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  • hardie karges 5:40 pm on July 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cargo Cults, Descartes, , , Kant, maharishi, ,   

    Buddhism 101: It’s What’s Inside that Counts… 

    If you’re looking for Gods out there, then good luck, because the source of all godliness is inside. And this pertains heavily to the preeminent issue in the history of religion, whether there is one god or many, and it turns out that the answer may instead be ‘none of the above,’ the Kantian solution to a Cartesian problem, any dualism only apparent, when the real issue is the One or the Many…

    The problem of plurality is obvious, just add a god or two for every new situation, even if you’re really just adding another statue or sculpture along the way, thus another manifestation or appearance of a primordial god, rather than a new god itself, him or herself. Because what is a god really and truly worth, if you can simply create a new one on demand?

    This gets into what I would call the ‘Cargo Cult Conundrum’ in which one might erroneously be led into thinking that a longer runway or a higher control tower might attract the really big cargo 747’s with the really good stuff, straight from some celestial factory drawn directly by the supplications of the sentimental and superstitious. But if God is really just an inner projection, then the outer trappings are just that, so much decoration and nothing more nothing less.

    Monotheism was a huge development in the history of religion, usually credited to the Jews, and the Christians and Muslims who came after them in droves, as if everything that came before was polytheistic, and lesser in development. If this is to assume that focus is better than the scatter-shot, then they may be on to something, but I don’t think that’s the heart of the matter.

    I think the gist is that multiple gods are simply too costly, in terms of time, effort, and money, and there you can find much logic. A superstitious view of religion is simply to assume that the more that is invested, then the greater the reward, when there is no evidence to support that. The only thing certain is that giving can feel good, when it is given with faith in deliverance, regardless of the whys and wherefores.

    So now we can simply skip the intermediate steps, if we all agree that God is but a manifestation of our innermost needs and desires, so the trappings can be laid aside and we can work on training our minds toward truth, beauty, and goodness without all the random superstitions tossed in for good measure.

    And that is what Buddhism does, at its best, it goes straight to the heart of the matter, all gods optional, all articles of faith tentative. Because to be a good Buddhist, you really don’t have to do anything. You can meditate in a cave all your life, and go down in history as a maharishi par excellence. Or you can give and donate till your pockets are bare, and it’s all the same.

    The most important thing is what you don’t do. Do no harm. Do no kill. Do not steal. Etcetera etcetera, Five Precepts are almost identical to the Ten commandments, and that is likely no accident. The only thing certain is negation, and that is quantifiable, and measurable. What you do is your choice, the sea of probabilities. We are all connected on the inside, and that is where it counts…

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

    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 11:21 am on May 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Descartes, , ,   

    Buddhism, Nature, and the Middle Path between Religions… 

    Nature is not something to be conquered. It is something to be revered. This is the basis for most feminine religions, without sword and without a book, just the smooth rounded edges of nature’s leaves and branches, hardened by brute experience with that same Nature’s lightning and thunder.

    Eventually that religion typically may evolve into a form of devotion, ‘bhakti’ for Hinduism, or one of the later sects for Buddhism, because few of us are really made for the rigors of metaphysics, when it’s easier just to bow the head and utter some formulas, or simply swear allegiance to mother Maria.

    And many Buddhists would gladly turn Descartes on his head and proclaim ‘non cogito ergo sum’, ‘I don’t think, therefore I am’, as many a devoted Theravadin truly believes, but which I take exception to. I’m just not that kind of Buddhist, I guess, for better or worse, confused or whatever, and I don’t for one minute think that Buddhism is better than all the others, simply that Buddhism is what is right for these times.

    That’s because I don’t see Buddhism as something established by some transcendental Buddha to which the earthly blokes are mere manifestations, any more than I see Jesus as a Christian version of the same thing, the Platonic ideal of love and forgiveness, Buddha that of compassion and forbearance. Because they were both just blokes, however enlightened, but with differences that have defined East and West at least since Homer’s recall, and likely before.

    So I see Christianity as the active aggressive alternative, dominated mostly by men of Aryan provenance, and despite their brutality, to see what could be accomplished in the state of Nature was a Noble (hint hint) quest, free enterprise, laissez-faire and all that rap, late nights with bright lights a reasonable relax.

    The Jains were, and are, just the opposite, of course, in which the less you do the better, to the point that death by self-starvation (ever heard of inanition?) seems only logical in the quest to do no harm. Just do nothing at all. The Buddhists have tried to walk the middle path to relative success, but still there are those who lapse into the do-it-all or do-nothing extremes.

    Bottom line: the Christian Capitalists have definitively gone too far, to the extent that we are killing ourselves knowing and willingly, grinning like Cheshire cats while going over the cliff, just like the Jains in spirit, if not letter, blindly proceeding with disaster. I revert to the demands of Nature. There is always a path to (re)conciliation, and that is THE path, I would say…

     
  • hardie karges 6:04 am on October 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Descartes, fallacy, , , , , , , soteriology   

    Buddhism and Language: the curse of narratives… 

    IMG_0599Though not often heralded as such, language is arguably the world’s greatest invention, and I think that, like most inventions, it might have a limited lifespan of prime utility, and it’s a very arguable point that the world just might be better off without it. I don’t arrive at this conclusion lightly, given that fact that I love language with all my heart and all my soul, but if it’s outlived its usefulness, then it just might need to be put out to pasture (and there just might be something better)…

    Of course, whether people would be willing to do this is debatable, but still, it’s probably worth having the discussion, just to make the point, if nothing else. And the point is that many of the world’s problems are verbal. A policeman gives an order, and you are supposed to obey, immediately and without question. Otherwise they’ll shoot you, in America, at least, no matter that you’re deaf or not an English speaker. That’s not their fault. And, of course it’s not the language’s fault, either, for the bad intentions of its major malefactors. But still one of its main functions is aggression, to be sure, e.g. ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:21 am on May 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Descartes, , , , kilesa, , , , samma sankappa, , , transmigration   

    Buddhist Mindfulness as Mindlessness? Wait a minute… 

    IMG_0959Okay, so I admit it: I’m going through a crisis of confidence with my newfound love of Buddhism, and all that entails. The devil is in the details, of course, as even the ever-tricky Buddha himself well knew, just like Jesus after him, that you pick and choose what to tell the initiates and laypeople at any one time, subject to their capacity to comprehend, assimilate, or even fathom, concepts which may just be a bit difficult to swallow at first, or maybe forever…

    Compounded by the fact that the Buddha himself was just a bloke, not a God, nor even his son, and so not omniscient, and subject to the limitations thereof, to most of which he himself spoke, the profound limits which define our existence on this blue-green orb of light color and sound which we call earth, the world, home, samsara, all we’ve got, except what we can make for ourselves, given time, energy, and the raw materials to work with, including consciousness… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:00 pm on December 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , defilement, Descartes, , , , , , , , ,   

    Buddhist Dilemma: Does Mindfulness = No Thought? Hmmm… 

    img_1401

    Reflections in the back seat

    ‘Mindfulness’ is one of those words deliberately created to defy definition, it seems, so when anybody asks me what it means I usually reply with something semi-snarky, like “the opposite of mindlessness” which seems like maybe avoiding the question, but which in fact is about as accurate as is possible, given the quasi-religious overtones and the need for a certain amount of obfuscation for dramatic effect, such being the need in Western circles, witness the ‘woo-woo’ factor of certain Pali/Sanskrit words like ‘samadhi‘…

    But the word ‘sati‘, from which ‘mindfulness’ is translated, by itself carries no transcendent connotations, at least not in modern standard Thai, in which it means simply ‘consciousness’ or ‘mind’, in the sense that one’s sati, i.e. brain, is maybe not so good anymore, or that he now has sati, i.e. is no longer unconscious—get it? And the usage of the term in Buddhism is not so much different, I think, and mindfulness is probably the best term for it, mind twice removed from pure simplicity, first with a ‘full’, next with a ‘ness’. But doesn’t that imply some level of thought, whether in narrative form or simple awareness, of cause and effect, spatial relations and orderliness? I would think so. So…

    (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 3:26 pm on December 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      No thought, no. It’s the space between the thoughts where things get very interesting.

      QP

    • hardie karges 3:58 pm on December 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      True, BUT…. I think (oops!) there’s always room for thought–good thoughts…

    • quantumpreceptor 1:52 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      What I mean is this. Thoughts are not a problem in fact they can be used as a tool in the right circumstances. Avoiding them does not work, however slowing them down and seeing into the space between them is where we can begin to see that all is a reflection in the mirror of consciousness.

      QP

    • hardie karges 3:45 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      There you go, now we’re on the same page…

  • hardie karges 8:19 am on October 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Descartes, , , photographic memory,   

    Buddhism, Meditation, False Narratives, Pop Music and Crazy Love… 

    IMG_1559What is the goal of meditation, anyway, if not to remove those pesky little thought loops and dangling participles, half-baked ideas and non sequiturs, random musings and assorted misgivings? Notice that these are all verbal manifestations of consciousness, as if that were the only kind, or maybe the worst kind. It’s not…

    Sounds are the stickiest mental apparitions to which we (I, anyway) must periodically apply mental floss and chrome dome cleaner, Drano for clogged pipes and Janitor in a Drum for those hard-to-get-to corners where lint just loves to build up unnoticed—until your most important client shows up unexpectedly to discuss next year’s product line and drops his stylo next to that hard-to-reach corner by the sofa, uh-oh… (More …)

     
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