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  • hardie karges 10:49 am on October 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , morality, , ,   

    Buddhist Non-attachment and Free Will 

    You can be connected to everything and attached to nothing. That is the Holy Grail, for me, at least, of life in general, and Buddhism in particular. Because, despite the apparent similarities, the difference between the two activities is craving, upadana in Pali/Sanskrit, and that is the deal-killer, as articulated in the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, number two, to be exact. Visually, imagine making contact, but without a hook that attaches you to that other surface.

    Now isn’t that preferable? Because without that hook, then you are free. And with freedom comes responsibilities. But with that hook, then you are enslaved. And when you are enslaved, not only have you lost your precious freedom, but you have lost your moral responsibility. Because if there is no free will, then there is no morality.

    So, the metaphysicians can argue all they want about the existence, or not, of free will, using arguments based on reason and logic, but the proof depends on the necessity—or not—of morality. Because free will can never be proven empirically, since it’s an abstract concept, and thus not subject to the demands of reason nor logic. But it is subject to the demands of morality. Ontologically, there is no absolute free will, though a limited one, subject to circumstances. This world is our circumstance. It demands morality.

     
  • hardie karges 5:20 am on December 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , morality, 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 1:24 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ethics, , Jain, , morality, , , , ,   

    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…

  • hardie karges 4:10 am on January 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ICE, , , , morality, ,   

    Buddhism and Donald Trump, Criminal Intent and Modern Justice 

    img_2116Intent is the elephant in the courtroom of modern justice, beyond forensics and beyond genetics, the need to know what someone was thinking and why they thought it, at such-and-such a time and such-and-such a place. But isn’t this a system doomed to failure? And is it really necessary? Only we European-derived Westerners could invent a term like schadenfreude, delight in the misfortune of others, not so much the passive enjoyment of something such so strange, but that we do it so often that we have a name for it…

    But that is indeed the case, that we are so obsessed with our feelings that our whole system of justice is based upon it, such that if someone is supposedly repentant, then that counts in his favor, whereas without it he is doomed to longer incarceration, as if we could really know the difference, so to make ourselves feel good we reward the best actors, and maybe the most honest are doomed to perdition… (More …)

     
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