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  • hardie karges 6:59 am on December 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    The Ways and (Skillful) Means of Buddhism… 

    ‘Skillful means’ is not about telling people what they want to hear. It’s telling them what they need to hear, in a way that’s acceptable to them. And if this sounds obvious, it can be more complicated than it seems. It can even contradict one of the main precepts in the Eightfold Path, in fact, if it fails to acknowledge the importance of Right Speech. One of the Buddha’s later commentators, in fact, even bragged about how the Buddha could preach about cosmic Self to the Brahmanists, while preaching non-self to the already-committed Buddhists. Fast-forward to the future and a prominent senior Buddhist monk today claims that Buddha, in fact, was never committed to a doctrine of non-self, but was undecided about it (so that we can now accept rebirth with no issue of what it is that gets reborn). But this is not ‘skillful means.’ And this is not Right Speech.

    As the New Testament of the Christian Bible is often paraphrased: “Let your yes be yes; and let your no be no.” Bingo. That Buddhism is an open doctrine is fine, and to be commended. That it sometimes gets twisted almost beyond recognition is not always so good. But that’s exactly what happened when Mahayana went in two almost opposite directions from its shunyata (emptiness) starting point, one leading to the Vajrayana of Tibet, the other leading to the Zen of Japan. And for a long time, that’s where Buddhism stood, and stalled, and those are the two extremes that made the biggest impact in the New World—until now. Because now there is a new dialectic to that interplay of magic and trance, and it should be no surprise that the only realistic synthesis would be a return to the primal roots of early Buddhism. So, Theravada now finds its best messaging in its simplest Forest Temples, and the debates in the background resume.

    Only this time it is not the background of Brahmanism and Jainism, but dozens of so-called ‘New Age’ ideas and the general air of conspiracy. But for me Secular Buddhism is the rightful heir to the debate with religiosity, something which original Buddhism had not the luxury, because Science as we know it did not exist. But Reason and rationality did, embedded in the nature of cause and effect, the words for which define ‘reason’ in more than one Asian language. And that’s how Buddhism won the original debate, for me, at least, because it was the rational option. And it still can be, if it can find its peace with Science, because that is the air we breathe in this day and age, logic and testing. We only need a belief system to make sense of it all. If not, then ‘belief’ becomes a bad word, synonymous with ‘faith,’ and we are left to our own devices to find succor and solace. I find no contradiction between my Buddhism and the best science we know. If forced to choose, then I will refuse, and let the chips fall where they may.

     
  • hardie karges 10:35 am on May 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief, , , , , , , , juju, , , woo-woo,   

    Got religion? Juju or woo-woo: take your pick… 

    IMG_0829Beyond all the fibs and fantasies, behind all the lies we tell ourselves, is the l-DNA we create for ourselves in language, a trail to our past and an arrow to our future, and pretty much the only thing we had before y-DNA and mt-DNA, revealed now to be something like a parallel universe to those more precise measurements, yet far more analogous to the largely hypothetical cultural tracks and traces, like c-DNA, full of long lonely nights and broken promises, frightened misgivings and belated thanksgivings…

    But the first thing we did in every case, and probably even before language, was to speculate on the nature of things, and try to create some meaning for it all, maybe even best articulated in fear, that which we fear being that which we worship, synonymous anonymous, or even better in groups to amplify the effect exponential… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:45 am on May 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , belief, , , , , , , , , system, Triple Gem   

    Update on the Buddhist Update: Hard work… 

    img_1935

    Now the last thing I expected when I ‘finally got serious about Buddhism’ a few years ago was that there were people still decidedly attached to the three-in-one concept of rebirth-past lives-retributive karma, to the extent that without it Buddhism was simply not functional, and would never survive. Others of us, on the other hand, think that WITH it it’s simply not functional and will never survive…

    But Buddhism is just like any other religion derived from the remote past, bedraggled with the baggage of preceding generations, and left to fend for itself against the challenges of the future. So many self-described atheists would simply prefer to call the whole thing off, while at the same time affirming their own belief systems—whether secular humanism, democracy, socialism, but mostly materialism—without seeing the slightest bit of irony, even if they prefer to ignore the logical inconsistencies… (More …)

     
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