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  • hardie karges 11:16 am on July 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ajahn Chah, , , Heart, kilesha, ,   

    Buddhism, Mental Formations, and Defilements of the Heart and Logic… 

    Who says you can’t go home again? Home is a warm place in your heart, and mind. And if that’s a ‘mental formation’ as is often said in Buddhism, then that’s not such a bad one, but I’m not sure. I’ve studied Buddhism for several years now and I’m still not certain of the proper translation for the Pali/Sanskrit words sankhara/samskara that usually gets translated as the rather cryptic ‘mental formations’. But I do know that when Ajahn Chah, the great Thai forest master, used the term ‘arom’ อารมณ์ , which in normal speech means ‘feeling, emotion’, the translator rendered it as ‘mental formation’, so I figure that’s a valuable clue, notwithstanding the fact that the term may also have sexual connotations, depending on who says it, under what circumstances, and at what time of the day or night, in case you’re feeling sleepy. But that’s just the random white noise of mental idling, before or after an actual coherent thought, since I’m sure Ajahn Chah had no sexual connotation in mind, he one of the few post-Buddha (non)-personalities who I might credit with genuine Enlightenment. But feeling preceded linguistic thought, certainly, and I’ve heard Buddhist monks opine that ‘thought is a defilement’, so language falls flat, and that may be the point. In the beginning there was silence; and then there was noise. That’s all I know…

     
  • hardie karges 6:50 am on December 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , human zoo, kilesha, , , , type A,   

    Buddhism, taming the wild beast within… 

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    Buddhism in Sri Lanka

    The zoo is one of my favorite analogies and metaphor for the human species, such that we tame ourselves and our worst impulses, in order to make of ourselves one great human zoo, a petting zoo, properly fed and cared for, so that the need to compete and the struggles with predators should be reduced to little or nothing…

    I know for a fact that two unrelated mammal species raised together from infancy can easily learn to accept each other for the mutual benefit of all, so cats’ and dogs’ need to fight is only learned behavior. Even in the savannas of Africa, at least in the protected areas, many if not most species have symbiotic relationships, such that none are subject to the regular predations of any one specific species–except man. So we are the main problem of violence on this planet, as much or more than any lions, tigers or bears… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:29 pm on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Your own experience here shows the power of adaptability we human beings have, though it can’t exactly have been plain sailing for you. Pride of ego has a lot to answer for, indeed, including our imagined superiority over the rest of life. A phrase I have particular problems with is ‘dog eats dog’. Mostly, they don’t …

    • hardie karges 9:03 pm on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I’m particularly struck by how young our civilization is, barely 10K years, and we’re at each others’ throats most of the time. As space becomes scarce, it’s really time for a new paradigm, which is fairly easy to imagine, really. The hard part is getting people to accept it!

  • hardie karges 5:34 am on December 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Boy Scouts, , , kilesha, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Boy Scouts: be prepared. Buddhists: not so fast… 

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    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    This is one of the problems I have with Buddhism, the whole ‘no-thought’ paradigm, that always seems to find currency, notwithstanding the fact that the Buddha never said anything like that, not to my knowledge, anyway, and the term sati, which has taken on the meaning of ‘mindfulness’, probably had no such lofty connotations at the time, the problem now being one of vagueness, if not deliberate obfuscation, in order to inspire awe and reverence, apparently, as if it is untranslatable to the ordinary mortal…

    But it certainly is a common ordinary word in modern standard Thai, something like simple ‘consciousness’ or ‘mind’, so ‘mindfulness’ is a marketing hook to sell a fad to the West, that special sauce and some righteous hocus pocus, such that the makers of the film ‘Samadhi’ have to explain that the term is untranslatable to English, notwithstanding the fact that it is done all the time outside the rarefied circles of New Age fad religions… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:53 am on October 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , kilesha, , , , ,   

    Buddhism and Trump, Religion and Politics… 

    img_2116It’s easy to bemoan my fate as having no choice but to be a citizen of the same country that Donald F. Trump presides over, even if not currently resident, but bemoan even more the fact that he seems to have hijacked my mental process, so that it seems that I am almost totally incapable of thinking about anything else, except how to get this over-stuffed individual out of my life and out of my mind and hopefully even out of my country so that one day I might go back there if circumstances so warrant it…

    I mean: wouldn’t I really rather be spending my time, and precious brain cells, discussing subtle points of dharma, rather than gross points of politics? Of course, though, the argument could be made that I wouldn’t even be a Buddhist if the presence of Donald Trump in his original rise in the political polls hadn’t inspired me to it, for whatever reason, as the two events were nearly simultaneous. For, like the reductios ad absurdum that Mahayana Buddhists once used to disprove the intrinsic existence of ‘stuff’, so I can define myself in opposition to a known quantity… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:11 pm on October 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      … we are the God species, like it or not, holding the keys to survival in the palm of one hand, while the other hand plays with its iPhone… great line, Hardie, in a piece that goes head on and wins through to something very helpful and worthwhile!

    • hardie karges 5:20 am on October 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Dave. I swear I did not know previously of the book of the same title AND on a similar subject. I do now, haha…

  • hardie karges 4:00 pm on December 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , defilement, , , kilesha, , , , , , ,   

    Buddhist Dilemma: Does Mindfulness = No Thought? Hmmm… 

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    Reflections in the back seat

    ‘Mindfulness’ is one of those words deliberately created to defy definition, it seems, so when anybody asks me what it means I usually reply with something semi-snarky, like “the opposite of mindlessness” which seems like maybe avoiding the question, but which in fact is about as accurate as is possible, given the quasi-religious overtones and the need for a certain amount of obfuscation for dramatic effect, such being the need in Western circles, witness the ‘woo-woo’ factor of certain Pali/Sanskrit words like ‘samadhi‘…

    But the word ‘sati‘, from which ‘mindfulness’ is translated, by itself carries no transcendent connotations, at least not in modern standard Thai, in which it means simply ‘consciousness’ or ‘mind’, in the sense that one’s sati, i.e. brain, is maybe not so good anymore, or that he now has sati, i.e. is no longer unconscious—get it? And the usage of the term in Buddhism is not so much different, I think, and mindfulness is probably the best term for it, mind twice removed from pure simplicity, first with a ‘full’, next with a ‘ness’. But doesn’t that imply some level of thought, whether in narrative form or simple awareness, of cause and effect, spatial relations and orderliness? I would think so. So…

    (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 3:26 pm on December 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      No thought, no. It’s the space between the thoughts where things get very interesting.

      QP

    • hardie karges 3:58 pm on December 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      True, BUT…. I think (oops!) there’s always room for thought–good thoughts…

    • quantumpreceptor 1:52 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      What I mean is this. Thoughts are not a problem in fact they can be used as a tool in the right circumstances. Avoiding them does not work, however slowing them down and seeing into the space between them is where we can begin to see that all is a reflection in the mirror of consciousness.

      QP

    • hardie karges 3:45 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      There you go, now we’re on the same page…

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

    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 …)

     
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