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  • hardie karges 7:13 am on April 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , enlightenment, , ,   

    Buddhism: Enlightenment on the Installment Plan 

    Someone who is truly enlightened would never make that claim for himself. But that is the situation in which we find ourselves, spreading the gospel of gentleness and kindness in a world that seems to reward only aggression and ego. So ‘spiritual bad-asses’ glory in their revelations and revel in their false righteousness, while the truly righteous among us go about their tasks mostly in silence, taking pleasure in their modest accomplishments and finding satisfaction in their commitment.

    And those tasks consist largely in service to mankind, in one way or another, feeding the hungry and housing the homeless, materially if not spiritually, at least for a moment, if not for a lifetime. Because truly there is no real difference between the two, such that it is hard to be truly enlightened if you’re truly hungry and it’s hard to be enlightened if you’re much too full. That sweet spot of enlightenment lies somewhere in between, as the Buddha himself brilliantly realized.

    And these realizations are at the heart of enlightenment, it not much more than that, really, in greater or lesser degree, so nothing necessarily metaphysical nor transcendent, not really, just the realization that we are here at a moment in history where consciousness is king, and the mechanics of enlightenment are insignificant. The only important thing is the realization: that we are all connected, however distant; that suffering is ever-present, but can be avoided and mitigated; that change is something to be welcomed, not feared; and that right living is always the best revenge, against the forces that would consume you. There are no enemies, not really…

     
  • hardie karges 8:40 am on March 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , enlightenment, , , , , Zeno;s Paradox   

    Buddhism in the Bardo: War is Hell 

    If you win an argument, then you haven’t really won much. If you win a battle, you’ve won even less. Nobody wins unless we all win. And this is especially true in times of war, when everything you love is on the table (“don’t swallow the cap”) and everything you love is out to sea (The National), and you’re lucky to even find a moment for a sniff between the tears, in which to catch your breath and convince yourself that life is worth living, despite any evidence to that effect.

    But instinct tells you to keep on keeping on, since to end it all is to end the process of deliberation, also, which is an unforgiveable sin, to end a narrative without closure, to end a story without a suitable reason for ending, which is tantamount to treason, and in violation of the ‘fourth-quarter clause’ which states that every game is winnable if given enough time and given enough grace, and given enough love scattered all over the place, such that any uncertain outcome at least carries with it the possibility of personal redemption, if not outright victory in battle.

    Or you could become a renunciant, in the purest sense, a rishi, or maybe a Jain, if you really need a name, in which none of these concerns should really concern us. After all, what could Putin do if Ukrainians simply refused to cooperate, letting him take whatever he wants, but ultimately refusing to cooperate in the slightest? If you’ve already renounced all family and possessions, then what leverage does he have over you? In this scenario, the ‘I’ at the center of your identity is nothing really, simply a pragmatic and conventional set of characteristics that makes it simpler to order dinner, without really proving much in the process.

    Or you could become a Buddhist, splitting the difference, until there is no difference left to split, like Zeno’s paradoxes, going halfway until you never really get anywhere, or at least not to any final destination. Because where is there to really go, now, anyway? So, you plant seeds in anticipation of a harvest, knowing full well and good that sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way, but so what? Sometimes thy cup runneth over, so hopefully it all balances out, if you know how to deal with that.

    Because the whole rap about ‘living in the present’ is so overblown as to remove much of its shine and luster, which is substantial. And it’s often credited to Buddhism, but I don’t remember the Buddha ever saying anything like that, though the lifestyle might imply it. But Jesus did, that rap about the birds not building barns, yet God still provides for them, EXCEPT that birds DO build barns, though we usually call them ‘nests.’ But that doesn’t mean that they have to be full.

    Our mantra in the West is to ‘live life to the fullest,’ and that is where we often go wrong. Because it neither has to be full nor empty. It merely has to be rewarding in its simplicity. But that is an act of consciousness. The recent discovery that most hippos die as virgins confirms the brute force with which the Alpha male often rules his little kingdom, and hams the harem, while the rest of us get sloppy seconds and a pocketful of tissues. But homo sapiens is defined by consciousness, so that won’t work. Now, somebody go tell Putin, before he kills us all. All he needs is Enlightenment…

     
  • hardie karges 4:22 am on November 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , enlightenment, , , , , salvation, skandha,   

    Buddhist Enlightenment on the Installment Plan… 

    Buddhism in Bhutan

    Don’t worry about salvation. That implies a soul to be saved. Enlightenment is plenty. Sabbe dhamma anatta. That means that all dharmas are without self, the word ‘dharma’ usually translated as ‘phenomena’ when plural, an innovation of the Abhidharma era. So this is a bit different from the original singular dharma, often translated as the ‘law’ or simply the eternal teachings, presumably sublime if not subtle, whether those of the Buddha or those from the Vedic Brahmanism which preceded him. What we call ‘Hinduism’ is what they call ‘Sanatan(a) dharma.’ Dhamma is the Pali form of the Sanskrit dharma, the language in which the earliest Buddhist teachings appear.

    But somewhere along the way the concept of salvation appears, and certainly after the time of Christ, they famous for that concept, though that does not necessarily imply causality. Because it also seems to come from a different place, far from the Buddhist birthplace of Buddhism in India, though they, too, with an all-encompassing and soulful atman, which is no doubt the source of the Buddha’s inspiration, in opposition to that concept. I first noticed salvation with my study of Zen, which could give it an origin in China or Japan, China certainly with significant Christian influence early on with the Silk Road Nestorians, though Japan had its own Christian influences later. Japanese Zen even somehow twists the non-self skandha ‘heaps’ of conditions of which we are all composed into an ersatz perfection from which we are all carved, very Christian Scientist.

    Go figure. But somehow, it’s all still Buddhism, even if the Mahayana ‘tradition’ went two vastly different directions from the center, Zen with its Dadaist koans and meditative trances, while Tibetan Vajrayana Mantrayana Tantrayana allows magic, mantras, and even sex, but most of all devotion, and karma, to influence that sacred path to Enlightenment. And enlightenment is the key concept here, for even if it lends itself to some juju and some woo-woo, it’s still likely preferable to the dubious concept of Nirvana, with its close connections to death, no matter how parinirvana your nirvana. Seems Kurt Cobain hit it on the head, after all. The concept of Nirvana seems to contradict the concept of the Middle Path, without much further discussion, as does the concept of bliss, since one extreme almost always leads to the other, while the center is the sweet spot of deliverance. That sweet spot is my Buddhism, all extremes avoided.

     
  • hardie karges 6:50 am on December 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , enlightenment, human zoo, , , , , type A,   

    Buddhism, taming the wild beast within… 

    IMG_1190

    Buddhism in Sri Lanka

    The zoo is one of my favorite analogies and metaphor for the human species, such that we tame ourselves and our worst impulses, in order to make of ourselves one great human zoo, a petting zoo, properly fed and cared for, so that the need to compete and the struggles with predators should be reduced to little or nothing…

    I know for a fact that two unrelated mammal species raised together from infancy can easily learn to accept each other for the mutual benefit of all, so cats’ and dogs’ need to fight is only learned behavior. Even in the savannas of Africa, at least in the protected areas, many if not most species have symbiotic relationships, such that none are subject to the regular predations of any one specific species–except man. So we are the main problem of violence on this planet, as much or more than any lions, tigers or bears… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:29 pm on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Your own experience here shows the power of adaptability we human beings have, though it can’t exactly have been plain sailing for you. Pride of ego has a lot to answer for, indeed, including our imagined superiority over the rest of life. A phrase I have particular problems with is ‘dog eats dog’. Mostly, they don’t …

    • hardie karges 9:03 pm on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I’m particularly struck by how young our civilization is, barely 10K years, and we’re at each others’ throats most of the time. As space becomes scarce, it’s really time for a new paradigm, which is fairly easy to imagine, really. The hard part is getting people to accept it!

  • hardie karges 4:07 am on November 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , enlightenment, moksha, nibbana, , philoosophy, , satori   

    Buddhist Enlightenment is Hard Work; Saving the Planet is even Harder… 

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    Kwan Yin (Kuan Im), Sino-Thai Bodhisattva

    I don’t think too much about Nirvana or satori, Nibbana or moksha or any of the other Promised Lands of Buddhism, simply because they seem to refer to another sphere or another dimension or another life which I have little interest in, when the problems of this life should be plenty to keep us busy for the foreseeable future…

    Because the hate and anger must stop here, grounded and defused and refused re-entry into the society of minds and hearts of men, egos run wild with apparent abandon and artificial stimulation. Enlightenment is probably not even about bliss at all. It’s probably hard work, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and true suffering, inflicted by the whims and wills of men with minds conditioned to inflict cruelty… (More …)

     
    • Alex 12:55 am on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I think Buddhists can have a very important place in commenting on politics as Buddhists – just needs to be done in a Buddhist way; from a place of loving kindness

      • hardie karges 1:11 am on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Maybe. But that’s a subject of much debate. And there are risks. Thanks for your comments.

        • Alex 1:15 am on November 26, 2018 Permalink

          There are risks to any actions as none are neutral, but I think we should still try. In a time of much hate and anger, we have a chance to try and change the tone 🙂

        • hardie karges 10:35 pm on November 26, 2018 Permalink

          We definitely should try to change the tone, no question about that, samma ditthi, samma vaca, etc…

    • Dave Kingsbury 5:02 pm on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      As always, Hardie, you achieve an unflinching PoV which seeks to include rather than avoid and employs common sense in a very down-to-earth way. Hard work that pays off, I’d say. And as you say, ‘Enlightenment is probably not even about bliss at all.’ Realism, perhaps?

      • hardie karges 10:30 pm on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thx, Dave. Theravada enlightenment may be about bliss, but not the Mahayana version, I’d say, gotta’ improve the status of others, also. Thanks for your comments…

        • Dave Kingsbury 1:52 am on November 27, 2018 Permalink

          My pleasure – no man is an island, to use John Donne’s words …

        • hardie karges 3:57 am on November 27, 2018 Permalink

          Indeed, haha… (guess I forgot to attribute the Shakespeare quote in my own post, or even put quotation marks, oops!)…

        • Dave Kingsbury 7:30 am on November 27, 2018 Permalink

          That Hamlet soliloquy is as good a summary of life/death as one might hope for.

  • hardie karges 6:53 am on April 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ecstasy, enlightenment, , , Wall Street   

    Now that I’m Buddhist: Where’s the Ecstasy? Where’s the Bliss? 

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    Buddhism in Sri Lanka

    Where’s the enlightenment available in four fashion-friendly colors and tested without harm to any animals? Shady men in rose-colored glasses sell hopes and dreams on semi-abandoned street-corners in Harlem, under dim lights, on the dark web, and in the dark corners of your mind, promising enlightenment and fulfillment, all at reasonable costs, but with no guarantees, no money back, no warranty implied or intended, you pay your money and you take your chances…

    No, I’m not talking about the latest designer drugs from the bathroom labs of Little Pharma, more like the latest New Age-y religious fads from the laptop labs of the Western Lands, in which you read a book, take a course, have a sit, make some new friends, do some yoga with the semi-naked guy and his six-pack flashing, and then wham! Bam! Presto change-o, you’re in a new dimension, of lights and colors and sounds you’ve never seen before… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:47 am on March 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , divine, , enlightenment, ,   

    Buddhism Redefined: In Defense of the Divine… 

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    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    It is almost an article of (non?) faith that sooner or later religion will lose its impetus and die, covered and buried by the very dust that it has gathered over the last few centuries, as if the only thing we need is one more app in the smart-phone to give us ultimate and infinite happiness, or one more notch on the bed-post to give meaning to a life in a world which may not otherwise have any…

    …as if the only reason for the existence of any religion was to tell us one more lie to justify the status quo of power incarnate in the body of the ruler, and secondarily to give us the trappings of knowledge, as best as could be surmised, at least a little bit, from the wise men of the ruling house, reading the stars and telling tall tales… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 5:40 pm on June 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Android, Apple, Download, enlightenment, Gil Scott-Heron, jazz, , television   

    #Buddhist #Enlightenment Will NOT be Downloaded, Downloadable—OR Televised… 

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    In Spires In Thailand

    Author’s note: in the style of Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will not Be Televised,” preferably with some light jazz music in the background…

    Enlightenment will not be delivered to your doorstep by drone, from Amazon flown and by PayPal paid, nor Bitcoin bought, but traded in kind and in species of the heartfelt kind, love and forgiveness and kindness and compassion and submission and surrender to that higher power that represents us all in the courtrooms of consciousness, and the guard posts of Godliness, the board rooms of the Bhagwan and the after-death chambers of pure heavenly delight, whipped and battered and dipped in divinity…

    But Enlightenment will not be downloaded…

    Enlightenment will not be brought to you in a half-time show of the 52nd annual Super Bowl Classic presided over by Beyonce’, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande in glorious female profusion as they strut their stuff in sequins and fluff, while smoke and mirrors huff and puff in reflections and other assorted shiny stuff all around them…

    But Enlightenment will not be downloaded… (More …)

     
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