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  • hardie karges 10:47 am on May 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brahmanist, , , George Harrison, , , Jain, , , ,   

    Self, Ego, Identity, or the Lack Thereof in Buddhism… 

    Permanent self and immortal soul are a convenient fiction, but a fiction, nevertheless. And this is what the whole ‘no-self’ on ‘non-self’ debate is all about, or at least WAS. And if it’s disturbing enough that that principle is often misrepresented, it’s downright ridiculous that there is often even a debate over the preference or appropriateness of ‘non-self’ vis a vis ‘no-self.’ But the issue is very clear within the historical context of the competition and ongoing debate between the Brahmanists, Buddhists, and Jains way back some 2500 years ago.

    And the reverb echoes even today when George Harrison opines during his last days that these souls go on forever, so death is essentially meaningless. And whatever qualms you might have about such a statement from a scientific viewpoint would hopefully be secondary to the hope and optimism that it might do for you in the short-term of this life span. But it’s very popular now amongst ‘non-dualists’ as much or more than Buddhists to claim that thoughts have no thinker and actions have no doer. They even claim that the Buddha said that, but if so, then I can’t name the sutra, and even if he did it was likely in a metaphorical usage.

    Because Buddhism in general is nothing if not mental training, and so to conclude that there is nothing there, nothing at all, would seem counterintuitive. But that is the modern ‘non-dualist’ assertion, that any and all self-identity is detrimental to one’s spiritual well-being. And that may or may not be true, but I don’t think the Buddha said that, because it would render the Eightfold Path pointless. When you believe in yourself, don’t believe too much, just enough to accomplish what you need, not enough to inflate your ego. That’s the Middle Path between excess and lack…

     
  • hardie karges 8:40 am on March 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Jain, , , , 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 1:24 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ethics, , Jain, , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism and the long winding path: No soul for me, please, and make that karma ‘lite’… 

    Salvation implies a soul to be saved. I’d prefer some enlightenment, in this lifetime. And that’s a fundamental tenet of Buddhism, of course, the lack of a permanent enduring soul to guide you through the ages, or even a solid existent self to call your own in this lifetime, the basis for egotism and possession, and all the misgivings of misplaced attachments. And if that seems like a significant deviation from the teachings of Christ, then it was even more of a deviation from the early Vedic-inspired teachings of India, including Jainism and what we now call Hinduism. For if the Vedantic Hindus want a Self to unite with a Cosmos, an Atman to unite with a Brahman, then the Jains want to find a soul in everything, every little thing, be it rock, insect or umbrella. It’s not just that everything is alive, but it’s permanent and enduring. The Buddha thought he saw something simpler than all these machinations of overwrought mentality, which are just linguistic conveniences standing up and asking to be counted, when in reality there is really nothing there, just ‘mental formations’ or something like that. After all, if everything has a soul, then what do we do to acknowledge that? The Jain answer was: not much. Just sit, sit, and sit some more. It’ll all go away sooner or later. Every action was possessed of karmas, plural. Now that may seem like a strange definition of karma, but they likely invented the concept, so that’s their right. Others saw it differently, for once the cat of karma was out of the bag, so to speak, then there is no end to it, the generation-jumping karma of retribution and the things we’ll do to avoid it. If religion craves certainty, then this became the Hindu leitmotif, past lives and reincarnation, which, like conspiracy theory, cannot be disproven, so it must be true. But don’t we need some semblance of free will, simply for the dictates of morality and ethics? So I prefer something simpler, ‘karma lite’ if you prefer: Do good and life is good. Do bad and life is bad. That’s karma, actions. You will be rewarded by them, not for them…

     
    • quantumpreceptor 7:08 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Hardy, good job boiling things down and making them simple enough to live them.

      QP

    • Passport Overused 8:01 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Great post 😊

    • hardie karges 10:57 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks

    • Dave Kingsbury 4:41 pm on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      You will be rewarded by them, not for them… great insight here, the circle squared perhaps?

    • hardie karges 11:45 pm on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Actually I may have modified a quote from the Dalai Lama there, so should give credit, not sure of his exact words. ‘Circle squared’, though: I like that…

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