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  • hardie karges 6:54 am on April 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , craving, Dawn of Everything, , , judgment, , , , ,   

    Buddhism 101: The Difference Between Cravings and Needs–and Karma… 

    Be careful with judgments. The craving for food of a wealthy person is different from the craving for food of a poor person. If that means that there are good cravings and bad cravings, then we are simply getting bogged down in words, because the craving to be avoided is for something beyond what is necessary. Thus, the craving for food of a starving person is not a craving in the sense that Buddhism abhors. That is a need, not a craving. The craving that Buddhism abhors is the incessant call for more, more, and more far beyond what is needed to sustain the life of someone and his significant others.

    This is implicit, of course, in the Middle Path between luxury and lack, which is at the heart of original Buddhism, before the re-birthers decided that it was always all about that: rebirth, past lives, and the generation-jumping karma of retribution. And that original impetus is definitely what we need now, in our economic stage of advanced capitalism, to be reminded that craving is at the heart of our problem. There is even some scientific evidence coming out now in the best-selling book ‘The Dawn of Everything’ that gluttony and craving are at the heart of certain violent and slave-trading cultures.

    Suddenly it all starts to make sense, doesn’t it? The lifestyles that reward gluttony and craving demand violence and other defilements to sustain them. The one feeds the other in a never-ending cycle of degradation, and our lives suffer as a result. Life is not so difficult, after all, certainly not as difficult as the ‘multiple feedback loops of karma’ invoked by some high priests of reincarnation might make you think. Just be kind, and gentle, and respectful to the rights and dignity of others. The rites and rituals can come and go, but what you don’t do is sometimes more important than what you do.

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  • hardie karges 5:39 am on March 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , craving, demmocracy, , , triple religion   

    Caveat Emptor: Buddhism’s Fine Print… 

    You can spend your life pursuing objects of craving, or you can reduce your need for them. Christianity or Buddhism? Your choice. And yes, it’s really that simple, almost. The Buddhist Precepts and the Christian Ten Commandments are almost exactly the same, after all. And other differences purported if not actually reported are a little bit harder to define, like the bit about passion and dispassion. Now I fully trust my sense of that, but it is a harder point to sharpen, and anyway doesn’t make so much difference for the average individual living his daily life.

    Then there’s the question of a creator God, which is probably as much a thorn in the side of many Christians as the question of rebirth is for many Buddhists, which is the role of belief and superstition in the practice of either. And so, once again, the similarities abound. But the opposites are palpable. To crave or not? That’s a real difference, and lies at the heart of Buddhism, the disavowal of that. And the desire for that lies at the heart of the Triple Religion that we might call Christianity-Democracy-Capitalism, my term, not to be confused with the Triple Religion of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, which is often invoked for China and sometimes Vietnam, at least before Communism.

    But few choices are truly binary in real life, even if the issues involved often are. To desire or not desire? I think that I might be able to divide my time appropriately between the two. After all Buddhism is built on a Middle Path between extremes, the worst of either to be avoided, while the best of both are to be imbibed of judiciously, with neither lack nor excess. And if this ultimately involves the mixing of religions, then so be it, as long as it’s articulated, so that we’re not pretending that grace, forgiveness, and passion are at the heart of Buddhism. They aren’t. That’s Christianity. So mix in equal portions, like salt and pepper. And there might even be a new Triple Religion possible, Buddhism-Democracy-Socialism, sounds good to me.

     
  • hardie karges 7:45 am on February 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craving, , , , ,   

    Buddhism: A Noble Truth or Two (and a few lesser ones)… 

    The one who can control himself, can control the world—his world…

    Buddha in his Four Noble Truths didn’t say that craving is THE (one and only) cause of dukkha, i.e. suffering. Pali and Sanskrit have no definite articles. But it is certainly one of them, and by the fact that the Buddha mentioned no others right then and there, it certainly seems logical to assume that it is perhaps the greatest of them. He did mention others elsewhere, though, and impermanence comes quickly to mind as one of those that he specifically wrote about in that context.

    Perhaps impermanence was Buddha’s first encounter with dukkha? I know that it was mine, at the ripe old age of eight years old, in Jackson, MS, USA, as my parents prepared to migrate from the Big City out to the nearby countryside, and all that I knew and loved would change overnight, perhaps more than can be easily imagined here and now almost sixty years later. Because not only was that my first encounter with suffering of the existential sort, but it was also my first encounter with culture shock. I cried for days, and not only survived but thrived.

    I even started to like that culture shock around the time I visited my twelfth or thirteenth country a few years later. Similarly, the Buddha did not say anything to the effect that ‘all life is suffering.’ But as he listed the various manifestations of suffering, e.g., birth, old age, disease, and death, then that might certainly be implied. That’s what he was obsessed with, most likely, because that’s what he was shielded from for most of his life—until he went outside. And so we must all go outside to find what is inside each of us.

    And what we find inside is another world, a different world, almost another dimension, as different as Virtual Reality from our modern materialistic world of Science. And it is a world of feeling and perception, the only world that a sentient being can truly know. Everything else is only a likely story, and a likeable story at that. You shouldn’t have to choose between Buddhism and Science. You don’t. And sometimes short-term suffering brings the greatest long-term benefits. Don’t panic. Be patient. Be kind and adapt to changing circumstances. Impermanence shouldn’t be a cause of suffering.

     
  • hardie karges 6:07 am on December 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , craving, , , , spiritual bypassing,   

    Buddhism Unmoved: in Support of ‘Spiritual Bypassing’ 

    The one who can control himself, can control the world—his world…

    Anger is an object lesson, not just about hatred, which seems obvious, but lust, craving, passion, and all the rest. It feeds on itself until it destroys something, if not everything. This is one of the Three Poisons of Buddhism, along with greed and ignorance, and it would be hard to decide which is worse. Because they all destroy whatever is in their path, like fires burning endlessly and mindlessly, when the obvious solution would be to simply let them go, to burn themselves out. If any three words could sum up the message of Buddhism, it would likely be, ‘let it go.’

    But it’s not always so easy, of course, given the nature of the beast, its very nature being its difficulty to let go. So, in a sense, they are all one, that fire burning, which we Westerners like to immortalize as something romantic called ‘passion,’ while conveniently forgetting that word’s roots in suffering, as in the ‘passion of Christ,’ nothing romantic about that. But so we fantasize, that our greed is our glory and our lust is our love, when nothing could be further from the truth, from any metaphysical viewpoint—at least, not in Buddhism.

    Because Buddhism is a religion and philosophy of dispassion, in both the traditional meaning of ending suffering and the modern meaning of avoiding strong emotion. This drives many Western psychologists crazy, of course, because they sense any emptiness as a cause of alarm. The first thing they teach in photography class is to ‘go for peak emotion.’ And the psychologists want all potential conflicts to be met head-on. To not do so is something they call ‘spiritual bypassing,’ with obvious derision. Well, if avoiding anger is ‘bypassing,’ then I heartily recommend it. For nothing good can come from anger. One man’s religion is another man’s aversion, I suppose.

     
  • hardie karges 10:49 am on October 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craving, , , , , , , ,   

    Buddhist Non-attachment and Free Will 

    You can be connected to everything and attached to nothing. That is the Holy Grail, for me, at least, of life in general, and Buddhism in particular. Because, despite the apparent similarities, the difference between the two activities is craving, upadana in Pali/Sanskrit, and that is the deal-killer, as articulated in the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, number two, to be exact. Visually, imagine making contact, but without a hook that attaches you to that other surface.

    Now isn’t that preferable? Because without that hook, then you are free. And with freedom comes responsibilities. But with that hook, then you are enslaved. And when you are enslaved, not only have you lost your precious freedom, but you have lost your moral responsibility. Because if there is no free will, then there is no morality.

    So, the metaphysicians can argue all they want about the existence, or not, of free will, using arguments based on reason and logic, but the proof depends on the necessity—or not—of morality. Because free will can never be proven empirically, since it’s an abstract concept, and thus not subject to the demands of reason nor logic. But it is subject to the demands of morality. Ontologically, there is no absolute free will, though a limited one, subject to circumstances. This world is our circumstance. It demands morality.

     
  • hardie karges 12:29 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craving, , , , , , uppadana,   

    Buddhism and that Special Flavor of Sadness… 

    Plato not Prozac. Buddha not Benzedrine. In other words, don’t go running for the medicine cabinet every time you feel a little sad, or bored. Life is not about getting all charged up, whether looking for thrills, or looking for bliss. Life is about being aware, not much more and not much less. So if you’re feeling a little down in the dumps today, or just can’t seem to pump it up any how any way, I can’t recommend experiments of the chemical sort, unless it’s the last resort, and you’re the experimental sort. Because the results don’t always work out well. Pills are not always equivalent to thrills, and thrills are not what they used to be, better for kids in playgrounds, than adults in real lives. (Unless you have serious clinical depression, of course, and then you should get thyself to a doctor, post haste, and follow his instructions to the letter, because they are the masters of experiment, and can save you some time and trouble). But depression and sadness are two different things, and boredom is even more insidious. Boredom may be a call to action, true enough, but that action is best when more than the zen koan: what is the sound of one pill popping? This is a Western disease, and American, especially, home to amusement parks and extreme sports, daredevil stuntmen and short short shorts. We know what we want and we want it now. The only problem is that once gratified that sensation, there will always be another, and another, and another. This is the main realization of the Buddha: craving, ‘uppadana’, closely related to ‘tanha’, thirst, and the need for constant needs. This is a vicious circle, of course, and the best way to nip it in the bud is to gain control over yourself, to whatever extent that is possible. And this is the essence of Buddhist ‘practice’, the control that you gain, primarily by meditation. But self-control can still fall short, especially if you have a history of chemical imbalances. Buddhism always reverts to causes, and even if 90% of those are ‘mental’ and ‘impermanent’, some of them are more intrinsic to this particular manifestation of our transitory physical dimension, and are best dealt with in that way. Sometimes you have to treat symptoms first, worry about ultimate causes later…

     
    • Alexia Adder 9:09 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      That is the only way to survive. For myself, it isn’t just awareness but the idea that chaos or loss of control [self] =/= fun for me. I find joy in experiences and ideas, even if I disagree. I like to be intellectually stimulated, I got bored if I am not. To do this I try to learn more, talk to people, get their perspectives… there’s always a subjectivity aspect to life even if one is part of a culture, unique ideas and opinions may or not be born from a combination of experiences and cultures.

      One thing I love science and always philosophize and think about it. But science is only about the objective which can get one only insofar, there are subjective areas science can never cover. Most rational people are blind to the subjective part of living and reality, putting too much “faith” in the objective.

      Real harmony is finding the balance between both views, and not seeing the mutual exclusives. Instead knowing that both perspectives have their place. This is the Middle Path.

      • hardie karges 10:19 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I’m a big fan of science, actually right now trying to put together a Facebook group for a more science-oriented Buddhism, stay tuned. Thanks for your comments…

      • hardie karges 5:39 pm on January 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Here you go, just got the group page up, so it’s pretty empty, but if you want to discuss anything, then doing it there might make it a little less lonely! Basically the idea is to discuss the possibilities of a modernized Buddhism without the burdens of rebirth, past lives and karma. But we can discuss anything, hope to C U there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/196544654825092/

        • Alexia Adder 5:55 pm on January 27, 2020 Permalink

          Thank you so much! This will help me and others a lot.

        • hardie karges 5:59 pm on January 27, 2020 Permalink

          You’re welcome! C U there!

    • Robert@69 10:27 pm on January 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Nice read hardie. to paraphrase I read you to say that the american disease is wanting instant or damn near instant gratification, and the problem with this wanting is that it’s never sated and we end up in the cycles of craving and thirst. – agreed. but isn’t the wanting to be in control just another form of craving/thirst? And is gaining control over ? the essence of Buddhist practice? It isn’t for me.

    • hardie karges 11:00 pm on January 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      SELF-control, yes, and self-control only, which for a Buddhist is only natural, since no permanent self is even acknowledged. I know it sounds a bit draconian from an American perspective, point of the post, but it works, it really does, with meditation, non-confrontation (don’t ‘take the bait’), etc., and it all starts with the breath (maybe). No, it’s the opposite of craving, really, purely non-grasping, the power of inaction. It isn’t a subject that gets written up in Buddhism, really, but I’ve discussed it with Asian monks, and it’s often acknowledged that yes, that’s the deal. Think about it. It can be very satisfying, actually, foregoing the white noise of sometimes mindless action. Thanks for your comments…

  • hardie karges 2:54 pm on December 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craving, , , ,   

    Buddhism and the Fleshly Prison of the Body 

    Solitary confinement is not torture, if it’s voluntary. Then it’s meditation, a retreat, renunciation. And if this is one of the messages of Buddhism, then let it be known that many religious and philosophical traditions make the case that the body is a prison of sorts. But this is the ultimate irony, is it not (?), that pleasure and pain are but conditioned reflexes, conditioned by culture and sanctioned by nature, such that one man’s torture is another man’s enlightenment, solitary confinement (presumably in prison) and meditation (presumably alone, silent and with no material rewards) are, on the surface, quite similar, differing only in the expectations, and the nature of rewards offered, accepted, and acknowledged. Because if you’re looking for money or street cred or hot nights in a cold crib, then meditation is not your best option. You’d do better out on Sunset Drive after dark with a fistful of dollars and a pocketful of tissues. Whatever you’re packing, it won’t be enough, though, because that is the nature of craving, lust and desire, whether for meat, onions, or sex. It’s never enough, because the sliding scale of satisfaction constantly resets the top dead center of zero, from which all further measurements are calibrated. So it’s like the Asian schoolboy addicted to spicy food who adds hot sauce, to his taste, in a fresh bowl of noodles. The only problem is that after five minutes, it doesn’t taste spicy anymore, because the new standard of ‘normalcy’ has slid up the scale of spiciness, already. So what do you do? You add more hot spicy stuff, of course, and so on and so on, adding more and more beyond all reason, even though your body knows exactly what’s going on, and will protest on the morrow. And if this sounds like a frivolous example, then I assure you that it’s not so frivolous when the ‘spice’ in question is heroin, and the sliding scale of normalcy is tolerance to a drug that cares nothing about your feelings. So people die every year chasing a feeling that will kill regardless of how you feel. So some feelings are best avoided, especially those that are destructive to yourself, or others, generally measured by their hardness, not their softness. There should be no hard feelings. There is no time for that, too much work and too little gain. Life goes too quickly for quibbling over the details of a desire best left unrequited…

     
  • hardie karges 7:31 am on April 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craving, ,   

    Fear and Awe, Recipes and Sutras… 

    Half of all religion is based on fear, fear of dying and fear of flying, fear of failure and fear of success. The other half is based on awe, whether awful or awesome, it really doesn’t matter to an emotion junkie, a feelings philanderer, ready to take a lashing for passion and come back for more, sight unseen. Because that’s half the rush, the adrenaline rush, that quest for novelty and the thrill of victory, over trivial obstacles and deliberate roadblocks, fear of the unknown conquered by insatiable thirst. But that’s a recipe for disaster, the craving for conditions with no concern for the consequences. Surely there must be a better way, a happy Buddhist medium between the extremes of delight or despair. Just curious: If I forgo the laughter, can I forgo the tears? Asking for a friend…

     
  • hardie karges 6:30 am on September 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craving, , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism is not about getting your groove on; it’s all about… 

    img_0545Control, unwavering control, of yourself, or even better: non-self, if you can manage it, easy enough but for the vicissitudes of will, that one part of the (s)kandhas that escapes easy categorization and refuses to fall blindly into place as but one of the ‘heaps’ that comprise our personalities and personas and persons that we oftentimes think of as ‘self’, or ‘selves’ if you’re bi-polar, or even ‘soul’ if you have long-term plans, or God forbid ‘ego’ if you can think of little else…

    But ‘will’ or ‘volition’ is right there listed alongside the rest of the heap of verbs-turned-nouns that define us in an act of unholy reification, feeling and form and perception and consciousness, only one a true noun, and that an abstract one, all the rest verbs with regular jobs, turned noun, so more than fleeting fancies, all except will, which needs no linguistic crutch-like suffix ‘-ness’ or ‘-tion’ to lean on, or even the gerundive ‘-ing’ to skate by on all fours… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 10:30 am on September 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Encouraging piece for one who, like myself, is very language-oriented. Nothing wrong with being wedded to words, of course, as long as one can cut oneself adrift to float upon an ocean of unknowing. Cripes, did I just say that out loud?

      • hardie karges 8:11 pm on September 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Haha, yes, I’m conflicted over the role of language, On the one hand, I love it, and on the other hand, narratives get stuck and clog our minds, pop music the most obvious example, though no problem with jazz. I think the cure is to think more visually more often and reserve language for more creative efforts, so less boring tedious language, just the good stuff…

        • Dave Kingsbury 1:34 am on September 20, 2018 Permalink

          I think the notion of getting stuck is a fruitful one – bit like a vinyl record stylus that just needs a nudge once in a while. Banal pop lyrics, advertising and political slogans – all examples of when words go bad. Music and art a possible cure – and waiting for the right words to come. 🙂

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