Tagged: eternity Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 11:43 am on March 18, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , eternity, , , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism 499: Suffering doesn’t have to be so sad…  

    Suffering does not mean sadness, maybe in Nepali language, but not in Buddhism. This is one of the lessons, and this is one of the discussions, about what the word ‘dukkha’ really means, and what that means for us. Many pandits try to redefine it variously as ‘stress,’ ‘disappointment,’ ‘dissatisfaction,’ ‘spot of bother,’ haha, or various and sundry other things, but in most modern SE Asian languages the word indeed is usually best translated as ‘suffering,’ however minor or apparently insignificant, which sometimes earns Buddhism the rap as pessimistic.  

    What IS significant is that you will one day die, or simply expire, from this life in this world, and whether anything goes on after that is a matter of sober conjecture. But that IS a limit to your free will and your open skies and your desire for the Christian myth of abundance. For if there is indeed an infinity and/or an eternity, then it is surely empty, and that can indeed be beautiful, just as can the various limits placed upon it. For what is a work of art if not a limit, or definition, of reality, and what is a song? They are nothing if not sublime limits placed upon an undefined eternity. 

    Thus, suffering need not be so cruel. For me it is little more than life in passive voice as much or more than active, if those grammatical terms still have meaning for you. They do for English language literary agents, I assure you, and passive voice is largely prohibited, while in Asian academic circles, it is almost required. Go figure. But I’m not advocating passivity, and that is what kept me from Buddhism for many years, the passivity that I perceived in Thailand. As always, the truth lies in the Middle Path, and the subtle balance between aggression and renunciation. There is always a way forward without resorting to extremes… 

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

    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…

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

    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 10:03 am on January 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , eternity, , MAGA, , , , , Shaivite,   

    Buddhism and the Limits of Control… 

    Self-control isn’t really about controlling anything. It’s about right actions. And this is an important distinction for Western audiences, who simply abhor any limit to their supposed freedoms, whether real or imagined, whether they be MAGA-hat-wearing Trumpists or Buddhists who refuse to give up the Christian core which promises them eternal life.

    So all of a sudden rebirth doesn’t sound so bad, notwithstanding the fact that for most traditional Buddhists that is a curse, not a gift. Nevertheless, we must plead ‘skillful means,’ in order to save the seeker from the grips of false doctrine, whether Muslim or Shaivite, and so admit them into the fold, then work out the details later.

    And in fact a world with no limits is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on unsuspecting adherents to Christianity, Capitalism, and Democracy, but that is our fate, and now we must deal with it. It was instrumental in getting men to the moon, and now we must figure out how to save the earth that they left behind. It created the fires of industry, and now we must figure out how to put the fires out.

    Still the eternalists never give up, assuring us that there are more of us out there somewhere in the Universe, with not one shred of evidence to support it. Like Trumpsters counting votes in absentia, the statisticians count humans by virtue of logic, not math. But the only thing infinite is Emptiness, and that is not the World. That is the possibility that there might be a world.

    Once there actually is a world of perception and cognition and stuff, then it is immediately limited by its very existence and its imminent death. So it is simply better to accept the profound limits of human existence, rather than talk about them, since that might make some people sad, that they may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and so forth, and so on.

    And so it is with control. That implies a limit on freedom, so people don’t want to hear about it. They want to hear that they are the center of the universe, and can do whatever they damn well please, torpedoes be damned at the same time. There’s only one problem: it’s a lie. Limits define us, by definition, and so are profound, and to be embraced, for that is the predestination that is so often secretly desired, almost as much as infinity, the two concepts of which are mutually exclusive, infinity and predestination.

    It’s almost like the Buddhists who believe in reincarnation at the same time that they believe in the present moment. You can’t do that, not without egregious assaults to fundamental logic and basic agreement of terms. And so avoidance of wrong actions is every bit as important as the execution of right actions. And if that is control, then so be it. Truth is more than a balanced equation. It is a balanced life…

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc