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  • hardie karges 12:50 pm on May 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Echkart Tolle, Einstein, , Hawking, , , , , Wittgenstein,   

    Pandemic Sutra on the Concept of Change in Buddhism 

    The Buddha wasn’t perfect, and he knew that, regardless of the speculations of some later Mahayanists and their need for transcendent divinity of which the earthly manifestations are just that—nasty, mean, brutish, and short, like life with the sea serpent Leviathan of Hobbes without Calvin. Why else would he have referred to us as no-soul ‘heaps’ of inconsequential ‘skandhas’ with little to commend us but the causes and conditions to which we are subject and of which we are so much a part?

    Zen troublemakers took the Mahayana transcendental position a step further by claiming perfection for all of us, but I’m not sure how that works out except as a point of convergence with some Christian transcendentalists who also think similarly, and so might actually save the world from its own self-destruction if enough people from enough different places could ever agree on any one thing for long enough for us to stop fighting and allow the world to heal from our destructive abuse of it.

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  • hardie karges 12:26 pm on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brahmanism, , Carvakas, cosmological constant, Einstein, Gosala, , , , Nepali, Predeterminism, , ,   

    Karma, Rebirth, and the Middle Path of Buddhism 

    Karma is not a bank account. Karma is a way to live with right actions. That’s what the word means, in fact, simply ‘actions.’ But somewhere along the way the word got mixed up in the fashions of the day, in 6th to 8th century India, Before the Common Era, and the materialistic demands of the Carvakas in contrast to the predeterminism of Gosala, tutor to both the Buddha and Mahavira, 23rd Tirthankara of the Jains. They were of the extreme ascetic bent, of course, in which Emptiness literally means empty bellies, by willful design, to the point of inanition and even death, for lack of other inspiration.

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  • hardie karges 11:48 am on February 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Einstein, , , , , ,   

    Buddhism and Self in an (Almost) post-Apocalyptic World… 

    Self-control requires no self, and not much control, either, really, just wise decisions. Which is convenient, since the last thing a Westerner—European or American—wants to hear about is control, something of a dirty word for the Aryan-descended high-steppes drifters.

    My compatriots tend to love their freedoms, even when they are deleterious to health, to an extent that others might, and do, find laughable, witness the current kerfuffles over life-saving masks in the middle of a pandemic. But limits are crucial to Buddhism, in sharp antithesis to the Christianity of eternal life and eternal resources. Oops! That’s another bad word–limit.

    Bottom line: It isn’t what you do that matters so much; it’s what you don’t do. And if that kept me away from Buddhism for many years, perceived as a passive response to active situations, now it attracts me to it. Because now it really is better to do nothing than run around like decapitated barn-fowl in search of answers to questions we never should have asked in the first place.

    So what do we do about global warming? Do nothing, i.e. instead of driving that car: do nothing. Instead of stoking that chimney of steel: do nothing. Instead of shooting that rocket to Mars: do nothing. Get it? So what if our lives revert to the same economic status of one hundred years ago, was that so bad? All we’ve gained since then is technology-based capitalism, not knowledge.

    One hundred years ago, Einstein’s general theory of relativity was proven and quantum mechanics was in progress. The only thing good that’s happened after all that is Internet, so we can keep that and get rid of all the self-driving cars and self-driven egos. Internet is almost the only worthwhile technology of the last century, that and health care, something still out of reach for many world citizens.

    Yet we are obsessed with economic growth as though that were the English term for God, and freedom as if that were our contribution to the Emptiness that underlies all stuff (which it may very well be). The problem is that quest for infinity when we have no true connection to it, except for our worship of it. So worship we can do, as long as we don’t fancy ourselves the master of it. We’re not.

    We are subject to freedom and must obey its dictates. Oops! There’s another dirty word, no, not dictate, but ‘obey.’ This is anathema to the West almost more than control or limits, but crucial to our place in the universe. It may very well be inhuman to dictate, but very human to obey, like the good children we should all strive to be. And it may be very inhuman to try to control others, but the essence of humanity to try to control ourselves.

    For then harsh words will not be spoken, and harsh actions will not be taken. Sound too simple? Yes, it is, and the most difficult thing for us to accomplish, we raised on the sound and fury of argument and debate. But accomplish it we must, if we are to survive another century. Purify your heart. Purify your mind. Prepare for the coming storm.

     
  • hardie karges 6:20 am on September 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Einstein, , , reductios, , , ,   

    America, Buddhism, Logic and Einstein’s Equivalence Principle… 

    img_0953You know the American dream, the whole world does: two-story house and a two-car garage, two kids in the breakfast nook and the neighbor’s kids coming over later, God’s little acre in a sanctified suburb, full ownership and bulging bank accounts, stay-at-home mom and a rising-star dad, with a bachelor’s degree in business and a lotta’ backyard gossip, Saturday at the zoo and Sunday barbecue, PTA meetings and postman’s daily greetings, fried chicken and crispy French fries, milk shakes and apple pies…

    Also known as the Australian dream or Kiwi if you prefer, but only a quarter-acre there and the fries just might be pies, so be careful what you eat, otherwise just the same, with a down-under accent, big goofy grins on the chinny-chin-chins, a weekend in the outback, a maid in the kitchen, a promise of deliverance, and the assurance of no limits: neither sky nor sand nor seacoast nor sex, all-you-can-eat in a never-ending buffet of consumer goods, entertainment, sensations, but mostly money… (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 12:33 am on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Hardie with avoidance you certainly have the Theravadan view well encapsulated. Why else should one take 300 vows and live separately from many others but to avoid all that is potentially disturbing. In Mahayana and Vajrayana these so called disturbing emotions are actually the fuel for the fire that drives practice further and faster. There are several ways to see this is there not?

      QP

      • hardie karges 1:18 am on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Hi again QP: Absolutely. Yes, I love the Thai Forest Tradition, but see it best as the first step along the path, gotta’ re-enter the world at some point in order to save it, which is the highest goal IMHO. Mahayana is a bit fractured right now, though, so can’t help but think that there must be a new paradigm evolving, to account for all the world changes of the last 1000 years, which Buddhism mostly hasn’t answered yet. I don’t know that Secular Buddhism is the answer, but I definitely think it’s part of the discussion. Most religions abhor uncertainty, but I think the capacity for a true dialectic is one of Buddhism’s strengths, fingers crossed. Thanks for your comments…

  • hardie karges 6:57 am on August 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Be Here Now, , Einstein, Eternal Now, , Mahavira, , Paul Tillich, , Vaibhasikas   

    Buddhist Dilemma #2: If Now-ness = Here-ness, Does Mindfulness = No Travel? 

    img_1661Baba Ram Dass’s famous period piece, and start of his career as motivational and spiritual guru, was ‘Be Here Now’, of course, but these days most people concentrate on the Now-ness, and forget about the ‘Here-ness’. That was hardly his Big Idea, anyway, the idea batted around in Buddhism since time immemorial, reiterated by Hinduism, and immortalized by Christian existentialist theologian Paul Tillich as ‘The Eternal Now’ long before Ram Dass’s book hit the shelves (author’s note: back then books sat on shelves)…

    Back in the Abhidharma days of Buddhism, one ‘school’, Sarvastivadins I believe, or maybe ‘Vaibhasikas’, not sure, even came up with an atomistic conception of time, in which time, indeed, was composed of unique units, and supposedly capable of measurement, which gives some historical support to the concept of precise present moment(s). And this concept of ‘thought-moments’ lives on in some traditions of Buddhism… (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 1:53 am on August 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Moments “For once we know it then it is past, ” I think you are missing the point here. Maybe we don’t need to know it but just stay in it without grasping at the last or the next?

      Secondly, no matter where you go, there you are. It’s unavoidable when you think about it like this.

      QP

      • hardie karges 2:27 am on August 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Maybe, indeed. Grasping, no, certainly not. And that is definitely the role and goal of meditation, to suspend all narratives, for me at least, which I heartily encourage, the ‘bedrock’ of my Buddhism. My point is that ‘eternal now’ better describes and defines the present time than ‘present moment’, at least for me, and apparently confirmed by scientific convention. When Einstein formulated ‘space-time’ and postulated time as the fourth dimension, he wasn’t joking, and it’s interesting that it is one dimension, not three, and often portrayed in a linear fashion. So no, it’s not necessary to ‘know’ the past, but it can help to navigate the future, as a reference point, if nothing else. I’m not a big fan of ‘no-thought’ Buddhism, whether Thich Nhat Hanh or Suchart Abijato, i.e. Mahayana or Theravada, and the first time I heard a Thai Forest monk describe thinking as ‘kilesa’, i.e. defilement, I frankly couldn’t believe it, still can’t. I’ll never subscribe to that, and I don’t think the Buddha would, either: right thinking, not no thinking. Secondly, did you ever read the classic 70’s travel guide, “People’s Guide to Mexico”? That was their slogan: “Wherever you go, there you are”! Thanks for your comments…

        • quantumpreceptor 3:10 am on August 27, 2018 Permalink

          No I have never read the people’s guide to Mexico. But now I know where it comes from. I agree on the right vs no thinking. Many Buddhists think they only have attachment to things but actually it’s our thoughts that really counts. To observe thoughts without attachment is a skill worth knowing.

          Have a great day

  • hardie karges 7:30 am on September 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Einstein, , , , , Reimann, tenses   

    Barefoot Buddhism, Chasing the NOW… 

    IMG_0738‘NOW’ is a buzzword equal to or greater than any other these days in New Age thought, ersatz Buddhist philosophy or joint-less meditations on the human condition, foregoing the deep ruminations on inner conditions and outer connections in favor of a lighter and more superficial treatment of the matters at hand: love, peace and happiness. And I like it, BUT…

    What is it exactly? ‘Nowness’ is usually described as ‘this present moment’, but that only begs the question of whether there is such a thing or not, and if so, then WTF are we really talking about, i.e. what is it? Now we know that it is a convenient shorthand in grammatical tenses, but that means little or nothing, since in many languages the present serves mostly as a generalized non-tense, more than any one specific moment… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 1:35 pm on September 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Sent me straight back to TS Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ … here’s part of the opening, which suggests more than it solves. Yours, for me, covers more ground.

      Time present and time past
      Are both perhaps present in time future
      And time future contained in time past …
      … What might have been and what has been
      Point to one end, which is always present.
      Footfalls echo in the memory
      Down the passage which we did not take
      Towards the door we never opened
      Into the rose-garden.

    • hardie karges 4:38 pm on September 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, cool, thx, never read that…

  • hardie karges 5:16 pm on December 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Einstein, ,   

    Philosophy and Physics: Conundrums and Continuums… 

    img_1034The conundrum of existence is that consciousness inhabits flesh, some how some way, or that flesh possesses consciousness, if viewed from the opposite perspective, inside out upside down, impossible to say which came first, or whether they came simultaneously like all the best sex, though the material paradigm always takes precedence in the material world…

    If I told you that the obvious answer to the conundrum of existence is to blow your brains out—immediately—then you’d naturally assume I’m suicidal or worse, manic depressive or maniac oppressive, some schizo or combo, all of the above, and I’d say I’m the same as you, just not your installment plan, one drink one smoke at the time, until death do us part… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 10:03 am on December 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Einstein, , , , ,   

    The New Religion: Science (and the speed of light as the threshold to heaven) 

    LGBTQA’s like to talk about how they often feel ‘trapped in this body’, generally referring to a male in a female body or vice versa, but aren’t we all ‘trapped in this body’? Isn’t it almost an axiom of Christianity that our souls are trying to be free? Isn’t that why we’re all here, looking for something more, something different, something ‘spiritual’ if not holy religious, some philosophical succor on an otherwise average Sunday, which could be used for the counting of our monies were it not for some lingering Judeo-Christian-Islamic notion of a Sabbath to be kept sacred, not scared and not working?

    I mean: there’s nothing wrong with this world of five or so senses, nothing except for the fears, hatred, frustrations and cruelty, that is, but full of undeniable beauty, also, e.g. nature in all its splendor and grandeur. But still: isn’t there something more, just behind our reach, right behind the projection screen, almost touchable almost ‘feel-able’ if not quite audible visible or smell-able—okay, so maybe smell-able… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 11:36 am on November 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Einstein, , , ,   

    THEORIES OF EVUH’ THANG (I f***ing love philosophy) 

    Yes, I sometimes poke fun at those wannabe scientists who claim to ‘f*cking love’ it, but who usually know little or nothing about it, just enough to act superior to die-hard Biblical Creationists, easy enough for sure, but who usually settle for an ad hoc poorly-thought-out scantily-clad pseudo-sci-fi proudly-proclaimed atheism-cum-religion, accent on the cum, that frequently involves tweaking the meds just right, usually strong enough to strip the polish off my spit-shined hiking boots, caffeine my drug of choice, just sayin’…

    It’s not that I don’t love science; I do. I just never knew what it had to do with my sex drive, or lack thereof. Wait a minute; oh, right. Anyway it’s nice to have two movies featuring Big Science up on the movie screens at the same time, which gives us four physicists, instead of the usual two, in the public spotlight, Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne added to the usual one-two punch of Michio Kaku and Neil deGrasse Tyson, (and then there’s that guy with the big smile, from San Francisco, I think).  Bizniz is good, I guess.

    There was a time when philosophy and physics were the same activity—thinking, observing, analyzing, deducing—but that’s been a while, sometime after Descartes and before Wittgenstein, I guess, Russell and Whitehead being something of a last gasp at reconciling at least the math (abstract) side of science with the logical (concrete) side of philosophy. They are much the same thing, after all, notwithstanding Hawking’s diss of philosophers’ math skills; guess he never read Leibniz.

    But when science loses its connection to common language, it just may be getting off on an irresponsible tangent. Or maybe I’m being pessimistic. I mean, it would be nice if Science could save us and the planet, as suggested in ‘Interstellar’, but if that depends on ‘worm-holes’, then I’d maybe prefer some more Green Science here on Earth, instead. Theoretical physics is nice, but just that—theoretical; and as often as not, a mathematical convenience, best explained by the dictum, “it works.” End of story…NOT.  Wormhole that.

    Quantum mechanics is so foreign to common sense that relativity is considered ‘classical’. It works, but we have little possibility of imagining it. Relativity can be visualized; Einstein did. Curved space? No problem. But faster-than-light tachyons that can only slow down to light speed…maybe? Meh—better keep that day job, just in case. But Einstein’s failure to embrace quantum mechanics, partly his creation, may still suggest some problems with the theory, not just with Einstein, the old fuddy-duddy.

    One of Einstein’s lesser-heralded (but most accepted) ideas (can’t remember the name) was that the laws of physics operate the same any time all the time anywhere everywhere in the universe. Sounds simple, and I don’t think it’s ever really been questioned, but what if it’s not true? What if we’re in a little isolated pocket of the universe (or consciousness) where things do not operate normally? And no, we don’t need God for this, though any and all help is welcome, haha.

    Let’s say for example that our world is something of a ‘construction zone, observe posted speeds (double fines in effect), etc.’ In other words, what if the observable universe has flows and eddies (or IS such; and no, not the classic rock duo), ‘slow lanes’ so to speak, in which things happen at less than the speed of light, which would seem to be the norm for this dimension, or at least the next (observable) one, and which might define spirituality as well as light and electricity. That just might give you frequencies that you can touch. Sound familiar?

    It sounds feasible, doesn’t it, that Nature—and Reality—might operate at differing levels of efficiency? If we know that, then we can account for it as an anomaly… unless we’re in the middle of the anomaly. Then everything else seems weird and unexplainable, e.g. the universe expands at ever increasing speeds. The Big Bang. Gravity. Physicality. Stuff. Weird. Welcome to the slow cool world. Such is life—in time, and space…

    But what if reality is essentially spiritual, composed of waves that act like particles (hehe) and particles that act like waves (oops), a transcendental stew of light and electricity—and us—all swirling and whirling and hitting the road at the speed of light, we know not where? Now I’m no scientist by trade, but I’m betting that if spirituality is the answer you want, then the questions you ask become simpler. Or not. Just a thought. Welcome to my lumpy gravy theory of the universe. I’m hungry.

    (Einstein, Jesus and Plato are probably my favorite thinkers of all time, BTW, one’s thought experiments, the other’s parables and the latter’s dialogs equivalent in my mind to the finest things that a human mind is capable of–smartphone optional)

     
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