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

    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 11:48 am on February 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , equanimity, global warming, , Jataka, , thought experiment   

    Thought Experiment: Reverse Karma and the Limitations of Intent… 

    Sometimes our worst enemy can teach us more than our best friend. This is one of the secondary principles of Buddhism, derived directly from the foundations, if not stated explicitly therein. So it is a kind of reverse karma, in which things happen as a result of causes, but not in any precise order. Karma is not a simple law of cause and effect, after all, if it is a law at all. It is a law of indirect effect, or extended effect, beyond the immediacy of action and reaction, which is simple classical physics, or simple free enterprise: you give me some money, and I’ll give you a product.

    Karma, if it exists, must be something more than that. For example: you give me some money, and I’ll guarantee that you get something back far and away more than you ever expected, and at a time to be determined later (I accept all currencies, by the way). And so it is with my idea of Reverse Karma, something similar to that often expressed by Tibetan Buddhists in general, and the Dalai Lama, in particular. And this is not surprising, because Tibetan Buddhists seem to be the most attracted and attached to the concept of karma.

    But there’s one important difference in the karma that I accept and the karma that so captures the Tibetans: this life. My karma exists only in this life, which is the only one I know, and which is the only one knowable, IMHO. The Tibetans, and many others, perhaps most inspired by the Jataka tales of the Buddha’s many lives, believe in the constant recycling of lives and consciousness, thinly disguised souls looking for succor.

    I limit my endeavors to this this life and this world, which is only consistent, after all, if you are a ‘present moment’ Buddhist, now, isn’t it? You know ET’s ‘Power of Now’ and all that rap, right? Not a bad way to go. And so it is with Reverse Karma, at least as I envision it. The Tibetans may have other ideas (but let’s leave Lobsang Rampa out of it, okay?)

    So if karma is all about your actions, then Reverse Karma, in my thought experiment, is all about your reactions, i.e. being the recipient of actions, not the actor, or doer, yourself. And this is a lot trickier, if you stop to think about it. Because you may well be very certain about what you want to do in this life, but how can you be certain about what to receive from others, when you have no idea what that will be, or when that will be? You can’t. As an individual you can’t, nor as a group can we.

    Most of us know that we need to do something about Global Warming, but few of us know the best way to go about it. Yet some will survive, and others likely won’t, regardless of the fact that we share a planet. So if we only knew which group or groups would most likely survive, then we could ally ourselves with them. That is one way Reverse Karma could work. Another way is the well-known ‘Butterfly Effect’ of Chaos Theory, in which a random action simply sets off a chain reaction of almost totally unrelated events.

    The point is: Reverse Karma is the ultimate test of equanimity, a balanced and composed mind, even in the most difficult of circumstances. Sound familiar? Therefore we must be open to all actions as being ultimately the best of circumstances, regardless of implied intent and ascribed emotions. One more word about rebirth: it has been said that we should be open to it, and that is true. But we should also be open to non-rebirth and that is the problem, because the ‘re-birthers’ are bending over backwards to double down on it. But that is for another day and maybe even another life. We are all going to die, after all, that is true, but not today…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:05 pm on February 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I wonder if karma for a ‘present moment’ Buddhist could be the accumulated richness and connectivity of life as it plays out? Ripeness is all, to quote the Bard! Just a thought from an amateur in such matters …

    • hardie karges 3:10 pm on February 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, I like it! There’s always a place at the table for the Bard…

  • hardie karges 8:25 am on June 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: capitalist, , , , , , global village, global warming, , , small planet, , totalitarian   

    #Dialectic Burrito Deluxe: #Marx or #Hegel, Tortilla or Bagel… 

    Marx and Hegel are almost (almost!) equally famous for their dialogues and dialectics, with themselves and others, materialism and idealism respectively, thesis antithesis synthesis, history somehow some way marching forward zig-zag drunkenly, reconciling opposites into higher syntheses supposedly, like a ball rolling downhill, picking up speed, bouncing from side to side, before finally choosing a middle course out of entropy as much as any conscious decision-making progress…

    And so we do just that, apparently, nomadic hunter-gatherers until we had the ways and means to settle down with plants and animals, sedentary farmer-herders until we had the ways and means to build elaborate cities with specialized skills, accomplished artisans-craftsmen until we had the ways and means to sell beyond our local ‘hood, market-based buyers-sellers until we had the ways and means to go long distances, peripatetic merchant-travelers until we had the ways and means to mass-produce anywhere any time… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:25 am on March 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , global warming   

    Buddhism, Global Warming, and the Fall of Amerika… 

    img_1572

    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    It’s sad, watching the Macy’s Parade Rose Parade, Orange Bowl Sugar Bowl Cotton Bowl, Thanksgiving Christmas New Year and the 4th of July, in celebration of past paradigms and failed promises, derived from failed premises, the celebration of a dying nation and a dying paradigm. The American century is long dead and gone, that twentieth one of the Common Era, probably best described as “fun fun fun while we bomb the hell out of Vietnam…”

    And the world weeps with us, for all our dreams lie broken and shattered like so many shards in some future midden, detritus left for future archaeologists to figure out. I can hear them now: “I wonder what happened. Why did they self-destruct? Couldn’t they see what was happening all around them?” (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:03 am on February 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , eggs, global warming, Inuits, , Vikings   

    Buddhism, Global Warming and the Guy Who Loved Fried Eggs… 

    img_1893

    Buddhist Temple in Myanmar

    I know what you’re thinking: that this is a story about someone who loved fried eggs so much that he wanted to see if Global Warming would fry one for him, maybe on the sidewalk, as the old saying goes, only to find that he died before he could even finish eating it…

    No, not bad, but no Havana for you. No, this a true story—two true stories, actually—the first about a tourist in my hotel in Yangon, Myanmar last month, who I had the pleasure of watching over the course of a half hour in the breakfast buffet line. Now most hotels there give Western tourists a standard breakfast of toast and eggs, usually made to order. But this was Chinese businessman style, hence the buffet–nice… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 3:02 pm on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , global warming, push button,   

    Push-button Society, al borde de un ataque de nervios… 

    That’s what we Americans are, a push-button society, coddled and cuddled, just push a button for everything, then don’t even wait for the results, just assume that the button delivers the goods as ordered, even more so now that we’re all digital, with digital demands and digital expectations, virtual commands and virtual libations, all bundled in one perfectly-priced package and displayed for consumption…

    These buttons all connect to machines, off course, machines designed to make our lives better, supposedly, but in reality divorcing us from the very source of our own being, Nature, while killing that very source, too, so to leave us with nothing, eventually, no machines and no Nature, either, victims of our own excess, and our own unreasonable expectations. Hey, at one point, there were even push-button cars, trying to get women interested, I suppose, by allowing you to shift gears by button. Remember counter-top blenders? (More …)

     
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