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  • hardie karges 12:07 pm on June 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anicca, , change, , , , , sankhara   

    Buddhist Impermanence and Greek Change, flip sides of the same coin… 

    Change doesn’t have to be a cause of suffering. It can also be a cause of liberation, if it’s compassionate, kind and helpful. And if that deviates from the standard Buddhist line of progression, then I’m sorry, but I think it holds true, at least for the modern day, with our modern ways. I personally haven’t shed too many tears over coming changes in a long time, but maybe that’s just a part of growing up, not sure, so maybe I better re-listen to Bruce Springsteen, since he sometimes gets it right, even if the Buddha didn’t. Now I embrace change, but true, it’s certainly better if it’s a change I initiate, so maybe that is the crucial line of distinction.

    So when the Buddha is quoted as saying ‘sabbe sankhara anicca,’ i.e. all things are impermanent, the implication is that that is bad, but maybe that is a faulty conclusion. It is one of the three Buddhist marks of existence, after all, along with suffering and no-self, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate ‘badness’, so maybe it’s just a fact for your perusal, echoing Heraclitus some 3000mi/5000km away (as the crow flies) in Greece right about the same. Coincidence? Ask that crow; only he knows for sure, and he might be fibbing. The fact that both likely had ancestors from the same ‘hood up north 2000 years before is likely irrelevant at this point, so I won’t mention it.

    Bottom line: everything changes but change itself, and if that scares you to death as a child about to move to a new town, or a young adult about to experience Love’s first great letdown, then rest assured: not only does this get easier, but you might even learn to like it, and seek it out, the other, if not another, geographical changes generally considered more socially acceptable than personnel changes, especially after a certain ‘use-by’ date, after which the changes become functionally impractical, and old dogs find it hard to learn new tricks.

    But learn they can, if the will is there, and who knows what ‘sankhara’ means anyway? (It does NOT mean ‘karma’ as modern ‘re-birthers’ like to suggest) I say ‘things’ as shorthand for ‘I don’t know,’ but the devil may indeed lie in the details, if ‘formations’ implies that it is my own fault if they change against my wishes, since I set myself up for that fall in advance. Because he never said that everything changes, but that all ‘formations’ are impermanent, and that is not necessarily the same thing, if ‘formations’ can exist or not exist without necessarily undergoing any intermediate state from one existence to another.

    But our lives necessarily proceed from one point to the next as if we had moved from one point to the next, not simply ceased to exist at one point and re-emerged at another. And so we measure our lives in time. And we mark our journeys in space. And we formulate emotions in reaction to it all. And we develop theories to explain it. So don’t become discouraged if the journey is long. All paths eventually lead home…

     
  • hardie karges 11:56 am on March 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anicca, , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism and the Certainty of Uncertainty… 

    The satisfaction of certainty is a precious commodity, but that’s the price of religion, because it’s all about the bottom line—absolute conviction in an uncertain world, something you can rely upon, something you can build your life on, and build your home, and build your family and build your dreams. And there’s the rub of reality, because you’re going against the empirical facts, from the very get-go, facts which indicate that the truest certainty is uncertainty itself, as evidenced by Heraclitus in Greece way back when, and the Buddha in India at more or less the same time, they separated by a few thousand miles, and even more kilometers, but only a thousand years or so from a common source on the high plains above the Caucasus, just waiting for a shot at the big-time in the big tent, where the people will line up to see and hear the latest news from the mouths of wise men and philosophers, they mental visionaries creating problems that only they can solve, by the machinations of language, in a mental landscape now dependent upon such. Now what a pre-linguistic world was truly like can only be surmised, but it surely did exist, as surely as the computers we all worship once begged for language to give themselves a meaning which now is almost superior to our own, as if by magic in a pre-determined world of prescribed actions. But the difference between the Greeks and the Indians was that even then Heraclitus embraced the change (after much debate by various and sundry philosophers), while the Buddha and his followers saw it as the foundational principle of anicca, impermanence, one of the three intrinsic causes of dukkha, suffering. So certainty itself was and is a conundrum, something once articulated as if to vex us, and now hex us, bedevil us with its dual nature, both terrible and terrific, enough to send us into spasms of indecision and indecisiveness. But the die was cast even then, that east was east and west was west, no matter that we all come from the same place and the same fathers, that that somewhere was all in our minds and that many wars would have to be fought in order to reach a conclusion, or not. Because the resolution was already there in the same place as the conflict—in mind, in thought, in consciousness, now language-based, for better or worse, because there is no returning to the source of mind, proto-consciousness, or paleo-consciousness, except in meditation. Fortunately there ae some things which we can almost all agree on, besides uncertainty and impermanence: kindness, compassion, and the universal brotherhood of human beings. Thus the problem which begins in mind can be solved in mind, and so wars are useless. There are no winners in war, only losers…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:12 pm on March 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      This struck a chord, particularly – “now language-based, for better or worse, because there is no returning to the source of mind, proto-consciousness, or paleo-consciousness, except in meditation” – suggests a role for literary art in expanding consciousness, if evolution is now cultural …

    • hardie karges 6:51 pm on March 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I definitely think there is a huge role for language, only fitting since that is much of the problem, that once we create language, that we are now prisoners to it in thought. But if language could achieve artistically what painting has done, for example, then that would be a whole new ballgame…

  • hardie karges 4:40 pm on August 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anicca, , changes, , , ,   

    Buddhism, Genetics and the Book of Ch-ch-ch-changes… 

    Meditation is the best medicine. Laughter is the best lozenge. Peace is the best pill. Imbibe at will. Chemical solutions are faulty; of that there is no doubt. And any material acquisitions can not be embedded genetically, for this generation or any future one, for oneself or any other, whether any sort of rebirth may magically exist or not. Environment may very well affect genetics, and genetics may very well affect environment, but that still doesn’t imply Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characteristics. Genetics is hard-wired, but that, too, is changeable, and often. Culture is fleeting, and that is nothing but change, environment, fashion, embedded in language and cast to the winds of history, for better or worse, a message in a bottle. Sabbe dhamma anicca = all phenomena are changing, right before our eyes, no matter whether truth or lies, because such distinctions don’t exist, only appearances. Genetics and language play FTSE with nature, as if it were something external, eternal and everlasting. But some things can stand the test of time, trials and tribulations, and a thousand other clichés specifically adopted as a shortcut to feeling, which language can only approximate, culture can only insinuate, and genetics can only suckle. Because true friendship, metta, is a rare and sacred thlng: beyond all the jokes, afta the lafta…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 2:50 pm on August 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I like the poetic turn your writing takes here – wondered if you’d thought about adopting poetic form. I was also interested in this:-

      Environment may very well affect genetics, and genetics may very well affect environment, but that still doesn’t imply Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characteristics. Genetics is hard-wired, but that, too, is changeable, and often. Culture is fleeting …

      Nevertheless, we haven’t evolved physically for a very long time, haven’t needed to, because culture clothes and dresses us. Perhaps evolution is cultural now. In which case, one could still say … whoops!

    • hardie karges 3:39 pm on August 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Genetics has exploded the last five years, check out haplogroups if you haven’t yet, especially y-DNA, currently re-writing prehistory. But most of our evolution these days is cultural; that’s true.

      By poetic form, you mean line breaks? Actually that has occurred to me also, so even laid this one out that way first, looked at it, then said ‘naah’. But I might do it next time, thanx to your input, definitely my current mode, good catharsis ( I think that’s the word I want, not sure) to my current MA thesis, which is straight essay, so need a break from it once a week or so. Thanx for your comments, always a pleasure…

  • hardie karges 7:24 am on September 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anicca, , , , ,   

    ME 6103: So You Wanna’ Be a Buddhist? Eat this… 

    IMG_1184

    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    So you’ve just finished “Buddhism for Dummies” and think that you might want to take the big plunge, into Buddhism, that is, and now you’re wondering what to do next? Well, I’ve got good news and bad news: there is no Big Plunge, not really, so you can just start calling yourself a Buddhist when ever and wherever you want, limited only by time and circumstance…

    And if you need more than that, then you can go to a Buddhist meditation retreat for a more intense introduction, BUT: unless it’s coordinated with a Buddhist temple, then it’s probably not really Buddhist. Most American meditation events are yoga-affiliated, and while that’s fine, and highly recommended—it ain’t Buddhism. Yoga is a Hindu discipline. Meditation is both, Hindu and Buddhist, too, plus the almost-forgotten-by-now Jains, and others… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:01 am on August 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , anicca, , , , , , , paradigm   

    Buddhism 101: Going with the flow… 

    img_1935There are two kinds of people in this world. How many times have you heard that? That the world can be divided between optimist or pessimists. LA people or San Fran people. Cubs fan or a White Sox fan, chick-flicks or action movies, Beatles or the Stones (yawn), or maybe even white meat or dark (we’re talking about chicken, unless you’re new to Thailand and the locals are looking for you a GF)…

    But I’m thinking of something more substantial, that goes to the heart of personality, or lack thereof, that determines an individual’s entire approach to the world around him (or her) and underlies all human interaction, it seems to me. And that is whether an individual interacts with the environment, giving and taking, advancing and retreating, responding to changes proportionately, or whether the individual’s approach is to dominate the environment, and Nature, by acts of will and brute force, where necessary…

    I certainly have a distinct preference for the former alternative, and its kinship to Buddhism, while the latter alternative would seem to be more the typical American beat-em-up approach, ‘forcing Nature to reveal her secrets’ and harvesting the bounty therein with little thought to the future… (More …)

     
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