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  • hardie karges 10:25 am on July 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brahmanists, Brahmin, , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism is a World of Feeling, Thoughts Optional 

    Be kind to humans and other sentient beings, even when they are obnoxious, egotistic, pompous, and overbearing. And this is a tough row to hoe in the age of social media, I know, but that makes it even more important, doesn’t it? I think so. Because the pressure in this social media age for anyone who wants to be an ‘influencer,’ is to crack wise first, and smooth hard feelings later, if ever. But that’s not the correct order of things, I don’t think, not these days or ever.

    Because we are all ‘influencers,’ to some extent or other, but if we’re all sticking our egos in everyone’s faces all the time, then who is left to bear witness? So, we all have a stake in this game, regardless of whether we’re professional or not, because those lines are becoming blurred—at best. This is nothing if not a world of feeling, and I think that’s how Buddhism best makes sense. Because there was no world of reason back then, much less science, even if the Buddha was aware of the power of reason and tried to incorporate it into his practice.

    But reason at its best requires inscrutable logic, and the Indian tetralemma, in Greek, or catuhskoti, in Sanskrit, was far from perfect, and violated the Law of the Excluded Middle of Aristotelian logic, more familiar to our Western thought. But the Indian choices of ‘This,’ ‘That,’ ‘All of the above’ or ‘None of the above’ might ironically have led to the Buddha’s famous Middle Path, which Greek logic only approached with a roundabout dialectical synthesis that came much later.

    There’s more to life than logic, though, of course, and a close examination shows a classical Indian world-view heavily based on feeling and introspection, the deeper the better for the really big questions. That’s the world that the Buddha was raised in, and that was his method by trade, as prophet to the ages. When in doubt, think it out. Though many modern non-dualists may deny that the Buddha ever really intended anything, much less own his thoughts, I think it’s safe to say that he certainly did.

    If the Buddha’s thoughts had had no thinker, then I doubt we’d have Four Noble Truths and twice that number of folds and twists to our middle path of salvation, as defined by the cessation of suffering, at least partially, if never quite total. In every case, too, it’s a world of feeling and perception that is described, defined by name and form, and articulated by consciousness. The Brahmins and Brahmanists saw a world of Cosmic self in union with Brahma. The Buddha begged to differ. That’s the world he lived in, and that’s the world that he bequeathed to us.

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  • hardie karges 9:39 am on October 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brahmin, Buddhadasa, , , , ,   

    Buddhist Rebirth and the Oranges of Geronimo Bosch 

    Yes, we should keep an open mind about rebirth. We should also keep an open mind about no rebirth. Because the diehards are doubling down, in direct proportion to what they fear they have to lose, I suppose: certainty, predetermination, magic, or maybe even their jobs? But mostly, I think, they are worried about losing their religion, because religion is about nothing if not certainty, and without rebirth, Buddhism might be seen as lacking that, and so nothing more than a philosophy. But philosophy doesn’t pay the bills, and religion does, because that’s where you turn when times are hard, to magic and superstition, not existentialism or logical positivism.

    And let’s be clear that we’re not talking about ‘spiritual rebirth’ or being ‘born again’ in the Christian sense. Because, though the definition is deliberately fuzzy (how could it not be?), its resemblance to brother Hinduism’s reincarnation is hard to explain away. And in a sense it can serve as a stand-in for Christianity’s eternal life, even though the one is supposed to be a blessing and the other a curse. Often, I suppose that the curse you know is far preferable to the great unknown that is death.

    The religious quest that is certainty is often preferable to the scientific truth, which is tentative, by definition. And so, a big idea that was popular at the time, reincarnation and/or rebirth, was accepted by the Buddha, sorta kinda almost maybe, because it promised better results than the alternative. But it is now an obstacle for the evolving dharma which is Buddhism, and which is teetering on the side of dogma, if the ‘rebirthers’ get their way. And so far, up until now, they do get their way, as almost every time the Pali/Sanskrit word ‘jati’ is used, the correct translation as ‘birth’ is now retranslated as ‘rebirth.’ But there is a different word for that.

    Entire concepts, indeed, such as Dependent Origination, are remade in the image of rebirth. Ironically the monks who you’d think would be most resistant to this, the Westerners, are often in fact the ones doubling down. I spent a few months in a Thai forest temple, and we never talked about rebirth. Many Western monks talk about nothing else. One prominent Western monk has even declared that non-self ‘anatta’ was always tentative, so that there can be no issue over what gets reborn.

    In the Thai tradition, ‘making merit’ is a big deal and past lives are jokingly referred to, but the karma involved is little more than the Golden Rule, not the generation-jumping karma of retribution that characterizes the rebirth-heavy Tibetan tradition. And the revered Thai monk Buddhadasa specifically denied rebirth, while Ajahn Chah dodged the issue. Of course, my pet theory is that it’s all a ruse designed to ensure the dominance of the Brahmin caste in India over their lessers, but I can’t prove that—yet. Can it be proved that Christian eternal life is a pretext for capitalism? Probably not. This is the garden of earthly delights–enjoy, a little bit…

     
  • hardie karges 12:48 pm on February 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brahmin, , , , , , genomics, , , ,   

    Buddhism East and West: It’s All in Your Mind (hint hint)… 

    The meeting of east and west occurs in my mind every day, on a good day, and that’s the way it should be, a smorgasbord of delights and selections, delicacies and confections, on display for the life choices that I relish as a symbol of my free will, which is only partial, of course, but still significant, because without it, we are just slaves on the plantation, where all the food goes elsewhere, and the dignity mostly goes lacking. And this is now proven, more or less, that the paradigms of East and West have little to do with East and West, really, which are not so different, after all, in terms of longitude and latitude, landscape or race, but almost total opposites conceptually, amid the hardening of positions and platitudes, and after the passing of time and space, so much so that they could almost seem like each others’ own devil’s advocates, merely taking a position for the sake of argument, as if that might be the only way that thought can progress beyond its proto-consciousness of silent awareness, itself blessed and sublime, but maybe a bit too boring for the troubled teenager with places to go and things to do, and who must be accommodated at least somewhat for the sake of the species and all the future repercussions to be encountered. So we stake out positions for the sake of the view, just to see what happens, in this bold experiment of biological life, in which consciousness becomes a dialogue and dialectic, rather than a far more simple acceptance of things as they merely are. So genetic science now proves it, that not only are the Brahmins of India and the Christians of the West intimately related, but that in fact we are all related as humans, not just by common analogy and metaphor, but literally, by DNA, both maternal and paternal, as the lines get crossed and history moves forward, on knees both bent and bandied, starving for succor and begging for forgiveness. And this is where religion comes in, because this is the challenge of all religion, all philosophy, all psychology, all sustained thought that trickles down to individual human consciousness or bubbles up from the same, which is to sustain us with words both momentous and motivational, both trivial and triumphant, now that language has captured consciousness and no return is possible. Because religions aren’t all about truth, except of the kind that can be agreed to upon faith of conviction and threat of excommunication, so nothing to do with the trials of empiricism and the results of experimentation. Religion is all about feeling good, in this life and this world, even if the means for that is the promise of a better world, or the promise of release. Either choice can bring the desired results, in brief: Don’t be angry at the past. Be hopeful for the future (and don’t forget to find some peace in the present)…

     
  • hardie karges 7:05 am on March 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brahmin, caste system, , , , , molecular biology, , , ,   

    Buddhism, Rebirth and DNA… 

    img_1773The year 1953 should have been a big one for Buddhism. Something to do with Tibet, you’re probably thinking? No, something to do with the discovery of DNA, I’m thinking, because that meant that we Buddhists would no longer have to twist ourselves into human pretzels and insert our heads halfway up our… meditation postures…

    …just to Ptolemy-like add another feedback loop of ellipses and eclipses to somehow justify and make sense of rebirth, reincarnation in sheep’s clothing, rather than just toss the whole thing out as an outdated vestige of a previous era, in which learning was nascent and science non-existent… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:54 am on November 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brahmin, , , , , , Germanic, , Harappa, Indus Valley Civilization, , , Mohenjo-Daro, , , ,   

    Did Russians Hack Buddhism in the 5th Century BCE? Here’s the deal… 

    IMG_1559NO, this is not click-bait; this is Buddhism, and I’m dead serious. OKAY, so maybe they weren’t Russians exactly, and MAYBE I have a lively imagination, and am an excitable boy from way back, AND you can’t just talk casually about the ‘Aryan invasion’ of India way back when, ever since Hitler crapped on us all with his inimitable armies, half-empty promises and his half-baked theories, BUT there is an element of truth to his Aryan (c)rap…

    Hitler just never did his homework really, all bark and no wood, jumping to conclusions and tilting at windmills, and absolutely no desire to make amends with his lessers of men. But now we have genomic research, which lends a strong measure of empirical (not imperial) truth to what used to be wild speculation, whether it be eye-witness testimony clouded by memory, or no-witness history clouded by time…  (More …)

     
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