Tagged: Buddha Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 11:48 am on July 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddha, , , , Koran, ,   

    Rapping on Rebirth and Reincarnation, in the Failed State of a Rental Car Nation… 

    The best rebirth is the one that occurs every day. That’s the one that comes right after the Koranic ‘little death’ that occurs each night, and right before the large plate of bangers, beans, and mash with which we submit to break our fast…

    And that little baptism indeed feels better than mere goodliness, a splash in the face, and a new start to the race, and no shame short of crying that we have to go and spoil it all by a mad dash to some sh*t-stained place of work, four corners and a stool from which to count more beans and pretend that this is what drives our evolution…

    Language loses all logic in transmission and translation, so what we strive for becomes strife, and the passion we suffer becomes the passion we love, and we fool ourselves into thinking that it’s all from above, when in reality we struggle to make sense of the simplest things—life, love and the happiness of pursuit, in the face of disease, pestilence, and a plenitude of nemeses…

    So let’s call it the ‘little rebirth’ so as not to confuse it with the big ‘R’ of karmic retribution, and reincarnation, jumping generations and landing on layered platforms, slathered thick with that special sauce of multiple feedback loops, such that we can never escape the prison of consciousness, creating enough past lives to fill volumes of pre-history, such that bad karma apparently extends before the birth of the human race, by conservative estimate…

    But can we be blamed for something that predates the birth of consciousness and so intent, by extension? I hope not, since intent is the basis of all guilty verdicts, and if there is no veridiction to the sentences that we are dealt, then it’s probably better to simply say nothing at all…

    The Buddha’s 100,000 lives, more or less, would extend back at least three million years, more or less, probably more if indeed good lives those of his certainly would be, so probably better to simply write it off as metaphor, and get on with our own lives…

    For we waste time in counting, and more precious time in the combat of exposition, stipulating silly syllogisms for the sake of argument, when the only recourse to recognition is through those labyrinthine passageways of the heart…

    Logic falls flat. Reason lies bleeding. Slide rules are antiquated and calculators require batteries, not always included. There is no path forward when the pathway is circular, and no convenient exit when the doors are all closed. Dharma requires no dogma. Dialog requires no debate…

     
  • hardie karges 12:07 pm on June 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddha, 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 11:33 am on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ahmaud Arbery, , , Buddha, , Homer, Iliad, ,   

    Karma, Buddhism, Newton, Homer, and Ahmaud… 

    Law of Karma (action) = Newton’s Third Law of Motion: Every action is followed by an equal but opposite reaction, which is pretty easy to understand, and even if it can’t foresee the further ramifications of quantum theory, it still applies in most cases.

    But the religionists couldn’t leave well enough alone, so rather than being content to foresee what Newton would take credit for some 2500 years in the future, they had to go and ‘religio-fy’ it with fear and loathing and generation-jumping superpowers such that a theory of mind that foresaw a theory of physics ends up not even with some valid psychology, but instead a religion of vengeance.

    For many people in this round-ish world of almost 8B truly believe that if they do something wrong, as defined by tradition, then they will be hunted down and threatened with retribution like Ahmaud Arbery in Redneck County, Georgia, and forced to either submit to summary non-justice on suburban streets or fight for their lives like a fox in the hunt.

    But Karma doesn’t usually take such an active role, truth be told, and generally comes only into play as retrofit logic, i.e. if your life has difficulties, then it must be from something you did several generations back, passive voice past subjunctive, and then you just keep filling holes trying to back-fill the logic, rather than take a more active role in trying to subdue your oppressors and thereby prevent further abuses to improve your life.

    Because if a young girl is raped, then she is certainly not the cause, in this life or previous, but the victim, though I have heard a Buddhist monk accuse her exactly of that. But this is a perversion of Buddhism, a dive into superstitions and perverted logic, all for the sake of laziness and fear, to deal with a situation almost too difficult to bear. But bear it we must, if our lives are to have meaning, and the world is to serve our purposes rather than we serve its.

    As always I choose the middle path. My potential Asian Buddhist PhD professor insists that I use passive voice almost exclusively while my potential American literary agent insists that I never do that. But is it not the same language and is it not the same life in the same world? It is, and the call to action—or not—resides within the halls of this hollowed if not hallowed brain, defined equally by emptiness and thing-ness.

    Because Homer proved this point also 2500 years ago with his Iliad in which the protagonists and the antagonists resided only a short 300km/200mi apart, but divided by the Aegean Sea and 1000 years, since they both left the Aryan steppes in search of greener pastures and more fertile valleys, but by different routes, such that this minor sea defines the major gulf that separates Indo from Euro in each of our bicameral minds.

    So House fights Senate and Dems fight Repugs, but really we are all fighting ourselves inside, if not outside, as our random tendencies fight for supremacy, and good struggles against evil. But this is no time for fighting, as worlds lie dying and hospitals are full to overflowing. Now would be a good time to practice some kindness and compassion, and that is the true meaning of Buddhism…

     
  • hardie karges 12:03 pm on April 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddha, Christ, cross, crucifixion, , ,   

    The Passion of Buddha, without Cross or Crucifixion… 

    The word ‘passion’ originally meant ‘suffering’, as all Christians know from the ‘passion of Christ’ as he carried his crushing cross, through city streets, over hill and dale, only to be prodded with prejudice if he ever stumbled or faltered in the march to his death, so hardly a date of determination, but more like a date with destiny. So this is a far cry, literally, from the connotations of the word today, which reek of romance and resonate of reconciliation, between the lover and his beloved, if not necessarily the artist and his creation. And this is the connection between the modern and ancient meanings, for we all know of the artist ‘who suffers for his art’ if we know any artists at all, for in this sublime effort the love and the suffering truly become one with each other, regardless of the outcome, regardless of the tape’s tale, or the yardstick’s measure, or the ruler’s final judgment. And these subtle changes in definition, the limitations and exaltations which words place upon words, speak volumes for the masses gathered for Sunday proclamations, Luthers and Lotharios both left in the lurch at the church, and uninspired by last confessions. Because those subtle but persistent shifts in verbal definition send shock waves and random repercussions through the centuries of silence between outbreaks of truth and necessity, such that sometimes only chaos and confusion result from original best intentions, regardless of the incremental diminution of disbelief. But the real reconciliation between passionate love and suffering comes in the fruit of their union, i.e. compassion, suffering together, for the benefit of all, and the mitigation of excess, in hopes of a better day, a better way, a better outlook for our grief, and a better outlet for our creativity. And this is what concerns us as Buddhists. For words once spoken cannot be taken back. And hearts twice broken will never again be taken aback. We can only mitigate the effects, and bandage the wounds with kindness…

     
  • hardie karges 12:11 pm on March 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddha, , , , ,   

    More on Meditation and Language, and the Prison of our Own Minds… 

    Meditation is the best medicine; twice a day keeps the doctor away. And I think that is accurate, even though the causes and effects may be debated endlessly, at least partly owing to differences in definition to begin with. Is it ‘concentration’, probably the most common translation of the Sanskrit word that is usually transcribed into the Roman alphabet as ‘samadhi’ (give or take a few palatal and labial signs for consonants, and long and short vowels for the adepts)? And then there are other Sanskrit-based words, such as ‘dhyana’, maybe implying something closer to ‘trance’ than ‘concentration’, not to mention ‘bhavana’, referring to something like ‘development’, or ‘patipatti’, the ‘practice’, of whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. And that is the precisely the question, is it not, of just exactly what it is we’re supposed to be doing, as we sit cross-legged on the floor, as so brilliantly evoked in the band Chicago’s classic ’25 or 6 to 4′ (please don’t ask me what that means)? Well, I think the Buddha and others pretty much had it figured out way back when, but when the Americans and New Agers got hold of it, now all of a sudden you need an ‘app’ and you need someone’s soothing words to guide you through the beauty of it all, and pseudo/sorta/secular Buddhists explain that skateboarding is just another form of meditation, when what you really need to do is just sit down and STFU, in my humble opinion. Because language is the problem, not the solution, in this case, that quantum leap of linguistic consciousness 50,000 years ago that doomed the Neanderthals and Denisovans and a couple other smaller homos to oblivion now embedded in our minds as the preferred method of thinking, rational and syllogistic, such that other forms of thinking, visual or intuitive, are relegated to second-class status. And while this may be perfect for the strategic advantage necessary for the conquest and ultimate extinction of those pesky other hominids, it wraps us individually in feedback loops of language, and may ultimately be the inspiration for that kind of karma that we can never really shake. To ‘stop the internal dialogue’ was the lasting gist for me of Castaneda’s tales of Yanqui (:-) power as well as the goal of more than one neurologist measuring the motions of mind on an MRI scan. Because this is what meditation can do for you, if only for a moment, if only for an hour. It can allow the mind, whatever that is, to function without language, i.e. paleo-consciousness, pre-verbal, non-consonantal. It certainly beats argument. And if that makes me a cheater, dodging a fight rather than ‘standing my ground’, then so be it. Most fights have no winners, only losers. Because people say mean nasty ugly words sometimes, and seem to enjoy it, for some reason. I don’t know why, but at least now I know how to shut it off, and shut it out…

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

    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 10:06 am on February 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddha, , , , , over-population,   

    How Buddhism Can Save the World… 

    I think the human species is worth saving; so call me old-fashioned. But that’s the deal in this day and age, whether your predilection is politics or religion, or New Age philosophy. Because the clock is ticking, and everyone knows it, even if they prefer to keep it hidden, out of consideration for their wide-screen TV, or their breakfast nook, or their three-car garage, complete with convertible and pickup truck and maybe a Harley or two for good measure on weekends. But the elephant in this room is not rebirth, but birth itself, and an ever-crowded planet, likely ten billion within my lifetime, depending more on my life than the planet’s, because the growth bug is in the predetermined fix, ever since China relaxed its prohibitions, and now Sichuan streets look almost like the Catholic Philippines, with every eligible matron followed by a gaggle of little goslings, each one precious in and of itself, but more like a murder of crows when multiplied exponentially across the breadth of the vast Chinese underbelly, bulging wide over the South Chinese Sea, and ready to give birth somewhere in the lower archipelago. But this is the paradigm we created for ourselves, more more bigger bigger, torpedoes be damned and rivers be dammed, as if resources were unlimited and hope springs eternal in the human breast, with infinite milk and unlimited succor. And that is a matter of faith, for many Christians, especially, full of the fruits of capitalism and ersatz freedom, i.e. freedom to screw up and much much more, full of religion and science and peace and war, that our big juicy smiles are based on more than economic inequality, first come first served, but on inviolable principles of the invisible hand, dollar in the hand is always worth at least ten in the bush, as long as the day of reckoning never comes and past loans can always be repaid with future ones. But guess what? The day of reckoning will come, when confidence crumbles and somebody smells a rat in the recipe, and that’s when doors start closing in succession, like Agent 86 remembering that he almost forgot something, but the doors are already closing, so it’s too late to go back before the show ends unceremoniously as doors slam in our faces. But that’s Christianity for you, full of big-a$$ smiles and frequent flyer miles, when the reality is that our dimension of existence is defined by profound limits, such that we are doomed to die, no matter how hard we try, and the only challenge is to realize that is cool, and this is school, and we are so much the wiser for our study of it. And this is implicit in Buddhism, if not explicit, and thus a social paradigm as much as a philosophical or psychological one, for me at least, and that is all I know: do the right thing, don’t be a jerk, and don’t place yourself above all others. Outcomes are more important than incomes…

     
    • Robert@69 11:06 pm on February 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Nice rap. Lyrical and rhythmic good pacing and rhyming, it all hung together and made sense and one could almost hear a Darrell Scott guitar in the background and maybe a Van Morrison harmonica. I enjoyed it. Thanks

    • hardie karges 11:34 pm on February 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you!

  • hardie karges 10:51 am on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddha, , , , silence   

    Buddhism and the Power of Silence… 

    Many of the world’s problems might vanish if certain people could only learn the power of silence, blessed emptiness. And by silence, of course, I mean self-silence, to the extent that ‘self’ refers to something largely indefinable, but we all know what to do with it, and in this case, as in many cases, the thing to do is simply STFU. Because we are indoctrinated in the arts of debate from childhood here in the Europe-descended West, and so imagine that this is the natural way to be, chomping at the bit, and foaming at the mouth, all for a chance to assert our rights to pre-eminence, and if we’re lucky, maybe even monopolize the deep end of the gene pool. But to pretend that this is normal is where the hubris and the ultimate fraud come to play, simply because violence and arrogance are choices, just as is silence, and ultimately rewarded by behavior, of others, in that everyone has a right to decide whether the behavior they witness is conducive to their cooperation, or not, and so the ultimate submission to power, or not. But the only way to ‘speak truth to power’ is to have other options than reliance upon that source of power for any perceived benefits, whether real or simply imagined, and ultimately the spread of genes, which will heavily determine whether this behavior is repeated indefinitely and infinitely into the distant future, or not. And this is where evolutionary psychology kicks in, because these patterns become ingrained across the generations, and will continue to haunt us far beyond the present circumstances of power’s abuse, whenever and wherever it perceives there to be a vacuum, and thus an opportunity. For ‘Type-A’ male behavior may exist across the range of species, but only humans, and chimpanzees, actually go to war over it. For all others it’s simply the gratification of the urge to merge, and the will for thrill, as the also-rans look on in envy. Human consciousness is capable of changing all that, though, the self-correcting addendum to the will to warfare, an instinct for survival, and the ability to see futures where no clear paths yet exist. And that is the path of silence, now that we have run amok for so many years now, stuffing ourselves on so many unearned rewards, far beyond what is necessary to survive and reproduce. So we over-produced, and now it comes back to haunt us, when the main causes of death are obesity and suicide. We need to relearn how to simply survive. Buddha to his credit discovered this some 2500 years ago, from the twilight’s first gleamings, as the age of cities took hold, and the potential for disaster became obvious. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is another way, the path of non-aggression, and non-cooperation with tyrants. Our silence is our ultimate act of freedom. Whether Homo Sapiens will be a successful species is uncertain still, yet anybody’s guess, and everybody’s choice…

     
    • Tim 3:29 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      It is the 70th anniversary of George Orwell … there is some interesting discussions on the disillusionment he had in his engagement with the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. The obsession with not only leftist doctrine but ‘my leftist doctrine’ saw multiple fault lines run through the opposition to the rise of fascism. I find myself withdrawing from political activism for the same reasons … finding my radical voice lost in so many contemporary provisos and caveats … but is silence the answer? But I think that you do not refer to this sort of silence? Perhaps the silence is a listening silence … one that tries to understand, through listening intently, from whence the provisos and caveats emerge … and why.

      • hardie karges 5:02 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Yes it’s a bit of a conundrum, how to maintain a noble silence when the world is clamoring for details and opinions, especially when one’s own well-being is being threatened in the process, whether real or imagined. So there is no absolute mandate for it, but I do believe that it is best in many situations, not least of all meditation…

  • hardie karges 11:42 am on January 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: arrogance, Buddha, , , , Paradise, paradox,   

    Paradox in Paradise, the Buddha’s Suffering as Our Own… 

    Life is sometimes too easy. Without struggle there is no need for kindness. Thus we confront a Buddhist paradox, every day, in a world at least partly defined by its suffering, and the need to mitigate that suffering, so that we can survive, without falling into the trap of false flattery and the lure of luxury. Because if the suffering is a matter of opinion and the appropriate means of measure, the imperfection is rife. There may be a perfect world somewhere, of which this is but a poor manifestation, admittedly, but not this reflected world itself, which at times resembles a cheap carnival sideshow. But this is the only world that we truly experience on an ordinary day, so this is the hand we play. And that is okay. If this material world is all we ever know, then so be it. And let the imperfections speak for themselves. Because every imperfection is an opportunity for improvement, in life as in genetics, in which natural mutations provide the raw material for evolution. So if nothing ever changes, then there’s no chance for it to get better, and perfection is just hubris, the arrogance of species, this human species, full of itself and full of its self-importance, which is only partially justified. The human species IS important, but not always for the reasons that we think. It is not important because it is ABOVE the rest of the animal kingdom. It is important, because it is OF the rest of the animal kingdom, in an unbroken chain of Becoming, of which we humans are probably on top, that is true, but which is no reason for celebration, and certainly no reason for arrogance, for we were once only poor struggling mammals, looking for strength and succor. Thus the flip-side of freedom is always responsibility, and that is our lot in life. Always treat people better than they treat you, and the world becomes a nicer place…

     
  • hardie karges 7:06 am on December 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddha, ,   

    The Bodhisattva and the Butterfly: Living in the Material World… 

    The frst rule of life in the material world is that you have to actually be somewhere, in a place, almost all the time, which seems self-evident, I suppose, but sometimes problematic, all the same. I mean: you can’t just scan your own personal barcode on to some digital format and send yourself off to the cloud somewhere. In fact, I suppose this defines the conundrum of existence, where to be and what to do, and how to do it, and with whom. For this is, on the micro individual level, what has been described on a macro social level, as the ‘tyranny of democracy’, so on the individual level something like the ‘horror of free will’, i.e. decisions decisions. So the most obvious thing to do is find your true love, get hitched, and then start making babies, simple–or not so simple. Because what happens when your true love goes south, or those beautiful babies start foaming at the mouth, or the planet gets so full of little poopers that the poop piles up, and the rivers won’t flow no mo’ and the sun won’t shine, and even if it did, it would no longer find any field of flowers to illuminate? So we are the first species to ask these questions, few of which have concrete answers, so we try to console ourselves that the fact of asking will somehow be some compensation, despite all evidence to the contrary, filed in reams of papers and stacks of floppy disks which no longer work and only take up space, while we wait for the next newest technology to come and save us in the nick of time before the door shuts in our faces and the bells no longer chime. But it seems the kid was just having some late teen depression, so normal enough considering the urge to merge and the need to breed. Will there still be meaning to life when population pressures dictate that we need to find other hobbies besides reproduction? These are the challenges we face for the future, if there is to be a future, full of furniture and breakfast nooks and a 2-car garage, regardless of whether anything is parked there or not. So we have to invent reasons for the season, and myths for our bliss, and content ourselves with intransitive verbs, even when we all crave something to truly transit, preferably glory, in mind if not body. I will be at peace when this world is at peace, and if that’s not so much of a concern of Theravada Buddhism, then I’ll forgive them for that, because it’s right in line with Mahayana, the big machine, so that seems right for this era of history, Theravada at home and Mahayana out in the world, C U there…

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel