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  • hardie karges 12:50 pm on November 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , linguistics, , ,   

    Silence is the Perfect Companion to Budddhist Emptiness.,, 

    Emptiness, shunyata, is one of the prime tenets of the Mahayana school of Buddhism, of course, and arguably the defining one, the one without which it would not exist. But it has always been of slippery definition itself, it born of the zero-principle, shunya, and conceived at that very same epoch of history, such that the two developments are impossible to separate…

    And the brief definition of emptiness is that it is an extension of the Buddhist concept of non-self, anatta, so that now we are postulating that not only is the self empty of substance, but so is everything empty of substance. That is not to say that it is not real, necessarily, but that it is not real in any enduring permanent way. So in that sense, nothing is real…

    And this fits in well with the modern physics conception of reality as composed of sub-microscopic particles that are better defined mathematically than physically, even chemically. So that’s the back-story and the sales pitch, but how does that make anyone’s life any better? But in fact, there is much more to it than the sublime metaphysics or the arcane math and physics…

    In fact, I propose, there are lessons for life in there. For one thing, aren’t our lives too often defined by our possessions? A philosophy of emptiness discourages that. Secondly, referring back to the title, emptiness does encourage silence, and meditation, which I not only encourage everyone to practice, but which has been proven many times over to be a safe and salient benefit to health, especially mental health…

    (And despite the fact that ‘guided meditation’ has many fans, especially in the West, who just can’t stand the silence, I suppose, I still maintain that silent meditation is the best, and in fact the only practice that I would consider true meditation. ‘Guided meditation’ should be called something else)…

    Most importantly, though, emptiness facilitates a view of self and the universe that is non-dualistic (while I readily acknowledge that any dichotomy of self and universe is itself dualistic). And this may very well be the origin of modern consciousness, i.e. linguistic consciousness. Before that there was only a non-linguistic kind, which, for all the benefits of language, may have been better in many ways…

    At the very least, it is worth returning to, on a regular basis, and hence the value of meditation. Philosophy leads everywhere at one and the same time. Do you prefer the conundrum of the One versus the Many? Or do you prefer the vastness of Infinity? Duality is an illusion. The One is Many. But only Emptiness is Infinite…

     
  • hardie karges 9:20 am on October 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , linguistics, , samma vaca   

    Buddhist quantum linguistics… 

    Some things that people do with language are unspeakable: hatred, anger, cruelty, and possession. Words are like discrete quanta, looking for entanglement. Remember ‘samma vaca,’ right speech…

     
  • hardie karges 12:11 pm on March 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , linguistics,   

    More on Meditation and Language, and the Prison of our Own Minds… 

    Meditation is the best medicine; twice a day keeps the doctor away. And I think that is accurate, even though the causes and effects may be debated endlessly, at least partly owing to differences in definition to begin with. Is it ‘concentration’, probably the most common translation of the Sanskrit word that is usually transcribed into the Roman alphabet as ‘samadhi’ (give or take a few palatal and labial signs for consonants, and long and short vowels for the adepts)? And then there are other Sanskrit-based words, such as ‘dhyana’, maybe implying something closer to ‘trance’ than ‘concentration’, not to mention ‘bhavana’, referring to something like ‘development’, or ‘patipatti’, the ‘practice’, of whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. And that is the precisely the question, is it not, of just exactly what it is we’re supposed to be doing, as we sit cross-legged on the floor, as so brilliantly evoked in the band Chicago’s classic ’25 or 6 to 4′ (please don’t ask me what that means)? Well, I think the Buddha and others pretty much had it figured out way back when, but when the Americans and New Agers got hold of it, now all of a sudden you need an ‘app’ and you need someone’s soothing words to guide you through the beauty of it all, and pseudo/sorta/secular Buddhists explain that skateboarding is just another form of meditation, when what you really need to do is just sit down and STFU, in my humble opinion. Because language is the problem, not the solution, in this case, that quantum leap of linguistic consciousness 50,000 years ago that doomed the Neanderthals and Denisovans and a couple other smaller homos to oblivion now embedded in our minds as the preferred method of thinking, rational and syllogistic, such that other forms of thinking, visual or intuitive, are relegated to second-class status. And while this may be perfect for the strategic advantage necessary for the conquest and ultimate extinction of those pesky other hominids, it wraps us individually in feedback loops of language, and may ultimately be the inspiration for that kind of karma that we can never really shake. To ‘stop the internal dialogue’ was the lasting gist for me of Castaneda’s tales of Yanqui (:-) power as well as the goal of more than one neurologist measuring the motions of mind on an MRI scan. Because this is what meditation can do for you, if only for a moment, if only for an hour. It can allow the mind, whatever that is, to function without language, i.e. paleo-consciousness, pre-verbal, non-consonantal. It certainly beats argument. And if that makes me a cheater, dodging a fight rather than ‘standing my ground’, then so be it. Most fights have no winners, only losers. Because people say mean nasty ugly words sometimes, and seem to enjoy it, for some reason. I don’t know why, but at least now I know how to shut it off, and shut it out…

     
  • hardie karges 6:04 am on October 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fallacy, , linguistics, , , , , soteriology   

    Buddhism and Language: the curse of narratives… 

    IMG_0599Though not often heralded as such, language is arguably the world’s greatest invention, and I think that, like most inventions, it might have a limited lifespan of prime utility, and it’s a very arguable point that the world just might be better off without it. I don’t arrive at this conclusion lightly, given that fact that I love language with all my heart and all my soul, but if it’s outlived its usefulness, then it just might need to be put out to pasture (and there just might be something better)…

    Of course, whether people would be willing to do this is debatable, but still, it’s probably worth having the discussion, just to make the point, if nothing else. And the point is that many of the world’s problems are verbal. A policeman gives an order, and you are supposed to obey, immediately and without question. Otherwise they’ll shoot you, in America, at least, no matter that you’re deaf or not an English speaker. That’s not their fault. And, of course it’s not the language’s fault, either, for the bad intentions of its major malefactors. But still one of its main functions is aggression, to be sure, e.g. ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:30 am on September 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , linguistics, , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism is not about getting your groove on; it’s all about… 

    img_0545Control, unwavering control, of yourself, or even better: non-self, if you can manage it, easy enough but for the vicissitudes of will, that one part of the (s)kandhas that escapes easy categorization and refuses to fall blindly into place as but one of the ‘heaps’ that comprise our personalities and personas and persons that we oftentimes think of as ‘self’, or ‘selves’ if you’re bi-polar, or even ‘soul’ if you have long-term plans, or God forbid ‘ego’ if you can think of little else…

    But ‘will’ or ‘volition’ is right there listed alongside the rest of the heap of verbs-turned-nouns that define us in an act of unholy reification, feeling and form and perception and consciousness, only one a true noun, and that an abstract one, all the rest verbs with regular jobs, turned noun, so more than fleeting fancies, all except will, which needs no linguistic crutch-like suffix ‘-ness’ or ‘-tion’ to lean on, or even the gerundive ‘-ing’ to skate by on all fours… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 10:30 am on September 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Encouraging piece for one who, like myself, is very language-oriented. Nothing wrong with being wedded to words, of course, as long as one can cut oneself adrift to float upon an ocean of unknowing. Cripes, did I just say that out loud?

      • hardie karges 8:11 pm on September 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Haha, yes, I’m conflicted over the role of language, On the one hand, I love it, and on the other hand, narratives get stuck and clog our minds, pop music the most obvious example, though no problem with jazz. I think the cure is to think more visually more often and reserve language for more creative efforts, so less boring tedious language, just the good stuff…

        • Dave Kingsbury 1:34 am on September 20, 2018 Permalink

          I think the notion of getting stuck is a fruitful one – bit like a vinyl record stylus that just needs a nudge once in a while. Banal pop lyrics, advertising and political slogans – all examples of when words go bad. Music and art a possible cure – and waiting for the right words to come. 🙂

  • hardie karges 7:48 am on January 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , EckfardtbTolle, , , , linguistics, , , , , , , 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 5:04 am on June 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , linguistics, , therapy   

    #Religion 101: Don’t just stand there; believe in something… 

    img_1572

    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    We westerners like to believe in things, and that is the way it should be, I think, even if we don’t always agree with the powers that be. Donald J. Trump was elected because most of his supporters believe in something, even if that ‘something’ is a bit unfathomable to the rest of us, even if DJT himself gets rich from his policies, while many of his most ardent supporters won’t get jack…

    But this goes way back in the American narrative: “We don’t accept charity,” said many a proud dusty son of Tom Joad, back in the Midwestern Depression-era ‘Dust Bowl’ that sent thousands scrambling for a better life in the California fields, orchards and vineyards, many of them only a few generations removed from the Enclosure Acts and potato famine that reduced the Scottish and Irish populations by half, from heights that will likely never again be reached, as long as there is a new frontier somehow somewhere… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 2:46 pm on June 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Narrative therapy sounds intriguing … a creative remedy for those stuck in old dead (or dead old) stories? You paint interesting pictures here, as always …

      • hardie karges 9:18 pm on June 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        ‘Narrative therapy’ indeed sounds VERY interesting, just discovered by me, so hope to research and comment further, but seems that is one of the mind-brain’s ‘operating systems’, music possibly another, though I see visuals as the big prize here, just a hunch… Thx, Dave, for your comments, as always…

  • hardie karges 6:23 pm on June 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , linguistics, , ,   

    Religion, Linguistics and Politics: the Muslim Problem is an Aryan Problem… 

    IMG_1122

    The ugliest church in the world: Kabul, Afghanistan

    When you think of Islam, you generally think of the Mideast, and all things Arab.  Yet more than half of the total Muslim population lies to the east of the Shatt al-Arab, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and that line that separates Iraq from Iran, Arab from Aryan, them from us.  Huh?  Aryan?  Us? What gives?

    Yes it’s probably no accident that the most problematic of Muslims are our own not-so-distant relatives.  You’ve heard of the Beverly Hillbillies, right?  But what about the Kandahar Killbillies?  Yes, it’s true: one of the peskiest terrorist problems in the world comes from our own relatives from the same original ‘hood out back on the steppes, on a different stairway to a different Heaven, even if exactly the same Semitic god… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 9:20 am on June 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The opposite to labelling and stereotyping … pro-evolutionary, you might say, showing how language is a wordhoard that art can use to reconstruct old ways of looking.

      • hardie karges 9:25 am on June 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        According to prominent micro-biologist, language and DNA function almost exactly the same, in terms of evolution: “no reason why they should, but they do…”

  • hardie karges 2:22 pm on May 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , linguistics, marijuana, reefer, referendum   

    Politico-Linguistics 101: Canvassing for Cannabis 

    If there were (subjunctive mood) a vote for the legalization of marijuana, would that be a reeferendum?

     
  • hardie karges 11:08 am on February 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , linguistics, schadenfraude   

    Linguistics 101: the Uncertainty Principle 

    EMPATHY: the feeling you get knowing that you’re basking in the Arizona sun at temps of 72f/22c while the rest of the country is still digging out from the latest snow…

    GUILT: the feeling you get knowing that you’re basking in the Arizona sun at temps of 72f/22c while the rest of the country is still digging out from the latest snow…

    SCHADENFRAUDE: the feeling you get knowing that you’re basking in the Arizona sun at temps of 72f/22c while the rest of the country is still digging out from the latest snow…

     
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