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  • hardie karges 11:45 am on August 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Eckhart Tolle, , , , , , ,   

    Modern Buddhism: Past Lives or Present Moment? You Decide… 

    I accept all forms of Buddhism, as long as they have no quarrel with Science. But, that’s easier said than done, given the spat over rebirth, as to exactly what it means and how it applies. The main conundrum, of course, is that Buddha cut his teeth on his anatta no-self doctrine, and so, if Buddhism accepts rebirth, then what exactly is it that gets reborn? Good question. And many are the answers, ranging from karma to consciousness, anything but the body itself in reincarnation, complete with a permanent self or soul intact.

    Because, that’s the Hindu Vedic Brahmanistic principle that the Buddha was in fierce competition with, and this was the most prominent point of departure between them, so a definite no-no. So, the Buddhists tend to explain the controversy away, while at the same time talking about past and future lives like so many trips to the grocery store. And many Buddhists will explain that not only is this not unscientific, but science is gradually coming around to a similar view. I’ve got a better idea: drop the whole idea, since it’s not really necessary, anyway, so why raise a ruckus over something this has no proven relevance to this life in this world, which is all that we really know?

    The irony is that many of these ‘re-birthers’ are Present Moment Buddhists, also, the same Buddhists who most loudly promote the relatively new idea that this so-called ‘present moment’ is not only all that we can know, but it’s all that there is. But this idea is not only in direct contradiction with Rebirth and Past Lives, but it’s also in contradiction with itself, simply because it defies common sense, in that what we see in life is not a still photo, but a movie, by analogy. Okay, but a movie is a succession of twenty-four frames per second, still the present moment people seem to be insistent upon THIS present moment, and no other.

    This may be only a problem of syntax and semantics though, since Eckhart Tolle has no real problem with his concept of the NOW, which, like particles or waves, may presumably be envisioned as either individual moments or a stream in flow. And, like rebirth, maybe it’s just best not to think about it too much. After all, Eckhart Tolle is not a Buddhist, anyway, and neither is much of what he says, but much also is, and the concept of NOW has much currency in the modern New Age movement. Bottom line: neither can be proven by Science, Past Lives or Present Moments. Still, I’d gladly take NOW, with all its conceptual flaws, if that could put the final nail in the coffin of rebirth. It’s time. We can deal with NOW in the next millennium, if that’s how long it takes…

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  • hardie karges 6:42 am on April 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Eckhart Tolle, , ignorance, , , , , ,   

    Buddhism of the Present Moment: Averaging Past and Future, Science and Superstition… 

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

    Sometimes the only way to remove hatred and ignorance from our lives is to remove the haters and ignorant people from our lives. And fortunately, that’s still possible, as our increasingly crowded world still has some empty places yet to be traversed and social ambitions yet to be fulfilled. But what happens when there is no place to hide, when social mobility comes to a standstill? Where do we go then to find peace and quiet, to find love, knowledge, and acceptance, where before there was only ignorance and hate?

    The obvious place to go is inside of course, deep inside, within our own minds and consciousness, both terms that I use with some trepidation, science-lover that I am, when what I really mean is memory. Because other than the constant (live) stream of sense perceptions that occur in real time, then all we really have is memory, which is anathema to the present-moment Buddhist or Eckhart Tolle disciple, but which is nonetheless a major part of our conscious waking moments.

    Besides those two there are only dreams, which occur in present time but in an undefined space, and conscious thinking, which some ‘non-dualists’ and latter-day Buddhists (‘thoughts without thinkers’) insist is not really real, but which nevertheless occupy reams and tomes of studied critiques and analyzed comparisons for the only purpose of knowledge itself, any benefits to be derived in subsequent interactions with the same world of biology, chemistry, and physics, or language, history, and psychology, from which it ultimately came in the process of experiment.

    And none of that can reasonably be denied, though it could certainly be claimed that we have spiritual lives that are bigger and better than all that. And I would tend to agree. So, the challenge is to make sense of it all, science and meditation, or action and renunciation, so that we can combine lives of action with our spiritual lives, which should also include science, and not just deep introspection, which was all that Buddha—and Plato—had. The answer is implicit, of course, in the Middle Path.

    Because that concept of the Middle Path works not only between Buddha’s luxury and lack, or the Mahayanist dichotomy of existence and non-existence, but still works for a modern secular dichotomy between introspection and science. And that is the supreme beauty of Buddhism, of course, that it is an ongoing dialectic, in which wrong choices are corrected. The Buddha himself wasn’t perfect, and even accepted a lesser status for women, which often figures prominently in misguided Buddhist theses for past lives and reincarnation, hint hint. But we can correct the mistakes of the past with the revelations of the present. And so we must.

     
  • hardie karges 2:00 pm on February 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Eckhart Tolle, , , , , , , ,   

    The Two Major Schools of Buddhism: Past Life or Present Moment… 

    You can’t be a ‘present moment’ Buddhist and a ‘past life’ Buddhist at the same time, since the two concepts are contradictory. And this is probably more important than any modern distinction between Theravada and Mahayana, Tibetan or Zen, simply whether you believe in past lives or not, karma and rebirth supposedly the causes and effects of that process.

    So the present moment is mostly a convenient escape, with ET extending the landing chute, because no present moment really exists, any more than a past life, but the latter is more onerous than the former, which can vanish with the flick of a whisker, while the past lives will never go away, as long as it is believed in.

    Because past lives are all about predestination, and the submission to a supposedly higher will, when one is more than enough. And if this all likely began with the best of intentions, it soon became a stage prop to the caste system, i.e. racism, the idea that some are born with latent superiorities, while others are born with obvious deficiencies.

    Thus your station in life is pre-determined by the events of a previous life, and there is little you can do to change it. None of that has any basis in science, of course, the racism nor the past lives. But still we have to deal with it, day by day, the racism of Aryan superiority not only in India, but in Europe and Amerika and in the latter-day colonies Down Under.

    Predestination is the philosophical side to the same phenomena of past lives, the idea that ‘it is all written,’ notwithstanding the fact that nothing at all was written until a few thousand years ago, still the image is powerful, script on paper, replicating itself into countless lifetimes and universal ages.

    Calvin the Presbyter made great gains with a similar theory in the Western world, details left to the deacons of stupas and steeples, the main takeaway that we are not in control, PERIOD. And that might not be such a bad thing, if the ulterior motives of religion are to be taken at face value.

    After all, aren’t all religions most similar in their insistence that we subject ourselves to a higher will? For all Christianity’s eternity and infinity, the need to obey God is paramount, the only question now or later, prodigal or prescient. And so it is with Islamic submission and Hindu embrace, we Buddhists left to fill in blanks that the others have all left unfilled.

    But the ‘present moment’ is something else entirely, and at its best in countering the pernicious superstitions of karma, especially the kind that jumps generations to bounce back and bite you when you least expect it, in the next life. Belief in the present moment provides a convenient counterpart to challenge all that. I would go not nearly so far as ET in extolling its virtues, since its virtues to me are simply those of meditation, whether with single focus or field focus, the result is the same.

    To shut off the internal dialogue, even for a moment, is to return to proto-consciousness, paleo-consciousness, before language took over and came to own it. Now languages conquer peoples and acquire new lands, our hapless selves but tools of the medium, neither rare nor well done. Samma vaca is right speech. Right speech is good speech. Silence is preferable to bad speech. Words matter…

     
    • Five 7:46 am on February 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      What tradition of Buddhism were you trained in, Hardie? And is this “present moment Buddhism” something that people teach?

      You say “You can’t be a ‘present moment’ Buddhist and a ‘past life’ Buddhist at the same time” – but you can, and that is the whole point. Because the present moment never had a beginning (you recall one?) and has no end – it cannot have because it has no duration – that tells us that the “present moment”, i.e. conscious awareness, does not end at death. That’s all you need to know, you don’t need to remember past lives, or believe anything other than your experience (which is only ever of the ‘present moment’, as above, that IS your experience).

    • hardie karges 7:54 am on February 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I have an MA in Buddhist Studies, so I am ‘trained’ in all of them. No, ‘present moment’ Buddhism is not taught, to my knowledge, unless you want to credit Eckhart Tolle with it. I use poetic license to conduct my thought experiments, in hopes of reaching a higher truth, or at least a different one. Interesting that you begin by disagreeing with me, and end by more-or-less agreeing with me. You are obviously a present moment Buddhist, if you are a Buddhist at all, good choice (even if you don’t believe in death, which is a bit of a dicey proposition)…

  • hardie karges 6:50 am on August 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Cretaceous, , Eckhart Tolle, , motivation, Permian, , Ram Dass, , Tony Robbins   

    Religion, Philosophy, and Motivational Mishmash… 

    IMG_1184

    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    Do you want the truth, or do you want to just feel good? For the most part motivational speakers have largely replaced preachers and rabbis, or priests and mullahs, in advising people on spiritual matters, especially in Western countries. Which is not a bad move, as it gives at least some semblance of metaphysical sustenance to battered souls, or non-souls, if you’re Buddhist…

    …just when they need it most, in times of stress and mayhem, which seems to characterize the modern age, and which gives the lie to lame theories of consumption and consumerism which imply that all we need is—love? No, sex; and alcohol, and cigarettes, the Big Three in any street-corner kiosk in Havana… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:02 am on April 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Eckhart Tolle, , ,   

    Buddhism, Gurus, and motivational mash-ups: caveat emptor… 

    IMG_0599I’m not trying to win any popularity contests, but if I were I’d be telling you things like: “You are the masterpiece! You are connected to every molecule, every atom, and every quark that has ever existed and ever will exist in this or any other universe! You are the dharma! You are the Christ! You are the reason that the sun rises in the morning and goes to bed at night…

    Yes, you are the vibrant and vibrating electromagnetic field for thousands of tiny energy centers pulsing away inside you, each in direct contact with you, each other, and the universe, simultaneously random and predetermined, quantum entanglement at its finest, you and the Big Bang in unison…” (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:25 am on August 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bashar, , , Eckhart Tolle, Lobsang Rampa, New Thought, , Now-ness, , , Theosophy   

    The Messy-onic Tradition, part 2: Eckhart and the Also-rans… 

    (Continued from here). I would consider Eckhart Tolle more of a genuine prophet than Deepak Chopra, and with a genuine message, however limited, a fairly well fleshed-out theory of ‘the Now’, but here, too, there is vagueness and also many tossed mixed metaphors conveniently confusing empirical facts with familiar fictions, not the same thing, and dangerously close to anthropomorphic representations of entities that are nothing if not God-substitutes…

    For example, what exactly does Tolle mean when he asks: “What Is It That The Universe Really Wants To Be Created Thru Me?” Is he implying that the ‘Universe’ is like a person with wants and desires? And there are other bothersome examples of vagueness: ‘NOW’, ‘Presence’, and ‘Consciousness’ are all offered in the same breath as equivalencies but still largely undefined, unfortunately…

    And then there are his ‘energy centers’. Google that if you want to get the address of your nearest marijuana dispensary in SoCal. ‘Nowness’ is his big deal, but that can lead to irresponsible hedonism, too, if not correctly applied… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 3:30 pm on August 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The Eckhart Tolle advice was good. I loved the way he paused before answering. So different from the usual blather from pundits.

    • hardie karges 5:20 pm on August 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, Eckhart is not bad at all…

    • NMF 2:28 pm on September 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      What I am discovering in all of this, is that all these teachers are teaching the same thing, spreading the same message, albeit in different ways. Namely: we are expressions of one divine spiritual energy, just in human form having a human experience and that is part of the great Universal Expansion. At the core of their teachings, they all point to the same thing: we are all messiahs, some in training, but all eventually awakening to the truth of who we are Light, Love and Life.

  • hardie karges 3:26 pm on June 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , colon, , Eckhart Tolle, Klee Irwin, , , ,   

    What is #Reality? #Buddhism, #Quantum #Physics or Colon Cleanser, hmmm… 

    Okay, so I have my frustrations from time to time, doubts about my direction and misgivings about my methods, wishing I were more successful and feeling powerless to do anything about it. After all, these things do work themselves out, don’t they? Yes, they do. The problem is that I know exactly what to write to make myself more popular, but it just wouldn’t be honest, so I just can’t do it…

    I know exactly what people want to hear: that we’re all connected, that you are the center of the universe, that you and I are intimately connected to every living organism that has ever existed on this earth, that this very moment is the eternal now, that this is the eternal wow, that every moment that has ever existed is encapsulated in this very moment without end, that we’re all in this together, that one day there will be a better day and a better place… (More …)

     
    • tiramit 8:25 pm on June 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for this ‘connection’. Wow, incredible video: “all time is affecting all time all of the time” – making it up as we go along…

    • hardie karges 9:53 am on June 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, indeed it seems that way, God help us…

  • hardie karges 7:02 am on June 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Eckhart Tolle, , , , , , Uncertainty Principle   

    #Buddhism and the #Uncertainty #Principle of #Nowness 

    img_0953There is no hotter topic in Buddhism these days, or New Age-y esoteric philosophy, than nowness—the Eternal Now, the Infinite Present Moment, etc.—not even mindfulness nor lovingkindness. This is at least partly due to Eckhart Tolle’s popularization of the topic, no doubt, but neither is there any doubt about where he got it, either—Buddhism and/or Hinduism…

    So I’ve got two questions in relation to this subject: 1) What exactly are we talking about, anyway, and 2) why is it so popular? Well, part of the problem with this issue is that it’s never really been defined, exactly what’s being referred to, as if that should be obvious, and any discussion would destroy some of its mystery, and hence some of its power, SO: I’m going to do the same, for the time being, and head to question number two… (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 12:27 am on June 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Hello HK,

      Great blog I very much appreciate your take on the uncertainty principle it rings very true for me.

      However I might add that thoughts are definitely allowed in meditation. There are teachings that tell us not only that they cannot or should not be avoided and that they actually can be used as tools on the way. A good example would be this. You are meditating and you have a thought that keeps coming back and distracting you from your object of meditation. What to do? Focus on this thought and watch where it comes from, where it stays for a while, and where it goes when it ceases to exist. In this way the thought becomes the object of meditation and you will realize that you cannot hold on to the thought any better than anything else. This is explained in detail by the 9 th Karmapa in the book “ocean of deep meaning”

      Have an amazing day,

      QP

  • hardie karges 6:34 am on October 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Eckhart Tolle,   

    Religion 210: Messiah Complex, God Simple… 

    img_0996I’ve seen fad religions and therapies come and go over the last forty years, alternative this and consciousness that, each one the newest and the latest and the most mystical and the most scientific, flooding in like water over the spillway, dripping on to ice and going nowhere fast, few of them any better than what was already here, but people want the novelty factor, apparently, so that’s that. And where are they all now? Scientology is the only survivor…

    But before Scientology there was EST and Eckankar and Rolfing and Polarity, Don Juan and Tensegrity, Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. And before that there were Tarot cards and Aleister Crowley, Annie Besant and Theosophy, Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science, the one I was brought up in, and now trending downward. And even before that there were Sufis and Kabalists, Rosicrucians and hashishins, Albigensians and Gnostics and Manicheans and Mahayana Buddhists, the only group that really ‘made it’… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:30 pm on July 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Eckhart Tolle, ,   

    Religion 222: Being and Nothingness, Atheism and Anthropomorphism—Putting a Smile on God’s Face… 

    “Given that Being, Consciousness and Life are synonymous, presence means consciousness realizing itself or Life achieving self-consciousness…” – Eckhart Tolle

    Huh? What? Anthropomorphism in the New Age is pretty much just as bad as what preceded it. We all know the atheist caricature of religion as consisting primarily of “an imaginary friend,” and the best arguments for atheism always centered for me around what were clear instances of assuming God to be some person or persona with desires and wishes and sufferings and blisses, and threats to be dealt with accordingly—obviously b*llsh*t.

    Michelangelo’s grey-haired patriarch with stolid gaze and fierce expression pretty much defined the look. The bad news is that the various ‘New Age’ manifestations of modern religion and ad hoc versions of Hinduism and Buddhism, fashioned more to modern Western tastes than traditional Asian scripts and scriptures, are not much better. (More …)

     
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