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  • hardie karges 9:09 am on September 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carlos Castaneda, consciousness, , , Gardenm of Eden, , , ,   

    Buddhism: The Limits of Language and the Benefits of Meditation 

    The wisest person has the mind of a child, always open, always learning, with no preconceptions, and higher advanced concepts optional. It almost seems like we spend the first half of our lives cluttering up our minds with useless nonsense, and then spend the second half of our lives trying to undo all that. Ha! But language is like that, isn’t it? Once we invented it, then we made it part of our central conscious operating system, as if nothing could be more natural. Could it have been any other way? Was the invention of language merely an accident? It’s debatable. Could we have made a decision to keep it as a plaything but reject its centrality in our conscious interface with reality?

    The experience of our modern computerized world would indicate that once we have a new language, then not only will we certainly use it, but it will spread like a virus within us, restless and hungry, assuming a centralized position with our process of consciousness and expanding as rapidly as it can. It almost sounds like a business, ha! But mostly it sounds like DNA. And that is why anthropolinguistics was once so crucial to the study of prehistory prior to the advent of DNA genomics. Because language also mutates and so leaves ‘markers’ along its historic path, all of which can be coordinated chronologically, just like non-recombinant y-DNA and mt-DNA do…

    But what’s good for business and cultural evolution are not necessarily what’s good for healthy human psychology. And so, we meditate, to reverse that very process that is so profitable for our wallets and dangerous for our enemies. For it is no accident that the remaining hominid species besides our own disappeared soon after our acquisition of language. And so the prime purpose of meditation is to stop the internal dialogue, if only for a second, or a few minutes, or an hour, or a lifetime. When I discussed meditation with some neurological researchers, that’s the first question they asked: “Can you stop the internal dialogue?” That’s the main point that I can remember of Carlos Castañeda’s Don Juan character, also, in his ‘Tales of Yaqui Power,’ etc…

    Is language the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden? Maybe. The analogy would seem to hold, not that good and evil are really on offer, but the fallacious and pretentious knowledge of such is always a temptation, and forever destined to fail. With language we are suddenly faced with a duality of mind and body, one doing all the talking and the other a captive audience. We externalize the dialogue to turn all that brilliance and perspicacity loose on the world, but with mixed results. It seems that language creates more problems than it can solve and resolve. And so we meditate. The mind is a minefield, enmeshed in views. Sometimes it’s simply better to forego thought, or at least language…

     
  • hardie karges 10:44 am on August 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexander the Great, , , consciousness, , , Hindi, , , , , , , , , , shaman, , , , , Yaqui   

    Buddhist Metta-tation, Friendship Beyond Thought, Language Optional… 

    The truest love is metta, friendship, without all the burdens of possession. That’s Buddhist love, of course, without all the weeping, wailing, and the gnashing of teeth. The Pali word metta often gets written up as ‘lovingkindness’ by latter-day Buddhists, mostly American, who want the passion that term implies, but the Buddha likely intended nothing of the sort. That’s a Christian term, too, from the Hebrew chesed, with a heavy dose of devotion implied, but the Buddha seemed to intend none of that, and the word’s presence in many other Asian languages of the time reflects none of it, either.

    So ‘lovingkindness’ would seem to come from a totally different line of descent by genome. Culture is not genome, though, of course, though they often parallel one another, and the ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition seems to reflect that. So, we Westerners tend to be emotion junkies, even when that emotion is not necessarily a pleasant one. We are implored to embrace suffering, by that logic, even though suffering implies pain, and the heavy dose of sadness that often brings. The fact that the Pali word dukkha means ‘suffering’ and the related word dukhee means ‘sadness’ in modern Hindi would seem to reflect that range of intent.

    (More …)
     
  • hardie karges 9:29 am on January 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , consciousness, , , ,   

    Buddhism and the Industrial Revolution: Aftermath… 

    Don’t begrudge anyone their success. Their success is your success. We are all one people. We all know that, of course. But saying it and practicing it are two different things. And competition is fierce, especially when you’ve been raised that way from birth, as most of us Westerners, European-descended, have been raised.

    I don’t know why that is the case, probably some combination of capitalism, Christianity, and democracy, but the reality may be a little bit more nuanced than that. In fact it may even be such a recent event that the results of it are not even fully known yet, a phenomenon associated with the Industrial Revolution, the effects of which are still upon us. Don’t believe the textbook narrative that the Industrial Revolution occurred in the mid-1700’s in England. The Industrial Revolution is now—right now.

    And the results are as devastating as they are inspiring. Sure we’ve got multiple methods of travel to multiple places in the universe, but we’ve also got Global Warming, Dickensian poverty, the Enclosure Acts which dispossessed peasants of their ancestral rights to land, and now a devastating narcotics problem, largely born of the necessity of dealing with the dispossession and loss of our connection to Nature.

    Thus we stand at the crossroads, of history and consciousness. History will certainly go in a direction heretofore yet unimagined, and consciousness will certainly go with it hand-in-hand, no certain clue as to which is cause and which is effect. And if that much is certain, little else is. We are such a young species that anything can happen, and likely will.

    And this has happened over and over in the course of history and evolution, but I seriously doubt that any one species has ever been so responsible—or not—for its own destiny. Usually these things, i.e. evolution, happen in what seems to be a random impersonal manner, in which the best that can usually be said is something like, “Evolution favors smaller adaptable units,” we being the units, of course, usually devoid of consciousness.

    The invention, or evolution, if you prefer, of language, 50k years ago, seems to have changed all that. I can’t imagine what other invention would have had such an effect. So here we are, featherless bipeds possessed of language, and fully conscious of what the worst can be. But can we control our own worst impulses?

    Can we make decisions that will give sustainability to our species? These questions remain to be answered. But it will not occur with backbiting and unnecessary wars. Buddhism is all about teaching men to be more like women: more caring and less violent, and that is what I’m here to promote. Walk softly through this life and this world Make no enemies. Leave no trash.

     
  • hardie karges 2:08 pm on November 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , consciousness, 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 11:34 am on September 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , consciousness, Gandhi, homo sapiens, , Mahatma, , Protestant,   

    Buddhism is Found in the Beauty of Silence… 

    Sometimes silence can accomplish more than violence, and that’s something that Mahatma Gandhi knew, but which most modern protesters seem to have forgotten, when they parade that smug self-assertion that assumes that more chaos is better than less, while innocent victims die unattended and children see their lives suspended.

    This is the problem, not the solution, that we all need to take the bait, and excite the crowds, when just the opposite is truest: when silence prevails, the world is a better place, and we are all more equal. And this is not limited to manipulation of the Anglo-Saxon guilt complex, which Gandhi did so expertly, though that might be where it works best, there and in the surrounding Indo-European community, which has long been indoctrinated with Christianity and the doctrine of forgiveness.

    But it should work elsewhere, too, though perhaps with lesser results, especially where materialist doctrines have gained supremacy, arguably the difference between socialism and communism, that rejection of all ethics and most morality, in total deference to the party and the race.

    But Tibetan monks don’t practice self-immolation to hear the crowds cheering at Wimbledon or the Kentucky Derby. They do it because they want to send a message and because they can, where other avenues of ex-pression are limited, and where memories are long, even if time is short. Buddhists are disciplined if nothing else, witness the current pandemic results.

    And so it can be for all of us. Protestants were once protesters. Passion was once suffering. Our species arose from something that preceded it, and only caught fire with the invention of language. And that is where we stand today, at the crossroads of history, between the forces of good and evil which correspond roughly to the hemispheres of our brains.

    Thus a dialectic and discourse is built right in to our system of consciousness, and language is powerless to prevent it, since language is largely what created it. In the beginning was the Word, and in the end the meek will supposedly inherit the earth, and everything else is for us to figure out, and let the history books sort it out.

    Scientists call us homo sapiens, wise person, but that is probably far too generous, because we are in no position to judge ourselves, not from the long view of history, but only from the short view of a human lifetime. The most we can truly claim for ourselves is language, so homo linguarum, and for better or worse, that is our fate, to yak it up, even when silence is sometimes far better.

    And that is one thing I have learned in Buddhism, if nothing else, in one word: silence. That is the sound of meditation. That is the sound of Emptiness. Language is the best and worst human invention. Use it wisely…

     
  • hardie karges 12:11 pm on May 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , consciousness, , , ,   

    Because, that’s why: Buddhism, Descartes, Castaneda and the urge to merge in meditation… 

    Words can cut like knives or heal like bandages, so be careful what you think, and even more careful of what you say.

    The fact that we think in languages is the starting point for many a fine thesis and many a sleepless night, because in one sense Descartes was right when he said ‘cogito ergo sum,’ i.e. I think therefore I am.

    And if that is usually taken as a badge of pride for the West, and a flag of caution for the East, in fact I think it is neither. It is simply a status update for the human condition.

    Because we can debate endlessly over whether human beings are indeed the homo sapiens, wise men, that we claim, but we can certainly agree that they do think, whether or not they are some arrogant s-o-b’s to label themselves as ‘wise’, at the expense of all others, which at that point in history was largely limited to the white ‘race.’

    And so it is with thinking, which we assume as our birthright, and limited to us, and only us. But all animals think. They just don’t all do it with language.

    And that is why we meditate, many of us, whether you categorize it into one of the two original Buddhist classifications or one of the four now in vogue, complete with the obligatory ‘mindfulness,’ as guided by your local ‘dharma teacher,’ namaste.

    When really all you need to do is sit down and STFU, and don’t move a muscle, or scratch an itch, or swat a fly for at least a good quarter hour for starters, and quadruple that for peer professionalism, without moving a muscle, I repeat.

    Because I don’t know what’s going on in your head inside, but I know it’s directly related to what’s going on with your body outside, and this is easily measured by perturbations in the visual field.

    If you’re twitching, I think we can assume that you have yet to achieve any of the four dhyana states, or was it five? I lost count.

    Because all that really matters is to stop the internal dialogue, if only for a moment, and that’s almost the only thing I took away from Carlos Castaneda and his avatar Don Juan and all his tales of Ya(n)qui power in the deserts of our own mind-fields, as they leapt off cliffs with intent and little else.

    And that is what the brain researchers who wanted to scan my brain in and out of meditation alluded to, also, and asked if I understood what they’re talking about. Huh? Doesn’t everyone?

    Now I don’t know if they read Castaneda, but of course I understood. I just don’t know why Buddhists don’t say it that way, or at least not in so many words.

    Because that is why meditation exists, for me, to return to basics, proto-consciousness, or paleo-consciousness, if you will, i.e. thought without language, just like the old days, just like the animals do, before all the new frontiers, and all the limits of language.

    Curiously many Buddhists think that is an injunction to not think, but I don’t think that is correct. Once we have language, then the choice is ours what to do with it. Because the Buddha never said not to think. He said to think rightly, and quite rightly…

     
  • hardie karges 6:34 am on November 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , consciousness, , ,   

    Karma and the Necessity of Imperfection 

    Maybe the world is an imperfect place, or maybe I’m just too sensitive. But the world, of course, is defined by its imperfection, and it would be futile to want it any other way, in fact, because these imperfections are what allows for change and evolution, the constant mutation of genetic units into something else, the concepts of better or worse subject to the judgment of volunteers and substitutes, while perfection itself means no such thing, just the fact that it has been completed, finished, no more change, end of story, and that’s not likely to happen, no time soon, anyway, not with egos flaring and guns flashing, the glint of hard cold steel embedding itself in our collective consciousness as a reminder of our potential for cruelty, as a vestige of our not-so-distant past, savage and brutal and begging for redemption when none is likely and where none could be further from the truth. This is ground zero, the testing area, between past and future, for liberation and release, from the bonds of self-imprisonment and the requirements for future freedom. The past is but a signpost and the present a yawning zero, a field of action between the two goal posts of judgment, neither of which has meaning except that which we care to give it, for purposes of narrative, the requirements of closure and the necessities of a happy ending, with possibilities for future options. But in every act of jurisprudence the important question is intent, no matter the difficulty of determination or the conundrums of context, because guilt without intent is in fact no guilt at all, in a good and just world, and any notion of Buddhist karma must take this into account, no less so than the Supreme Court, sitting in judgment over the law of our land. Karma is equal to actions, and actions are equal to intent. Every act of cruelty or kindness carries the weight of its own intent, no more and no less…

     
  • hardie karges 2:14 am on November 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: consciousness, Greta, hope, , need,   

    The Algebra of Need, and the Calculus of Hope… 

    When one door closes, another one opens. It has to, to let some light in.We can’t exist in darkness, not for long, anyway, nor can we exist without opportunities, and if circumstances don’t provide those outlets, then our minds, or our collective mind, will have to provide it, because it’s not clear what mind really is, or how it differs from our singular specific brain functions, we only know it as an all-embracing continuum of consciousness, regardless of whether ultimately that continuum is composed of minute atomistic particles of consciousness, or not, because the only way to analyze it is with consciousness itself, so something of a feedback loop results, in which the thing as observer and observed cannot be distinguished for proper analysis. But the light is necessary, regardless, and from outside, because our minds may be able to create opportunity from the flimsiest excuses, but light is an essential physical requirement for life, and consciousness, even if only the tiniest spark from the most diminutive flicker. A prison cell with a window to the outside is not a prison cell at all, even in solitary confinement, because there is always that patch of blue or flicker of gold to send spirits soaring or feelings flying toward heights yet unimagined or distances yet to be traversed. So we exist in Plato’s cave subsisting on shadows, because they seem so real, when something even more real is right beyond our range of perception, waiting to be discovered–or not. There are no guarantees, and false hopes die hardest, so maybe it’s best to keep expectations realistic, given the high percentage of failures. We are all canaries in this bloody coal mine. Sorry about that, Greta…

     
  • hardie karges 5:41 pm on August 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , consciousness, , , , ,   

    Self-Styled Bodhisattva Vow to Save the Species 

    I won’t bother to look for bliss.
    I’ll content myself in the mitigation of
    suffering and in the effort to help others.
    For that is a path forward, no matter
    how many twists and turns must be navigated,
    no matter how winding the cliched and storied path.
    This is a one-stop shop, for all we know,
    so it is wise and prescient of us to gather
    rosebuds while we may, lest they be unavailable
    tomorrow, for lack of stock in house, or merely
    the wrong season for searching.
    Sci-fi scientists look in the farthest most remote
    atmospheres for life and red herrings, myths
    to live by and fantasies to smoke, magic dragons to puff.
    But that is all for an imaginary tomorrow, cowering
    in fear of a fictionalized past that has sworn
    revenge on the far-fetched future.
    Such are the menu options for consciousness,
    three dimensions three tenses three personal
    pronouns and a pocket full of tissues.
    The choices are ours, to run and hide
    or to stand and fight, with possibly a third
    option still grooming on the side.
    Regardless of the ultimate method and final
    forage for fruit, though, just remember that we
    should all be civil, and polite, and seek our highest
    common denominators, not sink to our lowest…

     
  • hardie karges 7:50 pm on June 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , consciousness, , William of Ockham   

    Mindfulness and Consciousness, splitting hairs with Occam’s razor… 

    Consciousness itself is neither good nor bad. It depends on what you do with it. The word itself is neutral, and so is the activity, no matter that mindfulness has taken on an air of otherworldliness. It is synonymous with consciousness, or awareness. nothing more or less. That is ‘sati’, stripped of all its excess Buddha baggage and allowed to be free, like a child without a care in the world, just like the Buddha intended. Let the adults worry about the subtle nuances of higher hermeneutics and advanced metaphysics, zeitgeists and weltanschauungs, windowless monads and digital nomads. To just be is an accomplishment in itself. To do no harm is even better. Enlightenment is invisible if you look too hard. Everything is clearer if you use a softer focus. Concentration doesn’t have to be so hard. At some point the only thing I ask of life is that it be simple…

     
    • quantumpreceptor 12:11 am on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      It is sad but we somehow have to take the word mindfulness back away from those weekend courses and certificate slinging puffs who sell it for 99$ a month. Know what I mean?

      QP

    • hardie karges 5:53 am on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      yep

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