if the reality is equally a microcosm, if not more so, i.e. particles. But in its macro view, we see the revolution of moons around planets around stars around a poorly defined black hole center, and that is usually enough to convince us that there is at least some order to the universe, with or without an omnipotent creator, with or without an omniscient plan, aka ‘intelligent design.’

    This is again one of the pet projects of fundamentalist Christians, notwithstanding the likelihood that a God of true engineering capabilities could have come up with many mind-blowing designs, rather than the same one over and over with design adaptations that can easily be explained by natural selection if not epigenetics.

    But most Buddhists find their circularity in various iterations of the theme of rebirth and past lives, something which was never really the Buddha’s Big Idea, but which he’d have likely been foolish to reject, but not the latter-day obsession with it, in an almost inverse proportion to its scientific viability.

    But that is the difference between religion and philosophy, that religion craves certainty, even where no certainty exists, and not casual musings, or even a healthy dialectic. Scientists have no such illusions. And the best philosophers are scientists, and vice versa, with or without the background in math or Plato.

    So physicists today get an undefined Dark Matter occupying most of the universe, philosophers get Wittgenstein’s defenestration of language, and Buddhists after 2500 years get a soft pad on a cold floor with some bloke blabbing in the background, when I’d really rather meditate ‘like the Buddha did’—silently.

    In almost every ancient Buddhist text, if you translate ‘samsara’ as ‘the world’ instead of ‘cyclic existence,’ it stills makes as much, if not more, perfect sense. Coincidentally the language which today preserves more Sanskrit than any other language, Nepalese aka Gurkha, uses the word ‘sansara’ to mean ‘the world,’ no accident. In Hindi they use ‘dunia,’ from the Arabic. They probably got tired of cyclic existence. But let’s not argue. The only thing to argue for is the end of all argument. That is the only cyclic existence that I know…

     
  • hardie karges 5:12 pm on November 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: schadenfreude,   

    Don’t Delight in the Misfortune of Others… 

    Too much anti-social media, too much hate, is not healthy for humans and other living beings. I’m sad that a word like ‘schadenfreude’ even exists. It’s sick. Cure it with kindness…

     
  • hardie karges 12:50 pm on November 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    Silence is the Perfect Companion to Budddhist Emptiness.,, 

    Emptiness, shunyata, is one of the prime tenets of the Mahayana school of Buddhism, of course, and arguably the defining one, the one without which it would not exist. But it has always been of slippery definition itself, it born of the zero-principle, shunya, and conceived at that very same epoch of history, such that the two developments are impossible to separate…

    And the brief definition of emptiness is that it is an extension of the Buddhist concept of non-self, anatta, so that now we are postulating that not only is the self empty of substance, but so is everything empty of substance. That is not to say that it is not real, necessarily, but that it is not real in any enduring permanent way. So in that sense, nothing is real…

    And this fits in well with the modern physics conception of reality as composed of sub-microscopic particles that are better defined mathematically than physically, even chemically. So that’s the back-story and the sales pitch, but how does that make anyone’s life any better? But in fact, there is much more to it than the sublime metaphysics or the arcane math and physics…

    In fact, I propose, there are lessons for life in there. For one thing, aren’t our lives too often defined by our possessions? A philosophy of emptiness discourages that. Secondly, referring back to the title, emptiness does encourage silence, and meditation, which I not only encourage everyone to practice, but which has been proven many times over to be a safe and salient benefit to health, especially mental health…

    (And despite the fact that ‘guided meditation’ has many fans, especially in the West, who just can’t stand the silence, I suppose, I still maintain that silent meditation is the best, and in fact the only practice that I would consider true meditation. ‘Guided meditation’ should be called something else)…

    Most importantly, though, emptiness facilitates a view of self and the universe that is non-dualistic (while I readily acknowledge that any dichotomy of self and universe is itself dualistic). And this may very well be the origin of modern consciousness, i.e. linguistic consciousness. Before that there was only a non-linguistic kind, which, for all the benefits of language, may have been better in many ways…

    At the very least, it is worth returning to, on a regular basis, and hence the value of meditation. Philosophy leads everywhere at one and the same time. Do you prefer the conundrum of the One versus the Many? Or do you prefer the vastness of Infinity? Duality is an illusion. The One is Many. But only Emptiness is Infinite…

     
  • hardie karges 12:47 pm on November 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Snarky Buddha Tweets… 

    Idealism and nihilism cancel each other out. The real world is imperfect but hopeful, sometimes cruel, sometimes kind. I can see your heart, but I can’t read your mind…

     
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