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  • hardie karges 11:44 am on September 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ISLAM, , , , retributi8on, samma kammanta   

    The Buddhist Eightfold Path Does Not Bite 

    Revenge is not sweet. Retribution is not necessary. Equanimity is a path for all situations and all times: cool, calm, and collected. Isn’t it? And, if that is a lesson for the real world of sinners, not saints, then I think that it should go doubly for that saintly world that professes to know better. But religion is the worst offender at much of this, accomplishing with fear what it fails to accomplish with righteousness and inspiration. And so we do good, because we are scared of what might happen if we do bad. Saint Peter at the pearly gates of Heaven just might decide to revoke our visa and send us packing, back down to the Underworld south of Australia.

    But shouldn’t we do good simply for the act of doing good? Of course, we should. Isn’t that reward enough in itself? Can’t we win without someone else losing? Then, there are always the smiles on the young kids’ faces, if we need to quantify our gains by counting more tangible rewards. But isn’t that the problem more than the solution? Are we defined by the transient rewards of shallow victory? Not in the best of worlds. In the best of worlds there is always a sweet spot for conciliation, and reconciliation, that allows everyone to emerge from challenges and struggles with dignity and privilege intact.

    And that is the challenge, to not only do good, but to feel good about it. Anybody can do the right thing under pressure. But how many can do the right thing out of the goodness of their hearts? So, the appropriate measures of fear are applied, and then we hope for the best. If the right and correct thing is not done, then there will be Hell to pay, literally, at some point in the future. Christianity and Islam, the Abrahamic religions, specialize in this. But Buddhism does it, too, with application of the principle of Karma above and far beyond its original intent.

    So what was originally intended as something simple and akin to the Golden Rule, and based on Right Actions, samma kammanta, in the original early Buddhist conception, becomes a generation-jumping act of retribution in Tibet 1000 years later. Sometimes some people need to be whupped upside the head, I suppose, when simple logic and simple pleasures don’t suffice, but that is not preferable, and useful only as a last resort. The bottom line is simple and resolves into a matter of belief: If you believe in karmic retribution, then you will be subject to karmic retribution. Do the right thing—simple.

     
  • hardie karges 10:32 am on June 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cargo cult, , , ISLAM, ,   

    Buddhism is Monotheistic, God Optional… 

    Monotheism means ‘One God,’ right, as if that’s the solution to all our problems? No, well, maybe, but that’s only one of the problems, then. Because certainly just adding another god every time you have another challenge says more about you than the God or the challenge. This reminds me most of the Cargo Cults in Melanesia within the past century or so, in which the indigenous people made sense of their encounter with wealthy westerners—and their religion—by positing a belief in the delivery of merchandise with the aid of certain rituals, i.e. Christianity-Capitalism without all the pesky Commandments.

    But as the cult aged, and the cargo became uncertain, given the prevarications of its masters, the Americans, then the locals had to resort to heightened measures to hopefully achieve the same results. The efforts were many and diverse: longer runways for the planes to land; higher towers to signal them in, American soldiers’ uniforms to get the ritual right, and/or parades and military drills to imitate the patterns of the successful entreaties, etc. You get the idea. The whole effort was designed to imitate the success that they had witnessed on the part of Japanese and American soldiers and the supplies they attracted.

    (More …)
     
  • hardie karges 8:20 am on January 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Abrahamic, , , , ISLAM, ,   

    Buddhism and the Fear Factor… 

    The Buddhist Eightfold Path does not include fear. There is no such thing as Right Fear. Still that is the default position for much, if not most religion, as enshrined in the phrase ‘God-fearing,’ as it has resonated through American culture, at least, if not all Western culture and its multitude of lingos and dialectics.

    And in that way, it satisfies the civilizing function with which religion has been entrusted by so many and for so long, that mono-myth that serves as a belief system for the security of society. In that way it can even unite diverse and various societies under a common banner of inclusion, so that the internecine struggles that divide us may cease once we realize that we have common purpose, which in this case includes fear.

    The problem, of course, is that common purpose usually only goes part of the way toward inclusion before it bumps up against another belief system doing the same thing but from another source, and often heading in another direction. This is best evidenced in the various manifestations of Abrahamic religions, the three major branches of which have been at each other’s throats almost since the first day, albeit with shifting alliances between them (most people forget that Jews were once solemnly protected against the wrath of Christianity within the citadels of Islam, pre-1948).

    To their credit, the corresponding Vedic-descended religions have never shown such animosity, and often are included under the broad umbrella of Hinduism. But fear is still often a factor, especially to the extent that karma is invoked for that purpose, which is often the case. In that situation, a person is supposedly scared into doing good in this life out of fear of what the next life might bring. And it seems that in fact, that is why the Buddha accepted it, since there was really no proof either one way or the other, so why not err on the side of good results? Makes sense.

    But this is a different time and a different place. What once made good sense against the black background of ignorance, now makes little sense in the light of science. Now we must act in the certainty of our proofs and with the benefit of our education and knowledge. Thus fear is not a suitable motivation, unless accompanied by proofs, most of which are lacking, in the case of religion. There is no proof of God the Father. There is no proof of Heaven or Hell. There is no proof of reincarnation, and there is no proof of past lives (memories are, uh, flexible).

    So religion is better left to ethics and morality and providing inspirations for happiness. Leave Science to the scientists. When they try to solve wars by Science, then call them on their BS. That is the job of priests and philosophers (and the occasional politician). Conciliation is always preferable to confrontation. And peace is almost always better than war. They are the ones to tell you why and how. That is the job of religion and philosophy, not ruling by fear. Once you are vaccinated by Buddhism, then it is up to herd immunity to take over…

     
  • hardie karges 7:36 am on July 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ISLAM, , ,   

    Buddhism: Religion or Philosophy? 

    Many wars are fought in the name of religion. Very few are fought in the name of philosophy (Yes, I know there’s Communism and Capitalism and Democracy, etc., but I still maintain that the numbers are less). And this is an important distinction, especially with regards to Buddhism, which is essentially an open doctrine, and so has taken on many different forms, depending on the prior belief systems, and the general lay of the land, genetic predisposition, and special needs.

    It should be no surprise, though, that what any one people need is often far from what they think they want, indeed often the opposite, so this is a decision sometimes best left to high priests and palace intellectuals, who can see beyond the crass cravings and narrow proclivities of the mass populace and serve them the medicine they deserve, rather than the sweet nothings they crave.

    So violent Europeans get a religion of peace and love, sex-obsessed Arabs get a veil and no lipstick, while Asians obsessed with possessions and prestige get religions of renunciation. But they all get future options, one way or another, whether it’s eternal life, rebirth, or six dozen virgins all waiting with bated breath. In the case of Buddhism, though, it isn’t supposed to be that way.

    The stated goal is nirvana, often described as escape from the ‘wheel of rebirth.’ In other words, we Buddhists should be working to liberate ourselves from this realm of suffering, which is usually best mitigated, and seldom for celebration, and certainly not for clinging to. This is why many Christians criticize Buddhism as ‘life-denying’, in sharp contrast to their version of Christianity, touted as ‘life-affirming.’ This distinction and dichotomy can even be further cheapened as one of pessimism vs. optimism.

    But is that really intellectually and spiritually honest for a culture that lives for aggression and competition and whose history is replete with slavery? Or is it more like an emotional see-saw that wastes lives and centuries over the litigation of passions, striving and struggling, and is never truly ‘life-affirming’ except when victorious over the other contenders to power?

    Not so many centuries ago, Christianity, too, was a religion of renunciation, as can be claimed for both Hinduism and Buddhism, with or without a belief in an eternal self or soul. In other words, we are all afraid of death, and the religion—or philosophy—that can answer that basic need will have a leg up on all the rest. So Buddhism attempts the impossible, to have rebirth with no soul, eternal life with no clinging, all with mixed results.

    And agnosticism is often criticized as a non-decision, but intellectually it is probably the only honest way, and thus in that sense, more philosophy than religion. Because religion depends upon divine intervention for spiritual fulfillment, and that is certainly not necessary in Buddhism. Here’s a thought experiment: Would you believe in soul or self if you had never looked in a mirror? Try to imagine what life was like before those long preening sessions gazing upon your reflection became central to your self-perception…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 12:49 pm on July 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      “But they all get future options … In the case of Buddhism, though, it isn’t supposed to be that way.

      I’m sure this is right, though wonder if the promised release of Buddhism in effect makes the future an irrelevance?

      • hardie karges 1:39 pm on July 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        It should be irrelevant, certainly, but old habits die hard, I guess, and I’m not sure why there is a clinging to personality, to be honest. I can understand the fear of death, just like the fear of anything new and uncertain. But if I were to be reborn I’d hope to be someone entirely disconnected from the present incarnation. Honestly a dimension of light sounds quite nice, and that is my definition of heaven…

        • Dave Kingsbury 2:10 pm on July 28, 2020 Permalink

          Sounds good to me, whether or not consciousness persists. As to ‘personality’, hope you forgive this upload of a DH Lawrence poem …

          Trust

          Oh we’ve got to trust
          one another again
          in some essentials.

          Not the narrow little
          bargaining trust
          that says: I’m for you
          if you’ll be for me. –

          But a bigger trust,
          a trust of the sun
          that does not bother
          about moth and rust,
          and we see it shining
          in one another.

    • Alexis Adder 1:25 pm on July 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      The thing I found with American Christians (Not all forms of Christianity) is that it denies death and ignores it. While this sounds harmless, it is in fact dangerous. We have created a culture which sees sex as worse than death and violence. A culture where death is not taken seriously enough and creates sociopathy among the regular population. Where violence is no big deal. But people being born gay, that certainly is!

      In my Shin Buddhism path, one of the things I say to myself everyday is “I am of the nature to die”, “I am of the nature to be ill.”, and “I am of the nature to grow old.”. I accept reality as it is. (I also am a bit morbid and love gothic stuff!) I found the way Buddhism as a whole focuses on death, everything from being eaten by vultures to being mummified, to be much more realistic.

      But because of my Christian indoctrination I used to have the same hang ups about violence and sex. It took me exposing myself to real violence, even if it was on video, to realize just how bad violence is. It made me accept sex more and become more tolerant. And made me appreciate life as it is. This sounds stupid, but it has a lot to do with my cultural programming by Christians from an early age.

    • hardie karges 3:36 pm on July 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, there is no fact more central to life than death, which is proof of the Buddhist recognition of the prevalence of suffering, IMHO. Violence, fortunately, can be mitigated, but death cannot. I don’t accept violence as normal. It’s not. Any two species can coexist peacefully if raised together since birth, and provided adequate food. Thanks for your comments.

    • Norbert 1:01 am on August 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I guess this whole conversation needs a sober reality check, based on solid empirical data instead of wild speculation. For a useful start, see https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2020-08-11/religion-giving-god?utm_medium=newsletters&utm_source=twofa&utm_campaign=Giving%20Up%20on%20God&utm_content=20200821&utm_term=FA%20This%20Week%20-%20112017

      • hardie karges 10:31 am on August 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Good article, especially the parts about reliance on high birthrates, which I feel is necessary to overcome, if there is to be a future. The fact that world population has tripled in my lifetime is not lost on me. i’m not sure if they have fully accounted for the changes that may come with Covid-19, though, especially if it goes on for 2-3 years. There certainly won’t be any normalcy for that length of time, if not longer. It’s fine by me either way, since I need no creator God, and the world is my family. Buddhism is largely an open doctrine, so it can be secular or God-filled, and still work for many adherents. The important thing is for the individual to step back and acknowledge his smallness in the midst of vastness, and act accordingly. Thanks for your comments, Norbert…

    • quotidian2911 3:13 am on September 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Very deep insights!!!! Loved it

      • hardie karges 10:12 am on September 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks!

  • hardie karges 12:50 pm on April 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ISLAM   

    Religion Up for Grabs: Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism… 

    The wise person knows his limits. The foolish person assumes there are none. And this is fundamental, the limits at least as much as the freedoms, to which we are so attached as Westerners, raised on revolution, and carrying flags to prove it, standing our ground, even when that ground is shifting constantly.

    We are attracted to belief systems that reinforce our prejudices, rather than the ones that would teach us something new and different and broaden our horizons beyond that line that separates us from the rest of humanity who we spend our lives dismissing as worthless.

    We are taught to exert ourselves, as if our prejudice must be correct, rather than to embrace something other, which may or may not be, all for the privilege of feeling those same old emotions which always evoke such a rapture of righteousness, when captured within a context of confusion, truth and honesty measured by emotional resonance rather than the logical placement order of propositions.

    But the best religions teach us what we need to know, and practice, not what we know and do already, often to an absurd extent, to the point that it does only harm, no good. Thus future Christians were taught love as remedy for their previous existence as steppes warriors, in the hope that they (we) would cease the racist violence in the hope of a better future.

    And future Muslims were taught to surrender, to God, in the hope that they would lose that chip on the shoulder and be less obsessed with futile victory, and maybe even cease the sexist subjugation, if only the women would hide behind veils.

    And Asians were taught Buddhist non-possession and non-grasping in the hopes that they would quit counting money and start counting time, better spent in contemplation than the great poker game of life. And how is that working out for us all? Has anybody really learned anything? We have to learn that which is hardest, not that which is easiest. I hope that I am wrong about the future of this world. I like being wrong sometimes. When you see a path with heart, you take it. The next revolution will be internal, a revolution of thought…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:03 pm on May 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think you are wrong about the future of the world, Hardie, but there is surely some compensation in knowing why it’s not going well. I think much of the grasping is for a security blanket, something unhappy people seem to need from early on …

      • hardie karges 4:36 pm on May 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, that sounds about right. Thanks for your comments, Dave…

        • Dave Kingsbury 4:46 pm on May 1, 2020 Permalink

          Should have said, your post gives the reasons it’s not going well, I just added a psychological observation. 🙂

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

    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 7:15 am on October 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Daesh, , , , ISLAM, , Nietzsche, Sharia   

    Dr. Strange Dharma: How I learned to Love Donald Trump, and ISIL… 

    img_1572

    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    I’ve been through this all before, you see, like back in May, 2014, when I was returning from Asia via Europe, i.e. Istanbul, specifically so that I could do a side trip to the Iraq border, and make a little incursion into the northern quarter, maybe even go as far as Mosul, if things looked good, and my resources and patience were holding up, something I’d heard you could do, without ever really leaving Turkey, officially, that is, as long as you come back to the same border, and re-enter Turkey, just like nothing ever happened…

    But it seems somebody else had the same idea, a then-little-known organization variously called ISIL, ISIS, IS or Daesh (not Riprock). It seems they were causing a spot of bother there, huffing and puffing and blowing houses down, all in the name of Islam, putting the fun back in fundamentalism, telling people what they want to hear, and then doing what they had always intended to do—invoke Sharia law and rule as an Islamic caliphate… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:49 pm on October 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Do you think that your car is running well if it accelerates effortlessly while driving you off a cliff? Haha – a pertinent question given our current weird, er, trajectory. You make a convincing case for the value of suffering, however. Let’s hope that cliff launch turns into a learning curve …

    • hardie karges 4:52 pm on October 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll drink to that…

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

    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 3:11 am on July 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ISLAM, prison   

    Buddhism, Life and Death: Welcome to Prison… 

    img_1341

    Shan ‘Tai Yai’ temple…

    Welcome to prison. Welcome to the farm. Welcome to this life, 3-D, biological, in which you will live an average of seventy-plus years, maybe more maybe less, with time off for good behavior, if lucky, subject to local conditions, and just a few rules. So these bodies will be our home, and this life will be our penitentiary, life at the speed of sound, dreaming of light, and avoiding gravity…

    That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it, though, just that knowing our limits and avoiding extremes is usually the better bargain than seeking them out, by my understanding of Buddhist insight. And yet we do seek them out, don’t we, especially we Americans, with our extreme sports and our extreme prejudices, and our passions and our pride, that usually goeth before a fall? (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 9:52 am on June 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ISLAM, , , philkosophy, ,   

    #Buddhism #Christianity #Islam: All #Religions Work—if you let them… 

    IMG_1559All religions want the same thing—goodness in general, peace brotherhood compassion and mercy in particular. But their prime proponent visionaries—Buddha, Christ and Prophet—each saw different ways of getting there—non-self and non-craving first, love and forgiveness next, and then finally submission and surrender. And all of them can work, if maybe more appropriate for different groups of people at different times in history…

    In 5-600 BC, Buddhism was the perfect message, in a violent greedy war-torn world more or less centered around India, and ready for meditation (and anyone who imagines that the world was calm and peaceful before the advent of religion is tripping). In year 0-100 CE Christianity was spot on target for a world increasingly shifted westward to new fertile ground, the Fertile Crescent, and based on and around Roman power in the Mediterranean, ready for bread and circuses, passion and power… (More …)

     
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