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  • hardie karges 10:58 am on January 7, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , emptiness, , , , , , ,   

    Buddhist Emptiness and the Path to Infinity… 

    Christians cling to abundance the way that Mahayana Buddhists cling to Emptiness. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. So, the appearance of exact conceptual opposition may be more apparent than real. Or maybe I’m obsessed with the reconciliation of these two opposites. The short story on Buddhist shunyata, i.e. ‘Emptiness’ (maybe not the best translation), is that it’s a logical conclusion to the previous early Buddhist insistence on anatta, i.e. ‘non-self’, in which not only is a permanent non-changing self not real, but in fact nothing is now real, not in the sense of something permanent.

    The problem is that the next logical conclusion to the previous logical conclusion is the very illogical conclusion that nothing is real in any sense, which is likely far from what the Buddha intended, thus leading to Zen, non-dualism, and other ersatz religions perfect for artists, intellectuals, and other spiritual seekers for whom simple silent meditation will never be enough. And I mean no insult to them, for whom I hold much sympathy and synchronicity, only that such lofty metaphysics are best for debates and dialectics, not for universal belief systems that might change the course of civilization.

    And to do that we’ll need to somehow reconcile the apparent opposites of West and East, Christianity and Buddhism. Emptiness might help here. For Christians are as obsessed with Infinity and Eternity (read ‘no limits’) as they are with abundance, an obvious similarity. You want infinity? Want eternity? Want a world without limits? No problem, it’s all around you. There’s only one problem: it’s empty. If you want stuff, then restrictions apply. Now if we can only sell Christians on the concept of conceptual abundance, not physical stuff, then we might have something. Stay tuned…

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  • hardie karges 10:41 am on January 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , by-passing, emptiness, , hungry ghost, , observer effect, , , , ,   

    Buddhism and the Observer Effect… 

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

    The more you look for the beauty in this world, the more that you will find. Which, if that sounds self-intuitive, is certainly worth a reiteration, and possibly, a fresh new look. Because, the danger is to take this intuitive truth to its illogical conclusion, and thereby decide that nothing truly exists. This is what the ‘non-dualists’ and even some Buddhists do, and in making a conundrum of existence, essentially make it non-workable, in that nothing gets done, simply because there is no longer any reason to do it…

    The subjective nature of perception is obvious and its contribution to our further conceptions of reality well-documented in the ‘observer effect,’ which makes a mockery of measurement, and, in return, our reliance on science. But does that mean that all Science is unreliable? No, of course not. Does that mean that there is no objective truth? Not necessarily. Does that mean that ‘Buddhism is True?’ Haha, silly book title…

    The cognitive bias of our own subjectivity is itself measurable and can usually be factored into any equation that lends itself to a margin for error. And, considering that the effect shows up in physics, psychology, and even sociology, its impact is notable. That is, like gravity, it can not only bring us down, haha, but it can bend and distort the very nature of our existence. But, what does this have to do with Buddhism?

    Buddhism, especially in its earliest days, long before Emptiness and Zen and Hungry Ghosts, was known mostly for its training of the mind, for the simple purpose of taking a sad situation and making it better, simply by readjusting the usual reactions. And, while this can subject Buddhism to charges of ‘bypassing’ and passivity, it can also have good results to great effect. Regardless, the important point is to balance this with empirical objective information for best results. The world tends to look best at sunrise and sunset, as every photographer knows, wink wink, something about the nature of light and our need for it. Happy New Year!

     
  • hardie karges 8:33 am on July 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , emptiness, , , Magi, magic, , ,   

    Buddhism 498: Emptiness is the Path to Infinity 

    If you’re doing it right, then one day a sense of calmness will come over you, as the zeroes take over, and the fractions become less, a mind divided unable to reproduce itself properly, and the ensuing life even less. Because language knows no natural limit, and so will run on until stopped, vowels and consonants forming verbs and nouns like chickens and eggs, and no one knows which came first, since no one was taking notes in a class too crowded for convenience and too full for breath…

    But people wonder why meditate, since there’s so little time and so little space, that to waste any extra must certainly be counter-intuitive, but, in reality, the exact opposite is the case. Because meditation creates more time and more space in the process of killing it, such that if you really want to experience infinity, then the only way to do that is with emptiness.

    Because infinity cannot exist full of stuff, and that is fundamental to the concept, and who would want it anyway, except a kid at Christmas before the sun’s even up, learning the false lesson of abundance under the magic of the Magi, who got lost on the way to Bethlehem, but couldn’t see any reason to let a good story go to waste? So, a kid in a manger becomes the unlikely savior of humanity, when all we really wanted was a full belly and an empty mind, empty of hate and anger, with Big Ideas optional.

    But we can do that on command with a little silence and a lot of discipline, let the confusion die down and out, and be reborn in spirit every hour of every day with a little self-control and a lot of kindness, creating a world of forgiveness and reconciliation, instead of aggression and competition, for access to scarce resources, to create even more, when the obvious answer is to first consume even less. And that is the difference between Buddhism and Christianity, to consume less or produce more, when the truth lies somewhere in between.

     
  • hardie karges 4:50 am on March 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , emptiness, , , , ,   

    Buddhism: Life in the Slow Lane… 

    It’s okay to enjoy life, even love it, and still be a good Buddhist, as long as you don’t pretend to possess or attach, crave or covet. Because, even if Buddhism is a religion of renunciation, at its origins, and at the core of its being, it is still pragmatic and rational in its acknowledgement that the average life, for the average householder, must be properly maintained and nourished if any of us are to even have anything to renounce. Renunciation, after all, is not poverty. It is a conscious rejection of the supercilious aspects of human existence that lend it its falseness, and which tend to reduce us to its servants, not its masters.

    Because the master of human existence is the one who can take it or leave it, in its fullness or its emptiness, each of which is valid and credible, neither of which is complete in and of itself, and both of which can serve as valuable paradigms toward fulfillment in the right place and in the right time, the details of which are to be established later. Because Buddhism is nothing if not a fertile middle ground for resettlement, after all the thrusts and forays of penetration and conquest have run their course. Those are but illusions, after all, while the real stuff of life is to be found not in articles of consumption, but in the abstract concepts that occupy thought, feeling, and action. There is nothing mystical about Buddhism in its essence. The Middle Path is all about rationality, ratios, and rations…

     
  • hardie karges 6:41 am on March 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , emptiness, , , ,   

    Hawking’s Paradox and Buddhism: Emptiness Ain’t so Empty… 

    Continued from July 4, 2021…

    Buddhism is not a religion of passion. So, there’s no reason to get excited. Unless you’re talking about ‘passion’ in the classic Biblical sense of ‘suffering,’ in which case Buddhism certainly recognizes that sort of passion. But that’s not what Westerners, usually Christian born-and-bred, usually mean. And so, as language mutates over time, so does culture. Christianity’s foundation as a religion built on suffering gradually becomes a religion based on “living life to the fullest,” which is all well and good, if you are prepared to accept the consequences. But Buddhism is all about living life to the Emptiest, and that doesn’t mean Nothingness. It means no craving or grasping.

    On the contrary Emptiness is the only glimpse of Infinity and Eternity that we can have in this life, in this world. Because a world of stuff is by definition limited, to this and that and the other, things countable and categorizable. Emptiness, on the other hand, has no limits. There’s only one problem, if you’re into stuff: it’s empty. But can it be perceived? Yes, I think it can. But it can’t be consumed, not in the way that we consume sights and sounds and love on the rebound. That is the world of stuff. But that world is secondary. Without the Emptiness that contains it, that world is not even possible. Emptiness is a vessel, and thus more important and primal than the stuff that it contains—including your illusory self…

     
  • hardie karges 7:46 am on February 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , emptiness, , , , ,   

    Advanced Buddhism: Silence is not Violence 

    Buddhism in Bhutan

    Words once spoken cannot be taken back. Actions once committed cannot be retracted. Silence is better than violence. But this contradicts one of the slogans of the Black Lives Matter movement, of course, that ‘Silence is Violence,’ which, no matter how much I sympathize with that movement, is simply mistaken, as a matter of fact, and definition, not opinion nor political orientation. Of course the BLM people were not thinking of meditative silence, so we’re discussing apples and oranges, really, no matter that silence is strictly still silence, no matter the circumstance. Emptiness is another matter. When the Russian figure skater said she felt ‘empty,’ she wasn’t talking about shunyata, I don’t think.

    It’s almost hard to believe now, but not so long ago, to ‘break the silence’ was a symbol of progress, the buzz of saws and the whir of wheels almost synonymous with the concept of progress, in fact. This was largely due to the influence of the Industrial Revolution, of course, the effects of which are still being calculated each and every day, though now perhaps in a more negative sense, given its almost single-handed cause of what we call Global Warming. Global Warmongering began long before and was probably far more brutal than anything that we can even imagine today, whole villages and towns raided and leveled for the lack of ability to hold ground against the superior technology—horses.     

    So, silence is the way of Buddhism, in more ways than one. Not only is it the foundation of meditation, bit it is the right hand to shunyata, the Emptiness that underlies all existence, the vessel that contains the stuff that we associate with reality, but which isn’t, not really. The vessel is more real than all the stuff inside, whether we call it that or call it light and gravity, or another quark for Mister Mark. The point is that there are things more fundamental to reality than all the stuff we see every day. And silence is more fundamental than all the noise we create. On a more personal level, you don’t need to be aggressive to show displeasure. I recommend the silent treatment. It’s better than the violent treatment.

     
  • hardie karges 11:24 am on July 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , emptiness, , inanition, , , , , , , , ,   

    The Rocky Middle Path of Buddhism in America… 

    “Give me liberty or give me death” is America’s battle cry for independence, of course, as so brilliantly elucidated by Patrick Henry, and seconded by many others, notably the license plate slogan ‘Live Free or Die,’ among many others of similar emotion. And by ‘America’ I mean the USA, not the lower 40, though they are largely complicit, as is Europe the mother country, in the case of North America, which lacks the large indigenous base of many of the other more southern countries. Even Mexico is around 65% indigenous the last time I checked.

    And freedom is all well and good, as long as we know the details of the liberties and freedoms referred to, but which can be detrimental, and even deadly, if left for imaginations to run wild and machinations to double down in derailing the original intent of a simple life without a lord and master to serve at every beck and call. So now we consider mask-lessness as an inalienable right, even during a pandemic, ditto vaccines, and any restriction on movement during the same world emergency to be a violation. So the Western insistence on freedom to the maximum extent comes very close to an implicit death wish.

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  • hardie karges 8:36 am on July 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , emptiness, , , , , , , , ,   

    Musings on the Buddhist Concept of Shunyata: Emptiness Ain’t So Empty… 

    Stephen Hawking was famous for saying that ‘Black holes ain’t so black,’ and so the title here is more than a little bit coincidental, and in fact quite intentional, because the meanings of the two concepts—black holes and ‘shunyata’—are quite similar. Because if the Buddhist concept of ‘shunyata’ is usually translated as ‘emptiness,’ then that is by an English layman’s choice, and is not necessarily the best choice. And if that choice supposes that Buddhism is nihilistic, and that life is meaningless, then nothing could be further from the truth.

    For Buddhism, and Indian philosophy in general, in fact has a long rich and varied history, and every bit the equal of its Greek counterpart on the other side of the great divide between East and West, even if the former is perhaps more spiritual and the latter more materialistic. But they share much common ground for thought, and this is probably no accident, considering that they both shared the northern steppes for a few thousand years and probably shared a few long discussions and debates before blazing campfires, in a proto-Indo-European language, before going their separate ways some 6-8000 years ago.

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  • hardie karges 11:32 am on April 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , emptiness, , , , ,   

    Buddhism and the Limits of Freedom… 

    Self-control is a valuable tool, a wonderful trait, and a noble quality. But control of others? Not so much. And this is a sticking point for many Western Buddhists, who cringe at the thought of any sort of control, it being anathema to the Western traditions of freedom and democracy, however ill-conceived and ill-defined. This obsession with freedom arose in response to the tyranny of rulers, so that is the sordid background upon which our story must unfold. It is also the justification for many a disproportionate response which must then invite further repercussions, in an almost endless back-and-forth see-saw of emotions and cataclysms which define the modern history of humankind.

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  • hardie karges 12:00 pm on April 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , emptiness, ,   

    Bi-polar No-lock Pandemic Sutra… 

    Once upon a time there were only two continents in the World, East and West. They were similar in many ways, but the way in which they were most different were their ways of thinking, especially abstract thinking. For instance, the West saw the world and life as something that should be full to overflowing, with everything, of course, apparently related to their belief in limitlessness, infinity, eternity, depending on the context, and most eloquently: Abundance, as the norm. The East, on the other hand, saw Emptiness as the norm, with profound acceptance of limitations, that were at one and the same time as beautiful as they were comforting, as reassuring as they were defining.

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