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  • hardie karges 9:54 am on June 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill Gates, , , , karma, , , ,   

    Karma is not a B*tch; She is Mother Nature… 

    I made the coffee too strong, and got too excited, so I spilled it accidentally, and now everything’s fine–Life 492…

    That is a simple enough little ditty, now, isn’t it? On one level it’s just a description of another manic Monday living in the USA, down in jungle land, for what it’s worth. And on another level it’s a brief glimpse into the horrors of the caffeine addiction to which I’ve relapsed after successfully divorcing myself from that horrible fate—or so I thought. And on an even different level it’s a description of life itself, as the joking attribution suggests.

    But on a higher level it also says something about Karma, not the Karma of retribution that speaks to the need of some religions for punishment, if not by some God, then by some force, or doctrine. For isn’t monotheism really the replacement of deities by doctrine, so more than the reduction in godheads, really more of an increase in letterheads? And it’s not a Karma of simple cause and effect, which is really more like a business transaction than a connection with a higher force.

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  • hardie karges 11:47 am on May 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , forgiveness, Fukushima, karma, trash   

    Buddhism and the Myth of the Cosmic Karmic Flush… 

    We in the Western world are truly mothers of invention and children of it, too, notwithstanding the early achievements of the Chinese and others, with their paradigm-shifting inventions of paper and playing cards and gunpowder and so forth. But somewhere along the way we got the idea that we can throw things away and they somehow just disappear. Now that big (bad) idea may have come with the development of widespread indoor plumbing, but it likely dates back to the beginnings of our species.

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  • hardie karges 12:26 pm on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brahmanism, , Carvakas, cosmological constant, , Gosala, , karma, , Nepali, Predeterminism, , ,   

    Karma, Rebirth, and the Middle Path of Buddhism 

    Karma is not a bank account. Karma is a way to live with right actions. That’s what the word means, in fact, simply ‘actions.’ But somewhere along the way the word got mixed up in the fashions of the day, in 6th to 8th century India, Before the Common Era, and the materialistic demands of the Carvakas in contrast to the predeterminism of Gosala, tutor to both the Buddha and Mahavira, 23rd Tirthankara of the Jains. They were of the extreme ascetic bent, of course, in which Emptiness literally means empty bellies, by willful design, to the point of inanition and even death, for lack of other inspiration.

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  • hardie karges 11:32 am on April 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , karma, ,   

    Buddhism and the Limits of Freedom… 

    Self-control is a valuable tool, a wonderful trait, and a noble quality. But control of others? Not so much. And this is a sticking point for many Western Buddhists, who cringe at the thought of any sort of control, it being anathema to the Western traditions of freedom and democracy, however ill-conceived and ill-defined. This obsession with freedom arose in response to the tyranny of rulers, so that is the sordid background upon which our story must unfold. It is also the justification for many a disproportionate response which must then invite further repercussions, in an almost endless back-and-forth see-saw of emotions and cataclysms which define the modern history of humankind.

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  • hardie karges 2:00 pm on February 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , karma, , , , , , Right Speech,   

    The Two Major Schools of Buddhism: Past Life or Present Moment… 

    You can’t be a ‘present moment’ Buddhist and a ‘past life’ Buddhist at the same time, since the two concepts are contradictory. And this is probably more important than any modern distinction between Theravada and Mahayana, Tibetan or Zen, simply whether you believe in past lives or not, karma and rebirth supposedly the causes and effects of that process.

    So the present moment is mostly a convenient escape, with ET extending the landing chute, because no present moment really exists, any more than a past life, but the latter is more onerous than the former, which can vanish with the flick of a whisker, while the past lives will never go away, as long as it is believed in.

    Because past lives are all about predestination, and the submission to a supposedly higher will, when one is more than enough. And if this all likely began with the best of intentions, it soon became a stage prop to the caste system, i.e. racism, the idea that some are born with latent superiorities, while others are born with obvious deficiencies.

    Thus your station in life is pre-determined by the events of a previous life, and there is little you can do to change it. None of that has any basis in science, of course, the racism nor the past lives. But still we have to deal with it, day by day, the racism of Aryan superiority not only in India, but in Europe and Amerika and in the latter-day colonies Down Under.

    Predestination is the philosophical side to the same phenomena of past lives, the idea that ‘it is all written,’ notwithstanding the fact that nothing at all was written until a few thousand years ago, still the image is powerful, script on paper, replicating itself into countless lifetimes and universal ages.

    Calvin the Presbyter made great gains with a similar theory in the Western world, details left to the deacons of stupas and steeples, the main takeaway that we are not in control, PERIOD. And that might not be such a bad thing, if the ulterior motives of religion are to be taken at face value.

    After all, aren’t all religions most similar in their insistence that we subject ourselves to a higher will? For all Christianity’s eternity and infinity, the need to obey God is paramount, the only question now or later, prodigal or prescient. And so it is with Islamic submission and Hindu embrace, we Buddhists left to fill in blanks that the others have all left unfilled.

    But the ‘present moment’ is something else entirely, and at its best in countering the pernicious superstitions of karma, especially the kind that jumps generations to bounce back and bite you when you least expect it, in the next life. Belief in the present moment provides a convenient counterpart to challenge all that. I would go not nearly so far as ET in extolling its virtues, since its virtues to me are simply those of meditation, whether with single focus or field focus, the result is the same.

    To shut off the internal dialogue, even for a moment, is to return to proto-consciousness, paleo-consciousness, before language took over and came to own it. Now languages conquer peoples and acquire new lands, our hapless selves but tools of the medium, neither rare nor well done. Samma vaca is right speech. Right speech is good speech. Silence is preferable to bad speech. Words matter…

     
    • Five 7:46 am on February 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      What tradition of Buddhism were you trained in, Hardie? And is this “present moment Buddhism” something that people teach?

      You say “You can’t be a ‘present moment’ Buddhist and a ‘past life’ Buddhist at the same time” – but you can, and that is the whole point. Because the present moment never had a beginning (you recall one?) and has no end – it cannot have because it has no duration – that tells us that the “present moment”, i.e. conscious awareness, does not end at death. That’s all you need to know, you don’t need to remember past lives, or believe anything other than your experience (which is only ever of the ‘present moment’, as above, that IS your experience).

    • hardie karges 7:54 am on February 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I have an MA in Buddhist Studies, so I am ‘trained’ in all of them. No, ‘present moment’ Buddhism is not taught, to my knowledge, unless you want to credit Eckhart Tolle with it. I use poetic license to conduct my thought experiments, in hopes of reaching a higher truth, or at least a different one. Interesting that you begin by disagreeing with me, and end by more-or-less agreeing with me. You are obviously a present moment Buddhist, if you are a Buddhist at all, good choice (even if you don’t believe in death, which is a bit of a dicey proposition)…

  • hardie karges 11:48 am on February 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , equanimity, , , Jataka, karma, 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 2:35 pm on November 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , karma,   

    Snarky Buddha Tweets: Karmic Fallacy of Posthaste Ex-Post Facto… 

    When in doubt, do nothing—quickly. Meditate or contemplate, the choice is yours. There is no call to action. You don’t have to take the bait. And you certainly don’t have to fight to the death, literally or verbally. For all that, there just isn’t the time. The last word is for the biggest ego and the smallest mind…

     
  • hardie karges 11:51 am on September 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , karma, nidanas, ,   

    The Buddhist doctrine of Dependent Arising reconsidered… 

    Everything is a cause. Everything is an effect. We are in the middle. Find happiness there. And I think that this is very close to the original intention of the Buddhist doctrine of Dependent Arising, that there are strict causal connections between events and their aftermaths, even if the connections are maybe not as precise as some may imagine.

    Formally known in Sanskrit as प्रतीत्यसमुत्पाद pratītyasamutpāda or in Pali (the related Theravada canonical language as पटिच्चसमुप्पाद paṭiccasamuppāda, it simply means: “if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist”. Which is all well and good, as far as it goes, whether you take the doctrine as an ontological principle, on the subject of being, or as an epistemological principle, on the subject of knowledge.

    The problem arises (pun intended) when we get down to the twelve links (nidanas), which supposedly articulate this process, basically: 1) ignorance (tabula rasa?), 2) mental formations (first mental activity?), 3) consciousness (of baby-self?), 4) name-and-form (language?), 5) six senses (as distinguished from each other and mind?), 6) contact (look, listen, touch?), 7) sensation (see, hear, feel?), 8) craving, 9) clinging, 10) becoming (ch-ch-changes?), 11) birth (of a higher consciousness?), and 12) aging and death (all question marks indicate my tentative interpretations).

    The problem is that the ‘rebirthers’ (my term and slightly riffing on Trump), have long since appropriated the whole concept as justification for the predetermination and ‘multiple feedback loops’ of karma, that they find necessary to lock one into a system that rewards and punishes with future retribution and prevents the possibility of suicide as a convenient ‘one way out.’

    This notwithstanding the fact that the whole concept apparently predates Buddhism and manifested in various forms before its final version which has become the standard. But ancient terms are always subject to re-interpretation, a current fashion among pseudo-sorta-Buddhas, and of course—shazam and voila! That changes everything. Or does it?

    So I’ve always enthusiastically accepted the general concept, while remaining agnostic on the particulars as if the excessive list-making of wannabe Abhidharmists and johnny-come-lately bloggers, and left it right there unfinished, since modern physics could hardly support a version of empirical reality so obviously simplistic. But a science of mind might. And since psychology is not a science of mind, now, but a science of behavior, then the filed is wide open for speculation.

    The main problem is the first half, the interpretations of which vary widely, as evidenced from the Wikipedia source material. But I see this as a child opening his eyes for the first time and discovering the world, ‘giving names to all the animals,’ (thanks, Bob) etc., and then finally realizing that he is not only an actor on a new stage, but also a toucher, feeler, craver, clinger, thinker, and hopeful bodhisattva—all before he or she has even had his or her first romance (when it really kicks in)!

    Everything else comes after and comprises the final item in the list of mutual dependences. And only in this way do the twelve links make sense to me, though I doubt that the ‘rebirthers’ will buy it. What do you think? Birth is a product of Nature. Rebirth is a product of imagination. I try to do re-invent myself every day…

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratityasamutpada

     
  • hardie karges 10:44 am on August 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , delusion, dvesha, greed, , karma, moha, raga   

    Hatred is the Worst Virus, and One of the Three Buddhist ‘Poisons’… 

    Hatred is the worst virus, because it lets you live to spread it. It can be cured by consciousness, fortunately, and that is the good news, because the bad news only gets worse, and that is the fact that some people swear by it. That is, they exist to hate, inspired by its call to action, and by its certainty of conviction…

    This is one of the three Buddhist ‘poisons’ of hate, delusion, and greed, of course, and by far the worst, IMHO, because it involves other people by its very definition. The self-delusion of moha can be confined within the convenient boundaries of self, even if those boundaries are all temporary and artificial…

    And the greed of raga can be mitigated by degrees until it poses little threat to bystanders and fellow travelers. But the hatred of dvesha, even in its mild form of aversion, has devastating social consequences, and is rarely left to stew in its own juices without bubbling over to infect and infest the surrounding perimeters…

    Because this is the heart and soul of racism, that seething contempt for what is other, instead of embracing it, and notwithstanding that what is Other was once all one, and only destined for Otherness by the immutable laws of evolution. So hatred is also self-hatred and that is a pit of despair and hopelessness from which few can ever escape…

    We see that every day in the politics of exclusion and exclusivity, in which hatred becomes the defining fact of our existence, due to misplaced attributions of national superiority, based on no evidence of the sort. Genetic science now proves our common origins beyond a shadow of a doubt, and the details of that diaspora only await final delineations and descriptions to be complete…

    Race is an illusion, and the idea that we are all simply a product and foregone conclusion of a predetermined birth is a myth. Free will is not absolute, but it exists at least to a great enough extent that we are all responsible for our actions. So we should be certain that all our actions are good ones…

    And if we do that, then the odds are high that the favor will be returned, if not directly, then indirectly, often by the most circuitous route imaginable. For if the former action merely results in a transaction, then the latter is karma, pure and simple. Life is full of little cruelties and kindnesses. I recommend the latter…

     
    • Mark Tulin 12:40 pm on August 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      so true, and it feels it’s spreading just as much as the coronavirus

      • hardie karges 1:14 pm on August 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, new meaning to the term ‘going viral’, not so funny right now. Thanx for you comment…

  • hardie karges 11:33 am on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ahmaud Arbery, , , , , Homer, Iliad, karma,   

    Karma, Buddhism, Newton, Homer, and Ahmaud… 

    Law of Karma (action) = Newton’s Third Law of Motion: Every action is followed by an equal but opposite reaction, which is pretty easy to understand, and even if it can’t foresee the further ramifications of quantum theory, it still applies in most cases.

    But the religionists couldn’t leave well enough alone, so rather than being content to foresee what Newton would take credit for some 2500 years in the future, they had to go and ‘religio-fy’ it with fear and loathing and generation-jumping superpowers such that a theory of mind that foresaw a theory of physics ends up not even with some valid psychology, but instead a religion of vengeance.

    For many people in this round-ish world of almost 8B truly believe that if they do something wrong, as defined by tradition, then they will be hunted down and threatened with retribution like Ahmaud Arbery in Redneck County, Georgia, and forced to either submit to summary non-justice on suburban streets or fight for their lives like a fox in the hunt.

    But Karma doesn’t usually take such an active role, truth be told, and generally comes only into play as retrofit logic, i.e. if your life has difficulties, then it must be from something you did several generations back, passive voice past subjunctive, and then you just keep filling holes trying to back-fill the logic, rather than take a more active role in trying to subdue your oppressors and thereby prevent further abuses to improve your life.

    Because if a young girl is raped, then she is certainly not the cause, in this life or previous, but the victim, though I have heard a Buddhist monk accuse her exactly of that. But this is a perversion of Buddhism, a dive into superstitions and perverted logic, all for the sake of laziness and fear, to deal with a situation almost too difficult to bear. But bear it we must, if our lives are to have meaning, and the world is to serve our purposes rather than we serve its.

    As always I choose the middle path. My potential Asian Buddhist PhD professor insists that I use passive voice almost exclusively while my potential American literary agent insists that I never do that. But is it not the same language and is it not the same life in the same world? It is, and the call to action—or not—resides within the halls of this hollowed if not hallowed brain, defined equally by emptiness and thing-ness.

    Because Homer proved this point also 2500 years ago with his Iliad in which the protagonists and the antagonists resided only a short 300km/200mi apart, but divided by the Aegean Sea and 1000 years, since they both left the Aryan steppes in search of greener pastures and more fertile valleys, but by different routes, such that this minor sea defines the major gulf that separates Indo from Euro in each of our bicameral minds.

    So House fights Senate and Dems fight Repugs, but really we are all fighting ourselves inside, if not outside, as our random tendencies fight for supremacy, and good struggles against evil. But this is no time for fighting, as worlds lie dying and hospitals are full to overflowing. Now would be a good time to practice some kindness and compassion, and that is the true meaning of Buddhism…

     
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