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  • hardie karges 11:49 am on October 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Hinduism,   

    Buddhism and Christianity Occupy Different Realms of the World and Mind.. 

    The best religions unite us. The worst religions divide us. Most do nothing at all—except give a momentary feeling of satisfaction, at a job well done, vindication for following a path, any path, and somehow defining one’s life in the process, even if the changes are subtle.

    We can snicker now at the circumstances surrounding the split between the universal Catholic church of Rome, as it splintered into a thousand Protestant denominations—names—as if, ‘What’s the big deal?’ But at the time it was a very big deal, even if the results and ramifications would not be known for a century or two, just like Athens and Rome before it, and those are the lessons, contained in the names, as each country tries to personify itself in the religion of its choice.

    But one of my favorite themes is that at its origins and Sunday best, a religion should try to change you into something better, so not necessarily what you want to be, but what you should be, as determined by the high priests of your subconscious. But I’m not sure that works. Has Christianity made Europe and America less violent and aggressive? Good question. Has Buddhism made Asia less possessive and grasping? I’m not sure.

    What I am pretty sure of, though, is that it makes us feel better, if only for a day, week, month, or year, and serves as a constant reminder of what we should be doing, even if we fall so unfailingly flat so often. But if our feelings of guilt once pushed us toward religions that chastised us for our failings, now we tend to gravitate toward those that make us feel good in spite of them, best not to even mention them, lest someone should feel a twinge of regret for not doing better.

    So at the same time that we now feel less guilty, our societies and families continue in a downward spiral, those who can’t be bothered to improve themselves, at the cost of a moment’s self-sacrifice. And that is a shame, because instant gratification is a cheap trick at best, and a descent into the abyss at worst. And as it is with Christianity, so it is with Buddhism, and other Eastern religions.

    Buddhism often gets written up as the export version of Hinduism, and if I can’t really agree with that, there is certainly some circumstantial evidence to support it. What is acknowledged less often is the contribution of the resident Jains, who, at the time of the Buddha, were the inspiration of much of the religious seeking, defining and refining that was going on in India at the time of the Buddha, around the mid-millennium before the time of Christ.

    And the same splintering occurred with Buddhism, Hinduism only spared the process, because it was never a doctrine in the first place, and maybe that’s why it was never suitable for export. Ask an Indian. Given sufficient time and circumstances, I think that all religions, despite best original intentions, will devolve into devotion, pure and simple.

    Is that what it takes to unite us? If so, then I suppose the only question is: to what are we devoted? Take your pick. When the world is too cold, warm it with your heart. When the world is too cruel, make it kinder. When you are weary, sleep…

     
  • hardie karges 11:07 am on August 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hinduism, , , , ,   

    Buddhism and Love, True True love… 

    True love doesn’t grasp or cling. True love embraces all and claims nothing. But this is a huge subject, of course, and it’s always good to define your terms, if you expect to have any reasonable discussion, because the word lends itself to many different interpretations, not the least of which is the reproduction of the species, without which we wouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation…

    Birth, after all, is the origin of each and every individual, if not the species, even if the species is the one most at risk. But many people, especially we westerners, see love as something to be IN, i.e. IN LOVE, so something far above and beyond the simple act of reproduction, more like an entire dimension that swallows us up whole, only to hopefully be released on our word at the middle of our sentence with the ensuing prospects of good behavior. Good luck with that…

    Other languages even describe the same feeling as being lost, i.e. lost in love, so that hits the nail squarely on the head, now, doesn’t it? But that’s so Christian, the passion and the cross, even if the passion was originally suffering, and the cross is really a sword…

    But Buddhism has none of that, AFAIK, but plenty of friendship and brotherly love, and for sisters, too, forever enshrined in the concepts and words of ‘metta’ and ‘maitri’, in Pali and Sanskrit, respectively and respectfully, often translated as ‘lovingkindness’ for people of Euro extraction, even though that’s originally a translation of the Hebrew ‘(c)heced’, aka ‘covenant loyalty’, apparently, so same deal, once the Romans got romance, and put woman on a pedestal from which they could no longer work, only f*ck, then everyone else had to follow those patriarchs of fashion, even if ‘(c)heced’ originally and literally meant to bow oneself, namaste…

    But that’s all water under the bridge, because that was then and this is now, but Buddhism is still a way of life full of dispassion, literally, i.e. relief from suffering, or at least compassion, i.e. misery loves company. But Buddhist suffering, dukkha, does not have to be painful, not at all. It is simply an acknowledgement that you are going to die, and that you are not the center of the universe…

    Now I won’t say that the Hindus-for-hire who tell you that you are the center of the universe are lying, but simply that they are misinformed, as any scientist can attest. For, in the Buddha’s eyes, we are simply a heap of aggregates, so let’s say adjectives, not nouns, and certainly not eternal ones passing from life to life, notwithstanding the paradox of rebirth…

    But at least for this life in this world, we all have each other, and that is not so bad, once you stop and think about it, and once you broaden your circle of friends to include those with whom you may find more degrees of separation than you can account for in the memories of those who conveniently surround you. Racism sucks. Does the Universe care what you do with your life? We are the Universe. We care…

     
    • tiramit 9:06 pm on August 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      “…we are simply a heap of aggregates …adjectives, not nouns,” I like it! It explains something about the Khandas that always puzzled me. Thanks

    • hardie karges 9:12 pm on August 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, it was a revelation to me at the time, also, though I’ve heard someone since describe them as verbs, but no, I still think that they are adjectives. This opens a whole new field of inquiry, though, into the linguistic nature of our self-perception. Thanks for your comments…

  • hardie karges 2:44 pm on August 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: binary, , digital, Hinduism, , , , ,   

    The Golden Mean is an Irrational Number–and so are our lives… 

    Growth is easy–more more bigger bigger. Loss is even easier–zip zero nada. Holding steady is the hard part, avoiding all extremes. And this applies at all levels, from the steady state of the universe to the steady state of our psyches, most of which is a fleeting illusion, but still applicable nevertheless, for this is more than a simple survival strategy, but a metaphysical principle, that there is a somewhat meandering middle path that is always capable of yielding more benefits than the extremist positions that promise deliverance or salvation of some kind or other, whether political, social or religious. Buddhism is famous for this, of course, without which its major tenets can sometimes resemble those of the Jains if not Hindus themselves, ‘real’ Indians, born of high caste, Sanskrit, and spicy food. But the principle applies in almost all cases, notwithstanding the modern digital paradigm of zeros and ones that underlie computing in which a binary number system’s on-off capability approximates that of electric switching, resulting in a new electronic digital dimension that powers our modern daily lives. That only accentuates the point I want to make, because there’s more to life than math, and a digital dimension is artificial. Because between every two polar extremes there is a whole rainbow of possibilities, one of which will offer the optimal solution in any given set of circumstances. So there is a myriad of possible realities, but one is usually best, neither poverty nor luxury, neither the non-existence of nihilism nor the infinite existence of a permanent enduring soul traveling in both time and space. But these are points that can be parsed to the limits of our patience and imaginations. Belief is not required. That is one of the benefits of philosophy over religion. You can pick and choose, to see what works best. The difference between religion and philosophy is that religions have members…

     
  • hardie karges 5:26 pm on November 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bolsonaro, Congress, , , Duterte, , fascist, Hinduism, , Muslim, Pattani, , , , , , , Siam, , , Xi Jinping   

    Buddhist Holy War? Consider the possibilities… 

    img_1695 No, I’m not talking about fighting the mean nasty ugly Muslims that fundamentalist Buddhists are supposed to hate because they supposedly ‘destroyed Buddhism in India’ with their medieval invasion, from which Buddhism never quite recovered. But I notice that ‘Hinduism’ recovered, though, hint hint, exposing this as false narrative. It seems that India is not big enough for both, especially when Hinduism is quite happy to include Buddhism under its larger umbrella, making and marketing itself as something of a national religion, if and when it is one, at all…

    And no, I’m not talking about the situation in southern Thailand, in which ethnic Malay nationalists in three southern provinces, who just so happen to be Muslim, have fought for years to win back the independence that was taken from them in 1785 with Siam’s annexation of Pattani. Ironically this was only made official in Siam’s treaty with the UK in 1909, in which as much or more territory was simply transferred to UK ownership for the promise that they would recognize Siam’s sovereignty over the rest (and no more, demands, pretty please!)… (More …)

     
    • RemedialEthics 2:16 am on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      As always, your posts appear when I am desperate for evidence that there is a larger world of perspective beyond the narrow, paranoid, and increasingly violent belief system that has a firm grip on America. I stumbled into your blog while Googling the mileage from my home in the AZ desert to the nearest border town of Sasabe. I don’t remember if I ever found the answer to my mileage query, I just decided it’s about 30 miles (maybe) and that is fine because I also don’t recall why I needed to know in the first place. That is exactly what makes the internet great. It is not about being able to find the answers you need in 0.03 seconds, it is about finding the answers you didn’t know you needed. Thank you for caring about the well-being of your countrymen even though you are not in country. I realize how easy it would be to immerse yourself in the arguably more enlightened culture where you are and look away from the ugly reality that has swallowed up your homeland, but your blogs offer a clean, refreshing perspective shift that is just enough to keep the nihilism at bay for a little bit longer. Think of it as charity to those of us who are stuck here and starving for insight from outside the battle zone. Please don’t wash your hands of us just yet.

      • hardie karges 2:27 am on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Wow! Thanks! That just might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me (and I know where Sasabe is, too, nice drive, even crossed the border there once), thanks again…

    • Dave Kingsbury 5:22 pm on November 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, agree with RemedialEthics, your wider world perspective shines a bright light on parochial problems. We have a few of our own this side of the Pond but I came up with this the day after your Midterms and thought it might add a few more light protons … https://davekingsbury.wordpress.com/2018/11/07/halfway-there-a-story-in-100-words/

  • hardie karges 6:41 am on August 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Hinduism, , , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam 101: Religion on the Rebound, Religion on the Run… 

    img_1893All three major international religions have carried their original premises to ridiculous extremes, along with their adherents, whether cause or effect, those original premises all quite similar, and compatible, variations on the themes of love, righteousness, and perseverance, each with a different focus, Christianity on the love, Islam on the righteousness, and Buddhism on the perseverance…

    And from these humble commendable compatible and civilizing influences, each has gone their own ways, Islam to the extremes of religious fundamentalism, holy wars and unholy alliances; Christianity drenched in sex, drugs, and all that rap; and Buddhist perseverance easily given over to passivity, even in the face of the most egregious assaults on basic human rights, individuals reduced to fit in cages, self-imposed prisons of consciousness… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:41 am on February 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Hinduism, , , ,   

    Buddhism: Meeting of East and West, Aryans and Dravidians, Nobles and… 

    IMG_1184

    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    …us, of R1 genome, y-DNA, that is, not mitochrondial, we the barbarians from the north, land of ice and snow, with broken hearts and bad manners, satisfying ourselves with whomever whenever wherever, animal instincts and animal appetites, with an inclination toward wheels, and gears, and wine, and dark beers, anything to make the boring food go down easier, trail food, and whatever gets you through the night…

    But it must have something incredible to watch, erstwhile Aryans, light-skinned and beefy, from creamy milk, rolling in over the high plains, toward India, literally rolling, in chariots and carts pulled by horses and oxen, herding cows and goats and wayward children, lording it over the local slim swarthy dark-skinned Dravidians, so-called, for lack of a better name, in what must have been the world’s first great culture clash, the likes of which wouldn’t be seen again until the American genocide, this just the preamble to that constitution… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:48 am on January 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , EckfardtbTolle, Hinduism, , , , , , , , , , Tibetan, ,   

    Buddhist Back-Story: Dialectics and Linguistics… 

    img_1935Theravada Buddhism has it easy, when it comes to dhamma (dharma) talks, just pull out the old mind-kilesa-breath-nose-navel-‘Buddho Buddho Buddho’ playbook, rinse and repeat, hard to screw up unless you want to get into the murky afterbirth of past lives and kamma (karma), doing Yogic headstands and plotting Ptolemaic cosmic epicycles, trying to explain how anatta (non-self) somehow gets reborn, when there really is nothing there to begin with. But still they do. It’s embarrassing, especially when some of the same ones…

    …get all goo-goo-eyed at the mention of ‘this present moment’, which I agree with, if not to the extent that some would take it. So how can you have both, not only within the same school of Buddhism, but within the same person, e.g. the Dalai (not Theravada) Lama? I can find you quotes of him advocating ‘nowness’ while Eckhart Tolle was still sleeping on sofas, and at the same time opining that if someone’s life hasn’t quite worked out right, then it’s because of something they did in a past life—ouch! What gives? (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:00 pm on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Like any long-lived belief system, I suppose, as complex as people and societies are themselves. The Science connection seems an interesting extension …

      • hardie karges 10:54 pm on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, It’s amazing to me that the original Buddhist debate, basically liberal vs. conservative, is still alive today, after countless twists and turns, and analogous to something similar in politics, which is all well and good, I think, as long as everyone can be polite and civilized about it…

        • Dave Kingsbury 2:34 am on January 30, 2018 Permalink

          Indeed. The questions arising from reincarnation are the ones I struggle with. My best shot is to view it as metaphor and therefore helpful for perspective and even humour.

  • hardie karges 7:35 am on January 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief system, , , Hinduism, , , ,   

    Buddhism: Religion, Philosophy, or…? 

    img_1931Some people say Buddhism is not really a religion, though I know some monks who would beg to differ. Here’s what my dictionary says about religion:

    1. the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. 2. a particular system of faith and worship. 3. a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.

    Well, the first definition certainly does not fit Buddhism, since there is no all-powerful superman waiting to part the waters, and the second only fits if we define what Buddhists do as worship—so maybe. The third one is frivolous, in the sense that ‘consumerism is the new religion’, but maybe somewhat accurate, especially in the case of ever-trendy Amerika, where Buddhism is currently a hot topic, but where much, if not most, of the information disseminated about it, is limited, or misapplied, or downright inaccurate… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 2:57 pm on January 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I like the resonance between ‘unattainable’ and ‘aim-able’ – the whole piece is down-to-earth and easy to relate to. Science, according to the guy who wrote The Golden Bough, superseded Magic because both offer ways of influencing the world – where Religion asks for the intercession of higher forces. Not sure where Buddhism fits in to that, suppose it depends which variety one goes for …

    • hardie karges 7:51 pm on January 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      “Before Joseph Campbell became the world’s most famous practitioner of comparative mythology, there was Sir James George Frazer…(and) The Golden Bough”, been on my ‘to-read’ list for 50 years, maybe I should do that now as part of some MA research, thx, Dave. No, there need be no disputes between Science and Buddhism, or any religion, for that matter IMHO. I don’t want to have to make a choice… and that is the great challenge, to make those details fit. It won’t be easy, but I do think that Buddhism has the ability to do it, what with its flexible doctrine, if it only has the will to do it. Predestination is attractive–and easy, just not a defensible position for me…

    • Terborn Zult 2:57 pm on January 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Not bad; the progression from religion(s) to one or several non-religious belief systems is already a step in the right direction, because it allows the “believer” to be in favor of certain principles without having to submit to some entity that is supposed to be somehow intrinsically “higher” than humans or human thinking. So, it’s a step away from mental slavery. If this step is done seriously and systematically, it not only leads to kicking out all superstition, but also to seeing the simple fact that, after all, non-religious ethical “belief” boils down to nothing more than having a certain preference for some principles and guidelines over others. With no mysticism needed to “justify” those principles and guidelines.

      However, care needs to be taken to avoid religious mysticism’s sneaking back in through the backdoor. Any assorted principles and guidelines adorned with a halo of absolute value or truth would risk becoming a new religion, as any claim of absoluteness is a sure-fire indicator of creeping religification and transformation into a new mysticism.

      Already during the 19th century, then during the first few post-WWII decades, there was a danger of religification of science in the mind of the general (non-scientific) public, frequently promoted by preposterous “science” journalists and other (usually financial) wannabe profiteers from scientific success. Whereas all serious science is a completely relative enterprise, with no fix points being fixed eternally.

      In other words, after the downfall of open and direct religion, it is necessary to oppose covert and indirect religion, i.e., all forms of religification, be they applied to scientific methods and results, philosophical considerations, cultural, political, economic or ecologic theories and principles, moral principles, or whatever. Sooner or later, any re-religification would result in fresh mental slavery – by sliding the “believer” back to “self-imposed immaturity” (see I. Kant: “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity’). Of course, reading and analyzing religious texts and traditions with a critical mind is neither religion nor mysticism; nor is the extraction of inspirations from those.

      Since the word “belief” is still tainted by its religious past, it would be preferable to use a different word for all forms of non-religious “belief”. Something like “conviction”, “convincement”, “opinion”, “paradigm” or so would be less ambiguous, because none of these should invoke submission to anything other than critical human reasoning. Because the latter is the most fundamental baseline of all attempts to understand “why are we here? Where did we come from? What do we do now?” – if that’s really the goal (as pointed out in the post above). The rest is history.

      • hardie karges 3:12 am on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        We’re pretty much on the same page then. Yes, I would like to see Buddhism get rid of all superstitions and irrational ‘beliefs’, especially since that was one of the great selling points 2500 years ago, back when the Hindus were still sacrificing animals. Rebirth is the tough one, for some reason. It seems people are very attached to their past and future lives. Being diplomatic about it, I plead ignorant, and agnostic, in order to promote ‘this life’ Buddhism. Thanks for your comments.

  • hardie karges 6:54 am on October 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Chogyam Trungpa, , , , , Hinduism, , , , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism 301: Do I save myself, or do I save the world? Decisions decisions… 

    img_1893I’m paraphrasing, of course, but this is the question that has plagued—no, let’s say intrigued’—the sangha (Buddhist community) for two and a half millennia, more or less, if not in so many words, then in so many actions, cutting to the chase, and allowing for interpolations and extrapolations, i.e. whether to think big, farming ideas and allowing for fierce and free debate, or to think small, on the achievement of individual ‘liberation’ and the purging of ‘defilements’ from the composite makeshift personalities that we call ‘I’…

    And if that’s an oversimplification, then it’s for a worthy cause, ’cause sharper focus is what’s needed for Buddhism to escape the same fate in the West that it met in India a millennium ago, going down in defeat largely because of its inability to distinguish itself from a resurgent ultra-nationalistic Hinduism and an insurgent Islam, such that Buddhism simply got lost in the shuffle of competing meditative traditions and could no longer count on its fall-back position as the non-Hindu alternative… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:24 am on September 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Hinduism,   

    ME 6103: So You Wanna’ Be a Buddhist? Eat this… 

    IMG_1184

    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    So you’ve just finished “Buddhism for Dummies” and think that you might want to take the big plunge, into Buddhism, that is, and now you’re wondering what to do next? Well, I’ve got good news and bad news: there is no Big Plunge, not really, so you can just start calling yourself a Buddhist when ever and wherever you want, limited only by time and circumstance…

    And if you need more than that, then you can go to a Buddhist meditation retreat for a more intense introduction, BUT: unless it’s coordinated with a Buddhist temple, then it’s probably not really Buddhist. Most American meditation events are yoga-affiliated, and while that’s fine, and highly recommended—it ain’t Buddhism. Yoga is a Hindu discipline. Meditation is both, Hindu and Buddhist, too, plus the almost-forgotten-by-now Jains, and others… (More …)

     
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