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  • hardie karges 12:50 pm on November 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , dualism, , , , , ,   

    Silence is the Perfect Companion to Budddhist Emptiness.,, 

    Emptiness, shunyata, is one of the prime tenets of the Mahayana school of Buddhism, of course, and arguably the defining one, the one without which it would not exist. But it has always been of slippery definition itself, it born of the zero-principle, shunya, and conceived at that very same epoch of history, such that the two developments are impossible to separate…

    And the brief definition of emptiness is that it is an extension of the Buddhist concept of non-self, anatta, so that now we are postulating that not only is the self empty of substance, but so is everything empty of substance. That is not to say that it is not real, necessarily, but that it is not real in any enduring permanent way. So in that sense, nothing is real…

    And this fits in well with the modern physics conception of reality as composed of sub-microscopic particles that are better defined mathematically than physically, even chemically. So that’s the back-story and the sales pitch, but how does that make anyone’s life any better? But in fact, there is much more to it than the sublime metaphysics or the arcane math and physics…

    In fact, I propose, there are lessons for life in there. For one thing, aren’t our lives too often defined by our possessions? A philosophy of emptiness discourages that. Secondly, referring back to the title, emptiness does encourage silence, and meditation, which I not only encourage everyone to practice, but which has been proven many times over to be a safe and salient benefit to health, especially mental health…

    (And despite the fact that ‘guided meditation’ has many fans, especially in the West, who just can’t stand the silence, I suppose, I still maintain that silent meditation is the best, and in fact the only practice that I would consider true meditation. ‘Guided meditation’ should be called something else)…

    Most importantly, though, emptiness facilitates a view of self and the universe that is non-dualistic (while I readily acknowledge that any dichotomy of self and universe is itself dualistic). And this may very well be the origin of modern consciousness, i.e. linguistic consciousness. Before that there was only a non-linguistic kind, which, for all the benefits of language, may have been better in many ways…

    At the very least, it is worth returning to, on a regular basis, and hence the value of meditation. Philosophy leads everywhere at one and the same time. Do you prefer the conundrum of the One versus the Many? Or do you prefer the vastness of Infinity? Duality is an illusion. The One is Many. But only Emptiness is Infinite…

     
  • hardie karges 5:40 pm on July 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cargo Cults, , dualism, , 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…

     
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