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  • hardie karges 11:28 am on May 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhist, , MONEY, ,   

    Money and other Buddhist Sins of Commission… 

    Attachment to money is the worst form of craving, because, as a medium of exchange, it is something totally false, mere paper, typically folded and mutilated, if not spindled, simply because no one knows what that means.

    And if I launch into a sermon on the use of punch cards, you still might not know much more unless you voted in the US twenty years ago, and still remember it. But what we really love are the numbers, anything more than zero considered a plus, by definition, and anything less subject to penalties, typically the sins of omission more than the sins of commission, because you really don’t have to do anything to suffer, or cause others to suffer, given the time dimension, and the fact that results and effects are often delayed far from the source of the original action, or karma, if you prefer.

    Conversely, the less you do, than the fewer sins you commit, but if you do too little, then you may indeed starve, and if you fail to help another in need, then you may indeed be a direct cause of their suffering, even if you weren’t a direct cause of their pain.

    So life has always been a search for sustenance, from the semi-tropical Garden of Eden, where fruit hung ripe from the trees, to the far northern steppes, where the big game ran wild and the satisfaction ran deep as the snowbank you could use to keep that slab of meat cool for a while.

    So how did the big game get transformed into roulette wheels and lotteries and one-armed bandits, slot machines with no feelings nor dogs in the hunt? That is the history of the world, my friends, the transfer of feeling from fields to factories, by hook or crook, since it wasn’t always voluntary, least of all in the place of its origins, as the British Enclosure Acts claimed common grounds for capitalists, and sent crofters to the Commonwealth countries or factories, often with no other choice, as is typical in a class system based on caste, even where much of the deep ancestry is similar or even the same.

    But cities are the same regardless of their location or countries of origin, and money is their common denominator, 0’s and 1’s in the ledger book of life. And dharma is the same, also, the truth of human circumstances and interactions and their repercussions across time and space. The medium used for commercial transactions is not the medium of human interaction, though the Middle Path may sound similar. It is not.

    Money is superfluous, and best kept hidden. To flaunt it is to worship it, and a cardinal sin of commission, an insult to polite society. There is a reason that Buddhist monks in Thailand are forbidden to touch it. We’re playing for keeps here, not possession, but forever, always changing…

     
    • Alexis Adder 3:44 pm on May 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      They turned money into a cult and forced everyone into needing it all thr time.

      • hardie karges 3:50 pm on May 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, it’s quite the conundrum: can’t live with it, and can’t live without it. I think the main thing is not to be obsessed with it, so neither broke nor gambler, so as to think of it as little as possible…

    • Dave Kingsbury 4:19 pm on May 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I like to count mine every day. It doesn’t take long … 🙂

      • hardie karges 4:22 pm on May 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I know the feeling…

  • hardie karges 12:59 pm on February 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , MONEY   

    Buddhist Meditation: Feedom from the Fetters of Language, and the Defilements of Money… 

    Money is the square root of all evil; kindness is the reward for all kindness. And this is more than just idle word-play, and linguistic sleight-of-hand, because it goes straight to the heart of the nature of our system of rewards and punishments, whether there truly is something like ‘currency’ that can mediate between the world and our bottomless pit of desires or whether that is something dark and unknown that is forever fated to lurk hidden and unseen, only to rise and strike with the suddenness of synchronous sensation, as if the fate of all time and space lay in the simultaneous conjunction of desire and object, self and the world, subject predicating objects with apparent prepositioning and with only scant adverbial regard for the adjectival implications. So money is a poor substitute for language as the medium of our interplay with nature, and language itself is flawed enough to begin with. But such is the world that we live in, our humanness now defined by language, and our lives now defiled by money. Ironically there seems to be a path forward with money, with the advent of technology, such that instead of physically dealing with money itself, we can simply click ‘Pay Now’ on the digital screen and numbers change locations in a way that either harms us or hurts us, while physical objects may also change locations in a roughly parallel way, unless we’re talking about books, in which case I’ll just read them all right here, thank you, at least fifty in the last two years from the beginnings of written time to the latest screed from self-described scribes, and I’ve not touched paper even once. But I hope that Buddhist monks have not succumbed to the temptation to click ‘Buy Now’, while at the same time they are forbidden to touch physical cash, thus subverting the intent, if not the letter of the dharma. Call me old-fashioned, but the problem goes deeper than all that, in that we feel the necessity to mediate ourselves (non-selves) through symbols and time-stamps, when life is still arguably at its best when not mediated at all. And that means getting rid of language, too, at last for a while, at least a little bit, hopefully every day, if not every hour, on the hour. And that means meditation, at its finest, proto-consciousness, unmediated by language, or God forbid money, when all that is needed is conscious awareness and lack of desire for anything else, for as long as that moment can last. For the best moments are not moments at all, but conscious continuums of unfettered awareness. And that is the challenge in this world of unrighteous debate, we standing our ground, until death do us part, older and hopefully wiser. There’s too much talk, not enough inaction…

     
  • hardie karges 5:20 am on December 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , MONEY, , possessions, ,   

    Buddhism 202: Slavery to Self and the Addictions of Ego… 

    Slavery can also be self-inflicted, addiction to money and ego and possessions and false gods, you name it. And I suppose it’s not even a bad thing, necessarily, as some Buddhist devotees proudly display their ‘slavery’ to the Buddha, just like any latter-day Krishna devotee named Das (Sanskrit for ‘slave’). But those are particular and peculiar exceptions to the general rule that freedom is better, self-control the best kind of control, and any exception to that rule to be approached with extreme caution. Because morality demands free will, or at least the illusion of such, to whatever extent possible, given the limits imposed by biological existence and the vicissitudes of circumstance. For we are nothing if not crippled, by space and time and the frequencies at which we are sentient, to light and sound, especially, somewhere between infrared and ultraviolet, and 20 to 20,000 Hz in this world best defined physically by mechanical waves of the kind that shock and reverberate, percussion with repercussions, and the sonic blasts that level all buildings and pretenses to greatness and permanence. Addictions are false gods and self-slavery, selling yourself to the highest bidder for selves and souls on the credit card for true believers, no down payment required and discount options available with bulk purchase. But every purchase comes with a warning: that warm fuzzy feeling that felt so good the first time may not feel so good the last, in some sliding scale of proportionately inverse pleasure, calculated to leave you wanting more the more you have, just the opposite of the Platonic need for what you don’t have, instead the Satanic need for what you do have. But in the end it’s all just ‘maya’, illusion, because it ultimately gets you nowhere, and advances you not a whit, because all your frills and bangles, fancy buttons and silk bows, won’t make you a better person, and that’s the mark of progress…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:15 am on December 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Invigorating perspectives, as always, Hardie! Our addictions aren’t always obvious to us, it seems …

      • hardie karges 5:01 am on December 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        No, not always obvious, and not even necessarily bad. Thanks for your comment…

        • Dave Kingsbury 5:29 pm on December 7, 2019 Permalink

          The word carries a pejorative association for me, so interesting to consider it from another angle … I suppose enthusiasm and dedication, for example, require a degree of obsessional focus in a distracting world.

        • hardie karges 6:38 pm on December 7, 2019 Permalink

          Yes, I know it’s difficult to see the word as positive, but the name Das confirms it, just checked modern Hindi, and it’s the same, but with connotations of ‘devotee’, now, of course. For me the distinction is that between self-control and control by others, and that’s very central to the implicit meaning of Buddhism, even if seldom articulated…

        • Dave Kingsbury 3:46 am on December 8, 2019 Permalink

          I can see the distinction you describe – a very important one in an increasingly homogenous world, I reckon.

  • hardie karges 1:13 pm on April 24, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MONEY   

    BUDDHIST BUCKS 

    The power of money, like karate, is the power of the empty hand. To have money and not spend it is power, the power of non-action, literally potential. How many do-dads do you really need anyway? The worst thing about money is having to think, worry, or obsess over it. This can happen with either too little or too much of it, and becomes all you ever think about. As with everything, the middle path is the best, avoiding extremes. Buddhism is at its best as an antidote to high-stress modern Western-type lifestyles. In the absence of such, it might seem like a religion of passivity. It’s almost as if the Buddha foresaw what was to come and prescribed a cure in advance. This might violate causality, but nothing better has been prescribed that doesn’t. Maybe there was something innate in the Indo-European mentality that knew what was likely and that the Indo would have a prominent role to play as antidote to the Euro. You can always back-fill logic later: how do I know what I mean until I see how much money’s at stake? People who can save their money are masters of the world; those who can’t are slaves. The former are creditors; the latter are debtors. Little by little money accrues to the creditor’s account at the expense of the debtor, over and beyond the current debt load. This is trickle-up economics.

     
  • hardie karges 1:07 pm on April 23, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MONEY   

    BIG BANGS FOR BUCKS 

    Money is dirty. Money is addictive. Keep it under wraps. Keep it in your pants. Use it but don’t show it. Do your dirty deals down dark alleys. Money invariably leads to the hard stuff, oil and guns. Money is a medium that leads to extremes. In the hands of humans any extra is inevitably gambled on a fixed outcome with a fixed income. The dealer always wins. The house never loses. Like any good virus, its only purpose is to reproduce itself. If left to its own devices, money reproduces itself faster than bacteria, the black magic of numbers come to life and spreading like kudzu. Money lay there for years inert and lifeless until someone discovered that powers of ten and numerical place notation could make someone wealthy. Like sound amplifying through reverberation, money gets larger every time it changes hands, every time it shows up in someone’s books. All parties with interest get a piece of the action, a blip on the screen where two particles collided and something was given off. The squiggle on the screen is our only proof of the entity’s existence. Money is the measure of motion. If you hold it, then it evaporates with inflation. The thing itself only has worth during a depression, but that’s too depressing. Suspension of disbelief is essential; confidence is the foundation upon which a house of cards is built. Suspension of disbelief is the crucial test of any good movie. It also applies to ‘real life’. If you’re aware of the fact that those are actors acting, then the movie’s a failure. If you think they’re just making it all up, then the story’s already riddled with more holes than can be filled.

     
  • hardie karges 2:55 pm on April 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MONEY   

    SOME THINGS ARE FREE 

    The medium is the message: MONEY, dragging us all down to its own pathetic level of 0’s and 1’s for ease of computation and digital logic. Its best defense is a good offense, get there first with the most and close the door behind. Share the monopoly board with your arranged marriage partner. The dirtiest most untouchable thing in the Dark Age of religion now grabs us by our genitalia and leads us down dark alleys with weird characters. Chinese pictographs and ancient petroglyphs are scrawled on walls in a conspiracy of silence, telling us what we already know in a language we’ve long forgotten. Muslims got the male suicidal death wish down pat: me against my brother, me and my brother against our father; the three of us against our neighbor. OK, love your neighbor in a nod to Jesus as the next to last prophet to actually turn a profit, but forget the others and their other brothers. So on and so forth, relationships’ strengths run in inverse proportion to the square of the distance from the source of separation. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, bad cosmetic surgery masquerades as high desert philosophy masking macho misogyny. If you gotta’ put a veil over your wife’s head, why not just try some makeup instead?

     
  • hardie karges 7:44 am on April 9, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MONEY, ROBBER BARONS   

    MONEY 

    Money is the root of all evil, not the love thereof, but the thing itself, green and crispy, infinitely malleable. Paper money is the best kind, inherently worthless except as fuel and toilet paper, legally tender in illegal tight spots. It comes from a checkered past of magic ritual undercurrents and shamanistic overtones to its present status as currency for pawns and plaything for bishops. The future is pure monopoly, hotels on the Boardwalk and houses on Park Place, rides on railroads and you get out of jail free. The new robber barons replace the old robber barons, and the world creeps forward on unsteady feet.

     
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